Deodorant: 10 Ingredients You Need To Avoid

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I know there are plenty of scare tactics out there regarding why you need to do this or that. The truth is, you need to be doing what works for you. However, one change I would urge you to consider is switching to natural deodorant.

Over 90% of Americans are using deodorant daily. That’s a lot of us. But what you may not realize is that the deodorant you’re using may be hurting you. Aside from that, you may also be using an antiperspirant, which is harmful as well.

The Difference Between Deodorant and Antiperspirant

Most people buy a deodorant/antiperspirant combination product. The truth is the two of different products. However, both are full of chemicals and known irritants.

Deodorant is made to deodorize or eliminate an offending smell. In the case of underarms, the odor comes from perspiration being broken down. When perspiration is broken down a bacterial process occurs which can lead to bad odors. Deodorant is used on underarms to combat this scent.

Antiperspirants work differently than deodorant. Antiperspirant has ingredients which gel together and then sit on top of our sweat glands. With these gels on top of our sweat glands, our glands are blocked and therefore there is a reduction in the amount of sweat released from our bodies.

Learn about the 10 toxic deodorant ingredients that are harming your body. Plus one do-it-yourself natural deodorant recipe and four natural deodorants that work! #safecosmetics #toxinfree |

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Why We Need To Sweat (and not use antiperspirant)

We need to sweat. When we use antiperspirant we are blocking our bodies natural function. So why is sweating such an important function of our body?

1. Sweating helps to release toxins from the body, especially excess salt, cholesterol, and alcohol. Battling high blood pressure or high cholesterol? Try allowing yourself to sweat and see if that helps.

3. Sweating also helps with regulating our body temperature. This helps to keep us from overheating.

Chemicals in Deodorant

You’ve heard that chemicals are bad for you. If not, read this. You also know that in the United States the FDA is not being proactive on your part and the cosmetic industry is full of bad chemicals.

So which of these chemicals might be in your deodorant?


Parabens are a preservative found in many cosmetics. They imitate estrogen in the body. Scientists know that estrogen plays a large role in breast cancer and research continues on whether parabens are a risk factor for breast cancer.


Triclosan is a chemical manufactured to kill bad and beneficial bacteria. It is classified as a pesticide and is a probable carcinogen. It is known to disrupt hormone production and thyroid function.


Phthalates may be hiding in the ingredient list under “fragrance”. They help the deodorant be smooth and glide on easily. They are known to be endocrine disruptors and may mimic estrogen in the body. Phthalates are listed as a probable carcinogen as well.


Triethanolamine (TEA) and diethanolamine (DEA) are used in many cosmetic products. They are banned in Europe since they are known carcinogens. TEA can cause allergic reactions and DEA can cause kidney and liver damage.


Silica is added to deodorant to help absorb wetness. However, it is a skin irritant and may be contaminated with crystalline quartz. Crystalline quartz is a known carcinogen.


Propylene-Glycol is used to prevent deodorant from drying out. However, it is known to cause a number of problems. These problems include neurotoxicity, skin rashes, kidney damage, liver damage, and headaches.


Stereaths are an additive in cosmetics that are developed during the manufacturing process. They are directly linked to a known carcinogen called dioxane.


Talc is used in deodorants to absorb wetness. It is classified as a carcinogen. Talc is not regulated and may contain asbestiform fibers as well. There is no way to know if the talc being used contains asbestiform fibers.


The term fragrance is not well-regulated and can include a variety of chemicals. Fragrance can be especially irritating to our respiratory systems and some are carcinogenic.

Aluminum (found in antiperspirant)

Aluminum is the ingredient that plugs your sweat glands. However, more importantly, it has been found to interfere with estrogen levels. Research continues in an effort to determine whether aluminum is directly related to breast cancer.

Switching To Natural Deodorant

When you switch to a natural deodorant you might experience a good 2-4 week period where your body adjusts. The length of time it takes for this adjustment is personal and based on your body. Remember, you have been clogging your underarm sweat glands for (possibly) many years. The glands need to unclog. Once they are unclogged any build-up of toxins will need to be released.

You can either purchase a natural deodorant or make one yourself. But either way, you will need to allow your body a good month to acclimate itself.

Natural Deodorant Recipe

If you want to try making your own natural deodorant there are plenty of DIY recipes available. I used to use the below recipe and found that it works well. However, I live in a hot climate and I found that during the Spring and Summer months I had to keep it in the fridge to stop it from melting. That was not too convenient.

I’m working on coming up with a new and improved recipe, which I’ll share with you all once it’s ready. But in the meantime, you can try this one, if you would like.

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon Baking Soda (aluminum free)

1/4 Coconut Oil

2 tablespoons Corn Starch

20 drops of your favorite Essential Oil

Combine all ingredients and place in an airtight container. You can use a small dish, with a lid, and place the deodorant to your underarms using the tips of your fingers. However, if you prefer to not apply with your hands you can scoop the mixture into an old deodorant container (that you have washed out) or one of these and apply directly to your underarms.

Best Natural Deodorants

If you rather purchase a natural deodorant the below brands are safe choices. Each person’s body is different, and therefore one brand that works for me may not work as well for you. The best option is to pick one brand and test it for yourself (but remember that one month detox period). If you find that the brand is irritating to your skin or doesn’t work well with your body’s chemistry than try a different brand next. If you have a skin reaction, a common culprit is the baking soda in the ingredients. Primal Pit Paste makes a low baking soda deodorant and a baking-soda free deodorant that would be worth trying.

The below four brands I have either used myself or have heard wonderful things about. While purchasing these online is an option, some of these natural deodorants can be found at your local stores including Target and Whole Foods. Others you will have to purchase online.


Primal Pit Paste


Korina Naturals

Try Natural Deodorant

Give natural deodorant a try. You won’t smell, but you will sweat. But sweating is natural! If you have any experiences or suggestions of natural deodorants that work for you please comment and share. Also, please ask any questions in the comments.

As Always

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Brooke has been helping families as a board-certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, since 2007. Prior to that, she spent 4+ years working as a Registered Nurse in both pediatric and postpartum nursing. Brooke holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Master of Science in Nursing. Additionally, she is dual-licensed in her state as both an APRN and RN.


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