The popularity of natural deodorant without aluminum has been growing in the last few years because more people are becoming aware of the potential health issues associated with aluminum-based antiperspirants. And so they choose to use a natural, aluminum-free deodorant instead.
Let’s take a look at the reasoning behind this and why using a natural deodorant is the healthy choice to make.
But first, we need to look at how deodorants and antiperspirants work, and the difference between them.
How deodorants and antiperspirants work
A common misunderstanding that a lot of people have is that it’s their sweat that smells but this isn’t strictly true. Your sweat doesn’t smell on its own. It’s when it mixes with the bacteria that are present on your skin that the smells are released.
In fact, the bacteria eat your sweat and then excrete waste. And it’s this waste that causes the nasty odors you associate with sweating.
And we humans sweat a surprising amount. On an average day, you’re likely to produce over a liter of sweat and even more during exercise.
Sweating is a perfectly normal and useful function, of course. The purpose of sweat is to cool you down by absorbing heat from your body as the sweat evaporates.
And while it may seem as though you only sweat under your armpits, in fact, you sweat all over your body. It’s just that the sweat gets trapped under your arms and can’t evaporate. So you tend to notice it more there than other parts of your body.
Firstly, because of the dampness the sweat causes and the stains on your clothes which appear as a result. And secondly, because there’s so much more sweat there, more of it is available to bacteria and so they create more odor.
And there are huge amounts of bacteria on your skin. There are over 1 million bacteria on every square inch of the skin under your armpits, for example.
Deodorants work by killing this bacteria and making the area where you apply it inhospitable to them. So fewer bacteria are living there, and hence there is less odor.
And if they’re antiperspirants they also reduce the amount that you sweat. They do this by blocking the sweat ducts and stopping the sweat from getting to your skin’s surface.
The problem is that normal deodorants contain aluminum along with other chemicals. So, as a result, the pores of your skin get clogged up with aluminum salts. And it’s been suggested that these salts are harmful to your health.
The aluminum can also get into your body through tiny nicks and cuts caused by shaving. For example, when you shave your armpits and then apply deodorant afterward.
But what are the potential problems caused by the aluminum salts?
Aluminum and health issues
Aluminum is a known toxin which experts have linked to some health problems including:
Kidney problems. One of the functions of the kidneys is the removal of aluminum from your body, along with other metal elements. People who already have pre-existing kidney problems face issues with higher levels of aluminum because their kidneys can’t filter it out effectively.
Alzheimer’s Disease. There has long been a suspected link between aluminum and Alzheimer’s Disease. Some studies have shown patients with Alzheimer’s to have increased amounts of aluminum in their brains.
Bone problems. People with high levels of aluminum in the body are also susceptible to bone disease. Again, this is an issue for people with reduced kidney efficiency.
Breast cancer. Although this is mainly an issue for women, men can also have breast cancer too. Some scientists believe that when you apply deodorant under your arms, the aluminum gets absorbed into the skin around the upper part of the breast. They think this may increase the chances of cancer cells forming. The main reasoning behind this theory is that most breast cancers seem to originate in this part of the breast. And this, of course, is also where the majority of antiperspirant is put on.
It’s important to stress that it’s true that there’s no definitive proof that deodorant containing aluminum has a direct link with these health problems. Indeed, many scientific experts maintain that there’s no link at all.
But many people choose to use aluminum-free deodorant rather than take the risk. After all, there’s no upside to being proved wrong about your concerns with the aluminum salts in deodorant, but there are plenty of potential downsides.
Natural deodorant without aluminum
Because of the safety fears over aluminum, you’ll now find in the stores many natural deodorants without aluminum or other toxic chemicals. Indeed, even mainstream manufacturers are now starting to sell them. And that’s a sure sign of the growing demand for such products.
These are made using only natural ingredients such as essential oils like tea tree oil, coconut oil, and witch hazel. They don’t contain aluminum or other chemicals like parabens. Many of these other chemical ingredients have links with health issues themselves.
The main problem in the past with these natural deodorants is that they’ve not been that effective. Indeed, they weren’t as good as their chemical-based equivalents. So you had a choice: risk your health, or risk body odor.
Fortunately, that’s no longer the case, and it’s now easy to find plenty of natural and effective deodorants without aluminum and other nasty chemicals that still work well to reduce odors and prevent sweat stains.
Now let’s take a look at what you should be thinking about when choosing a natural deodorant.
What to look for in an aluminum-free deodorant
Obviously, the first thing to check is that it doesn’t contain aluminum. As well as this though, you should make sure all the other ingredients are absolutely 100% natural, with no artificial chemicals or other nasties.
Checking for these things is very important because even aluminum-free deodorants can contain ingredients such as propylene glycol and triclosan, and studies have suggested links between these and health issues too.
So before purchasing any deodorant, including those without aluminum, check the listed ingredients for any things you want to avoid.
The other thing, of course, is to look for an organic, natural deodorant or antiperspirant that works well. Not all deodorants without aluminum are made equal. Some work much better and for much longer than others.
Luckily, in the age of the internet, it’s straightforward to search for and read reviews of each product before buying. On Amazon alone, you’ll likely find dozens, if not hundreds, of reviews of each product. So take advantage of all this free information and make an informed decision.