Have you ever seen that warning on the back of your deodorant that warns against use if you have kidney disease? Have you ever wondered why it’s there? Although your favorite deodorant might protect you from a smelly social faux pas the truth of the matter is that your conventional deodorant may be doing more harm than good.
You’re Supposed to Sweat: How Deodorants Work
Most deodorants on the market these days are combined with antiperspirants designed to cause you not to sweat under your arms and to banish unwanted smells. In theory such a product doesn’t sound like a bad thing.
But the chemicals that make up most commercial deodorants are anything but safe for the human body. Antiperspirants work by clogging pores to prevent sweating with aluminum compounds. But you’re supposed to sweat! Sweating is one of your body’s ways of clearing out toxins and waste.
There has also been a suggested link that using antiperspirants and deodorants can lead to breast cancer. This is a controversial claim denied by many, but the bottom line is that the chemicals in our conventional deodorants are suspect and many experts believe they are leading to the rise in breast cancer that we are witnessing today.
Regardless of whether conventional deodorant use actually leads to cancer, we know there are various compounds in deodorants and antiperspirants that are indeed carcinogenic. Likewise, these compounds are implicated in autoimmune disease.
Fortunately there are several brands of natural deodorants available that come without toxic or antiperspirant chemicals and making your own isn’t too much of a stretch.
The 5 Most Toxic Chemicals in Your Deodorant
Despite what advertising or various so-called health authorities may want you to believe, your deodorant contains some substances that you probably shouldn’t be putting on your skin. These are the top five nasties hiding out in your deodorant.
1. Aluminum Compounds
Remember that warning on the back of your deodorant that says do not use if you have kidney disease? It’s on there because most deodorants and antiperspirants contain aluminum. Since aluminum is used in this case to clog pores and prevent sweating that aluminum has to go somewhere, and it gets absorbed into the skin.
This is especially bad for people with kidney issues as aluminum can’t be excreted through the kidneys if they are damaged or not functioning correctly. Further, the aluminum found in conventional deodorants also leads to a build-up of aluminum in the body for healthy individuals as well which has been shown to result in neurological disorders as well as bone disease. It is also believed aluminum compounds mimic estrogen possibly leading to breast cancer.
2. Propylene Glycol
Propylene glycol is a petroleum-based product that allows deodorant to slide onto our skin. It’s what gives it that creamy texture so that it rolls on easily. Propylene glycol can have a negative effect on the central nervous system, cause skin irritation and damage the liver and heart.
Besides its nasty effects on the body a petroleum-based product cannot be good for the environment. Petroleum seems to crop up in everything these days from gasoline to plastic bottles and your deodorant. Unfortunately even many natural companies still use propylene glycol as an ingredient or mix it with another derivative so getting away from this may be difficult. Be sure to check the labels.
Parabens are preservatives that are used in several, several health and beauty products that have been shown to be harmful. Labels that announce paraben-free products can now be found and these are good to look for.
In deodorant parabens can enter into the body and once again mimic estrogen creating hormone imbalance and leading to breast cancer. In younger children it may lead to early puberty. Since parabens show up in so many products it’s best to steer clear of any product that has them in the ingredients list, even your deodorant.
We’ve all seen those little silica-gel packets that say “Do not eat” on them, so why would we want to rub into onto our skin? Silica may also be known as silicon dioxide and is used as an absorbent so that skin doesn’t feel oily after application. Crystalline silica is listed by OSHA as a known carcinogen if breathed in. It may also irritate skin leading to rashes. Although you may not be in as much danger from silica in deodorant knowing that it’s a toxin may just make you want to stay away from it the future.
Talc may also be known as talcum powder and has enjoyed a long history of cosmetic use. However it has been discovered that talc has some carcinogenic properties which make it a less than desirable part of your beauty routine. What makes it so harmful is that it may or may not contain asbestos. Add that knowledge to using powder products that contain talc that may be contaminated with asbestos and you’re breathing in harm as well as absorbing it through your skin. In the long run it may be best to avoid products that contain talc at all costs.
All Natural Deodorant Alternatives (That Work!)
This writer has personally tried and been very satisfied with the following deodorant brands and continues to use these: