Toms of Maine DeodorantOver the past few years, rumors have circulated linking aluminum in deodorant and antiperspirants to cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease, and dementia. While studies have shown there is no scientific evidence to support these rumors, aluminum-free deodorants have flooded the market.

Antiperspirants and Breast Cancer

These rumors started from various studies that looked at the aluminum-based compound in antiperspirants that plug the sweat ducts to keep you from sweating. The theory states that since most breast cancers are found near the armpit where these products are applied, the aluminum could be absorbing into the skin and interacting with DNA and estrogen. Although some studies found the same chemicals in breast tissue, there was no conclusive evidence that they altered the cells and increased the risk of breast cancer.

Aluminum and Alzheimer’s

As for the Alzheimer’s connection, levels of aluminum were found in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients in various studies dating back to the 1960’s – causing rampant fear surrounding the use of aluminum in anything from soda cans to antacids. However, according to the studies, the aluminum used in antiperspirants is not actually absorbed as it reacts with sweat on top of the skin. There is no evidence to suggest that aluminum caused Alzheimer’s.

Antiperspirants, Kidney Disease and Dementia

Dialysis patients suffering from kidney disease raised concerns surrounding the effects of aluminum after doctors discovered large amounts in their system resulting from a prescription drug. Because of their kidney disease, their bodies were unable to remove the aluminum fast enough, causing it to build up in their bodies. Researchers found these patients were more likely to develop dementia, causing manufacturers to post a warning on antiperspirants for those with kidneys functioning at less than 30%. Because the quantity of aluminum present in deodorants is small, your body will not absorb enough through the skin to cause kidney issues.

A Natural Alternative

If you have concerns about aluminum levels or are looking for a more natural alternative to traditional deodorants and antiperspirants, there are several options to choose from. Some are available for purchase at your local grocery or health food store, while others need to be purchased online or at a specialty store like Merz Apothecary in Lincoln Square. Here are a few options:

  • Tom’s of Maine: Carrying a line of antiperspirants, deodorants and a combination of both, Tom’s of Maine guarantees their products are free of artificial colors, flavors, fragrances, preservatives and are not tested on animals. These products resemble the traditional sticks and roll-ons of other brands and come in a variety of fragrances.
  • The Crystal: The Crystal is a natural mineral salt deodorant which forms a barrier on the skin that creates an unfriendly environment for bacteria to grow – preventing odor instead of masking it. Crystal is easy to apply and is available in unscented and lightly scented in various forms – roll-on, hard mineral stick, and spray. Hypoallergenic, non-sticky and non-staining, Crystal dries instantly and does not leave a white residue.
  • Lifestinks Deodorant: Departing from a familiar form, this product consists of either an essential oil roll-on that is mixed with tea tree oil or a powder that consists of aluminum-free sodium bicarbonate infused with tea tree oil. For those looking for extra protection, the roll-on essential oil can be applied and followed by a sprinkle of the powder. This product allows the body to sweat without any odor and it does not stain clothing. It may irritate sensitive skin, but the essential oil is extremely effective in countering odor without any toxins.

Information Taken From WebMD

Carrie Robertson
Research & Community Education
Chicago Skilled Nursing
Chicago Senior Living