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Deodorant – Top 4 Ingredients to Avoid

Deodorant is an essential in most Australian bathroom cabinets these days.

Many are still unaware of the hidden dangers in the active ingredients of modern day deodorant.

Potentially hazardous chemicals are continuously used on underarms as a way of reducing perspiration and odour.

These chemicals ‘block’ body sweat and this is where the problems begin. Sweating occurs as one of the body’s prime efforts to detox.

So, if we’re preventing this waste elimnination, where are we sending the toxins that our bodies are trying so hard to flush out?

The answer is the lymphatic system, which is one of the body’s defences against infection.

Cancer is also frequently spread throughout the body when cancerous cells break off from a tumour and travel to another location in the body through the lymph system.

Until recently, antiperspirants were regulated as medicines and the quantity or proportion of active ingredient had to be listed on the label.

However, in September 2007, antiperspirants were reclassified as cosmetics, so now their total ingredients must be listed, but not the amount of active ingredient.

Typical brand name deodorants contain a stew of toxic chemicals such as aluminium, propylene glycol, parabens and triclosan.

Lets have a look at these top 4 harmful ingredients to steer clear of when shopping for a new deodorant.



Aluminium is a metal which is used in antiperspirants because it has several qualities that reduce sweating.

It is absorbed by the skin, where the ions of aluminium cause the skin cells to swell.

This pinches the sweat glands closed and keeps them from releasing perspiration. The compound also absorbs any perspiration that does occur.

Aluminium is a neurotoxin which is absorbed through the skin and can accumulate in the body (primarily in the fat cells).

This ingredient is also commonly found in cancerous breast tissue – no surprise considering the location of your underarms.

The ‘stronger’ the deodorant claims to be, the stronger % of aluminium it will contain.

High aluminium deodornats are Mitchum (20%), Rexona Clinical Protection (20%), Driclor (20%) and Dove Clinical Protection (20%).



Parabens are all derived from toluene, a toxic petrochemical derivative. Toluene is toxic if swallowed or inhaled. It is also harmful in contact with the skin.

Parabens have been at the centre of some cancer studies because they have oestrogen-like qualities.

Because oestrogen can promote the growth of breast cancer tissue, some researchers are concerned that parabens may have the same effect when absorbed through the skin.

Scientists were particularly concerned about parabens in antiperspirants and deodorants because they’re applied near breast tissue. In 2004, a study in the “Journal of Applied Toxicology” found parabens in 18 of 20 breast tumours.


Triclosan is an antibacterial agent used in deodorant products. It kills off the bacteria that break sweat down into organic compounds which actually produce the unpleasant smell.

But in doing this, it also kills of beneficial bacteria that live on the surface of our skin.

It has also linked to causing skin irritation and may also cause contact dermatitis.

The FDA classifies Triclosan as a pesticide and the EPA also classifies it as a probable carcinogen. Enough said.


Propylene glycol absorbs quickly through the skin and is a penetration enhancer.

Which basically means that it helps all of the other chemicals absorb quicker into your skin.

Propylene glycol is also classified as a neurotoxin and may cause kidney, liver and heart damage.


Natural Deodorant & Odour Prevention Routine

Just before summer kicks into full swing, switch to a natural deodorant and begin to implement a natural odour preventing routine.

Firstly, choose a deodorant thats contains no aluminium, no propylene glycol, no prarbens, no triclosan and is not tested on animals.

Thursday Plantation Tea Tree Organic Deodorant is an aluminium free alternative, which also provides the anti-microbrial properties of Tea Tree Oil and is free of any nasties. Weleda also have a range of lovely smelling natural deodorants in Citrus, Sage and Wild Rose.

These deodorants will take care of the odour that sweat causes but not the moisture. Remember that sweating is a natural bodily function.

By sweating your body is eliminating wastes so if you are putting junk in, you’ll get junk out. Keep your diet as clean as possible and ditch processed and packaged food.

Keep your underarms hair free at all times. Hair traps bacteria and, therefore, odour. Any length of hair will exacerbate the odour causing bacteria that you want to avoid.


Final Word

Any steps that you can take to reduce your risk of cancer should be considered and its never to late to try.

Be committed to the switch, you may find that you need to experiment with a few new brands to find which one works best for you.

Or better yet, why not try and make your own inexpensive dry deodorant at home.


Deodorant Powder Recipe

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/4 cup baking soda

3/4 teaspoon pulverised lavender flowers

15 drops pure lavender essential oil

Mix lavender oil with the pulverised lavender flowers. Mix with the other 2 ingredients. Allow mixture to sit in an airtight container away from light for a day or two.

To use, lightly dust the underarm using a shaving or blush brush. Apply to any other areas of the body that you wish to feel fresh.

For an unscented deodorant powder, omit the lavender flowers and lavender essential oil.

Although essential oils limit the bacteria that cause odour, essential oils may irritate the skin and many people are sensitive to essential oils.

Essential oils are not appropriate for scent-free environments.


Further Reading:


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