5 Chemicals to Avoid in Antiperspirants

You can stay stink-free all day with a deodorant that is free from aluminum and other harmful chemicals. Just remember—a deodorant’s job is to de-odor, but since chemicals are not clogging up your sweat glands to keep the moisture inside, you will still sweat, but you just won’t stink.

If you still want to stick with the traditional antiperspirant, you could be keeping your underarms stocked with a steady flow of potentially hazardous chemicals. Here are 5 offenders you should avoid.

  1. Triclosan

    Triclosan, an antimicrobial agent that serves as an active ingredient in many antiperspirants, affects the way your thyroid hormones regulate gene expression, according to a study in Aquatic Toxicology.

  2. BHT and Parabens

    Two other hormone disruptors, preservatives BHT and parabens, aren’t found in all antiperspirants, but check your labels—these so-called “environmental estrogens” mimic the effects of your body’s own estrogen, affecting normal hormone function in the body.

  3. Formaldehyde

    Formaldehyde, a preservative component, is a known to cause cancer in humans, according to the Department of Health and Human Services’ report on carcinogens.

  4. Steareths

    Another class of ingredients, steareths are often contaminated with 1,4-dioxane during the manufacturing process, which the EPA calls a probable human carcinogen. Again, antiperspirants aren’t the sole culprit—lotions, scrubs, and oils, also often contain steareths. Since there’s no way to tell what quality of steareths you’re getting, it’s best to steer clear from them altogether when you see them on the label.

  5. Aluminum

    Infamous active ingredient aluminum is a possible irritant if your skin is sensitive. Even if you don’t have issues, its sweat-blocking function still traps waste in your body. Sweat, like it or not, is good for your health.

When choosing a chemical-free and aluminum-free deodorant, it’s important to note that everyone’s body chemistry can respond differently to the different ingredients. Some people prefer an alcohol-based spray and others love beeswax, a baking soda, or a clay base to stay smelling fresh all day long. It can be best to try a few different types and the moment you find the one your body loves—your nose will know.