Deodorant: Safe or Not Safe


The link between antiperspirants and breast cancer has been an  ongoing debate for over a decade. Even though the FDA and National Cancer Institute have not found conclusive evidence linking the two, studies do show that several of the chemicals, contained in deodorant, are harmful and toxic to our health. These main toxic ingredients are aluminum, parabens, and triclosan.  Aluminum is an active ingredient in most deodorants, and its purpose is to help aid in preventing sweat. Aluminum is successful at preventing us from perspiring, but it is also successful at causing hormonal changes. Once the metal is absorbed into our skin, it causes changes in the estrogen receptors of our breast cells. The hormone, estrogen, is what promotes the growth of cancer cells, so some scientists believe that the hormonal effects, caused by aluminum, may also cause cancer. Breast cancer is also usually formed closer to the armpit, which gives scientists more of a reason to link the growth of breast cancer cells with antiperspirants.  Parabens, on the other hand, are contained in several cosmetic products, including makeup, soaps, shampoos, and sunscreen. They are used to preserve the shelf life and prevent microbe growth. Parabens can mimic estrogen, and also cause endocrine disruption. These chemicals have been found in breast biopsies and urine samples. Parabens are easily absorbed through the skin, but can also be easily avoided by simply purchasing “paraben free” products.

Triclosan is a chemical, which I have covered in a previous blog post. It is known to interfere with fetal development, and is present in several antibacterial soaps. This chemical contributes to an antibiotic resistance. Furthermore, it also causes skin irritation, and endocrine disruption, which affects our thyroid function.   Although, linking these ingredients to breast cancer may not be convincing to the FDA, they are still considered harmful. I personally avoid them by following an organic lifestyle, and using organic or natural deodorant. It is all about demand, and as consumers, we need to take a stance against the production of products that contain ingredients that are harmful to our health.

Recommended Aluminum, Paraben, and Triclosan Free Deodorant Brands:

  • Tom’s of Maine
  • Free Tidings (my favorite)
  • Earth Science
  • Crystal
  • Jason