This article really made me think twice about using my antiperspirant. I knew antiperspirants weren’t good for you, I just didn’t know the extent. Who knew that something so universally used could be so harmful. You may be throwing your antiperspirant in the garbage after reading this (I did):
Below is a section of an article by Dr. Mercola about the link between antiperspirants and breast cancer. Full article here.
New research examining parabens found in cancerous human breast tissue points the finger at antiperspirants and other cosmetics for increasing your risk of breast canceri.
The research, which is also reviewed in an editorial published in the Journal of Applied Toxicology, looked at where breast tumors were appearing, and determined that higher concentrations of parabens were found in the upper quadrants of the breast and axillary area, where antiperspirants are usually appliedii.
Parabens are chemicals that serve as preservatives in antiperspirants and many cosmetics, as well as sun lotions. Previous studies have shown that all parabens have estrogenic activity in human breast cancer cells.
Another component of antiperspirants, aluminum chloride, has been found to act similarly to the way oncogenes work to provide molecular transformations in cancer cells. According to the authors of the editorial review, the research shows “signals of concern that such compounds are not as safe as previously generally considered, and further research is warranted.” Furthermore:
“The data from this latest study, the most extensive examination of parabens in human breast so far published, confirms previous work and raises a number of questions on the entire parabens, personal care product and human health debate, particularly relating to the source and toxicological significance of the paraben esters.”
Antiperspirants work by clogging, closing, or blocking the pores that release sweat under your arms—with the active ingredient being aluminum. (If you are using a deodorant-only product it is unlikely to contain aluminum but might contain other chemicals that could be a concern, such as parabens.) Not only does this block one of your body’s routes for detoxification (releasing toxins via your underarm sweat), but it raises concerns about where these metals are going once you roll them (or spray them) on.
Like parabens, aluminum salts can also mimic estrogen, and, just like the featured study, previous research has shown that aluminum is also absorbed and deposited into breast tissueiv. The researchers suggested raised levels of aluminum could even be used as a biomarker for identification of women at increased risk of developing breast cancer.
Aluminum salts can account for 25 percent of the volume of some antiperspirants, and a review of the common sources of aluminum exposure for humans found that antiperspirant use can significantly increase the amount of aluminum absorbed by your body. According to the review, after a single underarm application of antiperspirant, about .012 percent of the aluminum may be absorbedv. This may not sound like much until you multiply it by one or more times a day for a lifetime, which adds up to massive exposure to aluminum—a poison that is not supposed to be in your body, and may be more toxic than mercury. Aside from vaccinations, your antiperspirant may be your largest source of exposure to this poisonous metal!
Be Cautious with Natural Deodorants, Too
There are many brands of chemical-free, aluminum-free deodorants on the market, and many of these are safe alternatives. “Crystal” deodorant stones, which are a popular natural deodorant alternative often used by health-conscious shoppers looking to avoid aluminum, often claim to be aluminum-free, but some actually contain a different type of compound known as an alum, the most common form being potassium alum, also known as potassium aluminum sulfate.
Potassium Alum or Ammonium Alum are natural mineral salts made up of molecules that are too large to be absorbed by your skin. They form a protective layer on your skin that inhibits the growth of odor-causing bacteria. These deodorants are recommended by many cancer treatment centers, but while this may be a better alternative to most antiperspirants and deodorants on the market, it is not completely aluminum-free. Also remember to check the remaining ingredients, keeping a watchful eye out for parabens.
For the last few decades I have not used antiperspirants or deodorants–even natural ones. I noticed that they would cause a yellow stain in the armpit of my shirts. At first I thought the stain was due to my sweat but I quickly realized it was the chemicals in the antiperspirants. I routinely substitute soap and water in my armpits and that seems to work. Although last year I noticed that if I sunbathe my axilla regularly, the UV light actually sterilized my armpits in addition to raising my levels of vitamin D. There is no odor even without using soap and water. Essentially you tan your armpits. The effect is not long-lasting and the bacteria repopulate in a day or so unless you expose your armpits to sunlight.
This was such an inspiring article. Like I said in the beginning, I threw out my deodorant after reading this. And I’m never going back. Here’s to healthy, cancer and toxin-free bodies!
What do you think about this article? Do you want to change the deodorant you’re using?
And if you use a natural deodorant, what brands have you found that work well?