is aluminium safe in a deodorant?

Posted by smol on

Did you know that perspiration naturally has no smell until it mixes with the bacteria on your skin? And once our little friends get to work on that moisture, it doesn’t take long for them to generate their own special brand of odour.

If we want to fight the funk, most of us will reach for a deodorant or anti-perspirant.

But did you know the 2 products work differently? 

the smell test.

Deodorants do their best to mask any odours coming from your bacteria and sweat mixture under your arms whereas anti-perspirants actually decrease how much you sweat in the first place. And they do this by using aluminium compounds to block any sweat from ever reaching the skin. This means the bacteria on your skin never even get the chance to mingle with your sweat. Hey presto… you’ll pass the smell test.

but is aluminium safe in deodorants?

smol anti perspirant deodorant with the lid off

We are all exposed daily to low levels of aluminium from our food and water, from the soil and even the air (we eat around 7-9 mg a day)… it’s the most abundant metal in our earth’s crust. 

BUT at high levels, aluminium is a known systemic toxicant. 

So over the years, the safety of its use in anti-perspirants has been the subject of numerous controversies and alarming media reports. 

Let’s bust some common online myths about aluminium in deodorant…

aluminium in anti-perspirants does not cause cancer. 

One rumour asserts that aluminium could stop your body from sweating out cancer-causing toxins. This actually began as an email hoax back in the 1990s, but as Cancer Research states:

No, using deodorants, anti-perspirants and body sprays doesn’t cause cancer. 

The NHS does instruct people not to use spray deodorants before a breast screening. However, this is because they can affect the screening results, not because they are harmful.

Even if your armpit is right next to your breast tissue, not enough aluminium is absorbed to cause a health concern. According to the Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety for the EU, recent studies show that aluminium is hardly absorbed by the skin at all, including freshly shaved skin, and is also not stored in the skin.

aluminium in anti-perspirants does not harm your kidneys.

As the National Kidney Foundation says, it’s pretty much impossible to absorb enough aluminium through your skin to damage your kidneys. 

 "Unless you eat your stick or spray it into your mouth, your body can't absorb that much aluminium," says nephrologist Leslie Spry, MD, FACP, spokesperson for the National Kidney Foundation.

The only caveat to this is for those with severe kidney disease; with their organs operating at less than 30%. In this scenario you might like to avoid any intake of aluminium from whatever sources you might be in contact with. 

so, is it safe?

Yes, say the experts. 

And if you really want to stop sweat at its source it’s the only over the counter option that will give you the results you want.

Yes, too much aluminium in your body is not good, but you won’t get this from using anti-perspirants. 

The Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS), which advises the EU on health and safety risks has given its final opinion on the safety of aluminium in cosmetics products. 

Seventeen independent experts in chemistry and toxicology concluded that aluminium IS safe for use in anti-perspirants in the concentrations where these products are usually made (6.25% in non spray anti-perspirants). 

don’t sweat the smol stuff.

The aluminium salts in our anti-perspirant ensure it works effectively for 24 hours both at preventing a sweat and at masking any odours. 

And aside from its lightweight cotton-fresh scent, the wonderful thing about smol anti-plastic anti-perspirant is that the case is simply made from cardboard. 

Cutting back on our bathroom plastic is just one of the reasons why the smol revolution decided to get personal. We think how we keep our bodies clean has got to change and our body care range is going to help you do just that. 

Less carbon, less water, less plastic, just clean bodies and a cleaner planet.

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