Watch Out for These Toxic Ingredients in Your Deodorant

Smelling good isn’t worth your good health! Here's a list of potentially harmful ingredients to look out for before buying your next deodorant

Man spraying deodorant
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For those natural born sweaters or active people, deodorant is one of those products that you can’t live without. There’s nothing more embarrassing than dealing with an odor because of excess sweat. While deodorant is a must-have product if you want to smell fresh all day long, many of today’s store-bought options contain ingredients that are likely doing more harm than good.

Why You Should Make the Switch to All-natural Deodorant

The fact is that most store-bought deodorants are likely to contain harmful ingredients. To stay fresh throughout the day without risking your health, it’s best to switch to a natural deodorant. Natural deodorants will have you smelling great thanks to natural ingredients like zinc oxide, magnesium, baking soda, arrowroot powder, and essential oils. Not yet convinced that store-bought deodorant might be unsafe and unhealthy? Below we list five common ingredients that could be potentially toxic, especially with long-term use.

Avoid These Toxic Ingredients in Your Deodorant


Triclosan is used in many products to minimize bacterial contamination. In fact, triclosan is so common that more than 3/4 of Americans have detectable levels in their urine. Aside from minimizing bacterial contamination, the ingredient also kills bacteria found on the skin’s surface. According to the FDA, studies have found that exposure to high dosages of triclosan has to led to a decrease in thyroid hormones in certain animals. Other studies have found that the ingredient can lead to antibiotic-resistant bacteria. While the FDA still allowed it to be used in deodorants, it’s been banned from use in antiseptic products because it was determined to not be generally safe and effective. We think that if it’s not safe enough to use for washing your hands, it’s not safe to apply on your skin for hours at a time!


Parabens are one of the most commonly used ingredients in personal care products, including deodorant. Parabens are used as a preservative to keep your deodorant lasting for weeks at a time. However, research has found that this ingredient may interfere with hormone production and regulation, including estrogen. There’s concern that putting parabens in the armpit region can increase the risk of cancer cell growth in the surrounding area and breasts. The risk is even greater when different parabens are mixed. While more research is needed to solidify a causation link, it’s best to avoid deodorants that contain parabens.

Propylene Glycol

Propylene glycol is found in most deodorants. It allows the product to be slick, making it much easier to apply on the skin. In small quantities, propylene glycol is considered to be safe.But in large quantities, various studies have found that the ingredient has been linked to damage of the heart, liver, and central nervous system. What’s worse is that the ingredient is not only found in skincare products, but it’s also found in some of the foods we eat on a daily basis! Natural deodorants use safe ingredients like coconut oil to keep the product sleek and easy to apply to the skin.


Triethanolamine (TEA) and diethanolamine (DEA) are widely used in deodorant to adjust the product’s acidity. These chemicals are not only found in deodorant, but also other personal care products and even cleaning products. In Europe, DEA is banned as it’s said to be a known carcinogen; however, in the U.S., TEA and DEA are still allowed ingredients. The chemicals have been linked to a variety of health concerns including organ toxicity and an increased risk of liver and kidney tumors that could become cancerous. As a rule of thumb, avoid these ingredients when purchasing your next deodorant product. Otherwise you’re putting your health at risk.


Without the use of phthalates, deodorant wouldn’t stick to your skin -making it all but useless! While the ingredient makes traditional deodorant a worthwhile product, it’s proven to be quite unsafe. In fact, it’s been linked to androgen disruption, which involves how the body produces and uses testosterone.

While most believe that testosterone is strictly a male hormone, it’s also found in women as it helps with muscle maintenance and energy. Aside from hormone disruption, phthalates have also been linked to higher risk of asthma, impact to fetal development, and even a lower IQ. Smelling good isn’t worth harming your internal health! Make sure your next deodorant purchase doesn’t contain phthalates. The EU has banned the use of certain phthalates in cosmetic products.

Aluminum Compounds

Aluminum compounds such as aluminum chlorohydrate and aluminum zirconium are commonly used in antiperspirant deodorants to block sweat pores and reduce perspiration. There have been concerns about the potential link between aluminum and breast cancer or neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s disease. However, current scientific evidence does not support a conclusive connection between aluminum exposure from cosmetics and these health issues.


Switching to a natural deodorant can be a huge change, but a good one! After making the switch, your body will start to release all of the harmful toxins, which can lead to a temporary increase in stink. For the first few weeks, don’t be afraid to re-apply to keep bad smells at bay! Also remember to perform patch tests whenever you try new products, and if you experience any adverse reactions, stop using it and seek a doctor’s advice.

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Grazilia Almeida-Khatri
Trained as a physician, Dr Grazilia Almeida-Khatri is a wellness coach and consultant. She endorses yoga as a way of life and conducts wellness and yoga retreats for individuals and corporates. She is also trained in Pilates by Michael King, who is based in the UK. Dr Grazilia is a practitioner of the Body Mirror System of healing as taught by Sir Martin Brofman. She lives in Pune, India and offers consultations in person and online.


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