Why Choose a Natural Deodorant Free of Synthetic Chemicals?

There is an average of 8-9 chemical ingredients on the labels of common brand name deodorants, per product.  (Some products have more, a few have less.)  This number does not include ‘fragrance/parfum’.  Based on my research, I believe that you can add an additional 6-15 chemicals onto the deodorant ingredient list to account for the legalized ‘secrecy’ of ‘fragrance/parfum’.

I examined 8 randomly chosen brands of well-known deodorants, 5 men’s brands and 3 women’s.  For those people who are online shoppers, I found many examples of brand name deodorants, which did not disclose any of the ingredients.

Such as:

  • Hugo Boss
  • Polo Black from Ralph Lauren
  • Mitchum Power Gel
  • Eternity
  • Armani Code
  • Degree For Women Motion Sense
  • Oscar de la Renta
  • Avon
  • Mitchum Power Gel For Women
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I found some, which disclosed only the active ingredient.

  • Axe

I found several which disclosed only the inactive ingredients such as:

  •     Old Spice High Endurance Fresh Scent
  •     Dove Men + Care Cool Silver
  •     Speed Stick Men’s
  •     Dove Go Fresh Revive Women

Then there are the brands who want to brag about the ingredients that they have not put into their products.  Sadly, they are not willing to disclose what they have put into their product.

  •     Arm and Hammer Essentials

Even upon an in store examination, I found that some brands devised another means to shroud ingredient lists.  The tactic that some brands use, is to conceal the ingredient list beneath a label that requires the consumer to peel it back from the product.

These examples of selective disclosure and outright non-disclosure appear secretive and consumers will naturally be wary and mistrustful of the motives behind it.

However, I digress; below you will find that I examined 3 items which are commonly found on antiperspirants and deodorant labels.

These are just some of my findings.

(Note:  The fraction following the name of each ingredient is the number of brands that I have found the ingredient in; out of the eight that I examined.)

Cyclopentasiloxane – 5/8

Environment Canada classifies Cyclopentasiloxane as expected to be toxic or harmful in terms of organ  systems, which means that they regulate its use.  In this case, it means that it can comprise no more than a specified percentage of the product.
The predominant concerns about Cyclopentasiloxane as it relates to human health are:  organ system toxicity, neurotoxicity, endocrine disruption, and cancer.  Please note, that the studies have all been animal studies, with no human studies complete at this time.

“For D5, (Cyclopentasiloxane), given the persistence of these substances in the water compartment, long-term environmental exposure to D5 is expected to potentially cause adverse effects to aquatic organisms in certain Canadian environments.” Environment Canada, Health Canada, Proposed Risk Management Approach for Cyclotetrasiloxane, octamethyl-(D4) and Cyclopentasiloxane, decamethyl-(D5), January 2009

Environment Canada also acknowledges the risk this chemical poses to the environment (specifically water and air).
Suspected to be an environmental toxin Environment Canada – Domestic Substance List (DSL)
Suspected to be persistent or bioaccumulative Environment Canada – Domestic Substance List (DSL)

Fragrance – 8/8

There is a list of approximately 3,100 substances that companies use when they fabricate their ‘fragrance’/’parfum’.
Included in this list are phthalates (suspected endocrine disruptors), some potential neurotoxins, and multiple types of harmful synthetic musk.

Below is a list of just some of the places where you will find ‘fragrance/parfum’ on labels.

  •     Shampoo
  •     Conditioner
  •     Soap
  •     Candles
  •     Air Fresheners
  •     Detergent
  •     Perfume
  •     Deodorant
  •     Antiperspirant
  •     Cologne
  •     Cosmetics and many more
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The fact that companies are not required by legislation to disclose on labels the precise ingredients that comprise ‘fragrance/parfum’, is a violation of consumer rights to know exactly what is in the products they are purchasing.

The right of the consumer to ‘know’ should trump the company’s right to protect the elements of their formulations.

Additionally, it is a serious health and safety issue since many people have chemical and multiple chemical sensitivities which cause allergic reactions, migraines and (life threatening) asthma attacks.  The response to this by some in the industry is that sensitive people can avoid scented products.  Well, here is the rub.  Some of the chemicals in ‘fragrance/parfum,’ are chemicals whose purpose, is to block the odour sensing abilities of our brains.  These chemicals are often used in so called, ‘scent free’ products.  These scent-blocking chemicals are also used in products to mask the smell of the other components in the formulation, which may have an inherently unpleasant smell.

The bottom line is, if there are synthetic fragrances in these formulations—they are still there and having an impact on your health—even if your ability to smell them has been taken from you– by the addition of yet more chemicals!

Next Up…

Aluminum Compounds 4/8  (Remember, some brands, in their online marketing campaigns, choose not to disclose all of their ingredients.)

Some of the aluminum compounds found in various brands are:

  •     Aluminum Chlorohydrate
  •     Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex GLY
  •     Aluminum Zirconium Octachlorohydrex GLY)

The subject of aluminum compounds in deodorants is one of controversy and disagreement.  There have been studies looking at possible cause and effect relationships between the aluminum in deodorants, and breast cancer.  Some doctors and researchers hold that there is sound scientific evidence to support the connection and others who feel that there is not, or that further research is needed before a definitive link can be validated.  This, from a recent article (August 2012) shows that the concern in the scientific community about this issue is still very active.

 “This article discussed recent research showing that component chemicals of personal care products can mimic or interfere with estrogen action, can enter the human body from dermal application, and can be detected in the human breast. Lifetime exposure to estrogen is an established risk factor in the development of breast cancer, and exposure to estrogenic chemicals of personal care products may contribute to the estrogenic burden of the breast. 

The potential link between, specifically, underarm cosmetics and breast cancer is suggested from the clinical observations that over half of all breast cancers now originate in the upper outer quadrant of the breast, the region to which these cosmetics are targeted. Regular application of multiple products that are left on the skin of the breast allows for continuous exposure to a range of estrogenic compounds in personal care products including parabens, musk fragrances, benzyl salicylate, benzyl benzoate, butylphenyl methylpropional, UV filters, phthalates, cyclosiloxanes, alkylphenol, triclosan, and the inorganic aluminum-based antiperspirant salts.”  Personal Care Products and Breast Cancer, P.D. Darbre, Current as of August 2012, Science Direct

There are also those who study the possible connection between Alzheimer’s disease and aluminum, via dietary ingestion.

Surprise!  The following products contain aluminum:

  •     Antacids
  •     Buffered Aspirin
  •     Food Additives
  •     Childhood Vaccines
  •     Flu Vaccines
  •     Aluminum is also used in water treatment facilities
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“Aluminum sulphate (or “alum”) and aluminum chloride are primarily used in municipal drinking water and wastewater treatment facilities to help remove suspended particles and bacteria from the water.”  Government of Canada, Chemical Substances-Aluminum Salts, 2010

I have included the above list and the quote below because it speaks to the issue of adding to the body’s chemical burden.  Our bodies are capable of excreting and metabolizing many of the toxins that we are exposed to; but there is a tipping point, after which the human body, being overloaded, has no choice left, but to store the toxins in the tissues.

“The hypothesis that Aluminum significantly contributes to Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is built upon very solid experimental evidence and should not be dismissed. Immediate steps should be taken to lessen human exposure to Aluminum, which may be the single most aggravating and avoidable factor related to AD.”   Aluminum and Alzheimer’s Disease: After a Century of Controversy, Is there a Plausible Link?  Lucija Tomljenovic1 1Neural Dynamics Research Group, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, 2010, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Here we are:

I have examined only 2 chemicals out of the 44 different chemicals that I found in 8 deodorants.  That does not even count the vast number of chemicals found in ‘fragrance/parfum’!

Many other common chemical substances in antiperspirants and deodorants contribute to concerns about chemical over-burdening for our bodies.

For example, here are some of the 44 chemicals that I mentioned above:

  •     Colour (violet 2, green 6, green 3, titanium dioxide, blue 1, yellow5 etc.)
  •     Trisiloxane
  •     Dimethicone
  •     Polyethylene Glycol (PEG-8)
  •     Dipropylene Glycol
  •     Sodium Stearate
  •     Aminomethyl Propanol
  •     Petrolatum
  •     Phenyl Trimethicone
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In conclusion:

Err on the side of caution.  We cannot and should not believe everything that we hear on the news or read in magazines or online.  However, if there are multiple studies with conflicting results about a product or an ingredients safety, then err on the side of caution, especially if there are easily accessible alternatives. Do what you can to minimize, avoid or eliminate your exposure to products or ingredients that have unresolved safety concerns.

When it comes to safe and effective alternatives to deodorants, there is an abundance of choices.  Check out Living Libations or Carina Organics.