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aluminium-free deodorants

Ditching Aluminium: Why It's Time to Switch to Aluminium-Free Deodorants

, by AussiePharmaDirect, 7 min reading time

Sweat. As much as it is biologically natural for us to produce sweat, it isn’t exactly the most celebrated thing for us as humans. Well, it’s not surprising that when it comes to sweating, it a hundred percent always comes hand-in-hand with its bestie - the body odour. But do you know that sweat is not actually a direct cause of body odour? 

Yes, you read that right. As much as we want to blame sweat solely for causing body odour, the arch-enemy of the olfactory nerve of our nose that enables us to smell it, sweat in itself is basically odourless. In fact, body odour is produced when the bacteria naturally found on our skin break down the protein molecules within sweat. 

Because of this, we have been constantly on a mission to find whatever ways to reduce, if not eliminate body odour. In comes deodorants and antiperspirants - the greatest invention of all time. They are typically made of a combination of ingredients that work together to kill bacteria, neutralise odour, and provide a pleasant scent.

But there’s a catch. Deodorants are not the same as antiperspirants.

For a lot of us, the two terms are used interchangeably only because we have this understanding that they seem to work the same as the products look the same, no matter the brands - whether they come in stick, roll-on, or spray forms. However, it is important to note the distinct differences between deodorants and antiperspirants, and they are in the ingredients that make up the products. 

As a general knowledge, aluminium is commonly found as an ingredient in antiperspirants, not deodorants. Aluminium has antiperspirant properties which are why antiperspirants are known as they are. Deodorants, on the other hand, are formulated to reduce body odour but it does not stop us from sweating. Normally, they contain fragrances to mask body odour. 

But these aren’t just the only variations available in the market. Nowadays, a lot of deodorant brands come up with 2-in-1 products. This means the product is a combination of both deodorant and antiperspirant - or better known as antiperspirant deodorant. 

So it’s good to note that throughout reading the blog, when we mention aluminium-based deodorants, in this particular context we’re referring to antiperspirant deodorants.

The most common types of aluminium in deodorants

Now that we have that covered, let’s delve into the types of aluminium (boy, don’t we love chemistry) that these deodorants usually have. The most common form of aluminium used in antiperspirants is aluminium chlorohydrate. Some products may also use other forms of aluminium, such as aluminium zirconium tetrachlorohydrex glycine or aluminium sesquichlorohydrate. These compounds are also effective antiperspirants and can be found in both roll-on and spray deodorants.

As we’ve established earlier, aluminium is an active ingredient in many antiperspirant deodorants, as it helps to reduce sweating by blocking sweat ducts. When applied to the skin, aluminium compounds form a temporary plug in the sweat ducts, preventing sweat from reaching the skin's surface. This can help to reduce the amount of sweat that comes into contact with bacteria on the skin, ultimately reducing body odour.

On to the million-dollar question - Is aluminium in deodorants harmful to health?

To date, there is neither good nor bad news in relation to the use of aluminium-based products. There are several claims that suggest aluminium-based antiperspirants may be linked to health concerns such as breast cancer, Alzheimer's disease, and kidney problems, however, it’s important to note that there are still ongoing debates and research done on the safety of aluminium in deodorants and antiperspirants. 

When it comes to the claim that it causes breast cancer, Cancer Council suggests that people who use these deodorants are no more likely to develop cancer than those who don’t use them. 

Based on the research published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, while frequent use of antiperspirants or aluminium deodorants can cause aluminium to accumulate in the breast tissue, it does not, however, prove that they can cause breast cancer. This correlates with some other studies by other health organisations that stated that there is not much clear evidence to support the link of aluminium causing breast cancer.

So, how much aluminium is considered harmful or toxic?

It’s important to understand that the amount of aluminium absorbed through the skin from deodorants is relatively small, and the body has mechanisms to eliminate excess aluminium. So it does not generally pose any kidney-related risk to an average, healthy individual. 

But - and this is a huge BUT, aluminium can be a cause of concern for those who have kidney problems, especially those with kidneys functioning at 30% or less. People with impaired kidney function may be at a higher risk of aluminium toxicity, as their kidneys may be less effective at eliminating excess aluminium. This can lead to the accumulation of aluminium in the body, which can cause oxidative stress and inflammation in the kidneys, potentially leading to further kidney damage. If you have kidney issues, always consult with your doctor before using any aluminium-based beauty products. 

On the fence about using aluminium deodorants? You actually have an alternative! Some people do choose to use aluminium-free deodorants as a precautionary measure.

Switching to aluminium-free deodorants

One of the main benefits of using aluminium-free deodorants is that they are less likely to cause skin irritation. Antiperspirants work by blocking sweat ducts, right? This can sometimes lead to skin irritation or clogged pores. Aluminium-free deodorants, on the other hand, work by neutralising odour-causing bacteria with fragrances. 

While there are deodorants that use synthetic fragrances, a lot of these aluminium-free deodorants (or sometimes known as natural deodorants) tend to lean towards using more natural ingredients to really reduce any risks to the health and skin. So this means that the fragrances are usually from naturally derived essential oils. In addition, many aluminium-free deodorants are formulated with commonly used ingredients like aloe vera, tea tree oil, or witch hazel, which can soothe and hydrate the skin.

Which deodorants are aluminium-free in Australia?

Many people are seeking out natural and aluminium-free alternatives because of the growing awareness of potential health risks from synthetic chemicals found in common deodorant products. 

In response to this demand is the growth of local Australian brands producing natural and aluminium-free deodorants. These brands offer a range of natural and organic ingredients, including essential oils, plant extracts, and natural minerals, to create products that are gentle on the skin and free from harmful chemicals. To name a few, these brands are Biologika, Black Chicken Remedies, No Pong, and Woohoo.
And when it comes to buying these natural alternatives, you don’t actually have to look far and wide for it. Apart from their own online shops, Aussie Pharma Direct also stock on Woohoo deodorant sticks.

Key takeaways

In conclusion, the use of aluminium-free deodorants is becoming increasingly popular among people who are conscious of their health and the environment. While there is ongoing research about the potential harmful effects of aluminium deodorants, choosing a deodorant without aluminium can offer a safe and effective alternative.

What’s more important is that making the switch to aluminium-free deodorants can be a simple yet effective way to promote a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle.


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