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Aluminum-Free Deodorant: Is It Safe?

man drinking water from a bottle

by Neel Duggal

Like most men, you would never risk a day during summer going without deodorant. After all, you want to feel dry and smell your best at all times. But have you ever wondered what the aluminum in your deodorant actually does? Have you wondered if you switch to aluminum-free deodorant? Below are the answers to these key questions and also some great deodorant options you may want to consider.

How Does Aluminum Deodorant Work?

It's important to check out the science behind aluminum deodorant. In fact, the more accurate name for aluminum deodorant is "antiperspirant." True, deodorant actually fights the odor instead of preventing the buildup of sweat. The main active ingredient in antiperspirants is an aluminum-based compound that stops sweat ducts from releasing sweat. And it's really, really good at that. The active ingredients in aluminum-based antiperspirants do not fight odors directly, rather, it prevents the release of sweat, which prevents bacteria from building up and releasing the smell that everyone recognizes as body odor

There isn't much solid scientific evidence to suggest that aluminum from antiperspirants are bad for you. For example, according to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), there is not sufficient evidence that proves aluminum in antiperspirants causes breast tissue cancer. The misconception that aluminum is a cause stems from a few factors. Firstly, antiperspirant is applied on the armpit, which is located near breast tissue. Secondly, parabens, a type of preservative that appears in some cosmetic and pharmaceutical products, may mimic the effects of estrogen in the body's cells. (The NCI notes that estrogen may promote the growth of breast cancer tissue.) However, the Federal Drug Administration asserts that most American antiperspirants do not contain parabens.

Should You Use Aluminum-Free Deodorant ?

There are a few cases where it might be good to opt for a natural deodorant, leaving aside the fact that an aluminum-free product may be the right choice if you don't sweat much.

First, you should avoid aluminum-based deodorants if they consistently irritate your skin. Even if your health can handle it, but you just prefer natural deodorant for personal or environmental reasons, then you should definitely feel free to stock up on some aluminum-free options.

Second, if you have a certain condition in which your doctor or dermatologist informs you that aluminum might be harmful, you should heed his or her advice. For example, the Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry says that those who already have kidney disease may have a difficult time expelling aluminum from their bodies, so a deodorant containing the element may lead to a buildup, which may result in bone or brain diseases.

Aluminum-based and aluminum-free deodorants both have their pros and cons. Remember that whichever you choose, based on your health or personal preferences, you have many good options at your fingertips.

This article was brought to you by Colgate-Palmolive Company, the makers of Speed Stick products. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of the Colgate-Palmolive Company.