Deodorant: the 7 main ingredients to avoid

The first thing you should do whenever you buy deodorant or any product that is applied to your skin or body is to read the ingredients. They usually have a very small print on the back of the label. If you have trouble reading fine print, bring a magnifying glass with you so you can read before you buy. This is essential because what is put on the skin can be absorbed directly into the bloodstream. And harmful ingredients in your blood can have life-threatening effects on your body.

Here are 7 ingredients to avoid when choosing your deodorant:

Aluminum hydrochloride, aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex glyceryl or any aluminum compound. 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 can cause reproductive harm. Since 2000, 13 research studies have shown that various types of parabens act as estrogens in animals and in tissue cultures. Estrogen is known to drive cancer cell growth.

Triclosan irritates the skin and can cause contact dermatitis. It can kill both healthy and harmful bacteria. May contain carcinogenic contaminants. It is stored in body fat and is classified by the FDA as a pesticide.

talcum powder It is classified as a carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer if it contains asbestiform fibers. The amount of asbestiform fibers in cosmetic grade talc is not regulated. If talc is listed on the label, there is no way to know if it contains asbestiform fibers or not.

Propylene glycol It is rapidly absorbed through the skin and is a penetration enhancer. May cause delayed allergic reactions. NIOSH says that propylene glycol is a neurotoxin and can cause kidney or liver damage. The EPA says it has not been thoroughly investigated for its carcinogenic potential.

Silica it is irritating skin. It may be contaminated with crystalline quartz, which is a carcinogen.

Steareth-n (n can be any number such as 100), it can be of plant origin but reacts with ethylene oxide (ethoxylated), a known human carcinogen.

Instead, choose deodorants with ingredients like vegetable glycerin, natural preservatives like bioflavonoids and lichens, herbs or herbal extracts, deionized or distilled water, green tea, aloe vera, baking soda, and essential oils.

A word of caution: The plant extracts listed on the labels may already contain parabens and propylene glycol. These do not have to appear on the label. Very few herbs supplied to manufacturers are free of parabens or other synthetic preservatives, unless they are extracted into vegetable glycerin. To make sure the products you buy are healthy and free of these harmful chemicals, call the manufacturer of the deodorant for detailed information.

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