Last year, I heard Birchbox founder, Katia Beauchamp, speak at a beauty industry event. She was talking about the shift towards more natural beauty products and then got on the topic of deodorant. She said she was appalled to hear that there are people out there who are still using deodorant with aluminum. Whoops, I didn't even know that was a thing.
And I realized this was old news to many people around me. I never thought too much about it. I discovered Secret in my high school days and have been using it ever since.
But since Katia's comment, I did a little digging. Apparently antiperspirants use an aluminum-based compound to block sweat while deodorants block smell. And while deodorant controls odor, it is not so effective at controlling sweat.
I found lots of literature that states that many deodorants are loaded with toxic chemicals and we are putting them on one of the most sensitive areas of our bodies. But while there have been rumors that aluminum deodorants have been linked to breast cancer, the American Cancer Society states here that "There are no strong epidemiologic studies in the medical literature that link breast cancer risk and antiperspirant use, and very little scientific evidence to support this claim.” In short, I'm still not clear on what it all means.
Aluminum-free or natural deodorants have emerged as a response to the potential risks that can come from the aluminum in antiperspirants. If you browse the beauty aisle anywhere from Whole Foods to Target to Sephora, you'll now find a plethora of options. I've been using Ursa Major, a brand touted by Outdoor Voices, Credo Beauty and Well + Good, and while it smells fresh when I put it on - it honestly doesn’t perform as well as Secret. (I’ll spare you the details).
That being said - the potential effects of aluminum and other chemicals on our lymph nodes each day are a bit worrisome so my solution to date has been to default to my natural option but on really hot days when I know I’ll be running around, I may sneak on a little bit of my old stuff. If I could use my aluminum-based deodorant less, that’s progress, right?
A friend of mine and beauty industry veteran just launched a new brand of aluminum-free deodorant called Type A that I’m excited to try. And my cousin recently told me that she just uses just pure coconut oil as deodorant now. (Had no idea that could work!). But in the name of health and wellness, I'll keep experimenting with other options and will keep you all posted.