Is Aluminum-Free Deodorant Actually Good For You?

Vegan and healthy living has swept the internet, and beauty products are not immune. Among the popular trends in fashion and beauty are aluminum-free deodorants. If you weren't reading the ingredients on your deodorant sticks, you probably didn't even know that some of them contained aluminum. But now you can find whole sections of the deodorant aisle dedicated to "natural" and aluminum-free brands. 

Now that we're learning more about the negative long-term effects of food and beauty products, it seems like you have to pay attention to the ingredients in everything. Many of us use deodorant every single day, no matter what the weather. And no one wants to use a deodorant that causes cancer, right? Here's what you need to know about aluminum-free deodorants. Are they actually good for you and do they work as well as other traditional deodorant brands? One of the key indicators is what the product is actually called, deodorant or antiperspirant (via Healthline).

Is aluminum found in all deodorants?

The short answer to this question is no. But the way people talk about aluminum-free deodorants online wouldn't make you think so. While it's true that most deodorants don't contain aluminum, a lot of antiperspirants do (via Healthline). How this affects deodorants is when they're sold as a two-in-one product, both a deodorant and an antiperspirant. 

Why do they put aluminum in antiperspirants, you might ask? While deodorants only reduce the smell associated with sweating, antiperspirants reduce the actual sweat being produced. They do this by adding aluminum to block the sweat ducts in your armpits, which cause you to sweat and smell less when you use them (via GoodRx). At first glance, it might seem like aluminum-free advocates are on to something. Why should we be adding unnatural elements like aluminum into our beauty products? Well, for starters, it's not the aluminum that you find in your kitchen that's being added to antiperspirant. There are a lot of other variations of aluminum that we're exposed to through food, water, and other beauty products, and it's not necessarily bad for our health (via GoodRx).

Does aluminum in deodorant cause cancer?

One of the main reasons behind the aluminum-free deodorant push is the claim that aluminum in deodorants and antiperspirants cause cancer. This was enough to scare many people into buying these natural, alternative deodorants, but they've largely been proven untrue (via Live Science). There was a study done in the early 2000s that seemed to indicate this, but after more scientists took a deeper dive into the issue, they found that was not the case. The American Cancer Society also put rumors to rest that aluminum in deodorant causes breast cancer (via Healthline). 

We've established that deodorants with aluminum aren't bad for you, but what about aluminum-free deodorants? If the only reason you're considering switching to an aluminum-free deodorant is that you're afraid to get breast cancer, you probably don't need to worry about it. However, there are some additional benefits to switching. Some people find that traditional deodorants irritate their skin, so changing to a natural deodorant can help reduce itching and irritation under your arms (via GoodRx). If you're concerned about exposure to different chemicals in deodorants and antiperspirants, you might switch for that reason. One drawback to using natural deodorants is that since they don't use aluminum to block sweat glands, they won't provide much relief for your sweating. Natural ingredients aren't as perfumed as traditional deodorants either, and they might not mask the smell of body odor.