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What's in Your Deodorant?

By Taylor Douglas

Deodorant

At this point you’ve probably heard about how applying deodorant everyday may lead to cancer. But how? What are the chemicals found in deodorant? What do they actually do to the body? Why do companies put them in deodorant in the first place? You’re a scroll away from your answers.

First, do you know the difference between a deodorant and an antiperspirant?

Deodorant vs. Antiperspirant

Deodorants are used to mask body odors. They are able to do this because of two mechanisms: antimicrobial agents that decrease the amount of bacteria that produce odor, and fragrances to mask odor. Bacteria thrive in moist environments like the underarm. When sweat then comes into contact with the bacteria, the two react and produce an odor. Without this reaction, sweat does not have its own odor.(1) Then there is antiperspirant which prevents sweating by utilizing aluminum salts. This prevents the reaction between bacteria and sweat, preventing odor. Typically a deodorant and antiperspirant are combined into one product because of these qualities.

Affects On The Body

Unfortunately, some of these components are considered endocrine disruptors. The endocrine (hormone) system helps your body stay in homeostasis1. Interfering in this type of hormone communication can disrupt development, reproduction, immune functionality, increase the possibility of breast cancer, and more.(2)

What are some of these disrupting chemicals that can be found in deodorants and antiperspirants?

Phthalates

These are often referred to as plasticizers2.(2) They make the deodorant more flexible and extend the life of added fragrances. This gives deodorant the ability to apply a long lasting scent to the underarms and mask odors.(5) The downside? They appear to disrupt androgen production, which is the way your body produces the hormone testosterone. This hormone helps with muscle maintenance in both males and females.(6) Phthalates have also been associated with alterations in thyroid hormones when exposed early to pregnant women and have been found to possibly interfere with testicular function.(2)

Parabens

Parabens are commonly used as preservatives in cosmetics, foods, and drugs.(2) For deodorants specifically, they are used to prevent fungi, bacteria, and yeast from growing. Aside from this purpose, parabens can be absorbed through the skin and impersonate the hormone estrogen. One of the many bodily functions that estrogen affects is breast health and, in turn, with a higher lifetime exposure to parabens, the risk of breast cancer may increase. Studies have shown that the minuscule amount found in cosmetic products, like deodorant, has not been proven to cause breast cancer.(3)

Aluminum

Aluminum, or aluminum salt, is the ingredient found in antiperspirants that prevents sweating by obstructing the sweat glands. Studies suggest that frequent use of antiperspirants can cause aluminum to accumulate in breast tissue. The findings did not suggest that aluminum causes breast cancer. This is because the kidneys naturally cleanse the body of toxins. It is said, however, that there is a greater risk for those with their kidneys functioning at 30% or less.(3) Furthermore, aluminum can increase the tendency of a cell to mutate. Mutations then increase the chance of tumor growth.(5)

Triclosan

An antibacterial agent that helps kill odor-causing bacteria, Triclosan is a popular chemical used in deodorants. It is also known to be an endocrine disruptor, associated with an increased risk of breast cancer, and has been reported to cause dermal irritation and allergies after high levels of exposure.(5, 1) Triclosan has been banned from being used in hand soaps by the FDA, but is still allowed in other personal care products like deodorant.(7)

Conclusion

This is just a short list of the chemicals used in many deodorants and antiperspirants. You can see that even these basic ingredients have possible effects in the long term. Just imagine what applying these chemicals to your body every day can do. The steady buildup and pore-clogging qualities may not be beneficial for your overall health.

What do we suggest instead? Go a day here and there without anything on your underarms! Just let your pores breathe and let your body function naturally. Kick the antiperspirants to the side indefinitely, and try more natural deodorants for the days that you need a little masking.

PurO3 offers some great options!

Ozonated Oil Roll On Deodorant - Jojoba Unscented
Ozonated Oil Roll On Deodorant - Jojoba with Orange and Bergamot
Ozonated Oil Roll On Deodorant - Avocado Unscented

Each of PurO3’s natural deodorants start with an ozonated oil. These oils are natural deodorizers because of their antibacterial properties without the bodily effects of other odor-reducing agents. Made with certified organic ingredients, these deodorants are great natural options if you’re ready to kick your old deodorants to the curb.

Glossary

  1. Homeostasis: The ability or tendency of the body or a cell to seek and maintain a condition of equilibrium (a stable internal environment) as it deals with external changes. (8)
  2. Plasticizer: A chemical added to materials to make them softer and more flexible. (4)

References