I began my journey with natural deodorant when I was pregnant with my first child. I had heard some negative buzz about aluminum in deodorant being harmful and, since I was creating new life, I wanted to avoid transmittance of any such toxins through my skin. I’d already stopped using products containing parabens or phthalates, so why not take the next step and switch to a safe deodorant? It only made sense. I tried a few different natural deodorant brands, which shall remain nameless, and nothing worked. I tried, I stank, and then I ran right back to my aluminum-full deodorant.
It took me some time, and lots of trial and error, but I finally found an aluminum-free deodorant that keeps me fresh and odor free. If you’ve been using traditional deodorants, then you’re probably a little nervous about switching to a safe deodorant, just like I was many years ago. But you shouldn’t be - deodorant has come a long way in recent years and, nowadays, there are a few safe deodorants that make the cut.
Finding the right non-toxic deodorant is not just about avoiding aluminum - unfortunately, traditional deodorants are formulated with other potentially harmful ingredients. Here are the top reasons why you should make the switch:
1. Aluminum in deodorants may be harmful. Aluminum is the active ingredient in antiperspirant that keeps you dry – it plugs the sweat ducts under your arms, so the sweat simply can’t come out - which sounds great in theory. But sweating is your body’s way of naturally eliminating toxins so, by plugging your sweat ducts, the aluminum is essentially forcing your body to reabsorb these toxins. Additionally, your body could potentially be absorbing this aluminum and some studies suggest that exposure to aluminum in deodorants may be contributing to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease or cancer. More research needs to be done on the effects of aluminum absorption on the body, but why risk it?
The 4 Ps to avoid – Parabens, Phthalates, Polyethylene Glycol, Propylene Glycol.
2. Parabens: Parabens are preservatives that prevent bacteria and mold from growing in your deodorant. They mimic estrogen in the body, disrupting your natural hormone mechanisms, and potentially cause reproductive issues.
3. Phthalates: A plasticizing chemical, phthalates are used to make deodorant more pliable and enhance absorption of deodorant fragrance on your skin, making the scent last longer. Phthalates also happen to be used in hundreds of other products I’d never associate with personal care, including insecticide and vinyl flooring, and have been linked to birth defects and asthma.
4. Polyethylene Glycol (PEGs): Polyethylene glycol, more commonly known as PEG followed by a specific compound, is used as a thickener and solvent in both cosmetics and a wide variety of products. Products which include laxatives and antifreeze so, yes, not exactly something you’d want near one of the most sensitive parts of your body. PEGs may also be contaminated with potential carcinogens ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane.
5. Propylene Glycol: Traditional stick deodorants are formulated with propylene glycol, which gives the stick its firm texture. Propylene glycol is usually derived from natural gas or petroleum and can irritate your skin.
6. What’s in a “Fragrance” anyways? I don’t know either. Under federal law, fragrance formulas are protected as “trade secrets”, meaning that brands don’t need to disclose fragrance ingredients on their labels. So, if you see “fragrance” on an ingredient label, you’ll never know what you’re actually putting on your skin. Most synthetic fragrances are composed of hundreds of chemicals, which may include hormone disruptors and allergens. Type:A is one of the growing number of brands committed to listing all product ingredients including every fragrance ingredient on the label.
7. Clean beauty and personal care brands tend to care about everyone. Since safe deodorant brands aim to save you from toxins, there’s also a good chance they’re aiming to save other things that are important to you – like animals and the earth. The majority of non-toxic deodorants are created by brands that are cruelty-free and promote a clean earth through recyclable packaging.
With all the uncertainty surrounding ingredients in traditional deodorant, it’s time to start thinking about making the switch to a safe deodorant. Back when I started my journey with natural deodorant, I had to make the trade-off between safety and performance but, luckily for all of us, that’s no longer the case. It’s now super easy to find an aluminum-free deodorant that is as effective as traditional deodorants (thank you clean beauty movement!). I may know of a smart, overachieving deodorant who’s getting straight As, if you need a place to start ;-). So, what are you waiting for?