If you were to walk into any Whole Foods or other ‘healthy living’ type of grocery store and find the beauty aisle, you will more than likely see many different options for all-natural deodorants claiming to be aluminum free. When you are going through beauty blogs, you are probably hounded by ads about the best underarm products that are aluminum free. While it has been going on for quit some time, there has been a recent surge in the ‘movement for aluminum free deodorant. But why exactly is having aluminum in your deodorant bad for you anyways?
Why Does Deodorant Have Aluminum In It?
Before diving into the reason most deodorants have aluminum, you first have to understand the difference between what deodorant is, and what an antiperspirant is. While ‘deodorant’ is generally used as a general term for anything that goes into your armpits, that is wrong.
Deodorant was designed to help you prevent body odor, while antiperspirant was designed to help you prevent sweat and perspiration. When it comes to aluminum, it is only found in antiperspirants, not in deodorant. Again, deodorant has no aluminum in it what so ever. In fact, it works by using fragrances and other antibacterial compounds to reduce your body odor.
Since that’s cleared up, antiperspirants do contain aluminum salts that do help prevent you from sweating. You see, the aluminum salts help to plug up your pores in the area that it is applied to. Since your pores are now plugged up, it is harder for sweat and perspiration to be released from them. So essentially, when you use antiperspirants, they are going to help reduce any wetness from forming by blocking your sweat glands in the underarm area. On top of that, they will also help to minimize any body odor you may have by inhibiting the different bacteria that would otherwise by feeding on your sweat and causing more of it.
You’re probably thinking that having aluminum in your antiperspirants sounds like a good thing. If you are thinking that, you are wrong.
What’s The Big Deal?
When it comes to aluminum, there are going to be two main issues that can become very serious. The first would be Alzheimer’s disease, and the second would be breast cancer.
Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative brain disease that first appeared over 50 years ago. Back in the 1960’s, aluminum was identified to be one of the potential causes of the disease. A little later in 1985, another study was done that confirmed the link between Alzheimer’s disease and aluminum. It was noted that those who already had Alzheimer’s also had elevated levels of aluminum inside their brains. While there has never been any conclusive evidence saying that aluminum is directly linked to Alzheimer’s disease, it’s hard to deny the relationship between the two. Several years later in the early 1990’s, another study was done to try and prove the connection between the disease and aluminum. While the study did find that there was aluminum present, it did not find that there was a direct link between the two, nor did it prove that aluminum is what caused the disease in the first place.
So how come aluminum is not banned completely, you ask? Since there has been no ‘concrete’ evidence to show that the two are related, so according to the FDA they aren’t.
When it comes to the concern about breast cancer, this is mainly due in part to how close the armpit area is to the breasts. In fact, there have been some studies that have claimed breast cancer always starts to develop in the outer, upper quadrant of the breast, this being the closest part to the underarm. In case you forgot, the underarms are where you put your antiperspirants, as well as where they are absorbed by the skin and taken in by those microscopic razor nicks.
Since you know have pore clogging antiperspirant on, any potentially cancerous substance is unable to be pushed out of the body through the sweat ducts, as they are all clogged up. It really is a vicious catch 22.
Besides the Alzheimer’s and breast cancer that antiperspirants can potentially cause, there is also a concern that the aluminum prevents your body from sweating, something that it does naturally to help keep you cool. On top of that, sweat is also how your body gets rid of the toxins that have built up inside it and need to be exposed of. Essentially sweat is your body’s air-conditioning system, as well as the garbage pickup.
Why Is Aluminum Still Being Used?
As mentioned earlier, just because there have been a few studies to claim that there is a link between Alzheimer’s disease and aluminum, doesn’t mean that there is actually a link between the two. Since aluminum is considered to be safe to use for most experts, not much attention and time is spent trying to prove that connection.
As for the link between aluminum and breast cancer, the claims being made are that the aluminum found in the antiperspirants is eventually absorbed through your body’s sweat glands. However, this is scientifically impossible as your skin acts just like a barrier to your internals, preventing the aluminum from penetrating through. To top it off, there has been no evidence to suggest that aluminum from antiperspirants is directly related to breast cancer.
Due to the lack of any concrete, credible evidence that shows a link between aluminum and the health problems mentioned, antiperspirant companies continue to quote large organizations such as the National Cancer Institute, breastcancer.org, the American Caner Society, and the Alzheimer’s Association, who claim that using aluminum in antiperspirants is perfectly safe.
So Is Using Antiperspirants With Aluminum Safe?
As of right now, there is an abundance of scientific and medical data that says you have nothing to worry about if you are using antiperspirants that contain aluminum. In fact, much of the research done has come to the conclusion that you don’t have to worry about any kind of health concerns.
However, if you feel that you are on the other side of that conversation and you no longer wish to use antiperspirants containing aluminum, you are not alone. There is actually a large movement going on right now pushing many towards using a cleaner, safer antiperspirant product. And the way that this shift towards better health and wellness products seems to be growing larger and larger every single day.
But just so you know, aluminum is the only ingredient that has been approved for use to help stop sweat in antiperspirants by the FDA. However, one brand, Lavanila, claims that they have created the perfect substitute to the aluminum-based antiperspirants.
Lavanila claims that they’ve created an all new, all natural anti-sweat formula. According to them, they use all-natural beta-glucan, which simply absorbs all of the sweat molecules, as well as provide you with excellent odor protection. It is claimed that your skin is able to breath and perform naturally, as if you didn’t have any antiperspirant on at all.
Some of the other popular options available for natural deodorants and antiperspirants that don’t contain any aluminum include:
- Tom’s of Maine Long Lasting Natural Deodorant
- Crystal Body Deodorant Stick
- Weleda Sage Deodorant
- Korres Equisetum 24h Deodorant
- Aesop Deodorant
- Erbaviva lemon Sage Organic Deodorant
- LeCouvant Des Minimes Everyday Deodorant
- Native Deodorant
While there are more brands of aluminum free deodorant and antiperspirant available, these are some of the most popular and best reviewed ones on the market. But just be aware that because they claim to be ‘aluminum free’, doesn’t always mean that it is effective or even safe.
When you are shopping for your all-natural aluminum free deodorant, try to stay away from any of the crystal deodorants. Crystal deodorants are a very popular all-natural option, but they do use alum crystals. These crystals do contain some aluminum in them, hence making the whole point of getting away from the aluminum deodorants and antiperspirants all for nothing.
If you are ready to go to more of a natural deodorant or antiperspirant, you need to remember that when you are first trying out a new product, it may not work with your body exactly as you thought it would. In fact most cosmetics work differently depending upon the person that is using them. So if the first brand or two is not exactly what you are looking for, don’t give up hope and keep trying other varieties until you do find one that you really like. With so many options available to you, it can get overwhelming very quickly.
If his is the case, you can always do a little research online to get some reviews from those who have already tried the product out and what they thought about it, as well as what the deodorant was designed to do. If you are trying to cover up body odor, you may need a different formula than if you are trying to not sweat.