Deodorant damage

Negative tolls of everyday deodorant

Deodorant+damage

Photo by Fatima Malik

Deodorant has always been just another daily necessity for me; I didn’t think much about it. One day, I looked in the mirror and realized the skin by my shoulders had begun to darken. I figured it would go away on its own, but the darkening only became worse. I talked to my doctor and figured out my deodorant was a potential cause for my irritated skin. It hadn’t occurred to me before that a small product could do so much damage. Since it was winter at the time and sweat wasn’t my biggest concern, I decided I could go without it. My arms lightened back to their former state, so I threw my deodorant out. After about a month, I found a new, natural deodorant that worked perfectly for me lavender Primal Pit Paste. This, along with maintaining my hygiene, became a new way for me to keep my skin at its best state. I’d now recommend others to make the switch to natural deodorant, and here’s why.

After doing some research, I realized the reason for the color change was my eczema, or atopic dermatitis, which only worsened because of my deodorant. I still found it a little weird that a small thing could create that kind of harm to my body, so I did some research. I learned that deodorant products today are two-in-one deodorant and antiperspirants, which contain propylene glycol and aluminum — two ingredients that block your sweat glands. 

Deodorant products could also be a contributing factor toward other, more serious health issues. I found that while there is a lack of solid evidence in the studies linking aluminum to breast cancer, one study has concluded that using deodorant products excessively may cause breast cancer, especially after shaving. According to Penn Medicine, it can also harm those with weak kidney functions as the kidney filters out excess aluminum. Additionally, around 60% to 70% of women and 50% to 60% of men have some form of sensitive skin, and according to the National Eczema Association, 18 million American adults (around 5.5% of the US population) suffer from some form of eczema. The fragrance in deodorants could only make sensitive skin worse by causing rashes around the area.

Here’s what really surprised me; despite the fact that most antiperspirants block the body’s sweat glands, the current estimated value of the antiperspirant and deodorant global industry is 74.55 billion U.S. dollars. While it’s a widely-used product, not everybody necessarily has a need for it. A gene called ABCC11 determines whether an individual has the chemical that produces odor in the underarm. A majority of East Asians and almost all Koreans, and 2% of Europeans, were found to lack the chemical.

After researching the harms of deodorant, I felt better about my switch to natural deodorant. This decision could be a great alternative to prevent any eventual health issues, and generally to live a cleaner lifestyle. Below is a guide to switching to a natural deodorant safely.

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  • Graphic by Fatima Malik

  • Graphic by Fatima Malik

  • Graphic by Fatima Malik

  • Graphic by Fatima Malik

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