Is Natural Deodorant Really A Healthier Option?

For years we've been warned about the harmful effects of using over-the-counter antiperspirants and deodorants. One of the main ingredients that carry the blame for its toxic effects on our skin and bodies is aluminum (via Time). In addition, some have connected the element to a heightened risk of Alzheimer's disease and breast cancer. This has pushed many health-conscious people to lean toward using a natural, aluminum-free alternative (via New York Magazine). After all, we go to great lengths to ensure we care for ourselves in the healthiest ways.

However, if you've ever used an all-natural deodorant in an effort to detox your armpits, you know it's hard to find one that works like over-the-counter options. In addition, the search for the perfect balance of coverage and natural ingredients can be expensive and often frustrating. As a result, many feel forced to choose between feeling fresh and clean and staying healthy, even trying alternatives to deodorant like glycolic acid on their underarms

Because of these concerns, we looked into the validity of these claims, and what we found may surprise you.

Why the search for all-natural products?

The Food and Drug Administration defines antiperspirants as "a drug product applied topically that reduces the production of perspiration (sweat) at that site." In the past, there's been conversation about products that contain aluminum having negative effects on the body. Because of the growing speculation, scientists wanted to study the connection between breast cancer and products that contained aluminum.

Since antiperspirants act as a "plug" of sorts to sweat glands, some believe that blocking them from doing their job and cooling down the body is potentially damaging. In addition, because these products are used so close to the breast, questions surrounding any connection between antiperspirants and breast cancer continue to be asked. Still, there isn't enough significant evidence to prove that aluminum products cause breast cancer. In fact, scientists couldn't find any considerable evidence proving these products caused breast cancer (via the National Cancer Institute). The same can be said for Alzheimer's. So the claim that these product's ingredients could penetrate the bloodstream and damage our bodies just isn't valid (via HuffPost).

Is natural deodorant worth it?

Although some people still believe aluminum in antiperspirants is the root cause of certain cancers and Alzheimer's, the truth is that there really aren't any significant connections. After all, aluminum is one of the most common elements, so every person is exposed to it in some way every day. Experts say that what consumers should really be worried about are fragrances (via The New York Times). Even products that claim they contain essential oils can be problematic. Some users complain of sensitive skin in the underarm area and irritated skin from allergic reactions to these fragrances (via Penn Medicine).

Overall, aluminum-free natural deodorants are neither better nor worse than over-the-counter deodorants. While it may be labeled natural, double-check the label to see what that means (via Time). The good news for those who do not get the same coverage with these natural deodorants is that there is no considerable benefit to compromising the way you smell for your health. Your best bet is to shop around for a deodorant that does not irritate your skin and one that makes you feel fresh and clean.