The first thing you must do whenever you buy deodorant or any product that goes on your skin or in your body is to read the ingredients. They’re usually in very tiny print on the back of the label. If you have trouble reading small print, carry a magnifying glass around with you so you can read before you buy. This is critical because what you put on your skin can be absorbed directly into your bloodstream. And harmful ingredients in your blood can have potentially deadly effects on your body.
Here are 7 ingredients to avoid when choosing your deodorant:
Aluminum chlorohydrate, aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex gly or any aluminum compounds. Aluminum is absorbed through the skin and accumulates in the body. It has been suggested that there is an association between aluminum and Alzheimer’s disease.
Parabens (methyl, ethyl, propyl, benzyl and butyl), are all derived from toluene, a toxic petrochemical derivative. Toluene is toxic if swallowed or inhaled. It is also harmful in contact with the skin. There is some evidence that repeated exposure to toluene may cause reproductive harm. Since 2000, 13 research studies have shown that various types of parabens act like estrogen in animals and in tissue culture. Estrogen is known to drive the growth of cancerous cells.
Triclosan is a skin irritant and may cause contact dermatitis. It may kill healthy bacteria as well as harmful bacteria. It may contain carcinogenic contaminants. It is stored in body fat and is classified as a pesticide by the FDA.
Talc is classified as a carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer if it contains asbestiform fibers. The quantity of asbestiform fibers in cosmetic grade talc is unregulated. If talc is listed on the label, there is no way of knowing whether or not it contains asbestiform fibers.
Propylene glycol absorbs quickly through the skin and is a penetration enhancers. It may cause delayed allergic reactions. NIOSH says propylene glycol is a neurotoxin and may cause kidney or liver damage. The EPA says it’s not fully investigated for carcinogenic potential.
Silica is a skin irritant. It may be contaminated with crystalline quartz, which is a carcinogen.
Steareth-n (n may be any number like say 100), may be vegetable derived but is reacted with ethylene oxide (ethoxylated), a known human carcinogen.
Instead choose deodorants with ingredients like vegetable glycerin, natural preservatives like bioflavanoids and lichen, herbs or herbal extracts, de-ionized water or distilled water, green tea, aloe vera, baking soda and essential oils.
A word of caution: Plant extracts listed on labels can already contain parabens and propylene glycol. These do not have to be listed on the label. Very few herbs supplied to manufacturers are free of parabens or other synthetic preservatives unless they are extracted in vegetable glycerine. To make sure that the products you buy are healthy and free of these harmful chemicals, call the deodorant manufacturer and ask them for detailed information.
Dr. Christine H. Farlow, D.C. is “The Ingredients Investigator.” She has been researching ingredient safety since 1991. She is the author of three books, including the new, second edition of Dying To Look Good [http://www.dyingtolookgood.com/dtlg.html/]. To learn more about the safety of ingredients in your deodorant, visit DyingToLookGood.com [http://www.dyingtolookgood.com//].