Does Aluminium-Free Deodorant Work?
As the world becomes more socially aware of the environmental impact of products, people are left questioning whether natural is better.
From the food you eat to the products applied on your face and the deodorant used every morning, there seem to be “clean” options for everything. But do they really work? More importantly, does aluminium free deodorant work? Or are you going to be left in a smelly state?
WHAT IS ALUMINIUM IN DEODORANT?
First of all, let’s start with what deodorant actually is. People tend to use the word “deodorant” as an umbrella term for anything we wipe on our underarms – which isn’t exactly accurate, especially when considering the differences between deodorant and antiperspirant. In short, deodorant is made to curb body odour, and antiperspirant is meant to curb sweat and odour.
So, when we start talking about aluminium we’re discussing an antiperspirant, as aluminium salts help plug the sweat ducts through a gel-like substance in your armpits, minimising the amount of sweat your body produces.
Deodorants do not contain aluminium, as they don’t stop you from sweating. Instead, they just reduce body odour through antibacterial compounds and fragrance.
This little ingredient has caused quite a stir within the natural and organic industry after claims that it has been linked to contributing to cancers.
So, what really is aluminium?
Aluminium’s definition is simple: a chemical element notoriously known as a silvery-white, lightweight metal that is soft and malleable. However, many companies have been known to disguise the aluminium ingredient within deodorant by using one of its other names on the INCI list (a scientific term for the ingredients list on the back of the bottle).
Consumers should be aware that aluminium salts used within deodorants can be named aluminium chloralhydrate, aluminium zirconium and tetachlorohydrex gly. All you have to do is have a nose at the back of your deodorant bottle to see what they are calling it.
WHY IS ALUMINIUM IN DEODORANT?
Aluminium is used commonly within antiperspirants because not only does it reduce wetness by blocking your underarm sweat ducts, but they also minimise body odour by inhibiting the bacteria that feed on your sweat and cause the smell.
Over time our bodies can become accustomed to whichever antiperspirant we are using, so people are told to switch them up frequently to avoid becoming immune to their sweat blocking properties.
WHY YOU SHOULDN’T BE USING ALUMINIUM IN YOUR DEODORANT
Although the idea of not producing excess sweat under your arms sounds great in theory. The practical side of the argument suggests that spray aluminium onto your skin every day can cause long-term health problems.
The first is an increase in the ability to develop Alzheimer’s Disease: during the 1960s and 70s, aluminium was identified as a possible suspect in Alzheimer’s, a degenerative brain disease. Originally, scientists associated the disease with exposure to high amounts of aluminium through pots and pans, cans and food containers.
When investigated further, researchers found that Alzheimer patients had increased levels of aluminium in their brains. However, there is no solid proof that this is solely down to wearing antiperspirant every day, as scientists cannot prove how many days a year the patient wore antiperspirant.
On the other hand, there has been much discussion around “when you sweat, you’re sweating out toxins”. Some argue you might sweat out all of the aluminium anyway and others argue this is another good reason why you should be letting the sweat come out of your sweat ducts.
Your body filters toxins via your liver and kidneys, they leave your body when you go to the toilet but also via sweat. Please don’t believe, however, that you are expelling a full bottle of Prosecco or 8 pints through your pits, that is predominantly the job of your liver and kidneys.
The real purpose of sweat is to regulate your body temperature and cool it down as needed. The 37.2 trillion cells which make up your body are incredibly complex. It leads to the question, should we be working against our body and it’s need to perspire and why would you want to throw off your body temperature, for the sake of antiperspirant and never having a damp armpit?
There are some people who sweat drastically and are incredibly embarrassed by wet patches on clothes, check out our blog post on excessive seating and how to control it. If this is having an impact on your confidence, then you may have to make a different decision, but, for the majority who don’t suffer from this – you don’t need to have your sweat ducts blocked.
CHOOSING ALUMINIUM FREE NATURAL DEODORANT
Natural and Organic deodorants should not contain aluminium. Brands are now developing odour reducing formulas from only the ingredient’s nature has to offer. So, how do you choose the best one?
Step one is knowing which application method works best for you. Natural deodorant is either going to come in the form of a roll-on stick deodorant or cream in a pot that you apply with your fingers. Packaging can differ from your typical deodorant roller ball to sticks and cardboard tubes, or even glass jars – they can even go as far as to use refillable packaging like the Proverb Refillable Deodorant.
Formulations wise, you can split them into the following three groups:
- Sodium bicarbonate formulas: commonly known as baking soda, it is drying to the underarm and not ideal for your skin every day
- Saccharomyces ferment formulas
- Potassium alum rock deodorants: fragrances and often recommended for dry skin, the efficacy of rock deodorants is mixed, some people love them, while many say they didn’t work on them.
Proverb’s Natural Deodorant easy to glide on deodorant eradicates body odour and is free from aluminium, petroleum, parabens, SLS artificial fragrance and propylene glycol. All of which feature in your supermarket and drugstore-bought antiperspirant.
Our natural deodorant is unlike any other, for starters it’s refillable. As a brand, we are trying to eradicate plastic waste from deodorants, as well as reduce CO2 levels. This is why if you sign up for our subscription service, we will send you a refill with the scent of your choice every 2 months. Saving you time and money, it’s a win-win.
Let’s still be 100% transparent here, and say that natural deodorants still may not work for you. If you suffer from allergic reactions or have sensitive underarms, you can still be irritated by natural deodorants.
Most are roll-on’s or sticks so they are pressed against the skin and some of the powders that soak up sweat like sodium bicarbonate can irritate some skins. Fragrance in any product can cause irritation, no matter if it's natural or not. That is why we have made our Teen-Friendly deodorants that are free from sodium bicarbonate but still use natural essential oils. Proverb also offers a Sensitive & Un-fragranced option which has neither fragrance nor sodium bicarbonate for the most sensitive of skins.
If you switched to a natural deodorant and your armpits smell though, there is no need to give up on natural deodorant altogether. We’ve explained all the reasons your underarms smell when switching deodorants here.
If you are looking to do your part for the ecosystem and look after your own health in the process, why not at least try switching over to a natural and organic deodorant?