It is a pretty common gesture that could turn out to be truly dangerous. According to a study published in September in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, the repeated use of antiperspirants could trigger breast cancer. Let’s decrypt it!
Deodorants and antiperspirants, what difference?
Before decrypting the results of that study led by two Swiss researchers, one should differentiate deodorants and antiperspirants because they are indeed two different products.
A deodorant contains active components that will get rid of the bacteria causing unpleasant odors and antiseptic components that are meant to reduce the proliferation of skin microorganisms. In addition to those components, a deodorant may contain perfumes (preferably natural) and more importantly, it doesn’t prevent you from sweating.
On the other hand, the components of an antiperspirant clog the sweat gland, which prevents your body from sweating and functioning naturally. Indeed, you might want to keep in mind that sweat is totally natural and essential to regulate your body temperature.
Antiperspirants often contain hormone disruptors that literally do what their names say, which can have a serious impact on reproduction and fertility. Among famous hormone disruptors, the aluminium salts are particularly implicated in that study.
Aluminium salts behind aggressive tumors
You can find them written with those INCI denominations: Aluminum chlorohydrate, Aluminium Sesquichlorohydrate, Aluminum zirconium pentachlorohydrate. Aluminium salts reduce the natural process of sweating by tightening your pores therefore restricting the secretion. Also, it is a very cheap raw material and available abundantly on Earth, which allows companies to offer ranges of deodorants at competitive prices.
André-Pascal Sappino and Stefano Mandriota are two Swiss researchers from the Grangette Foundation, the Oncological and haematology centre Hirslanden of the Grangette clinic and Oxford University (oh my!) and since 2016, they have been warning us about the dangers of using aluminium salts in cosmetics.
Back then, it was impossible to conduct a mass study on humans because it would take too much time to process and analyze the effects of aluminium salts on the long term. Thus they exposed mice to that substance, and they developed aggressive tumors.
According to the study they published in September 2021, aluminium salts would provoke DNA and chromosomes malfunction. This malfunction would cause cracks and random rearrangement, a phenomenon that is mostly observed in cancer cases. Since the use of antiperspirants is close to the mammary glands, even products containing a small dose could already be dangerous enough, and the researchers claim that only a small dose of aluminium salt is needed to cause those malfunctions.
As a result, the authors of that study demand the prohibition of aluminium salts in cosmetics, a decision that has the cosmetic sector shaking. Indeed, this industry still uses a lot of hormone disruptors in many different products.
Numerous brands offer an alternative
Different studies all come to the same damning conclusion: Only 15 to 20% of the deodorants on the market don’t contain aluminium salts. Besides, alum stone is not an alternative solution, because it’s a natural aluminium salt.
Here’s to another reason to transition to organic, sustainable and more importantly ecolabelled cosmetics. At Ecogarantie®, some of our members offer ranges of deodorants with a clear composition respectful of your skin and the environment. The deodorant stick from Ohloulou has the Ecogarantie® label and offers a very gentle synergy of 100% pure, highly nourishing oils, without controversial ingredients and without solidifying wax.
The brand Make Senz is also a member of our association, and sells a deodorant balm formulated with shea butter, coconut, baking soda, organic essential oils of cedar, bergamot and peppermint. It doesn’t have the Ecogarantie® label because 76% of the natural ingredients are organic (our standards demand 100%), but we still chose to mention it because several products at Make Senz have our label and their statement of “Less but better” fits our values.
At a quality/price ratio level, the French magazine 60 millions de consommateurs has elected the Sanex Zero% Sensitive 24h Deodorant Stick as the best deodorant on the market. If you take a closer look, the ingredient list is remarkably minimalistic, which is always something to prioritize, but two ingredients caught my eye: the Propylene glycol and the Tetrasodium EDTA. Those components might not be harmful to our body but their production is incredibly polluting and they are not biodegradable, hence prohibited in organic label’s standards.
As a sustainable consumer (or future sustainable consumer), it’s important to take into account every aspect of a production before making a choice. A good composition is essential, but the production methods, the packaging, the percentage of organic ingredients and the amount of renewable energies are just as important. We include all the previous criteria and more in our standards, this is why the Ecogarantie® label is one of the strictest in Europe.
You now have all the keys to stop breaking a sweat trying to find the right product (pun intended). We will keep an eye on the matter and will certainly keep you up to speed with it if you follow us on Instagram, Facebook or LinkedIn!