What's in Deodorant?

What's in Deodorant

Do you know what chemicals
are inside your deodorant?

Every Day You're Exposed to
Thousands of Toxins & Chemicals

Did you know that many of us are exposed to thousands of toxins and chemicals each day without even knowing it? There are over 10,000 chemical ingredients, some of them are known or suspected carcinogens, in soaps, shampoos, lotions, make-up, beauty products, and other personal care products. 

Deodorant is one of the many personal care products that's used on a daily basis. The use of aluminum (a sweat-blocking ingredient in antiperspirants) has been under fire for several years now, but what about the various other harmful chemicals that exist in deodorant? Most conventional deodorants contain a list of toxic ingredients, and the underarm has a direct route to the lymphatic system, which is an essential part of our immune system and our skin readily absorbs whatever we put on it. Information can be a powerful tool and this article was created to provide you with all of the necessary information regarding deodorant that can help you make an informed decision for your own personal wellbeing.

Difference Between Deodorant & Antiperspirant:

Before we list the dirty ingredients, it's important to note the difference between deodorant and antiperspirant. The fact that we typically use the term "deodorant" for both is very misleading because these products have very different goals.

Antiperspirant is primarily used to combat sweating. The problem is that antiperspirant doesn't actually stop sweat from happening, it merely blocks it. Toxic chemical ingredients are used to clog pores in your skin so that the sweat can't escape onto your clothes.

Deodorant, on the other hand, is used only to curb odor. Deodorant allows your body to sweat naturally, allowing the body to naturally flush out all of the odor-causing bacteria.

Because deodorants & antiperspirants are applied often and on skin near breasts, some reports claim that the chemicals could be absorbed through your skin and cause estrogen-like hormonal effects. Alzheimer’s and Breast Cancer have both been linked to aluminum compounds found in antiperspirants, and some contain infertility-causing toxic chemicals.

Dirty & Toxic Ingredients:

Aluminum: Aluminum, which is a common metal, is also a common ingredient in antiperspirants that works by literally clogging sweat ducts to prevent sweating. Aluminum is known to cause genomic instability on the cellular level. What this means is that aluminum can increase our cells tendency to mutate. Cell mutations are associated with an increased risk of developing tumor growth. One of the most common compounds used in antiperspirants is Aluminum chlorohydrate.

 Triclosan is an antibacterial chemical which often used in deodorants to kill odor-causing bacteria on the skin. However, it is important to note that Triclosan is an endocrine disruptor, meaning it mimics hormones or interferes with hormonal signaling in humans. The chemical’s endocrine-disrupting effects have been supported by numerous scientific studies. The chemical is also associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. The abundance of health concerns associated with triclosan, both to people and aquatic life, has led the FDA to ban its use in hand soaps. However, the chemical is still permitted for use in other products, like deodorant.

Phthalates: Phthalates, pronounced thal-ates, are common ingredients in all personal care products, including deodorant and antiperspirants. These chemicals are used to make other ingredients more flexible and are also used as fragrance ingredients as they can help extend the life of the fragrance. The primary concern with phthalates is their ability to disrupt the endocrine system, especially in males. Phthalates also impact female health, as exposure can cause early-onset puberty, which is associated with breast cancer later in life.

Parabens: Parabens are ingredients used primarily as a form of preservative and are often used in combination with one another in a wide range of consumer products. Paraben preservatives in skincare products and personal care products have the capability to be absorbed through the skin. Parabens are hormone impersonators, mimicking estrogen in the body. Exposure to parabens has been linked to breast cancer as well as other hormonal changes.

Fragrance: Fragrance formulations are often considered “trade secrets” and many brands are protective over this information. However, this so-called "protective" nature can also be a guise for cloaking hundreds of other ingredients too. Since they are proprietary information, the identity of ingredients is often unknown. This makes it impossible to identify all of the ways in which fragrance ingredients could impact our health. Despite the lack of ingredient disclosure, numerous rather common fragrance ingredients have been identified as potentially harmful. Some examples include synthetic musks, phthalates, and numerous other substances of concern.

Diethanolamine: Diethanolamine is an ingredient commonly used in deodorants, as well as other personal care products. Diethanolamine is linked to cancer. Ethoxylation, the process of treating the ingredient with ethylene oxide, is used in the production of diethanolamine. 1,4-dioxane, a known carcinogen, is a by-product of ethoxylation. Diethanolamine can be spotted on labels with the term “diethanolamine” or as the abbreviation DEA. DEA can be part of complex ingredients like Cocamide-DEA and DEA-Cetyl Phosphate, although these complexes aren’t as common in deodorants.

Butane and Isobutane: These gasses are used as propellants in aerosol deodorants. Isobutane is an isomer of butane, meaning it’s a compound with a different molecular structure. The European Union and Canada have imposed restrictions on butane and isobutane due to concerns over contamination with 1,3-butadiene, a chemical linked to cancer and reproductive toxicity. However, there are no such restrictions in the United States. In fact, the Cosmetic Ingredient Review, an industry-funded panel, has deemed both ingredients as safe for use, regardless of other global restrictions.

Everyone's Body Chemistry is Different

Everyone's body chemistry is different, so what works best for someone else may not work best for you. If you've tried a natural deodorant before and it didn’t work well for you, it may be because that brand or those mix of ingredients didn’t work for you specifically. Most contain baking soda which kills the bacteria on the skin, but it can cause irritation for some people. So you will need to experiment with different brands and products till you find the deodorant that works best for your skin type needs.

Sometimes it's a good idea to go au naturale for a few days before switching over. Your body becomes reliant on antiperspirant. So when you stop using it, you can experience major changes in the bacteria that grows under your arms, causing you to smell. Your body will naturally start pushing those chemicals out and can cause irritation from the baking soda that’s in most natural deodorants. If you’re not comfortable temporarily going deodorant free, consider dabbing on a combination of tea tree oil, lavender or thyme essential oil, and coconut oil for a natural and irritation-free mixture that will protect against unwanted smells. 

 Ultimately It's Your Body & Your Decision

Ultimately it's your body and your decision. Knowing what is inside the product you put on your skin is the first step to protecting yourself. Once you have learned the potential risks you may be taking with the personal care products and skin care products you buy, you can position yourself to make a more educated decision for yourself and your loved ones. Only you know what is best for your body, your skin, and your overall wellbeing.

Thankfully, knowing there are alternatives available to traditional, chemical-based deodorants can be a bit of a relief. With so many consumers becoming wiser and more health-conscious, the number of All-Natural Deodorants on the market has started to rise.

Opting For a Natural Deodorant

Opting for a natural deodorant is safer than using a deodorant with any of the seven ingredients from above. Most natural deodorants use ingredients like baking soda, essential oils, and coconut oil, which contain antibacterial properties. Natural products tend to be deodorants, not antiperspirants, meaning they stop the smell but not the sweat itself. 

When you're ready to make the switch to natural deodorant, of if you are looking for a new all-natural deodorant to use, here's some we recommend that are made right here in the USA!

With premium all-natural ingredients including coconut oil, shea butter, arrowroot powder, and vitamin E, this baking soda-free deodorant will keep your skin hydrated without exposing you to potentially harmful chemicals and toxins. The amazing odor-neutralizing fragrance will work hard battle the toughest underarm smells and the scent of this deodorant will certainly remind you of your youth! Agave Nectar Natural Deodorant

This all-natural, organic deodorant is made using the highest quality botanicals and doesn't include sulfates, parabens, heavy metals, or harsh chemicals, just pure organic ingredients featuring floral, sweet, lovely tones. Free Love All Natural Deodorant

Or if you're looking for a different scent, this all-natural deodorant features floral, warm, and soothing tones of Cedarwood & Geranium Essential Oils that do not include sulfates, parabens, heavy metals, or harsh chemicals, just pure organic ingredients. Summer Wind Organic Deodorant

Cit./Ref. FDA.govCDC.govMADESAFE.com | Kinilly.com


  • Bryan Gaines

    Been on the all-natural bandwagon for a while now. It took me a while to find the right deodorant for my body. A lot of deodorants and especially antiperspirants used to cause minor rashes. I turned to all-natural, aluminum-free, and plant-based and have no problems since.

  • Lori James

    I have ultra sensitive skin and can’t use anything but skincare products that are chemical free. I only use natural deodorant and never antiperspirant because it clogs your pores and traps in sweat and toxins.

  • Carson

    It wasn’t until just a couple years ago I learned that the FDA doesn’t really regulate the cosmetic industry. Then learning that many skincare companies are owned by pharmaceutical companies, it really became eye opening. Think about it, major pharmaceutical companies who own skincare companies KNOW how bad some of these toxin are for the human body. So I question, are they putting these ingredients in there on purpose?!?! It would be horrible, but make sense since it would potentially create future customers for their parent companies!?

  • Amanda Miles

    I had no idea they allow toxic chemicals like this in deodorants and skincare products. I thought we had government agencies to protect us from things like this. I am never buying anything but plant-based and organic deodorants from now on! Thank you!!!! To say I am shocked is an understatment.

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