Take a trip through the drugstore and you’ll notice some deodorant labels proudly declaring their status as aluminum free. But what is aluminum doing in our deodorant in the first place—and should you make the switch to an aluminum-free product?
The Differences between Deodorant (including antiperspirant) and Body Spray
In a previous post we covered the main differences between deodorant and body spray. In case you need a quick recap: both products use fragrance to mask odors, and some deodorants also contain chemicals to combat the bacteria that naturally exist on our skin and mingle with sweat to cause odor. Antiperspirant deodorants go a step further to stop the body from sweating in the first place by blocking pores with compounds like—you guessed it—aluminum.
Why is there Aluminum in Antiperspirant Deodorant?
Aluminum isn’t the only active ingredient in antiperspirants, but it’s perhaps the most common. It does a great job at reacting with perspiration to create a plug inside your sweat ducts, blocking the release of sweat. Aluminum essentially stops your body from a natural function, a.k.a. sweating, which is why antiperspirants have a drug classification. Some are available over-the-counter or in the drugstore aisle, while prescription strength antiperspirants are prescribed by doctors to treat hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating).
What is natural deodorant?
Alongside “aluminum-free,” “natural deodorants” are becoming increasingly common. “Natural” isn’t a regulated term, so there isn’t one definition. Some products may rely on essential oils like tea tree oils and rosemary to provide fragrance and fight bacteria, shea butter or coconut oil for moisture, or absorbing ingredients like baking soda and arrowroot to absorb sweat. But any brand can say that they’re natural. It’s always best to look beyond the buzzword and check out the ingredient list.
What are the risks associated with aluminum in deodorant?
Let’s get one more thing clear about aluminum: It isn’t just in antiperspirant. Aluminum is an active ingredient in a number of consumer products, from cosmetics to medications. But why don’t some people want it in their deodorant specifically? Studies have shown that a very small amount (0.012%) of aluminum may be absorbed through the skin from antiperspirants, however this will vary from person to person. Scientists have also studied the effects of aluminum on the risk of developing breast cancer, kidney disease, and Alzheimer’s as well as other conditions, although there has yet to be conclusive evidence pointing to a causal relationship.
What are the benefits of aluminum-free deodorants and body sprays?
One thing that is clear is that aluminum will block sweat, and it can cause clogged pores and armpit irritation too. In other words, the question isn’t really if you want aluminum or not—it’s whether you want to sweat freely or not.
At OffCourt, we think sweating is a good thing. It’s our bodies’ natural way of keeping cool, allowing you to keep exercising without overheating. Plus, sweat itself isn’t what makes you smell. Instead, we target the bacteria that interact with perspiration and result in the odor we associate with sweat. OffCourt Performance Body Spray is an innovative, aluminum-free deodorant formulated with powerful prebiotics and three deodorizing ingredients that fight odor at its source. We layer on premium, elevated scents and also skip baking soda so you can apply to your skin or right on clothing with a modern scent that doubles as a cologne.
Even without conclusive evidence that aluminum deodorants cause negative health consequences, a lot of people choose to avoid it anyway. If you’re looking for an aluminum-free product that will still leave you feeling fresh, make sure it is focused on targeting odor-causing bacteria instead of just layering on scent to cover up.