What’s really in your antiperspirant/deodorant?
Most people use an antiperspirant, or a deodorant, every day and the world is probably a fresher and more pleasant place to be for it, but have you ever considered what is in that stuff you roll on, or spray under your arms every day? Like all cosmetic products, some are better than others, but there are some ingredients in antiperspirants that you might want to avoid. Some people even say that you shouldn’t use antiperspirants at all, because sweating is just a natural bodily function. Not all antiperspirants are harmful, by any means, but you probably use yours every day, so it is wise to understand what is in it. While anyone who ever travels on public transport would not want to ban them altogether, here are ten of the ingredients in antiperspirants that you might want to know about.
The most common ingredients in antiperspirants are aluminium compounds, which block the sweat glands and stop you perspiring. There have been many rumours that the aluminium products used in antiperspirants are the cause of breast cancer and Alzheimer’s. There is actually no scientific evidence that this is true. Some cheaper antiperspirants have been found to contain traces of heavy metals, which definitely are considered to be a health risk.
Parabens, which are used in cosmetics as preservative, have been found to have a more substantiated link to breast cancer and that is why you can now buy paraben free cosmetics. Some studies have found small traces of parabens in breast cancer tumours. This has led to speculation that there could be a link between parabens and cancer, though there was no proof that the parabens had come specifically from antiperspirants.
Many antiperspirants contain alcohol; though not in enough quantity for it to do any harm. Alcohol is used because it dries on the skin very quickly and it is also what gives antiperspirants that cooling feeling when you apply them.
4. Propylene glycol
Propylene glycol is one of the ingredients that you might want to watch out for, because it has been linked to a number of potential health risks. Even in small concentrations, it can irritate the skin, but when combined with other chemicals, it can also have a detrimental effect on the nervous system, heart and the liver.
Even though triclosan is widely used in cosmetic products, it has been found to have an impact on the human body. A study that was conducted by University of California Davis demonstrated that triclosan can have an effect on the proper functioning of the muscles and they also found links between triclosan and heart disease. Earlier studies have also suggested that triclosan can affect the thyroid glands.
Phthalates are used in a lot of cosmetic products, because they make the product stick to the skin and it has been noted that they are readily absorbed into the body. It has been found that most Americans have traces of phthalates in their urine and the compounds have been linked to health issues like infertility and cancer.
The use of the word fragrance is an issue with many cosmetic products, because it can be used to hide no end of different, potentially harmful, chemicals. Cosmetics manufacturers get away with it, because they say their fragrance recipes are commercial secrets, but that means that anything could be lurking in there disguised as a fragrance.
8. Butylated Hydroxytoluene
Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT) causes hyperactivity in children and they are considered to be carcinogenic compounds by the US Department of Health and Human Services. BHT has been rated as highly toxic by some organisations and it has been linked to cancer, endocrine disruption and allergic reactions.
Silica can be a skin irritant to some people and, sometimes, the silica that is contained in antiperspirants, can have been contaminated with crystalline quartz, which is known to be carcinogenic.
10. What is safe to use?
Many of the compounds that we have mentioned are used in cosmetics and other products, but because we use antiperspirants daily on our skin, some people are concerned that these compounds can build up in the body and cause more harm. If you are concerned about the chemicals in your antiperspirant, or deodorant, there are plenty of more natural, less harmful, products in the market. The best thing you can do is to do a bit of research and look for natural, organic products, rather than just grabbing the cheapest antiperspirant that you can see in the store.