Antiperspirants and Deodorants Safety

Aug 09, 2009
Hot summer days make your sweat glands work even harder, which brings in numerous concerns about unpleasant body odor. Many of us use different methods to eliminate the odor, including the use of deodorants and antiperspirants.

Deodorants contain ingredients that mask the smell that is produced by bacteria on sweat glands, while antiperspirants block the sweat glands and thus reduce sweating. Though, most of us deodorants and antiperspirants on a regular basis, the safety of these products is still questioned.

Here are the most common ingredients in deodorants and antiperspirants that can cause certain health concerns:

Aluminum Salts

Most antiperspirants and some deodorants have aluminum salts as an active ingredient, which block the activity of sweat glands. Antiperspirants with higher levels of aluminum salts are considered to be more effective, but these are associated with a number of health hazards.

Many people are worried if aluminum salts in antiperspirants are linked to breast cancer. It is supposed that aluminum salts are absorbed close to the breasts and they are also known to influence estrogen activity, which may lead to development of breast cancer. Other studies linked aluminum salts with kidney disease and Alzheimer's disease.

While further research is needed to prove the connection between antiperspirants use and health problems, the FDA puts certain restrictions on the levels of aluminum salts in over-the-counter products.

If you are concerned about the risks of aluminum salts, try using deodorants instead of antiperspirants or products known as natural deodorants, which contain low concentrations and no chemicals. They are also considered to be environmentally friendly.


Other concerns over products that are meant to reduce excessive sweating include those connected to the parabens, the ingredients used in many cosmetic products. These concerns arise from the small study conducted in 2004, which showed that fragments of parabens were found in a number of samples of breast cancer tumors.

In other studies parabens were shown to mimic estrogen activity, which may lead to the development of breast cancer. However, there was no research to prove the connection between parabens and the development of breast cancer. Some scientists also claim that the concentration of parabens is low to cause estrogen-like activity.

If you are concerned about parabens in deodorants and antiperspirants, check the labels for paraben ingredients such as methylparaben or proylparaben.


Fragrance in deodorants and antiperspirants may also cause certain health problems. Artificial substances commonly found in such products as deodorants and antiperspirants often contain perfume to mask bad armpit odor.

Fragrance allergy, including such symptoms as skin rash, wheezing, difficulties breathing is one of the common concerns.

If you are allergic to fragrance in these products, try using fragrance-free deodorants or antiperspirants and avoid sprays to make you less susceptible to the chemicals.