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Deodorant Ingredients to Avoid

Why use a natural deodorant?

Conventional antiperspirants and deodorants contain a variety of ingredients that current research is showing may be harmful to your health.  The following ingredients and studies highlight the most concerning issues research has suggested to date.


(Aluminum chlorohydrate, ammonium aluminum sulfate, potassium aluminum sulfate, aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex gly) Aluminum compounds are used to keep your pores from releasing perspiration.  Aluminum stays in the body and consequently will accumulate over time.3  Some studies have shown that aluminum may contribute to Alzheimer’s disease although no definitive relationship has been established. However, “recent evidence has linked breast cancer with aluminium-based antiperspirants”.3  One study showed a link between earlier and more frequent use of antiperspirants to earlier occurrence of breast cancer.5 

Propylene Glycol

Propylene glycol was originally developed as an anti-freeze. In antiperspirants and deodorants it is used as a humectant and to increase absorption. Propylene glycol has been shown it to be a skin irritant and to cause allergic reactions even in concentrations as low as 2%.1  In some deodorants, even “natural” ones, propylene glycol is the first or second ingredient.


Parabens are used as preservatives in a wide range of cosmetic and food products. They have been shown to mimic estrogen and are suspected to be endocrine system disruptors.2  Studies have found parabens in breast tumor tissue.4  


Triclosan is an antifungal and antibacterial chemical used in many personal care products including soaps, hand sanitizers, and deodorants. Triclosan has been shown to be an endocrine disrupter in animals, specifically affecting thyroid hormone function.6  It has also been associated with increased hay fever and allergy development.7   In addition, triclosan can react with chlorine in tap water to form chloroform, and so is considered a probable carcinogen.8


1."PROPYLENE GLYCOL || Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database | Environmental Working Group." EWG Home | Environmental Working Group. Environmental Working Group. Web. 02 Feb. 2012. <http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient.php?ingred06=705315>.

2."PROPYLPARABEN || Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database | Environmental Working Group." EWG Home | Environmental Working Group. Environmental Working Group. Web. 02 Feb. 2012. <http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/705335/PROPYLPARABEN/>.

3. Exley, C., LM Charles, L. Barr, C. Martin, A. Polwart, and PD Darbre. "Aluminium in Human Breast Tissue." PubMed.gov. J Inorg Biochem., 12 June 2007. Web. 02 Feb. 2012. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17629949>.

4. Harvey PW, Everett DJ. Significance of the detection of esters of p-hydroxybenzoic acid (parabens) in human breast tumours. Journal of Applied Toxicology 2004; 24(1):1–4. [PubMed Abstract]

5.McGrathPub, KG. "An Earlier Age of Breast Cancer Diagnosis Related to More Frequent Use of Antiperspirants/deodorants and Underarm Shaving." PubMed.gov. National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Dec. 2003. Web. 02 Feb. 2012. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14639125>.

6.Veldhoen, Nik, Rachel C. Skirrow, Heather Osachoff, Heidi Wigmore, David J. Clapson, Mark P. Gunderson, Graham Van Aggelen, and Caren C. Helbing. "The Bactericidal Agent Triclosan Modulates Thyroid Hormone-associated Gene Expression and Disrupts Postembryonic Anuran Development." Aquatic Toxicology 80.3 (2006): 217-27. Print.

7.Clayton EMR, Todd M, Dowd JB, Aiello AE, 2010 The Impact of Bisphenol A and Triclosan on Immune Parameters in the U.S. Population, NHANES 2003–2006. Environ Health Perspect 119(3): doi:10.1289/ehp.1002883

8.Formation of Chloroform and Chlorinated Organics by Free-Chlorine-Mediated Oxidation of Triclosan Krista L. Rule,Virginia R. Ebbett, and, and Peter J. Vikesland* Environmental Science & Technology 2005 39 (9), 3176-3185