In this blog, I will discuss 5 harmful chemicals found in most deodorants, how they may affect your health, and why you should consider switching to an all-natural option. If you’re like most people, you use deodorants on a daily basis to avoid potentially embarrassing odors or excessive sweating, but have you thought about what these products are actually made of? Before we dive in though, let’s talk about why we sweat.
Why Do We Sweat?
Sweating is a natural bodily function that can happen for many reasons and primarily occurs because your body is trying to self-regulate and bring things back in balance. Some causes include:
- Spicy foods, caffeine, or alcohol
- Hormonal changes
What’s it regulating though? What is your body trying to do? In most cases, your body is either trying to cool down, so it doesn’t overheat, or it’s trying to get rid of toxins in your system. Both are essential for maintaining good overall health, and it’s important that you don’t prevent the sweating from happening at all because it helps keep you from getting sick.
While it really is only the antiperspirants which will prevent your sweating, using a standard deodorant is still not perfect. Sure, it allows you to sweat and makes you smell nice, but the trouble is that the two have something in common: there are plenty of chemicals in both. So, let’s talk about them. Why they’re used, what the unintended side effects are, and what that means for your health.
What’s in Your Deodorant?
First up: aluminum. This is the primary ingredient that makes a deodorant an antiperspirant, and its purpose is to block the tiny pores in your skin, therefore preventing moisture from developing at all. No open pores, no sweat…no problem, right? Well, we already touched on why not sweating can be harmful, but aside from that, aluminum itself is a heavy metal that has been associated with:
- Bone Formation Disorders
- Kidney problems
- Breast Cancer
While this might be good enough for its other uses in cooking utensils and preservatives, it’s not so good when it comes to your pits!
Parabens are used in deodorants as a preservative. It’s only fair that a company wants to extend the product shelf life and ensure its products can last long enough in your home, but at what cost?
The problem with Parabens is that they mimic estrogen and can throw off your body’s hormonal balance, since it thinks it needs an adjustment as a result. Like with sweating, this means more self-regulation, only unwarranted.
Parabens can also increase your risk for:
- Certain types of cancers
- Early onset of puberty
- Increased potential for birth defects
- Mimic estrogen
- Hormonal imbalances
3. Propylene Glycol
Propylene Glycol is a third ingredient, and its main function is to increase adsorption of sweat to keep you dry. It has a supporting role for the aluminum, but the problem is that this particular ingredient, which was originally formulated to be used as an anti-freeze, is a neurotoxin and skin irritant.
It can also cause damage to the central nervous system, heart and liver. Goodbye skin moisture, but also goodbye skin health.
The fourth chemical found in these deodorants are Phthalates. Phthalates are used to maintain the consistency, enabling them to keep their distinctive form, either as a cream or roll on. Nice, so they don’t get all gooey and melt out the container. That’s great and all, but they are also known to:
- Increase the likelihood of cell mutation
- Disrupt hormone receptors
- Increase the risk for birth defects.
Last on our list is Triclosan, an antimicrobial agent that kills bacteria, fungus and other microbes. This is the main driver behind the deodorant part, aside from any added fragrances, since it is the presence of those elements which actually produce the notorious B.O. smell, and the chief function of Triclosan is to reduce that odor. Some people might consider this the most important reason they use deodorant at all, but not everyone sees it that way.
Believe it or not, it is classified as a pesticide by the FDA and a probable carcinogen by the EPA, and they’re not exactly proponents of all natural options. Triclosan is known to affect your thyroid, increases your risk of cancer, and amplifies symptoms associated with hay fever and allergies. Other concerns include:
- Endocrine disruptor
So, there you have it: 5 common ingredients found in deodorant and what they actually mean for your overall health. So, what are you supposed to do? The great news is that healthier alternative options exist, and you have the ability to prevent that nightmare in an all-natural way. You can buy pre-made deodorants online or in many health foods stores, or you can also check out the below video where we can show you how to make your own safe and effective natural deodorant right at home.
As holistic dentists, we've recommended products and services that supported our patients’ health for decades. In experiencing our own health challenges from mercury toxicity, we worked closely with many natural, alternative, and integrative health practitioners who aided our recovery as well as our patients’. We built this site to provide you with a simple-to-use, comprehensive, informational, and functional resource for your physical, emotional, and spiritual health & well-being.