Everyone wants to smell good, it’s a fact of life. But there are, however, a few known risks that come with commercially produced deodorant that you may not be aware of. Namely, there are five ingredients that are commonly found in anti-perspirant and deodorants that could be seriously damaging to your health, even if they claim to be “natural” or “toxin free”.
The first is aluminum. This metal is added to anti-perspirants to stop perspiration completely by actually plugging up your sweat glands. Meanwhile, it has been linked to a number of health issues such as seizures, breast cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and kidney problems. Aluminum compounds get absorbed into the skin and blood stream, and are suspected to mimic estrogen, which explains its tie to breast cancer.
Propylene glycol is another common ingredient in deodorant and anti-perspirants. It’s used to aid in absorption and prevents the product from drying out. On its own, it is deemed a neurotoxin which can cause kidney and liver damage. It’s also known to be associated with allergic reactions.
Another dangerous ingredient is “fragrance”, which is generally a tell-tale sign of phthalates. This chemical is found in all sorts of products, from flooring to food packaging, plastic objects and fragrances. It’s added to deodorant for scent and consistency. Phthalates are known to be hormone disruptors in humans, which means they can cause early puberty, organ malfunction, cell mutation, and birth defects.
An ingredient often found in deodorants (rather than antiperspirants) is Triclosan. This chemical is added as bacteria and fungus killer. It’s so strong that it’s also added to your conventional home cleaning products. Triclosan has been proven to increase antibiotic resistance (fancy talk for bacteria that have evolved to be immune to antibiotics). It’s a possible carcinogen and the EPA has also linked it to disruption of the endocrine system.
Here’s another one you’ve probably heard of: parabens. Parabens are added as a preservative to many different personal care products. Like phthalates, they mimic estrogen and can severely throw off your body’s hormone balance. The presence of parabens has been found in malignant breast tumors, and they can even cause birth defects in future children.
Luckily, there are a number of ways to break up with conventional deodorants and anti-perspirants. The first step is to make peace with your sweat. It’s important to remember that the body sweats for a reason: to rid itself of toxins and regulate temperature. By using anti-perspirants, you are hindering this process and potentially exposing yourself to a myriad of negative effects.
Once you’ve accepted your sweat, you can replace all of these nasty ingredients with a bunch of natural ones. There are a few ways to make your own homemade deodorant; a quick Google search will find you a few recipes to choose from. A notable one combines coconut oil, baking soda, shea butter, arrowroot and essential oils to make a nice version. If you’d rather skip the work, Vermont Soap makes a fabulous alternative to conventional deodorant, containing just 5 organic ingredients: coconut oil, cornstarch, beeswax, rosemary extract, and different natural scents.
Jillian Conner is a blogger and media specialist and a frequent contributor to VermontSoap.com