A few years ago, I began educating myself about natural deodorants.
I was horrified by the information that I kept reading about commercial deodorants and antiperspirants that were sold at grocery stores.
Yes, those products will block sweat and odor. But they do so much more. They actively HARM your body along the way.
I had no idea that terrible chemicals such as parabens, propylene glycol and aluminum were present in commercial deodorants.
Not to mention ingredients such as triclosan, which is classified as a PESTICIDE by the FDA. Yet it finds itself into the deodorant we put on our arms and our children’s arms.
It is why I began to learn about organic and natural deodorants. While they do not block perspiration, they can completely block odor.
And we know that perspiration is healthy. It is a natural action for our body to release sweat, as it removes toxins from the body. It is the bad odor we want to avoid. Natural and organic deodorants are perfect for this purpose.
I stumbled on CRYSTALIZED DEODORANTS. These natural deodorants were marketed as the next big thing in vegan care products. I was so excited, ready to try these deodorants to see how they worked.
My Journey With Crystal Deodorants
I had done my research. I read about the different chemicals to avoid in deodorants. It is why my attention was turned to crystal deodorants. They were advertised as a natural, organic and vegan alternative to commercial products. It seemed there were no issues.
And when I tried the deodorant, I was impressed with its performance. But some time later I came across some information about serious issues with crystal deodorants.
“Natural” Does Not Mean Safe
Aluminum free is a common phrase that you may read when you attempt to find a natural deodorant. But then you are told about crystal deodorants, as these are some of the most common “natural” deodorants on the market.
The issue? Crystal deodorants contain aluminum! I was stunned when I learned about it the first time. How could a natural deodorant contain the very ingredient we were told was harmful in commercial deodorants?
What is Harmful About Crystal Deodorants?
Crystal deodorants are made of alum. They are made from potassium alum, which is short for potassium aluminum sulfate. In fact, the crystal deodorants are not technically natural, as potassium aluminum sulfate is made through the process of hydrometallurgy.
Sulfuric acid is combined with bauxite ore. The reaction results in aluminum oxide, which reacts with potassium sulfate to get us the potassium alum that is used in crystal deodorants.
You may see these crystal deodorants with fancy packages, indicating they are natural and safe. But most are made in a lab using the above chemical reaction.
And they are made in mass, in factories around the world where the working conditions are nothing close to environmentally friendly. Then crystal deodorants are shipped around the world, using even more resources.
Aluminum and Alzheimer’s
There are two major concerns associated with aluminum and the human body. These concerns are related to breast cancer and Alzheimer’s.
The first study to link Alzheimer’s to aluminum was conducted around 50 years ago. It was identified as a potential chemical that may cause the condition to occur in humans. And it was not just aluminum being ingested into the body, but aluminum in pots, pans, cans, antiperspirants and other items.
Even though a person does not put deodorant into their body, it does make contact with the skin. And the harmful chemicals in the deodorant, such as aluminum, will continue to make their way into the skin throughout the day.
A second study linking Alzheimer’s and aluminum emerged in 1985. Patients with Alzheimer’s were said to have high levels of aluminum in their brains.
An incident from 1988 is a major reason why many people are afraid about the impact of aluminum exposure on the brain. A truck driver accidentally dumped 20 TONS of aluminum sulfate into the drinking water of an entire town.
What happened 20 years later? There is a higher incidence rate of Alzheimer’s among the town’s population, especially among those people who lived in the town for the past two decades.
The issue is that a lot of the link between aluminum and Alzheimer’s is circumstantial. But the circumstances are horrifying enough to keep most people from using deodorants that contain aluminum.
Aluminum and Breast Cancer
The link to breast cancer is a little more complicated. Most of the concern focuses on the proximity of the breasts to the armpits. The aluminum that gets into our body through the armpits could make its way to the breasts through our lymph nodes. It is not a very short distance to travel.
Another issue with deodorants that contain aluminum is they are blocking sweat in a potentially unhealthy way.
As we mentioned earlier, sweat is a natural part of the body. It is how we get rid of toxins. It is the odor that we do not like.
When aluminum deodorants stop the body from naturally releasing sweat, those toxins remain in the body. And given the close proximity of the breasts and armpits, it is a fair assumption that such toxins may cause issues that lead to breast cancer, if they are not properly eliminated from the body through sweat.
There is scientific proof to back up some of these concerns. A study from 2012 in the Journal of Applied Technology suggested that aluminum compounds can change the way the breast cells divide in our body. And it can happen when the concentration of aluminum is very low – such as the amount that would get into the body through antiperspirants and deodorants.
Researchers also noted that aspirate fluids from the nipple showed higher aluminum levels in patients who had breast cancer, compared to healthy “control subjects” who did not have the cancer.
A lot of the helpful information I found on aluminum in crystal deodorant comes from Stephanie Greenwood’s impressive “The Chemical of the Day” blog. She routinely investigates chemicals found in various foods, home products and cosmetics, informing us about their potential harmfulness.
There is no need to ever consider using crystal deodorants. These products contain aluminum, are not made in a natural way, and are harmful for the environment in the way they are produced and sold.
Safer and healthier deodorants exist. These products are 100 percent natural, organic and safe. They do not contain a single harmful chemical. And they still manage to block odor completely.
The main ingredients you can expect in natural deodorants include citrus, bergamot, shea butter, coconut oil, essential oils, botanicals, sage leaf extract, goji berries and aloe.
These natural ingredients are present in different quantities and combinations, creating the texture and odor-repellent qualities we desire in our deodorants.
Here is a more extensive list I compiled of the safest and best performing natural deodorants.
I learned a valuable lesson on my journey exploring crystal deodorants.
Just because a product is labeled natural does not make it safe.
Some of the most toxic and harmful substances in the world are natural.
As vegans and organic advocates, we must be careful about the products we promote to our audience.
It is why I was so eager to inform everyone about the dangers of crystal deodorants.
I hope that my mistakes can serve a purpose, as you will avoid making the same error by trusting crystal deodorants!
There are many SAFER and HEALTHIER natural deodorants out there.