How do you choose your deodorant and antiperspirant? Brand? Aroma? Spray? Stick? Roll-on?
Whatever type you choose, there is a high chance that it contains aluminum. You’ve probably heard that aluminum in deodorants and antiperspirants is related to the development of breast cancer. But is that really true and should you worry? Should you start searching for an aluminum-free product?
In this article, you will find out what aluminum is and what its benefits and drawbacks are as an ingredient in deodorants and antiperspirants. At the end, you can find some useful advice on how to choose the right product for you. Let’s go!
Table of Contents
What is aluminum?
It is the second most widely used metal. It has a light silver color; it is very lightweight and non- toxic. It’s used for the production of all kinds of products, such as cans, foils, kitchen utensils, machine parts, and others.
In cosmetics, aluminum is used in the form of aluminum chlorohydrate, also known as ‘aluminum salts.’ Its use in personal care products is strictly regulated, even though the ingredient itself is considered to be relatively safe and non-toxic. By European law aluminium salts can be used in concentration of 6.25% and 10.6% in spray and non-spray antiperspirants, which is considered to be quite high concentration. 
Besides, evidence suggests that when applied topically, only about 0.01% of the aluminium salts actually penetrate the epidermis if the skin is healthy. In comparison, damaged skin may absorb up to 0.06% of the aluminium. 
What is the difference between antiperspirant and deodorant?
The difference between antiperspirant and deodorant is that the antiperspirant blocks the sweating process, while deodorant masks the odor of the sweat. However, many brands make their deodorants with the same formula as their antiperspirants to make them more efficient and desirable to the buyers. Therefore, many “deodorants” on the market also block the sweating process. 
Why do we sweat?
The body sweats because this way it regulates the inner temperature and at the same time releases the accumulated excess water, with small parts of carbs, protein, salts and urea. Here, we have to mention that no toxins are excreted through the sweat : the liver, kidneys, and gastrointestinal tract are responsible for getting rid of any unnecessary substances out of the body. 
The sweat “exits the body” through the sweat glands, which are situated all over the body. However, the most active ones are located on the armpits, palms, neck, soles of the feet and face. 
Why is aluminium used in deodorants?
A lot of people think that aluminum block the sweating process by clogging the lymph nodes.
In fact, when applied topically the aluminium salts temporarily clog the sweat glands (and not the lymph nodes). This way, the lymph nodes still work to neutralize the toxins in the body. 
This way, deodorants with aluminum can help you control the sweating process and stay “dry” for a longer time without worrying about sweat stains. In that sense, products with aluminum content are very convenient for people who are active in their jobs, yet have to look flawless.
Is aluminium in deodorant bad for you?
I am sure you have heard the myth that aluminum causes breast cancer. However, according to the National Cancer Institute (looking into recent study results), no direct link between breast cancer and aluminium in deodorant has been medically proven.
Nonetheless, if you use deodorant with aluminium regularly, you may bear other health related risks:
- Aluminium chlorohydrate may accumulate in your blood. Even though the penetration percentage is low, aluminium can turn out to be toxic, especially for people who suffer from kidney disease. Evidence suggests that people who experience kidney function impairment should be careful about using deodorants with aluminium as the kidneys may not filtrate the blood effectively from the aluminium.  As a result, it may build up in the tissues and may cause further health concerns.
- Aluminium salts block the sweat glands, but don’t stop the sweat production. This may mean that the accumulated sweat stays inside the skin until the effect of the antiperspirant is over. As a result, in the long run, the sweat (mainly from the armpit glands) may become stinkier, and if you stop using antiperspirants, you may experience a period of profuse sweating. 
Some people report that when they have switched to natural deodorant, it has taken them up to 1 month to regulate the sweating process. When this “transition” time is over, the amount of sweat suddenly lowers and changes its odor.
Unfortunately, the majority of people who switch to natural, aluminum-free products don’t know that they may sweat profusely because of the long usage of antiperspirants. They think that they have some hormonal issue or just their genetics are like this. So as a consequence, they go back to products with aluminum content to be in control of the sweating process.
It is not dangerous to use antiperspirant which contains aluminum. If fact, they can be an excellent alternative for special occasions and situations which require you to be flawless.
But on the other hand, if you think about it, using such a product daily might not be as good for your health. Sweating is a natural process, which, after all, is beneficial to us. And accumulating sweat without excreting it properly can lead to even more sweating and worse odor. In my personal opinion, this is the body’s natural response to remind you that you are limiting its natural processes.
Whichever option you choose, do not worry to be active and live your life at its best!