Healthy Beginnings


Deodorants and antiperspirants are probably the most used cosmetic products on the market. Do you know the difference between them?

Antiperspirants stop us sweating by using zirconium and aluminium to block the pores which release the sweat. The astringent (meaning tends to draw together or constrict tissues; sharp and penetrating; pungent or severe) ingredients also contract pores, limiting the amount of sweat produced. Deodorants mask the smell of sweat but do not prevent sweating. They contain a fragrance or have anti-bacterial ingredients, such as triclosan, which minimize the odor-producing bacteria. Deodorants may limit the smell, but they will still leave you with wetness. If you don’t like the idea of stopping your body from sweating, deodorants are the best answer.

Aerosol and roll-on products will most likely contain ACH (Aluminium Chlorohydrate), whereas sticks, gels and other solid products are most likely to contain an antiperspirant salt called AZAG (Aluminium zirconium tetrachlorohydrex GLY).

Whenever you buy deodorant or any product that goes on your skin or in your body, it is a good idea to first 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. These compounds are readily absorbed into the skin. They are very soluble and very effective as antiperspirants. Inside the body, the aluminum portion of the molecule ionizes, forming a free or radical aluminum. This molecule passes freely across cell membranes and forms a physical plug. When this plug is eventually dissolved it is selectively absorbed by the liver, kidney, brain, cartilage and bone structure. Research suggests that there is an association between aluminum and breast cancer.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 and 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 enhancer. It may cause delayed allergic reactions. NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) 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 stearenth-100. It may be vegetable derived but is reacted with ethylene oxide (ethoxylated), a known human carcinogen.

One or more of these ingredients are found in most products on the market today. These are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to harmful ingredients in deodorants and antiperspirants.

Choose deodorants with ingredients like vegetable glycerin, truly 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. Also, mineral crystal stones have been used to eliminate unpleasant body odor dating back to ancient civilization. There are mineral stones available today as well as products made of mineral salts.


*”What’s in Antiperspirants and Deodorants” published by Unilever, one of the world’s largest antiperspirant manufacturers, to provide information about the safety of deodorants and antiperspirants. They state that the products are safe; at the same time they list ingredients of Aluminum, Butane, Isobutane and Propane.

**Top 7 Ingredients to Avoid by Dr. Christine H. Farlow, D.C. “The Ingredients Investigator.” She has been researching ingredient safety since 1991.

***EPA & FDA Websites; Cancer Prevention Coalition, Dr Samuel Epstein, University of Illinois, Chicago; Philippa Darbre, et al., Journal of Applied Toxicology 24, 5-13 (2004).

For more information please contact Rita or Steve of NatureRich at (775) 331-6490 or visit