Deodorants and antiperspirants have become staples in our modern day hygiene routines. Just like brushing your teeth, chances are you are applying your deodorant everyday out of habit without even thinking.
Just like any other hygiene/beauty product, deodorants and antiperspirants contain chemicals.
You’ve probably heard of the fears circulating that certain chemicals in deodorants and antiperspirants could lead to breast cancer, kidney diseases or allergies. But is this really the case? Is there evidence to support this? And should we be rushing to change our normal deodorants to an aluminium-free version?
First things first
There is a difference between deodorants and antiperspirants
Most people use the terms interchangeably, I know I definitely do, but they are actually two very different things.
Deodorants target armpit bacteria that create odours, but they do not stop you from sweating.
Antiperspirants contain ingredients – most commonly an aluminium compound – that prevents sweat glands from releasing sweat.
Most products nowadays contain a mixture of both – stop you from sweating and if there should be even a tiny bit of sweat, cover the odour immediately – win win situation.
Ok, so where’s the concern here?
The main concern is with aluminium being present in antiperspirants. There are two main worries when it comes to aluminium. The first has to do with an old theory that aluminum is in some way associated with Alzheimer’s disease and the second negative association is that it might be linked to an increased risk of breast cancer.
However, according to the National Cancer Institute, “no scientific evidence links the use of these products to the development of breast cancer.”
Researchers said that “That theory kind of came up because when we think about where we put on deodorant, the closest area of your breast is the right upper quadrant. And what researchers saw was that the majority of breast cancers started in the right upper quadrant.”
As a result, the theory spread that aluminum-based deodorants might be responsible for causing cancer. It was believed that they enter the bloodstream and wreak havoc on breast cells, eventually mutating into cancer.
Very recent research published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information points out that frequent use of antiperspirants can cause aluminum to accumulate in breast tissue, but this doesn’t prove that aluminum salts can cause breast cancer.
In fact, breast cancer tissue doesn’t seem to contain more aluminum than normal breast tissue.
In terms of cancer specifically it was shown that there’s no conclusive evidence demonstrating that aluminum containing deodorants cause breast cancer, even if you have higher prescription-strength aluminum deodorant and even if somebody just shaved and put it in their skin straight after.
Apparently the amount of absorption that somebody is getting from that is negligible and thus we can chill about the whole thing.
Given the most recent research suggesting that we have nothing to worry about, we don’t need to ditch our normal deodorants. But to be plain honest with you the “natural, minimal ingredient, aluminium-free” versions still sound more attractive to me.
All in all, whichever product you decide to use, you can rest assured that you’re not causing yourself any bodily harm.