Is underarm antiperspirant and deodorant really bad for you and why?


Antiperspirants block sweat from escaping through underarm pores onto the skin. Most conventional products contain aluminum which is linked to Alzheimer’s disease. This heavy metal can travel into the lymphatic system under our armpits. If the hair was recently shaved, the skin will have microscopic nicks, allowing chemicals to enter more easily.

Aside from aluminum, most antiperspirants contain parabens, antimicrobial agents derived from toluene, a toxic petrochemical derivative. Some studies say that repeated exposure to toluene may cause hormone disruption. Plus, parabens act like the hormone estrogen in the body.

Deodorants neutralize the smell of perspiration. They are healthier than antiperspirants but many brands contain potentially toxic ingredients like parabens, aluminum and synthetic fragrance. Also watch out for:

  1. Propylene glycol: a penetration enhancer also found in antifreeze.
  2. Talc: a possible carcinogen.
  3. Steareth, which is processed with ethylene oxide (ethoxylated), a known human carcinogen.
  4. Triclosan: an antibacterial that is creating resistant bacteria.

My Tips:

  1. Read labels and choose paraben-free, aluminum-free options.
  2. Watch out for (and avoid) propylene glycol as the main ingredient — even on so called “natural” products.
  3. Try baking soda as a deodorant. Put the non-aluminum variety into a salt shaker and pat under your armpits.
  4. Ozonated olive oil is another great alternative. It can last for days!

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Beth Greer, aka Super Natural Mom®, is an award-winning journalist, green holistic health educator, healthy home expert and impassioned champion of toxin-free living. She’s also a radio talk show host, and trusted consumer advocate, who is leading a movement of awareness and responsibility about healthy homes, schools and work environments. Connect with Beth on Facebook and Twitter.