Can antiperspirants really cause cancer or Alzheimer’s? Or, to be more exact, can aluminum be absorbed in the skin so as to cause cancer or Alzheimer’s?
From the scientific perspective, the answer is no. There is no conclusive research that clearly link aluminum intake through deodorants and diseases. There are some studies that aluminum levels were higher in Alzheimer’s patients, but we’re not sure if they were absorbed through deodorants, or other sources. Again, in another study, women who had breast cancer were asked if they used an antiperspirant, and most of them did. But again, who doesn’t? There are so many factors to cancer, you just can’t do controlled research.
However, if you ask most supporters of Alternative (or Holistic) medicine, the answer is yes.
Well I am not for or against either of those, because I know most medical research is not possible unless you have a big sponsor (if you are curious go and check out what happened to the author of Pure, White and Deadly), and the Internet offers so many alternative medicine solutions by unauthorized people, it is unsafe to trust either sources of knowledge. So it is like a Russian roulette.
But I know for one I am allergic to most commercial skincare, especially because of the artificial colorants and aroma.
Thinking about the risks, I tried to stay away from it, and I’ve had some unpleasant experiences. Well I tried crystal deodorants (which were aluminum salts anyway), dermo-cosmetics, and some commercial spray or stick deodorants but the result was the same. They did not prevent the smell. They made it horrible actually and I sometimes felt really ashamed in public. If I had left my underarms alone it could have been better, at least the odor would be more authentic!
In my trial and error for three years, I have found two perfect, inexpensive, harmless methods to prevent body odor (you will still sweat, and maybe we just need to accept sweating is healthy).
1) Essential Oils
My friend told me one day she just uses lemon as a deodorant, she rubs it on her underarms and she is fine all day. I was hesitant to try real lemons, but I found just two drops of lemon essential oil very, very effective. I used it for over a year, and no unpleasant odor whatsoever! It hasn’t caused any irritation either (and I am super sensitive). It’s much more practical to carry and apply than the actual lemon, and ridiculously frugal. You just use a couple of drops per day. A 20 ml bottle lasts about a year.
I have also tried diluted lavender and violet essential oils. Their scent is not as vague as lemon, so it’s not a good idea not to use any perfume if you opt for floral essential oils. Their scent lasts for the whole day. And it might be worth trying to use other EOs you have at home. They may work wonders 🙂
2) Coconut Oil and Baking Soda Deodorant- My Favorite!
After moving to Singapore, essential oils were just not enough because I was perspiring like crazy (perks of tropical climate, crazy humid all day!). So I had to find another way, and I finally tried the coconut oil deodorant.
I convinced my husband too, because even his aluminum-filled, commercial deodorant doesn’t work here! And he loves the switch, we’ve been using it for months and we’re never going back!
If you live in a dry-ish, mild climate the essential oils will work just fine. But if you perspire more than normal, and live in a humid area, then this is just for you.
The best thing about this recipe is that you can play with the ingredients as you wish. Baking soda might be abrasive for some and cause irritations, in that case, you can reduce the amount or skip it completely.
If you sweat like hell, then you can add more baking soda and skip starch too. Start with a small amount at the beginning, and go for the ratio you are most comfortable with.
DIY Deodorant Recipe
2 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil
2 tbsp baking soda
2 tbsp starch (corn, tapioca, doesn’t matter really)
optional: essential oil of your choice (lemon, lavender, orange etc.)
If solid, melt the coconut oil first, and mix all ingredients.
Move to a jar with lid. Can be kept at room temperature.
Let me know if you try one of these awesome alternatives to deodorant. Not only is this way cheaper than commercial deodorants, it is a low-waste alternative too!