Which Non-Toxic Deodorants Actually Work?
How many times a day do you apply deodorant? Did you know every time you apply deodorant you could be exposing yourself to toxic ingredients and endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs)? The buildup of EDCs, which are found in nearly all traditional beauty and personal care products, can eventually lead to health issues for you, and if you’re pregnant, they can lead to a range of health issues for your unborn child as well.
Endocrine disruptors interfere with hormones, preventing the endocrine system from working correctly. They can cause the body to overproduce estrogen (the female sex hormone), androgen (the male sex hormone), and thyroid hormones. They can also affect fertility, nervous system functions, and immune functions. Some researchers even believe the risk of breast cancer may be increased by one’s exposure to endocrine disruptors.
What’s In Conventional Deodorant?
Antiperspirant deodorants block your underarm sweat glands to prevent you from sweating, which is how the body remove toxins. The biggest concern regarding antiperspirant deodorants is that aluminum is the most widely used active ingredient. There is research that suggests that daily exposure to aluminum can eventually lead to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease and breast cancer. According to researchers, a majority of breast cancers develop in the upper outer part of the breast, closest to where we apply antiperspirant deodorants. Aluminum can easily be absorbed by the skin, especially when the skin’s surface is exposed due to shaving, making women more susceptible than men.
Parabens are chemicals that are used as preservatives to prevent bacteria from growing in many personal care products. Parabens are also easily absorbed by the skin, which is concerning because they are potential endocrine disruptors. Although some argue that they are weak mimics, they do have a very similar chemical structure to estrogen and can mimic the hormone’s activity in the body.
Research suggests that exposure to parabens can have a role in the “development and progression” of breast cancer because these EDCs have been found in breast tissue samples of women with breast cancer. The most common parabens in personal care products are methylparaben, propylparaben, ethylparaben, and butylparaben.
Triclosan was introduced in the ’70s as a surgical scrub in hospitals. While Triclosan has since been banned from use in antibacterial liquid soaps by the FDA since 2016, it’s still an ingredient found in deodorants and toothpaste. Classified by the EPA as a pesticide, Triclosan is an antibacterial and antifungal agent used to destroy or inhibit bacterial and fungal growth. The main concern regarding this chemical is that it can also impact estrogen, androgen, and thyroid function. Scientific American reported back in 2007 that Triclosan is detectable in human blood, urine, and mother’s breast milk.
Did you know every time you apply deodorant you could be exposing yourself to toxic ingredients?
5 Non-Toxic Deodorants That Actually Work
One of the best and relatively simple ways for you to reduce the exposure to endocrine disruptors and toxins in your life is to start with your personal care items. While these deodorants are pricier than your typical drugstore brands, they’re an investment in your long-term health.
Below are five non-toxic deodorants we are currently obsessing over. Not only are they elegantly packaged, they also smell great, they apply beautifully (no white streaks, no clumps, and no flaking), they are free of harmful ingredients and most importantly, they work!
Kosas Chemistry Deodorant
Kosas Chemistry has changed the non-toxic deodorant game, using a blend of alpha hydroxy acids to fight BO by lowering the pH level on your skin, making it inhospitable to odor-causing bacteria. The unscented variety is my personal favorite deodorant and it works so well, you’ll never be tempted to use your old antiperspirant when you have an important meeting or date night. Chemistry’s unique roll-on formulation soothes the skin and exfoliates to prevent ingrown hairs, and best of all, it brightens the underarm area, eliminating the darkening caused by some other types of natural deodorants. $15
Agent Nateur & Shiva Rose Holi (Rose) No. 4 Deodorant
Handmade with high-quality, food-based ingredients and without aluminum, parabens, pesticides, sulfates, petroleum, and GMOs. The coconut oil base makes this deodorant naturally antibacterial and ensures it’s smooth application. A rose and sandalwood essential oil blend keeps you smelling fresh all day. Because sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) is the second ingredient, some people may experience some sensitivity after shaving. $26
Ursa Major Forest Fix Deodorant
This unisex scent from Ursa Major is one of our top non-toxic deodorant picks thanks to its energizing woodsy-citrus scent. The formula contains baking soda and fir essential oil to fight odor-causing bacteria, kaolin to absorb moisture, and hops to neutralize unpleasant odors. It does not contain any aluminum or synthetic fragrances. A bit more of an outdoorsy scent, but sure to keep you odor free for 24 hours. $18
Corpus Natural Deodorant
Corpus deodorant brings a high-end luxurious feel to the non-toxic deodorant world, and we’re not just talking about the chic packaging. This deodorant has the silkiest application of any non-toxic deodorant on the market. It literally glides across your skin and leaves absolutely no residue once dry. The highly effective vegan formula is water-based and made with natural enzymes. Corpus omits aluminum, talc, parabens, baking soda, phthalates, and synthetic fragrances. The only tricky thing about this product is picking which of the five delicately beautiful scents to buy. $22
Each & Every Natural Deodorant
Co-founded by a former scientist and brand manager from Procter & Gamble, Each & Every natural deodorant is EWG-verified, but backed by legit science and research. Each & Every deodorant comes in a variety of scents (be sure to snag the limited edition scents each season!) and it’s made without baking soda, making it an excellent choice for those with sensitive skin. If natural deodorant has let you down in the past, this is one to try. $28 for 2
It’s recommended that you always dry your underarm area very well before applying a non-toxic deodorant due to the lack of chemicals and natural oils and ingredients used.
Something to also consider when making the switch from conventional deodorants to non-toxic formulas is the detox period. That means you’re going to smell worse before you smell better, but don’t let that discourage you. The detox period can take anywhere from 2–4 weeks depending on your body chemistry, but sticking through the entire detox period is vital in finding the right non-toxic deodorant for you.
(Have questions about natural deodorant? Read our frequently asked questions about making the switch.)