Toxic Substances Found in Anti-perspirant Deodorants and The Risk to Our Health

Most of us use a deodorant daily, often an anti-perspirant deodorant, to help reduce sweating and the odor from sweating. However, anti-perspirant deodorants contain many toxic substances which can be harmful for us with long-term exposure. The health risks of anti-perspirant deodorant use are accumulative as the toxic ingredients build up in our bodies. As most of us use them over the course of our adult lives, however, we shouldn't ignore the potential for damage to our health.

Most anti-perspirant deodorants contain aluminum which blocks sweat ducts and reduces the odor of drying sweat.. Aluminum is neurotoxic in high doses. The aluminum content in anti-perspirant deodorants may also contribute to the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease later in life. People with renal dysfunction, especially, should be careful about using anti-perspirant deodorants that contain aluminum, as their exposure to it could put them at greater risk.

Propylene glycol, which is the main ingredient in lots of anti-perspirant deodorants, is also neurotoxic. It can also cause dermatitis as well as liver and kidney damage. Propylene glycol may also be an irritant to eyes and skin. High exposure to propylene glycol can trigger gastro-intestinal problems, nausea, vomiting, headaches, and depression of the central nervous system.

Parabens, which are used as a preservative in many anti-perspirants, mimic the effects of estrogen. They may contribute to the likelihood of breast cancer - although the research on this is currently far from conclusive. Parabens, however, can cause allergic skin reactions like dermatitis, as well as being an irritant to eyes, skin and the respiratory tract.

Substances known as TEA (triethanolamine) and DEA (diethanolamine), which are found in many anti-perspirant deodorants (they adjust the PH), can form cancer-causing (carcinogenic) chemicals. They may also cause dermatitis, as well as liver and kidney damage. TEA and DEA use is already restricted within Europe because of the health risks associated with them.

FD&C (Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act) colorants found in anti-perspirant deodorants come from coal. They may cause cancer, as well as triggering allergic skin problems.  

The antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiviral agent triclosan, used in anti-perspirant deodorants, may be a cause of liver damage. It may also be a possible cause of cancer, disruption to the endocrine system and allergic reactions.

Quaternium compounds, which are used as a preservative in anti-perspirant deodorants, can cause dermatitis. Around 1 in 20 people are allergic to them. They can cause respiratory problems if inhaled.

More of these harmful chemicals are usually found in anti-perspirant deodorants, rather than ordinary deodorants. Anti-perspirant deodorants are more popularly available modernly, however, and ordinary deodorants also often contain many of these potentially harmful substances.

One way to avoid the health risks of anti-perspirant deodorants is to use an alternative natural product. Crystal alum deodorants, for example, are non-toxic and particularly good for those with sensitive skin. The crystals in crystal alum deodorants have natural antiseptic and antibacterial properties. They also reduce odor from drying sweat.

The Use of Anti-perspirant Deodorants May Be Damaging Our Health