When it comes to shopping for the right deodorant, making an informed decision can be difficult. There are so many options out there, including organic, for sensitive skin, odourless, gels, and more. The labels all look similar and the list of ingredients for deodorants can be complex. For example, do you know what ethylhexylglycerin is?
Even when several products have the ecological seal, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are better for you! Cover up the odour of sweat, yes. But at what cost?
To make your shopping easier, we’ve put together a list of six ingredients to avoid in deodorants, according to EWG.
1. Aluminum compounds and salt
Aluminum compounds are commonly found in pharmaceutical and beauty products. In deodorants, aluminum salt helps prevent sweating. When it dissolves, it actually prevents sweat from forming on the surface of pores. That said, sweating is a good thing! By blocking this natural bodily function, aluminum salt also reduces the benefits of sweating. When you sweat from exertion, you’re also flushing out toxins and releasing excess salt and calcium. According to researchers at the University of Washington, this natural process even reduces your chances of getting kidney stones.1 Unfortunately, when this flushing process is prevented due to aluminum, the opposite may occur.
Sweating is also the body’s way of staying cool. Yes. You read that right! As sweat on the skin evaporates, it helps rebalance body temperatures and prevents heatstrokes during heat waves or intense training. As well, blocked pores can lead to a rash! It’s much better to allow pores to breathe.
This common ingredient found in baby powder is known for its ability to resist moisture and absorb oils. Talc also is what gives certain deodorants their silky texture, making them easy to apply. But did you know that in its natural form, talcum powder contains asbestos, a substance which, when inhaled, can cause a variety of cancers, including lung and ovarian cancer?2
While there’s little chance that you will smell the talcum powder when you put on deodorant, the reality is quite different for people who work in mines, their communities, and their ecosystems. Extracted in the form of large blocks, the talc is then broken into several pieces and crushed mechanically; a process that releases a lot of talc dust into the air and puts everyone in and around the area at risk. We think we can agree that this is not ideal. That is why talc is an ingredient to avoid in deodorants.
The words “paraben free” are so common on the labels of body care products that it has become easy to avoid them. But why are they harmful?
Parabens are used to prevent mould, bacteria, and yeast from forming on deodorants. At first glance, this may seem like a good thing. However, according to several scientific studies, these chemicals are also frequently associated with hormonal imbalances and problems affecting fertility and reproductive organs, in addition to increasing the risk of certain cancers.3 Ah! And they can also cause skin irritations.
4. Propylene Glycol
Speaking of skin irritations, that’s exactly what you may experience on your armpits if you have sensitive skin and choose a deodorant that contains propylene glycol.4 A member of the alcohol family, it is a very common chemical compound that is found almost everywhere. It is used to give deodorants a nice cylindrical shape that does not crumble, as well as used to prevent the formation of ice on airplane wings. When you think of it, rubbing a layer of defroster on your underarms is a little weird, right? That's definitely one ingredient you want to avoid in your deodorant.
Triclosan is an antibacterial that is commonly added to a multitude of consumer products, including body lotions, shower gels, toothpastes, and deodorants. But just because it’s common doesn’t mean it’s safe! In 2017, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned the over-the-counter sale of antiseptic products containing triclosan, in part because the ingredient could harm the immune system. The antibacterial is indeed suspected of being an endocrine disruptor that compromises hormonal balance and promotes the emergence of bacteria that is resistant to antibiotics according to a study published in Science Translational Medicine.5
Repeat after us: phthalates, phthalates, phthalates… It’s not the easiest word to say, is it? Good. Let’s hope you don’t have to say it often. This chemical compound, which acts as a fixative or solvent in a multitude of body care products, is the last on our list of ingredients to avoid. Why? Because it can damage the liver, kidneys, lungs, and reproductive system. Ouch!
The EWG VERIFIED™ Security Seal
Today, most brands seem to be making a greater effort to be greener and healthier. But who can we believe? To help you determine which ingredients and products are actually safe for you and the environment, the independent and non-profit Environmental Working Group (EWG) collects, analyzes, shares, and brings awareness to public information with the intent of protecting your health and our planet. They have created the Skin Deep® database, which lists over 80,000 personal care products and provides descriptions of over 150,000 chemicals, classified by degree of toxicity and approved use. It's a great tool to help you find the right deodorant and the ingredients to avoid.
The ATTITUDE brand of products, including our line of natural deodorants, are included in the EWG Skin Deep database, which supports our mission to use only ingredients that are healthy for humans and the environment and that provide peace of mind.