Antiperspirant Without Aluminum
With increased focus on global warming and the impact humans and their consumption habits have on the environment and on their bodies, people have begun to “green” their entire lifestyle, right down to body care products. People are becoming more aware of what exactly their cosmetic products contain, and they are becoming more concerned about possible harmful side effects. Conventional antiperspirant contains aluminum, a metal that has been linked to Alzheimer’s and cancer when found in high doses. For this reason, many people are looking to switch to an antiperspirant without aluminum. In order to make an informed decision, however, the consumer must know why most antiperspirants contain aluminum, what potential risks topical application pose, and aluminum-free options.
Aluminum salts create a sort of plug that stops up the sweat glands in the underarms, thus preventing any sweat from escaping. These compounds also have a slight pore-tightening effect, further closing off any routes that sweat might take to reach the skin’s surface.
One concern is that the substances that would normally be excreted through the sweat glands now build up in the body, unable to escape. Autopsies performed on people with Alzheimer’s disease have found high levels of aluminum in the brain tissue; aluminum, when present in large doses, is a recognized neurotoxin. Concerns also exist as to whether aluminum can mimic estrogen. Hormone mimicking substances have been implicated in the appearance of cancer. Some studies suggest that since antiperspirants containing aluminum are applied in the underarm area, next to the breast, that the users of these products are more at risk for breast tumors and cancer. Although studies have not conclusively proved causality between aluminum and Alzheimer’s, or aluminum and breast cancer, aluminum-free alternatives do exist. Why take the chance of using something potentially harmful when an alternative is available?
Another concern about topical application of aluminum is that it irritates the skin. Some antiperspirants contain high concentrations of aluminum salts, perhaps using the “more-is-better” approach. However, these salts are quite acidic and can exacerbate razor burn and even contribute to the development of underarm acne.
If looking for an antiperspirant without aluminum, what options exist? People in Asia traditionally use crystal alum to inhibit excessive perspiration. Aluminum-free antiperspirants available in Western countries use this same principle, although they are usually known as crystal or salt crystal antiperspirants. These “rock” products must be wetted before use. Another option is a more conventional antiperspirant/deodorant from Adidas that contains no aluminum. This is more readily available than the crystal-type deodorants, which usually can be found in health food stores. Many natural antiperspirants also contain natural floral scents, which may be a refreshing change from the common “powder” or “sports” scents available on the market.
There are many options available for aluminum-free antiperspirants. Switching over may mean improved health, or at least, improved peace of mind.