Is aluminum in deodorant actually bad for you?

In middle school, we all were taught the importance of deodorant. I remember way too vividly some of the boys in my grade rolling on the Old Spice and dousing themselves in Axe body spray. Middle school is a rough time, whether you smell good, bad or overpowering.

In middle school, we all were taught the importance of deodorant. I remember way too vividly some of the boys in my grade rolling on the Old Spice and dousing themselves in Axe body spray. Middle school is a rough time, whether you smell good, bad or overpowering.

As time goes on, most people find a deodorant that’s right for them. Once I found Dove, I stuck with it. It keeps me dry and smelling great—well, mostly great—every day. There is the occasional off day when it’s just too hot for anyone to smell fantastic all day long.

A couple of years ago, I kept seeing all kinds of articles touting how bad regular deodorants and antiperspirants were and how great natural deodorants were. I read dozens of blog posts about how the body has to detox from regular deodorants before getting used to the natural alternatives.

But why would we want to switch to natural if there’s a one-week to one-month detox period? Apparently, the aluminum in the regular sticks is terrible for you. Or at least that’s what I kept reading. These blogs—with no scientific references and no concrete data—kept stating that aluminum from deodorant and antiperspirants was linked to breast cancer. And people—myself included—believed this to be true. Natural deodorants are everywhere, aren’t they?

I fell for the marketing scam these eco bloggers were promoting. I tried Schmidt’s Deodorant for a while. It was the smelliest time of my adult life. I switched back to Dove. Then a few months ago, I was sucked back into the hysteria. The way these articles were worded sounded so scientific and believable.

So this time around, I tried Rustic Maka Deodorant. I smelled like I had been camping for weeks without taking a shower. I apologize to any coworkers who were near me during that month of experimentation. That was quickly followed by a couple weeks of Crystal Deodorant, which had similar results. I was sweating through every shirt I owned, and I smelled bad. Not exactly my idea of “natural” bliss.

I kept researching deodorants, when instead I should have been researching if aluminum is actually bad for you. I switched back to Dove for the sake of my nostrils, and I decided it was time to do actual research.

After a quick search, I found tons of articles debunking the “aluminum is bad for you” myth. According to LiveScience.com, Dr. Susan Massick, a dermatologist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, said, “All the major research into aluminum antiperspirants since the early 2000s has suggested that they’re not a problem. The claim that aluminum-containing antiperspirants cause cancer is a myth that has been debunked in the minds of doctors and scientists.”

Many breast cancer patients have breast cancer in the lymph nodes near the armpit, leading some people to believe there was a connection between deodorants with aluminum and breast cancer.

Massick explained deodorant makers put aluminum in their formulas because it blocks the sweat ducts but doesn’t penetrate deeper into the skin, making it an effective antiperspirant.

For it to cause cancer, it likely would need to be absorbed into the bloodstream at a high enough concentration to cause toxicity. That’s not likely with a topical product applied only to the armpit.

That’s enough science to sway me away from the stink of natural deodorants.

Where to buy

The Repository
Select Rite Aid Stores
Spee-D Foods
Buehler's Fresh Foods
Fishers Foods, including 44th Street NW, Tuscarawas St. W, Fulton Drive, Lincoln Way E. and Cleveland Ave. NW locations
Aultman Hospital Gift Shop
Mercy Medical Center Gift Shop
Gervasi Vineyard Marketplace
Carpe Diem Coffee Shop, downtown Canton and Belden Village Mall locations
News Depot
Avenue Arts Marketplace
Yum Yum Tree Alliance
Grapes in a Glass