The Pros and Cons of Aluminum-Free Deodorant: Is it Worth it?

If you go to your local drugstore and peruse the deodorant and antiperspirant section, you’ll find that many brands—including some of the most well-known—list aluminum as an ingredient. This silvery, white element has been proven to help block sweat glands to suppress perspiration. Still, the pros and cons of aluminum-free deodorant are a top concern for many consumers. 

That’s because we’ve made many significant discoveries in recent decades about potentially harmful substances historically used in everyday products. And in today’s information age, new details about so-called natural products are on the rise.

It’s no wonder so many people are more interested in learning about what goes into their personal care products. So, according to what we know now, what are the best ingredients to put in deodorant? Is aluminum safe to apply to your underarms? Below, we tackle all you need to know to choose a deodorant that suits your needs and lifestyle.

Why is Aluminum in Deodorant?

Some people find it strange that a metal like aluminum might be used in something you apply to your skin. However, though it’s easy to forget, aluminum is a naturally occurring element. You will find aluminum in many household products, including pots and pans.

Aluminum salts can prevent sweat from forming on your skin by blocking sweat glands. They can also help dry sweat efficiently. Body odor occurs when sweat, or perspiration, mixes with naturally occurring bacteria on your skin. So, preventing sweat from getting out of sweat glands and onto the skin is thought to reduce unpleasant body odor.

What Are the Pros of Aluminum in Deodorant?

Everyone’s skin is different, but aluminum has generally been reliable in helping prevent sweat and body odor when used in deodorant. Aluminum-containing deodorant may help prevent sweat longer than other deodorants, decreasing the number of applications you need to keep your pits dry.

What Are the Cons of Aluminum in Deodorant?

Some people are wary about applying aluminum to their skin because of perceived health risks. We know more now than we did previously about heavy metal poisoning, which some have conflated with all types of metals. Some studies have looked at the possible health risks of aluminum with mixed results.

Potential Links to Cancer & Dementia

Breast cancer, which can occur in both sexes, is one of the most common cancers. The closeness of underarms and breast tissue raises concerns about certain deodorant ingredients. Because aluminum closes off sweat glands, it may be difficult to expel aluminum from the body—even after sweating or bathing. Some fear that having aluminum hang out near breast tissue may lead it to be absorbed into the body. 

Another potential concern is that aluminum may get into the bloodstream of people who shave their armpits. Shaving cuts are common, and many are too small to see with the naked eye or without close inspection. What’s more, aluminum-containing deodorants may increase estrogen production, which has been linked to a greater risk of breast cancer.

Are these cancer concerns valid or unfounded? Studies have been mixed. Many have shown no definitive link between aluminum and breast cancer, while a handful have demonstrated a potential link. Experts believe most healthy people can use aluminum-containing deodorants safely, but research is ongoing. Some people would simply rather not take the risk. Others prefer to manage sweat and odor without clogging their pores.

Similarly, some past research has demonstrated a possible link between elevated aluminum levels in the brain and dementia. However, these studies have focused not on aluminum absorbed from deodorant but on aluminum consumed orally. Fortunately, there’s no reason to believe the body can absorb enough deodorant through the skin to pose a risk.

Skincare Concerns

What’s more likely than cancer or dementia is the chance of developing clogged pores or deep cysts. Some people may be more prone to these concerns than others, especially those with acne. Aluminum clogs pores on purpose, but these clogs can mix with dead skin, oil, and dirt to form blockages. Deep plugs in pores can lead to large, swollen cysts under the arms or surrounding areas.

While researchers are constantly exploring how long-term aluminum deodorant use can affect the body, we do know that some people have allergic reactions to aluminum. It’s the culprit behind contact dermatitis for many people. 

Dermatitis usually causes skin irritation, swelling, and redness. Around five percent of children are allergic to aluminum to some degree, but less than one percent of adults are. Some people have skin sensitivity to certain types of aluminum but can tolerate other types.

Benefits of Aluminum-Free Deodorant

Aluminum-free deodorant helps fight unwanted body odor without clogging up your sweat glands. Even if aluminum-containing deodorants don’t pose any major health risks, they can still wreak havoc on your skin. A primary benefit of aluminum-free spray deodorant or stick deodorant is that they target bad smells, not your body’s natural cooling method. 

As a bonus, aluminum-free deodorants tend to be better for the planet. Because sourcing and processing aluminum salts consumes lots of resources, you can do nature a solid by skipping it entirely. After all, you don’t need aluminum to stay fresh all day. What you need is a product that targets body odor at its source and offers long-lasting results.

Time to Rethink Deodorant?

Aluminum is often helpful in reducing sweat and, therefore, body odor. However, sweating is a natural, healthy, and necessary process for humans. Athletes and those who like staying physically active need sweat to prevent overheating. It may be helpful, then, to find natural deodorants that work with your sweat rather than swimming upstream by trying to prevent it. 

An aluminum-free spray deodorant is a great choice to start with. Spray deodorants are easy to apply and dry quickly, delivering odor- and bacteria-fighting ingredients directly to your skin in seconds. OffCourt’s Performance Body Spray, which comes in a variety of fragrances, contains no aluminum and is designed to help users sweat like their bodies need to while keeping odor under control.

Our Performance Body Spray also promotes the growth of good bacteria. Some deodorants kill off all bacteria—good or bad. The product only has nine ingredients, so you can rest assured that you’ll know what you’re putting on your body. The best part? Despite not being an antiperspirant, our deodorant body spray can last more than eight hours.

Performance Body Spray - Coconut Water + Sandalwood


Final Thoughts

Aluminum can help you cut down on sweat if it’s included in an antiperspirant. There’s no clear link between this metallic element and conditions like dementia or breast cancer, but some studies have still questioned its safety. Aluminum may also cause contact dermatitis, pore clogs, and painful cysts in some people.

Feel confident and smell amazing with the help of OffCourt. We believe in working with your body, not against it, as you take the day by storm. OffCourt offers skin-friendly deodorants, body washes, fragrances, and other products that contain natural ingredients you can pronounce. Minimize the unwanted effects of sweat and maximize your body’s ability to thrive with hygiene products created for people like you. Give your body what it deserves today.

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