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What you need to know about aluminium and deodorants

Posted on October 21 2012

When people see our deodorant they are often drawn immediately to the fact that it is aluminium FREE.  We are often asked "did you make your deodorant because you think aluminium causes breast cancer?".

No, we did not formulate our deodorant because we think aluminium causes breast cancer.  In fact we spent some time researching this claim and you could say we were left sitting on the fence. There is compelling research on both sides of the argument, but the topic is inconclusive so it's very difficult to draw a conclusion.

Our true belief is that aluminium in deodorants is unnecessary.  Below we outline the difference between antiperspirants and deodorants (particularly natural or/and organic). Once you have read the below ask yourself if you believe aluminium is still necessary in a deodorant?

Antiperspirants (all antiperspirants contain aluminium):

  • Usually come in a aerosol can or roll-on bottle.
  • They work to prevent the normal function of the sweat glands (accrine glands) of the underarm by simply clogging the glands.
  • Basically, they "try" to keep you from perspiring. (we say "try" because we can still see sweat when using an antiperspirant, more on that later!)

The active ingredient in antiperspirants includes aluminium-based compounds.  According to Dermatologist Dr. Eric Hanson of the University of North Carolina, when the aluminium ions are drawn into the cells, water passes in with them, as more water flows in, the cells begin to swell, squeezing the ducts closed.  It's like a plug that then blocks sweat from reaching the skins surface.  Extra ingredients like synthetic fragrance maybe added to mask odour as a fail-safe.

Deodorants natural and organic (do not contain aluminium):

  • Usually come in a roll on or pump bottle.
  • They allow the normal function of the sweat glands (apocrine glands)
  • They work by killing the odour casing bacteria.

The apocrine glands are responsible for the smell coming from your underarms.  They carry secretions of fats and proteins from the body, along with your sweat and present on the surface of your skin.  Here, these fats and proteins respond with bacteria, which form body odour.

Natural or/and organic deodorants may use different formulations or active ingredients to combat the odour causing bacteria.  Ingredients such as cornstarch or bi-carb soda (you may remember your grandmother having a box in her fridge to capture any bad odours like onion!) maybe used, together with essential oils and plant based fragrances.

Simply put, antiperspirants will keep your body from performing it's natural cooling effect.  Deodorants (without aluminium) will kill odour casing bacteria, but will still allow your body to perform it's cooling effect naturally.

We hope this info helps you in your decision on buying and using deodorants.

Ingredients matter!

xx from the team @ Harmoni's Kiss

Hey, what is your biggest question about deodorants? Ask us here.

Have you ever thought about the length of time we use deodorants (think puberty at the age of 10 or thereabouts!).


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