Should You Avoid Using Antiperspirants?

Manage sweat and body odor by using two types of products that you can turn to, deodorant and antiperspirant.

Deodorant reduces (or replaces) odor.

Antiperspirant reduces perspiration (sweating).

You can also find combined products that do both.

While it is essential to find a product that works well for you, it is also important to be aware of the ingredients in these products and the potential risks.

Aluminum and Antiperspirants

Antiperspirants block or plug your pores to reduce the amount of sweat produced. They are made with aluminum salts that dissolve into your pores to form a temporary plug.

In cases of hyperhidrosis or other health conditions that cause too much sweating, doctors or dermatologists might recommend prescription antiperspirants, which contain an even higher concentration of aluminum salts.

Aluminum is not typically found in deodorants unless the product is specifically intended to work as both a deodorant and an antiperspirant.

Potential Risks Associated With Aluminum

There is some concern about the use of aluminum in these products and its potential health risks.

You’ll see an FDA-required warning label on antiperspirant products that states, “Ask a doctor before use if you have kidney disease.” This has led some people to believe that antiperspirants can cause kidney damage. But there is no evidence to support this claim. The warning is there because people already living with stage 4 or 5 chronic kidney disease won’t have enough kidney function to process and eliminate aluminum from their system as quickly as someone with healthy kidneys would.

There appears to be a correlation between frequent use of underarm antiperspirants and the amount of aluminum found in the cancerous breast tissue. This does not necessarily mean that aluminum causes breast cancer. Cancerous cells might lead to the accumulation of aluminum in the tissue rather than aluminum, leading to cancerous growth. More research is needed.

Higher levels of aluminum and other heavy metals (mercury and cadmium) have also been observed in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease. Again, it’s unclear if this is a causal relationship or if there is some other explanation.

Your skin absorbs very little aluminum, and daily use of antiperspirants does not significantly increase the amount of aluminum in your system. Higher aluminum and heavy metals concentrations likely result from other environmental sources, such as food or medications.

If you are concerned about the use of aluminum in antiperspirants, many effective deodorants on the market do not contain this ingredient. Talk to your doctor or dermatologist if you have any questions or concerns.