by Sarah Thomas

We’ve been smearing deodorant on our underarms for over 100 years, so you’d think by now we’d stop trying to control body odor with products that contain subpar or harmful ingredients. Maybe your deodorant’s ingredient list isn’t something you think about every day as you put it on, but what are you willing to put up with in your deodorant? We all want to smell good but shouldn’t try to do so at the expense of our health. Here are four ingredients you might consider putting on your deodorant “no” list:

Parabens

You may already be boycotting parabens because research suggests these chemicals are harmful to our skin and health—but do you know what they are? They are a type of preservative that is used to prolong the shelf life of health and beauty products. Parabens are used to help prevent the growth of mold and bacteria in products. Some of the most common parabens are butylparaben, methylparaben, propylparaben, and ethylparaben. Be sure to buy a deodorant that is clearly labeled as “paraben-free.” With all of the other effective, more modern preservatives out there today, there’s no reason to use a product with parabens in it.

Aluminum

If the product you are currently using contains aluminum, it’s an antiperspirant. All antiperspirants contain aluminum, which is the only FDA-approved sweat inhibitor. Aluminum works to block sweat by clogging your sweat glands. It’s an ingredient that makes many nervous and hesitant, despite data not yet showing a link between aluminum and some health issues.

If aluminum also makes you weary or you’re just unsure, why not go another route? An increasing number of people are choosing to use aluminum free deodorant instead. Seek out one with naturally-derived ingredients and a formula that works to prevent the bodily process that leads to stinky sweat. In addition to playing it safe, deodorants that don’t contain aluminum won’t leave yellow pit stains on your shirts, which is a nice added bonus.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is a mild abrasive, which means it’s great for cleaning sinks and whitening teeth. But do you really want to put it on your pits? Over the last few years, there’s been a rise in deodorants containing baking soda because of its deodorizing properties. But the problem is that baking soda can cause skin irritation and rashes on your underarms. These types of skin issues are a sure sign that your deodorant is harming your skin. Be sure to read the label on your deodorant to make sure it is baking soda-free. While you’re reading the label, ensure you’re choosing a vegan, cruelty free deodorant that does not use animal products or test on animals.

Phthalates (Fragrance)

Phthalates are chemicals, some of which have been linked to health concerns, including endocrine disruption. They are used in plastic and vinyl products to make them softer and more flexible, and can be found in consumer products such as vinyl flooring, shower curtains, detergents, and toys. Phthalates are often found in personal care items—including some deodorants—because they help scents linger. If a product has the word “fragrance” in the ingredient list, you’re best to avoid it. Instead, seek out a product that’s either unscented or lightly scented with essential oils.
Sarah Thomas
Sarah Thomas