We tend not to give much thought to our daily deodorant routine, but it’s worth taking a few minutes to consider what we regularly apply to our pits. Your current deodorant may seem as fresh as a daisy – but is it as natural as one? Steer clear of these seven toxic ingredients when choosing your products.
1. Aluminium compounds and salts
Aluminium is a common active ingredient in many antiperspirants, as it essentially plugs the sweat gland to minimise perspiration. The problem is that there have been concerns about the use of these compounds in skin products. Once in the body aluminium mimics the effects of oestrogen; a hormone that has been found in high concentrations in many breast cancers. This has led scientists to investigate potential links between breast cancer and aluminium-based deodorants.
Aluminium can also pose a threat to those on low kidney function, plus a study found higher traces of aluminium in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. Although the correlation (if any) is not yet known, is it worth taking the risk when there are aluminium-free options available?
Many antiperspirants contain alcohol, which is used to dissolve different ingredients and to help the product dry quickly when applied. Alcohol kills some of the bacteria that forms odour, but it can also dry out skin and contribute to irritation. We prefer to use gentler ingredients such as organic coconut oil and magnesium hydroxide for their antibacterial effects.
Parabens are synthetic compounds that are used to control bacteria, fungus and other unwanted microbes in a range of products like toothpastes, shampoos and deodorants. However, parabens can be absorbed by the skin and can mimic the effects of oestrogen in the body, affecting the endocrine system. Parabens have been found intact in breast tumour tissue, and they could be in your body right now – in one study of randomised people, almost 100% of urine samples contained traces of the compound. Denmark has taken the precaution of banning some parabens in products for children under three years old.
While these findings do not link parabens directly to cancer or illness, many people understandably prefer to go paraben-free with their product choices. Natural ingredients such as clove oil can be used for their antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiseptic properties instead.
4. Propylene Glycol
Propylene glycol is a synthetic organic compound used as a food and manufacturing additive – and also to de-ice aircraft in cold conditions! It’s used in some cosmetics and deodorants to soften their consistency and make the product easier to apply. It’s accepted that you’d need to ingest a whole lot of propylene glycol to experience adverse health effects, but there is another worry. Propylene glycol is used as a penetration enhancer, so if paired with harmful ingredients it could potentially aid the skin’s absorption of those substances. Best not even go there, we say.
Triclosan is used as an antibacterial and preserving ingredient in many deodorants, hand washes and cosmetics, but there are almost certainly safer ways to kill troublesome bacteria. Studies have found that triclosan can disrupt hormonal regulation in animals, and the American Food and Drug Administration recently banned the agent from being used in consumer skin care products. In fact, the FDA classes triclosan as a pesticide!
Phthalates are included in many cosmetics, fragrances and skincare products because they help to dissolve ingredients. Unfortunately, they’re also possibly linked to pre-term births in pregnant women as well as asthma. One type was found to be associated with male genital birth defects and reproductive issues in adult men. We think that for these reasons, phthalates are worth staying away from wherever possible.
Silica is used to absorb moisture from perspiration, however the ingredient can also cause skin irritation. Silica can also sometimes be contaminated with crystalline quartz which is a known carcinogen. Instead, we choose to use safer moisture-absorbing ingredients like vegetable glycerin, arrowroot and kaolin clay that offer additional benefits like improved blood circulation and added skin hydration.
Fortunately, avoiding these seven ingredients doesn’t mean you need to lose friends through the perils of bad body odour! Try our original Axilla Deodorant Paste™, or our Barrier Booster option for sensitive skin. These Aussie-made products will effectively absorb moisture and neutralise smells, without the need to worry for your wellbeing.