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Antiperspirant Risks: Should You Be Worried About Using Antiperspirant?

Antiperspirant Risks: Should You Be Worried About Using Antiperspirant?

You’ve probably read some posts on social media or might have heard from a friend about some antiperspirant risks. According to these sources, antiperspirants contain aluminum which can cause cancer as well as Alzheimer disease.

But how true are these claims? Do antiperspirants really contain aluminum? And how can you keep yourself safe?

Antiperspirant risks: Are there any?

Before we talk about antiperspirant risks, let’s first talk about what makes antiperspirants different from another similar product—deodorants.

Deodorants, as the name suggests, are for removing or masking body odor. These usually contain chemicals that can neutralize certain odors, as well as fragrances to make a person smell good. Antiperspirants also have these chemicals, but they also serve another function, which is to minimize perspiration.

Most antiperspirants use aluminum hydrochloride in order to essentially block sweat ducts in order to prevent sweat from coming out. Even the traditional “tawas” antiperspirant is made of potassium alum, which also contains aluminum. So with regard to the fact that antiperspirants use aluminum, there is indeed some truth to that1.

But can the aluminum found in these products cause cancer and other harmful effects?

How harmful is aluminum?

According to the rumors circulating online, using antiperspirants causes the aluminum to be absorbed by the body. This can, in turn, cause a person to develop cancer or Alzheimer disease.

But based on studies done on antiperspirant use and cancer risk, there is no concrete evidence that links the two together2. The results of these studies have shown no difference between cancer risk for those who use antiperspirant and those who don’t use it.

With regard to the risk of Alzheimer disease, the amount of aluminum contained in antiperspirants is extremely small. Even if a person were to use these daily for their entire life, it wouldn’t be enough to cause any significant toxicity. In fact, we’re constantly exposed to various sources of aluminum in our daily lives.

From aluminum cans, pots and pans, medication, packaging, and aluminum foil, we use a lot of aluminum products daily. However, these also don’t pose a significant threat to our health. Aside from this, studies have shown no link between environment aluminum and Alzheimer’s disease3.

So can everyone safely use antiperspirants?

While antiperspirants are generally safe, it doesn’t mean that they don’t cause problems.

It’s possible for a person to be allergic or to be extra sensitive to certain chemicals in antiperspirants4. When this happens, they can experience skin irritation whenever they use these products. But if they avoid using products with those chemicals, it should be perfectly fine.

If you have particularly sensitive skin, it would be best to consult your doctor first before trying new products on your skin. They could also provide you recommendations on which products are safe to use, as well as which chemical ingredients you need to avoid.

Another important thing to remember is to only use products that have been certified as safe by the Food and Drug Administration or FDA. Avoid buying any antiperspirants or cosmetics from unreliable sources since these might contain harmful chemicals. Not only can these chemicals cause irritation, it’s possible that they might also contain harmful substances that can cause serious illness if used long-term.

Key Takeaways

Using antiperspirants is safe, and there have been no proven cases linking its use to cancer or Alzheimer’s disease. Any information circulating online about its link to these conditions is false, and not backed by any proper science.

So long as the antiperspirants you buy are safe and certified by the FDA, there should be no harm in using them every day.

Learn more about other issues of Skin Health here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources
  1. No, you shouldn’t worry about aluminum in your antiperspirant | Ohio State Medical Center, https://wexnermedical.osu.edu/blog/aluminum-deoderant, Accessed September 16, 2021
  2. Antiperspirant Use and the Risk of Breast Cancer | JNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute | Oxford Academic, https://academic.oup.com/jnci/article/94/20/1578/1802711, Accessed September 16, 2021
  3. Deodorants and breast cancer-cancer myth – Cancer Council Western Aust, https://www.cancerwa.asn.au/resources/cancermyths/deodorants-breast-myth/, Accessed September 16, 2021
  4. Is Deodorant Harmful for Your Health? – Penn Medicine, https://www.pennmedicine.org/updates/blogs/health-and-wellness/2019/june/deodorant, Accessed September 16, 2021
  5. Antiperspirants/Deodorants and Breast Cancer – National Cancer Institute, https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/myths/antiperspirants-fact-sheet, Accessed September 16, 2021
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Written by Jan Alwyn Batara Updated Sep 20
Fact Checked by Kristel Dacumos-Lagorza