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How to Choose a Safe Deodorant

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How to Choose a Safe Deodorant Intro: Aluminum, a common ingredient in deodorant and antiperspirant, is often linked to Alzheimer's and brain disorders and is a possible risk factor in breast cancer.

In our society, being well-groomed and attractive are almost a necessity, dependence on deodorant, antiperspirants, perfumes and colognes are a must. But few know the health hazards present in the everyday underarm cosmetic. Beyond the synthetic fragrances and toxic ingredients found in most personal care products, antiperspirant and deodorant are loaded with aluminum compounds that have been linked to Alzheimer's disease and brain disorders, respiratory disorders, and possibly cancer.

I recommend you use this Organic, chemical-free deodorant on Amazon.com: Click Here. The link will take you to a deodorant spray but if you look around Amazon, you'll find some organic roll on stick deodorants too.


Aluminum is the world's most common metal. It is used in cans and foil, as lightweight sheet metal in airplanes and other machinery, in electrical wiring - and in personal care products such as underarm deodorant and antiperspirant. Aluminum oxide, also present in deodorants, is often used as a coating and is the major compound in rubies and sapphires.


In 1993, the World Health Organization said, "There is a suspected link between Alzheimer's disease and the toxicity of aluminum." (1)

The Agency for Toxic Substances and & Disease Registry reports that "Exposure to high levels of aluminum may result in respiratory and neurological problems."


The problem with deodorants and antiperspirants is not only the aluminum, but how it works to reduce sweat and smelly odors.

Aluminum compounds, such as aluminum oxide (Al2O3), are key ingredients in almost every antiperspirant. They are powerful astringents that close pores, stopping sweat and odor from escaping the body.

Antiperspirants may leave the outside of the body smelling fresh and clean – but inside, the toxins that would have escaped the body in the sweat have nowhere to go. For this reason, antiperspirants have been linked to problems with the sweat glands and lymph glands in and around the underarms.

What's more, "antiperspirants are designed to be absorbed"; the aluminum and many other chemicals are taken into the body and may affect the endocrine and lymphatic systems, as well as being a potential risk factor in breast cancer.


Some studies find a link between Alzheimer's disease and aluminum, while others deny that such a link exists. A 1993 World Health Organization "Public Health Report" cited autopsies that found high concentrations of aluminum in the brains of those afflicted with Alzheimer's disease.(1)

Despite arguments that aluminum exposure is unavoidable in air, food, and water sources, many doctors and holistic experts advise avoiding products known to contain additional aluminum – especially deodorants or antiperspirants in an aerosol spray, which can be absorbed through the nasal passages, into the bloodstream, and affect both the respiratory system and the brain.

Heavy metals such as aluminum are known to accumulate in the brain.


It can be hard to find a deodorant that doesn't contain aluminum oxide, synthetic fragrance, or other toxic chemicals. One solution: Mix your own with essential oils!

It can be difficult to find a good deodorant that doesn't contain toxic chemicals like aluminum oxide, other aluminum compounds, or synthetic fragrance and stabilizers. Antiperspirants are even worse. But nobody wants to walk around smelling unwashed all day! There are several options for natural deodorants, including health food store brands, deodorant crystals, and making your own.

With natural products on the rise in both food and personal care, it's easy to find dozens of brands that offer either a natural product or an entire line of "all-natural" or "organic, herbal" products.

The problem? They may not be all that natural. Most "natural" brands contain the same chemicals as drug store brands, either in lesser quantities or with certain well-known additives removed (e.g. SLS, DEA, aluminum). It's worth the time it takes to read labels and ensure that all the ingredients in the products you use are truly natural and safe.

If you can't find a natural deodorant product that suits you, the following options might.


Antiperspirants should not confused with deodorants. Although the above product names are self-explanatory, chemical compositions are very different. One such product available in both forms is Brut 33. The deodorant version of this brand does not have either aluminum chlorhydrate or triclosan. However, Brut 33 antiperspirant product has both. An antiperspirant functions basically by clogging pores in the skin.

In my research I have been unable to find any women's deodorant without aluminum chlorhydrate.

The action of applying antiperspirant also brings aluminum chlorhydrate and triclosan into the close proximity of capillary blood vessels. This creates conditions for these chemicals to be absorbed into the body. It doesn't guarantee that one will get a brain disorder, but it could be like smoking: the sooner someone quits now, the better off they will be later.


The first thing you must do whenever you buy deodorant or any product that goes on your skin or in your body is to read the ingredients. They’re usually in very tiny print on the back of the label. If you have trouble reading small print, carry a magnifying glass around with you so you can read before you buy. This is critical because what you put on your skin can be absorbed directly into your bloodstream. And harmful ingredients in your blood can have potentially deadly effects on your body.


Aluminum chlorhydrate, aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex gly or any aluminum compounds. Aluminum is absorbed through the skin and accumulates in the body. It has been suggested that there is an association between aluminum and Alzheimer’s disease.

Paabens (methyl, ethyl, propyl, benzyl and butyl), are all derived from toluene, a toxic petrochemical derivative.

I recommend you use this Organic, chemical-free deodorant on Amazon.com: Click Here. The link will take you to a deodorant spray but if you look around Amazon, you'll find some organic roll on stick deodorants too.

Toluene is toxic if swallowed or inhaled. It is also harmful in contact with the skin. There is some evidence that repeated exposure to toluene may cause reproductive harm. Since 2000, 13 research studies have shown that various types of parabens act like estrogen in animals and in tissue culture. Estrogen is known to drive the growth of cancerous cells.

Triclosan is a skin irritant and may cause contact dermatitis. It may kill healthy bacteria as well as harmful bacteria. It may contain carcinogenic contaminants. It is stored in body fat and is classified as a pesticide by the FDA.

Talc is classified as a carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer if it contains asbestiform fibers. The quantity of asbestiform fibers in cosmetic grade talc is unregulated. If talc is listed on the label, there is no way of knowing whether or not it contains asbestiform fibers.

Propylene glycol absorbs quickly through the skin and is a penetration enhancers. It may cause delayed allergic reactions. NIOSH says propylene glycol is a neurotoxin and may cause kidney or liver damage. The EPA says it’s not fully investigated for carcinogenic potential.

Silica is a skin irritant. It may be contaminated with crystalline quartz, which is a carcinogen.

Steareth-n (n may be any number like say 100), may be vegetable derived but is reacted with ethylene oxide (ethoxylated), a known human carcinogen.

Instead choose deodorants with ingredients like vegetable glycerin, natural preservatives like bioflavanoids and lichen, herbs or herbal extracts, de-ionized water or distilled water, green tea, aloe vera, baking soda and essential oils.

A word of caution: Plant extracts listed on labels can already contain parabens and propylene glycol. These do not have to be listed on the label. Very few herbs supplied to manufacturers are free of parabens or other synthetic preservatives unless they are extracted in vegetable glycerin. To make sure that the products you buy are healthy and free of these harmful chemicals, call the deodorant manufacturer and ask them for detailed information.

Dr. Christine H. Farlow, D.C. is "The Ingredients Investigator." She has been researching ingredient safety since 1991. She is the author of three books, including the new, second edition of Dying To Look Good. To learn more about the safety of ingredients in your deodorant, visit DyingToLookGood.com.


There are several unconventional natural deodorant options, including crystals or salt rocks that leave an almost unnoticeable residue when applied, but take care of underarm odor.

But by far, one of the most pleasant natural deodorants is a blend of your own favorite scents and essential oils.

Make Your Own Essential Oil Deodorant

Homemade essential oil deodorants come in two varieties:

a natural dry deodorant mixture of corn starch and baking soda (or a wet one of witch hazel and glycerin) with essential oils added for a touch of aroma, or

a blend of pure essential oils used neat or mixed in a small amount of a base oil like olive or jojoba

A good blend of essential oil to use (neat or mildly diluted) as a deodorant should:

Kill Bacteria or Limit Bacterial Growth: Most underarm odor is due to bacteria that thrive in moist, warm environments. Eliminating bacteria in this area can cut down on odor, so oils that are known antibacterial agents are a good choice.

Contain No Hot Oils: Oils such as thyme, oregano, cinnamon, clove, and mountain savory are great bacteria-fighters, but they are also high in phenols that may irritate the skin. For the sensitive skin under the arms, oils such as lavender, peppermint, eucalyptus, and patchouli (which is great for most skin types) are much gentler.

Use Oils That Are Therapeutic-Grade: You might not believe that the type of essential oils is very important when you're only applying them on your skin, but quality can make a world of difference. Most essential oils are poorly processed, or contain additives that may irritate the skin or cause acne and breakouts. For daily use, oils in your deodorant blend should only be organically-sourced, pressed at low temperatures and pressure, and safe to ingest or use topically.


Patchouli – sweet and musky, moisturizing to the skin, attracts abundance

Lavender – gentle, soothing, cleansing and drying to the skin

Peppermint and Spearmint – cooling and purifying, clean-smelling

Eucalyptus – tonic to the skin, gentle and soothing, refreshing

Melaleuca and Rosemary – fight bacteria, astringent

Cinnamon and Clove – potent antibacterial oils, attract abundance, hot oils (must be diluted with a base oil or present as a very small percentage of a deodorant blend)


First off, all antiperspirants contain aluminum.

Most "deodorants" are natural/herbal. What is the different between antiperspirant and deodorant? Well most of us know that antiperspirants keep you from sweating. Although antiperspirants because they keep me feeling fresh all day, I must admit that the idea of having chemical agents block my sweating seems like it could cause some health risks. According to the care2 website, antiperspirants use aluminum salts to block sweating whereas deodorants work to kill bacteria that might cause odor. Think about it like this, just as our room air fresheners neutralize odor, so do our body deodorants. After looking at the facts, I am convinced that I was on the right track moving away from an antiperspirant and switching to a deodorant. Antiperspirants have been said to cause problems with sweat glands after years of use, can sometimes cause discoloration in the skin (although this happened to me with an herbal deodorant also though) and some have even linked the use of antiperspirants to breast cancer (note that the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society both dispute this claim). The biggest claim against antiperspirants have been the connection between them and Alzheimer's Disease.

Okay, so I believe I was on the right track moving away from using an antiperspirant. But is it necessary for me to use a "natural" deodorant? It is said that the type of aluminum used in antiperspirants is dangerous. Supposedly this dangerous chemical seeps into the brain after continuous use leading to Alzheimer's. But is aluminum found in deodorant? Research concludes that most deodorants also contain aluminum; thus, it is said that deodorant can also be hazardous to one's health.

Last week I found an aluminum free deodorant by Adidas. It's called Adidas 24 hr. control absorbent-deo with wetness control. It boasts that it is the first deodorant for women to manage perspiration as effectively as an antiperspirant. It uses the patented Cotton Tech to absorb and evaporate wetness naturally. I have to say that I am extremely pleased with this product. It has the smell of pure baby powder and works as well as an antiperspirant. I plan to stick with this product as I've had some horrible experiences with others so my testing days are over. If you decide to switch to using an "aluminum free" deodorant, you'll have to take your own journey to find out what works for you. Here are some tips to help you along the way

1. Tom's of Maine is a good product but is not for you if you have an odor problem. If you don't get very "musty" this is a very good product. They offer some very good fragrances like Calendula, Lavender and Lemongrass.

2. Herbal Clear is strong and it works. It claims to be effective because it uses a product called "Lichen". This "Lichen" is said to be a natural antimicrobial with antibiotic properties. It works by interrupting the metabolism associated with the decomposition of bacteria on the skin, thereby preventing odor. This product is the one that caused chemical burns for me. Something for you to consider.

3. The most popular of the natural deodorants is the crystal or rock deodorant. Many different companies manufacture this product; however, I'd recommend the Crystal company. I'd stay away from the stick. Go with the roll on or spray. The spray seems to go quickly, so I think the roll on is the best value for your money.

4. Burt's Bees Herbal Deodorant with oil sage is another well known product. Just as with Tom's of Maine, this product does not work very well. Gentle, nice fragrance, but not for people who get "musty" quick.

5. Also think about making your own deodorant using essential oils. I took a spray bottle, filled it with distilled water and put in 4-5 drops each of Rosemary and Lavender oils. This worked just as well as Tom's of Maine in temporarily covering up odor. There are also recipes for making your own deodorant as well - here are links to a couple - http://www.theexpress.com/express%20351/bodyline.htm and http://www.care2.com/channels/solutions/self/114.

6. Consider using baking soda (this also caused a skin rash for me) or a deodorant powder instead.

I recommend you use this Organic, chemical-free deodorant on Amazon.com: Click Here. The link will take you to a deodorant spray but if you look around Amazon, you'll find some organic roll on stick deodorants too.

Comments (7)add comment

paul said:

I never knew this about deodorant. I will have to try an alternative deodorant.
June 12, 2009
Votes: +0

Carl Benjamin said:

Carl Benjamin
Big Dan
You have informed me more about deodorant than anyone else has ever done.
September 01, 2009
Votes: +0

LightView said:

From what you contributed in this post, it is clear that you have done a lot of research on All Natural Deodorants
topic and you really know side effects for different type of skin or health condition that could prevent from using different types of natural products.
June 30, 2010
Votes: +0

steve805 said:

I was just found a great all natual teen deodorant for my kids, it smells great and is very effective. It also doesn't have any of the questionable ingredients you spoke about. It is made by Varsity Naturals you can find them at http://www.teendeodorant.com/
August 10, 2010
Votes: +1

jmarwayne said:

I have heard about the dangers of aluminum in deodorants before- thanks for the very informative and detailed article.
November 13, 2010
Votes: +0

Ms Rebecca said:

Ms Rebecca
Very useful information- I've been using a crystal deodorant for years now. It is made of alum which is an aluminum compound but is supposidly one that has aluminum in a molecule too large to pass into the body. Sure hope that is true.
February 20, 2011
Votes: +1

laurenkalim said:

I stopped using commercial antiperspirants (have aluminum) and deodorants (have alcohol) years ago and am using Deodomom from www.30SomeWeeks.com which I love. It’s not only aluminum and alcohol free, but it also fragrance free so it’s great for those of us with sensitive skin. I don’t sweat excessively, but my sweat tends to have a stronger than usual odor and deododmom has been the only natural product that works for me.
March 15, 2011
Votes: +0

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