Deodorant is an essential toiletry that most Americans have in their medicine cabinet today. Many are still unaware of the hidden dangers in the active ingredients of modern day deodorant. They continue to use these potentially hazardous chemicals on their underarms as a way of reducing perspiration and odor.
The primary ingredient used in most antiperspirants is aluminum. Aluminum is a metal, which is used in antiperspirants to help block the sweat from escaping the pores. Aluminum has been linked to breast cancer in women and has also been linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer's disease.
Several studies have shown a link between increasing antiperspirant use and rising rates of female breast cancer and prostate cancer in men. However, the FDA has not committed to classifying it as a carcinogen. Their position remains one of "wait and see" as more definitive studies are released.
Parabens are a family of synthetic preservatives that are often found in deodorants as well. In fact, parabens are contained in an alarming amount of our body care products. A random sampling of 100 human urine specimens performed by the CDC showed that all 100 contained parabens. This demonstrates the high absorption rate of chemicals we place on our skin.
The largest concern is that the absorption of these chemicals will disrupt our delicate hormonal balance. This can lead to things like early puberty in children and an increased risk of hormonal cancers. Paraben exposure has also been linked to birth defects and organ toxicity.
Propylene glycol is another common ingredient that is used in antiperspirants and deodorants. This is a petroleum based material that is used to soften cosmetic products due to its slick consistency. It is a cheap way to make skin care products more easily applicable to the skin.
The argument that propylene glycol is safe in small amounts has been questioned by consumer safety advocates. In large quantities, studies have shown that it can cause damage to the central nervous system, liver and heart.
This chemical is even found in many of the processed foods we eat today. Logical thought follows that decreasing our exposure to propylene glycol is the prudent thing to do. It is for this reason that using skin care products that are propylene glycol free is becoming popular in health conscious circles.
Phthalates are another class of chemicals that are often used in deodorants and antiperspirants that you may want to avoid. Phthalates are used in cosmetics, synthetic fragrances, plastics, body care products and medical goods. They help to dissolve other ingredients and to create a better consistency.
The problem with phthalates is that they have been linked to a variety of health issues. High phthalate blood and urine levels in women of child bearing age have been linked to a higher risk of birth defects. This suggests that phthalates may disrupt hormone receptors as well as increase the likelihood of cell mutation.
Triclosan is another common ingredient included in commercial deodorants. It is utilized as the odor killing part of antiperspirants for its anti-bacterial properties. It is also commonly used in antibacterial soaps, hand wipes and gels.
Triclosan is actually classified as a pesticide by the FDA. It is also classified as a probable carcinogen by the Environmental Protection Agency. This classification has prompted some companies to remove it from their products. However, it still can be found as an ingredient in some formulas.
About the author
Danna Norek is the owner and primary contributor for several natural health blogs and websites, where she frequently shares her experiences and knowledge on herbal supplements, natural remedies, vitamins, and healthy lifestyle habits. You can find information on a 100% natural, chemical free deodorant here at Natural Effective Deodorant and an all natural sebum-neutralizing, SLS, paraben and chemical free Acne Soap with lavender, lemongrass and tea tree essential oils here at All Natural Acne Soap.