What Makes Your Antiperspirant or Deodorant Spray Toxic and Why Should You Care?
I used to like playing my man’s underarm hair…it’s weird I know, but there was something oddly comforting about it. It was comforting right up until I took a peek at the ingredients in his favorite Axe antiperspirant spray. And my God today…talk about a toxic ingredient soup!
Needless to say, I’ve been on the hunt for something much safer not just for him, but for me as well because I miss my underarm playground! But on a much more serious note, whatever your partner puts on their body gets on your body as well and since he and I are individuals who plan on hopefully birthing healthy children, it’s incredibly important that what we put on and inside our bodies are healthy and as low-toxic as possible.
Aluminum is a semi-man-made heavy metal that can bio-accumulate which can lead to negative health consequences. Deodorants and antiperspirants are often made with harmful chemicals like aluminum, which can disrupt hormones, increase your risk for breast cancer and inhibit sperm motility--among other things. Aluminum has also been linked to Alzheimer's disease among other negative health consequences.
BUT, aluminum is just ONE of the many toxic ingredients often found in deodorants for men and women. In fact, your favorite deodorant or antiperspirant may be advertised as 'aluminum-free' but still be chock full of several other harmful ingredients.
Let's take a look at the deodorant my man likes for a second. 'Axe Black 48 hour'. Notice the proud 'aluminum free' wording on the bottom? Talk about great and distracting marketing!
Its ingredients are: Alcohol Denat, Hydrofluorocarbon 152A, Butane, Isobutane, Propane, Fragrance (Parfum)
Let's break down the ingredients in this deodorant spray that are toxic and could be harmful to your health
Alcohol Denat -
Denatured alcohol is considered relatively safe but it can cause skin dryness by disrupting the natural oil barrier on your skin. If you have sensitive skin, this could be an issue. Let's move on to the really horrible ingredients, shall we? I marked them red just for you!
Hydrofluorocarbon 152A -
Propellant used in personal care products. It's considered safe according to the rules governing cosmetic products in the European Union - HOWEVER, HFC152A is an ozone-depleting greenhouse gas that contributes to poor air quality and can remain in the atmosphere for up to 20 years! HFCs can be up to 14000 times more damaging than CO2 to the atmosphere. So, PLEASE stop using products that contain this ingredient such as spray deodorants, hair sprays, and spray sunscreens. As far as we know, Earth is still the only planet we got for now, no matter what Elon Musk says.
Butane, Isobutane, and Propane -
These propellants are found in spray deodorants as well as other spray-on cosmetics. Now, these are all gases that are produced during the crude oil (petroleum) or natural gas refining process. So, every time we use products with these ingredients, we directly support the fossil fuel industry.
Scary thing 1 about these hydrocarbons - Butane, isobutane, and propane are lighter fluids that are usually contaminated with benzene - a very strong carcinogen - think Leukemia. These have been banned by Canada and the European Union in deodorants due to their carcinogenic (cancer-causing) properties. Of course, the USA has yet to impose such restrictions...why would they care about their constituents?
Scary thing 2: when you spray deodorants with these harmful and carcinogenic chemicals, a portion of the spray enters your lungs because it lingers in the surrounding air. You and your loved ones (and little ones) are potentially causing lung irritation every day by using these types of spray-on deodorants with these chemicals. Your lungs do such good work every day and deserve to breathe clean, non-toxic air.
If you do have to use a spray deodorant because you prefer that mechanism, consider choosing one that uses nitrogen instead of the above propellants. At the very least you won't be inhaling some benzene-contaminated compounds and you would also be using something less toxic to the environment and our air quality.
Fragrance (Parfum) -
Where do I start with this? If you'd like to learn more about the harmful effects of fragrance & parfum, check out this article here. Most manufacturers do not disclose the specific fragrance chemicals they use in their products in order to protect their product's unique formula. While this is great for business, the problem is that it means you have NO IDEA what's in it.
There are over 4000 chemicals that can be added to a product under the label 'fragrance' or 'parfum', many of which are certainly phthalates. Phthalates are linked to increased breast cancer, early puberty, and other endocrine disorders, especially in men. However, manufacturers use them because they are cheap to procure and make fragrances last much longer than they usually would. Basically, it's Money 1: Health 0.
This Axe body spray claims a 48-hour duration. Ask yourself: should a fragrance really outlast two showers? BTW, I'm assuming you shower twice in a 48-hour period (and actually wash your legs). The chances that the fragrance compounds used in this deodorant are naturally derived and non-toxic are slim to none. Of course, we won't know for certain because the manufacturer won't disclose those ingredients.
A product such as this might look very simple with its 6 ingredient list, but that very last ingredient (parfum) could encompass hundreds of toxic substances that the manufacturer is legally allowed to refrain from disclosing.
To further toxify matters, when you spray something that's full of toxic fragrances, those particles linger in the air and in the dust around us and on your clothing, causing prolonged inhalation and potential lung irritation. Our air quality is already terrible enough; don't further exacerbate your indoor air quality by using these harmful sprays.
I hope this post has given you a better idea of why your deodorant spray could be toxic and harmful to your health. I will go more in-depth in future articles. If you'd like my list of low-toxic deodorants that won't irritate your lungs or poison our air, check out this article here and...breathe long and prosper.