There’s a lot of information out there telling you that you should only use deodorants, that antiperspirants can give you Cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease, and just about ruin your life. But how much of that is true? Do we need to worry about it? Let’s take a look at the details, and see for ourselves just what is what.
Deodorant VS Antiperspirant
First things first, let’s take a look at the difference between deodorants and antiperspirants.
Deodorant: Our armpits are home to many sweat glands, creating two warm and tucked-away spots where bacteria like to thrive. Deodorants help because they contain ingredients that are acidic or salty, that make our armpits a less desirable location for bacteria to grow. With no bacteria to mix with the sweat we excrete, the body no longer puts out unwanted body odor. Sometimes, deodorant is perfumed, giving your sweat a more pleasant smell. So you’re still sweating, but without the odor.
Antiperspirant: Aluminum compounds are the active ingredients of most (if not all) antiperspirants. These compounds absorb into the skin, temporarily plugging up the sweat ducts, stemming the flow of sweat. That "plug" only lasts for a little while, and that's why people often have to re-apply antiperspirant to keep dry. So, antiperspirants stop you from sweating, which means you likely don’t stink while that duct is plugged.
Health Canada labels deodorant as a cosmetic product, since it’s used only to mask or neutralize the body odor caused by bacteria. An antiperspirant on the other hand, is considered a "drug" because it actually temporarily changes the function of the skin by suppressing the flow of sweat.
Studies have shown that on average, most people take in approximately 30 to 50 milligrams of aluminum from food per day. Those using over-the-counter medications like antacids and aspirin ingest larger amounts, around five grams a day. At those levels, most experts say there is little evidence of harm.
Back in the 1960s, a few studies found high levels of aluminum in the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease. The research suddenly called into question the safety of everyday household items such as aluminum cans, antacids, and antiperspirants. However, that data is also questionable. William Thies, vice president of medical and scientific relations at the Alzheimer's Association in Chicago, believes this supposed “link” isn’t realistic. "One of the things that happens in Alzheimer's brains is that they shrink," he says. "So, you have accumulated a certain amount of aluminum in your brain, and as your brain shrinks, the concentration is going to appear high."
Other research from over 40 years ago, suggests that these aluminum compounds can be absorbed by the skin and can cause changes in estrogen receptors of breast cells.
Most breast cancers develop in the upper outer part of the breast -- the area closest to the armpit, whic is where antiperspirants are applied. But, this could all be coincidence. In fact, there’s a chance that concern about the link between cancer and antiperspirants may have originated with instructions that women should avoid applying antiperspirants, deodorants, powders, or lotions before mammograms in order to avoid creating confusing shadows on X-rays. This may have led to confusion about a potential link between cancer and personal care products.
What does it all mean?
According to many experts, the aluminum in antiperspirants (and other skin care products) doesn't even make its way into the body. In fact, the widely accepted risk of using either deodorant or antiperspirant is skin irritation. Regardless, we here at Tierra Mia always emphasize that what we put on our skin doesn’t just sit on top of it. The products and substances that go on our skin go into our bodies. That’s why no matter what research shows, we never add any harmful ingredients (like aluminium) to our products. We’re dedicated to keeping our line of skin care products as natural and clean as possible. You really could eat our soaps, lotions, and creams, though we encourage you not to do so.
LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR DEODORANT PASTE HERE!