Aluminum free deodorant is easy to find. But which ones actually work as an antiperspirant. Discover the available options.
For over 100 years, aluminum has been the go-to sweat-stopper. Aluminum compounds have been used commercially in antiperspirants since as early as 1903. (1) But should it be in natural health or beauty products?
Don’t want to go out in public with embarrassing body odor? No problem. Just use a natural deodorant. There are lots of brands to choose from. You can even make your own at home with some essential oils. And wearing natural fiber clothing may lessen the sweat too.
But preventing embarrassing arm pit stains au naturel? That’s not as easy.
You see, aluminum is the only FDA-approved antiperspirant ingredient on the market.
Aluminum Free Deodorant: Is it necessary?
Let’s get something out of the way first: Aluminum is not an ingredient in deodorant. Aluminum does nothing to make your arm pits smell like roses. However, when combined with other compounds, it can plug up your sweat pores. That’s why it’s approved in commercial antiperspirants.
Aluminum is controversial for use in cosmetics and beauty products. That’s because there has been some evidence linking it to both breast cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. In light of this, is it indeed a toxic ingredient?
Well, the reason it’s controversial is that the research studies are mixed. Mainstream medical organizations don’t believe aluminum in antiperspirants is dangerous. That being said, however, more people are choosing to go aluminum-free in the pits.
Again, that’s easy to do if you’re simply trying to smell better. But preventing your pores from sweating without aluminum is more difficult. After all, the human armpit evolved hundreds of thousands of years ago to regulate body temperature by sweating.
But it’s not impossible. Stay tuned for some suggestions below.
Does Aluminum Antiperspirant Cause Alzheimer’s?
Is there cause for concern in using products containing aluminum? Should you definitely use an aluminum free deodorant antiperspirant combo?
There’s no evidence that it causes Alzheimer’s. At least not according to mainstream medical organizations.
Without doubt, the science is clear: exposure to high levels of the metal can cause brain swelling. Especially in people who have dementia. There is research linking Alzheimer’s to aluminum in the brain.
But researchers aren’t sure if the metal is directly responsible for this. It could be that the disease itself causes changes in the brain. In other words, there’s correlation. But not causation. (1)
However, what is clear is that some people prefer to play it safe rather than be sorry. That’s why aluminum free deodorant and antiperspirant searches online are on the rise.
Aluminum Antiperspirant & Breast Cancer Link
The other main health concern with antiperspirants is breast cancer.
Like the concern over Alzheimer’s, the evidence with breast cancer is mixed. Some studies suggest a link with antiperspirant use and breast cancer diagnosis. But suggesting a link and being able to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt is another thing. (2)
“The contention that the use of aluminum-containing antiperspirants promotes breast cancer is not supported by consistent scientific data.”(1)
The mainstream medical point of view is that aluminum doesn’t get absorbed. Therefore, it’s harmless.
However, not all researchers believe that aluminum (Al) is safe. “The scientific community has for many years raised concerns regarding its safety in humans,” says one study co-author.
In fact, this research references a study that shows Al can indeed be absorbed through the skin.
“The potential toxicity of Al has been clearly shown and recent works convincingly argue that Al could be involved in [cancer-causing] processes,” says the study.
In lab studies (as opposed to human studies), the metal has been shown to accumulate in the mammary glands. As a result, the hypothesis is that Al can interfere with certain breast cells.
This interference can possibly result in a “cascade of alterations reminiscent of the early phases of malignant transformation,” says one study.
In other words, aluminum may unleash a domino effect of changes in the body that leads to cancer.
Therefore, “Reducing the concentration of this metal in antiperspirants is a matter of urgency,” the co-authors add. (3)
Is Shaving Your Armpits & Using Antiperspirant Bad?
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) references a 2003 study on its website. It examines the frequency of underarm shaving and antiperspirant/deodorant use.
The participants: 437 breast cancer survivors. The women developed breast cancer at a relatively younger age. They used antiperspirants frequently. They also started shaving their armpits at an earlier age.
Is this clear-cut evidence? Not according to NCI. “Because of the retrospective nature of the study, the results are not conclusive,” the organization states.(2)
Does The Body Absorb Aluminum From Antiperspirants?
It depends who you ask. As mentioned above, there is some proof that Al may penetrate the skin and get absorbed. However, there’s also lots of research that says it doesn’t.
“Although aluminum is absorbed through the skin, the penetration rate is extremely low after applying antiperspirant,” says one study. (1)
Aluminum Antiperspirant & The Microbiome
Having good bacteria in the gut is important. More and more people are becoming aware of this fact. The human microbiome is the trillions of bacteria and other invisible critters.
While gut health is now a health trend, few people think about the microbiome in the armpit.
But it’s not only your gut that has lots of germ-fightingbacteria. Your armpits have “long been noted to host a high biomass bacterial community.” (2)
Two people can have significant differences in gut bacteria. It’s the same with the armpits. Researchers believe deodorants and antiperspirants alter armpit bacteria. And not for the better.
In fact, something interesting happens when deodorant and antiperspirant use stops. Bacteria levels increase. The increase approaches that of individuals who don’t use deodorant or antiperspirant.
The researchers also discovered that antiperspirant use dramatically reduces bacteria in the armpit. (2)
This is perhaps another reason to choose an aluminum free deodorant and antiperspirant. Bacteria is important for fighting disease-causing germs.
So what can you use instead of aluminum? One product that’s making the rounds on natural health blogs is HyperDri. On the product’s Amazon description it bills itself as “the world’s first aluminum free antiperspirant.”
Specifically, what ingredients in HyperDri keep your pits dry?
HyperDri does not mention on its product listing what special ingredient stops sweating. It might be several of them. Here’s the ingredients list:
Water, Glycerin, CH3 Pentapeptide (Water, Glycerin, Pentapeptide-3, Caprylyl Glycol), Acetyl Hexapeptide-3, Purified Diethylene Glycol Monoethyl Ether, Essential Lemon Oil, Essential Tee tree Oil, PEG 40 or Sorbitan Monolaurate, PEG-8 Caprylic/Capric, Glycerides, Laureth-9, Potassium Sorbate, Disodium EDTA, Allantoin, Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Lactic Acid
Without doubt, most of these ingredients are not natural. However, according to this database, these ingredients are all low risk.
There’s one catch about using this aluminum free deodorant antiperspirant. It takes a few weeks before fully working. The brand claims, however, you’ll notice less sweating after one week. Full protection takes about a month.
The cost of the product is $24.95 plus almost $9 shipping. That’s rather pricey for armpit hygiene.
Deodorant without Aluminum
Aluminum is not an ingredient in deodorants. At least not ones that don’t double as sweat blockers. According to New York Magazine, there’s a product called Real Purity. It’s an aluminum free deodorant antiperspirant. But it’s not a real antiperspirant. That’s because it contains no aluminum.
Only aluminum compounds qualify as an antiperspirant. (Remember that fact from above?)
Real Purity contains aloe vera, vegetable glycerin and magnesium. These ingredients may help the armpits feel drier. Or, as the New York Magazine suggests, it could be any of the other dozen ingredients.
All Natural Deodorant
Another couple ingredients that may help suck up moisture from the pits: arrowroot powder and baking soda. However, some people may experience skin irritations with baking soda. (4)
The New York Magazine article lists another natural alternative antiperspirant: peptides. Peptides are small chains of amino acids. In skin care, they help skin cells regenerate. Peptides in deodorants may block sweat-releasing pores.
There’s another type of ingredient you can use for aluminum free deodorant. It’s something that people have been using for thousands of years under their arms: plants.
More specifically, the therapeutic compounds in plants. You know them as essential oils. Some of the best ones to stop sweating are sage, cypress, lemon and rosemary.
Aluminum Free Deodorant Antiperspirant Conclusion
Most people try to avoid the embarrassment of stinky, sweaty armpits. And to save time, many people use a deodorant/antiperspirant combo.
Perhaps there is no need to worry about aluminum. Maybe it’s safe to use on the skin.
Then again, maybe it’s not. The metal is pervasive in the food supply. It’s in lots of other products. It’s even a preservative in vaccines. So maybe we are absorbing more of it than we should.
To be safer than sorry, maybe it’s best to avoid aluminum altogether. If nothing else, knowing that applying it to your skin kills some of the good bacteria in your armpits is good enough reason. Also, if you eat a clean diet (no heavily-processed foods or added sugar), you might not have bad body odor.
However, if you don’t want to let them see you sweat, use an aluminum free deodorant and antiperspirant.