Sweat it Out- Antiperspirant Debate

Trying to avoid all the toxins that are in the world today is a difficult and time consuming task. The toxins in our food, for the most part, can be avoided by choosing organic and non-GMO.

Have you ever considered the toxins that enter your body through your beauty products?

So, as you know, my basal evolution first started with the foods I was choosing to eat. I soon realized all the time, money,  and energy I was spending on making good, healthy food choices was wasted if I wasn’t committing 110% of my efforts.

If I am really trying to take care of my body and remove all of the added “toxins” in the foods, why not do the same for my body care/beauty products?

Organic beauty products?

Wow. I just discovered a whole new world.

It has been a slow, gradual process as I research everything (ok, not everything. Most things) before a purchase.

My first body care product switch was to a seemingly more natural deodorant.

As it turns out, my new deodorant wasn’t as natural as I thought. It contained a few of the ingredients listed in this blog!

So, my research on deodorants and antiperspirants began. I hope to enlighten you about the issue of aluminum (and some other added ingredients to avoid) in antiperspirants.

Here begins the antiperspirant debate.

As always, the decision lies in your hands.

Have you ever heard of a nicotine patch? Sure. We’ve all seen the commercials. Some of you may have even used one before.  Have you ever really thought about how it works?

A nicotine patch is a type of “transdermal” treatment.  “Trans” meaning “across” and “dermal” meaning “skin.”

So that means chemicals (good or bad) specifically nicotine in this case, are entering your blood stream via your skin.


Let that sink in for a bit (quite literally ;))

What else are we putting on our body that is being absorbed into our bloodstream?

I will help out and name one example: Aluminum from your antiperspirant.

I purposefully use the phrase “antiperspirant” here.

Antiperspirants contain chemicals (Aluminum zirconium) that block your sweat glands in order to stop perspiration from occurring.

Result? No sweat= no odor.

Good or bad idea? I’ll let you decide.

My opinion? We shouldn’t stop our natural AC unit.

Deodorants are different because they don’t contain aluminum. They allow the release of sweat, but block the odor by killing the culprit (bacteria) with antiseptics.

So easy pleasey. Just buy deodorants instead of anti-perspirants, right?

Well, not so much. There still may be some unwanted things in your deodorant bar, too.

So let’s get down to it:

#1 Aluminum-

Aluminum is associated with a variety of disorders and health problems such as: seizures, breast cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, bone formation disorders, and kidney problems.

A 2001 study showed that aluminum was still present in blood samples 15 days after one application of aluminum to the armpit (Flarend, R, T Bin, D Elmore, and S L. Hemb. “A Preliminary Study of the Dermal Absorption of Aluminium From Antiperspirants Using Aluminium-26.” Food and Chemical Toxicology 39 (2001): 163-168. 22 Jan. 2008 <http://www.elsevier.com/locate/foodchemtox>).

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has said that high exposure to aluminum can result in speech disorders, dementia, and convulsions.

If aluminum is harmful in high doses, and if you use a small amount of antiperspirant each day, the aluminum will go from “small doses” to “high doses” pretty quickly.  Not to mention all of the other sources of aluminum around you; cookware, cans, antacids, cosmetics, vaccines, water supply, etc  (http://www.arltma.com/AlumToxDoc.htm).

“Furthermore, aluminum acts with an estrogenic effect on the body, known to increase the incidence of breast cancer tumors when in excess. Sadly, this and other studies show that aluminum exposure is not only related to increased chances of developing breast cancer, but also other diseases such as Alzheimer’s (http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/aluminum-and-breast-cancer/).”

Another article with numerous reports of aluminum toxicity: http://customers.hbci.com/~wenonah/hydro/al.htm

Final blurb about aluminum if you have time…I really respect Dr. Cate’s opinions, so here is a link to a post written about aluminum in baby formulas:  http://drcate.com/advantages-of-breastfeeding-formula-contains-aluminum/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+drcate%2FPBhs+%28drcate.com%29

#2 Triclosan- An antibacterial and antifungal agent.  According to the FDA, there have been some studies that have warranted further review of Triclosan. Red lights going off for me.

“Triclosan is not currently known to be hazardous to humans. But several scientific studies have come out since the last time FDA reviewed this ingredient that merit further review. Animal studies have shown that triclosan alters hormone regulation. However, data showing effects in animals don’t always predict effects in humans. Other studies in bacteria have raised the possibility that triclosan contributes to making bacteria resistant to antibiotics(http://www.fda.gov/forconsumers/consumerupdates/ucm205999.htm).”

#3 Talc- Added to keep skin dry and prevent rash. Can contain asbestos and is classified as carcinogenic. “Talc is closely related to the potent carcinogen asbestos. Talc particles have been shown to cause tumors in the ovaries and lungs of cancer victims. For the last 30 years, scientists have closely scrutinized talc particles and found dangerous similarities to asbestos (http://www.preventcancer.com/consumers/cosmetics/talc.htm).”

#4 Parabens- Cheap preservatives that can also fight bacteria and fungus; has been known to mimic estrogen and other hormones. “A July 2002 issue of the Archives of Toxicology, Dr. S. Oishi of the Department of Toxicology, Tokyo Metropolitan Research Laboratory of Public Health reported that exposure of newborn male mammals to butylparaben ‘adversely affects the secretion of testosterone and the function of the male reproductive system.’”  A study in 2004 by Dr. Philippa Darbre found paraben in breast cancer tumors, suggesting a connection.

#5 Propylene Glycol- anyone know where else we can find this substance? Ask Jiffy-Lube…they will be able to tell you it is found in automatic brake, hydraulic fluid, and industrial antifreeze.  In body care products, it is used to prevent moisture loss.  Some studies have shown it to be neurotoxic and cause liver abnormalities and kidney damage.

#6 Steareth-n– (n = any number) Reactive with “ethylene oxide” to form a carcinogenic compound.

#7 Silica- This ingredient can be contaminated with crystalline quartz, a carcinogenic compound. Inhalation of crystalline silica can lead to silicosis (a respiratory diseases) or cancer.

#8- Artificial dyes (interesting link to information about artificial dyes: http://www.feingold.org/effects.html).

In conclusion…

What most people think: “Until scientific research proves that there is a link between the use of antiperspirants that contain aluminum zirconium and any diseases, there is no cause for someone to be concerned (wisegeek.com).” http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/AP-Deo

What I think:

One study to prove negative effects is enough for me.

New studies come out all the time. Unfortunately, sometimes the exposure level of a substance is too high and it is too late.

Have toxic substances that were deemed safe been for sale before?


Lead paint. Tobacco. Mercury thermometers. Aspartame.  MSG.

If there is a more natural deodorant that works, why take the risk of waiting for a disorder to be linked to aluminum or parabens?

I am excited to try the homemade deodorant recipe listed below!

Let me know any thoughts you may have on this issue or any products that you recommend!

Homemade Deodorant Recipe from squidoo.com.

Aluminum-free deodorant that actually works!

  • Total Time: 10 minutes

This recipe is easy to make, inexpensive and works just as good (or better than) commercial brands and it doesn’t stain your clothes! Did I mention that is smells delicious? Oh, how i wish my photos were scratch and sniff. You’ll just have to make your own batch to see how heavenly the scent of coconut oil is when mixed with spicy essential oils.


  • 1/3 cup coconut oil (solid state)
  • 1/4 cup baking soda (aluminum-free)
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot powder
  • essential oils (optional)


Mix the baking soda and arrowroot powder in a glass bowl.

Add the coconut oil (do not warm or melt it) and use a fork or pastry blender to thoroughly blend it into the dry ingredients.

Add 5-10 drops of your favorite essential oils and blend completely. (this step is optional, but lovely – my personal favorite combo is clove with a little sweet orange and cinnamon!)

Add more coconut oil or arrowroot powder/baking soda if needed until the texture is about the same consistency as commercial deodorant.

Scoop the mixture into a small jar or container and store at room temperature. (Refrigeration may be required during summer months and warmer weather because the coconut oil will melt at 76 degrees.)

To apply, use your fingers to scoop out a pea-size amount of the deodorant and massage it into your armpits daily or as needed. Allow a minute or two for the deodorant to set before getting dressed.

*Remember, this is deodorant, not antiperspirant. It will not stop you from sweating, but you won’t smell bad!

Aromatic Essential Oil Combinations

Try these essential oil aroma combinations in your homemade deodorant.

  • Cinnamon – Clove – Sweet Orange (my personal favorite!)
  • Tea Tree – Peppermint
  • Lemon – Sweet Orange – Lime
  • Lavender – Lemongrass
  • Thyme – Oregano – Rosemary
  • Thyme – Rosemary – Cinnamon
  • Lavender – Lemon – Lemongrass – Sweet Orange

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