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What’s Really in Your Deodorant?

June 25, 2014

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For most of us, applying deodorant is a part of our daily morning routine, and it’s even more essential when you exercise. Being active is a huge part of leading a healthy lifestyle, but there’s one really big drawback – smelly ‘pits.

And while off-the-shelf deodorants and antiperspirants are easy and convenient, they tend to contain some pretty nasty and harmful ingredients.

So next time you're in the store browsing the deodorant aisle, keep an eye on the labels and be vigilant about some of the more dangerous ingredients in your underarm stick.

Avoid these ingredients in your deodorant:

  • Aluminum: The link between increased deodorant use and breast cancer is almost always attributed to this metal, which is used in antiperspirants to block our pores and prevent sweating. Research shows that when it’s absorbed into the skin, it can affect estrogen receptors and promote the development of breast cancer.
  • Carrageenan: A byproduct of red algae, carrageenan is used as a thickening agent in tons of food and beauty products. This additive has caught a lot of flak lately after studies found that it can cause gut inflammation, digestive problems, and even abnormal tissue growths that are associated with cancer.
  • Propylene glycol: This petroleum-based compound that preserves moisture in most name-brand deodorants is also used as an antifreeze solution, earning it a spot on the official list of “Dirty Dozen” chemicals to avoid. In large doses, it’s been shown to cause severe allergic reactions and damage to the central nervous system and liver.
  • Phthalates: Banned from cosmetics in the European Union for being endocrine-disrupting compounds, phthalates are still widely used in beauty products in the U.S. to hold in scents and help dissolve other ingredients. These chemicals have been found to be especially harmful for women of childbearing age because they’re linked to a higher risk of birth defects and cell mutation.
  • Triclosan: Despite being officially labeled as a pesticide by the FDA and a possible carcinogen by the EPA, this toxic ingredient continues to be used to help kill odors in commercial antiperspirants. It may cause thyroid disruption and skin irritation, which is especially harmful in a product like deodorant since we apply it to our skin at least once a day.

If you’re looking to ditch your store-bought product and go all natural, check out our recipe for homemade deodorant. For those of you who want to keep it simple, Dr. Hauschka, Weleda, and Lavilin make really great and effective toxin-free deodorants.

What’s your preferred brand of non-toxic deodorant? Let us know in the comments section below.