It should come as no surprise that something we apply to our skin every day may be potentially dangerous. As per usual, we can never have nice things—not even an innocent sweet-smelling deodorant. Just f*ck me up, fam. Like lotions, shampoos, and bath soaps, you probs never glance twice at those super long ingredients lists on the back of your deodorants. I mean, same, but being that I’m getting closer to 30, I figure now is about time to GAF about the stuff I’m putting on my body if I want to live longer. Better than late never, I guess.
Google searches studies, swiping certain kinds of deodorant on before you rush out the door can be bad for you in some sneaky af ways. It may sound like applying chemicals to the surface of your skin is fine, but in reality, there is no guarantee that those pesky chemicals can’t seep into your skin and your bloodstream. Yikes. These chemicals, which we’ll get into in a minute, may negatively affect your reproductive and developmental hormones, and have been linked to cancer. Let’s take a look at which deodorants could be bad for you and which ones may be less harmful.
1. Aluminum Compounds
If your go-to deodorant is labeled as an antiperspirant, it mostly likely carries aluminum. While there is no direct link between aluminum and breast cancer, there have been large incidences of breast cancer in “in the upper outer quadrant” along with reports of gene instability—evidence of a correlation with locally-applied aluminum deodorant and cancer development. Yes, my AP Psych class taught me that correlation does not imply causation, but it’s enough to make me raise an eyebrow. Be on the look out for aluminum such as Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex GLY seen in, for example, some of our favorite Dove antiperspirants.
2. Propylene Glycol
This petroleum-based chemical can be like, kinda dangerous and cause side-effects ranging from skin irritations to allergic reactions. If the skin is broken or burned, this can be absorbed. In large quantities, this can pose as a danger to your liver, kidneys, and central nervous system. I think the take-away is that if you’re going to use deodorant with propylene glycol, be careful not to cut yourself every time you shave your armpits.
Apparently the FDA made a rule that over-the-counter products containing triclosan can no longer be marketed to consumers. WELP. That can’t be good. This comes after recent studies showed that the ingredient can alter hormone regulation, contribute to the development of antibiotic-resistant germs, and cause harm to the immune system. When a product contains this, it can be absorbed through the skin slowly, putting yourself at risk for health concerns.
Now that we’ve covered which deodorants you might want to avoid, here are a few without ingredients that will send you running to WebMD.
This aluminum-free deodorant is a natural spray that’s suited for all skin types and full of essential oils you’ll def love. One of the ingredients, Zinc Ricinoleate, absorbs and traps odors, instead of killing bacteria and running the risk of clogging your pores. You’ll notice a bunch of your favorite scents in this one, such as lemongrass, sandalwood, lavender, and more.
This is a vegan cream-to-powder deodorant that doesn’t leave any annoying white marks. It fights off stench with natural plant starches and leaves a sweet-smelling vanilla scent.
A cream deodorant sounds weird at first, but it actually dries up well, leaving you sweat- and odor-free. This is all thanks to its ingredients, which include baking soda, arrowroot, and clay. Its organic formula helps maintain moisture, neutralize odor, and keeps you smelling amazing with some of our fave scents like coconut, shea, and lavender.
Schmidt’s is a leading brand for natural deodorants, and its formula has won awards for being plant-based and free of everything we hate: aluminum, propylene glycol, parabens, phthalates, sulfates, gluten, silicone, and salicylic acid. I feel like I just won the spelling bee with that sentence. It contains essential oils, fruits, and vitamins to absorb unwanted moisture and keep underarms smelling fresh and neutral. Bless.
Photo: Gifer (1); Target (1); Walmart (1); Amazon (2); Revolve (1); Sephora (1); Macy’s (1)