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The Dangers Of Chemical Deodorants & Safe Alternatives

Using a deodorant each day is a normal part of the every day routine for millions of people around the globe.

Whether it be as a body scent or to give you extra confidence by reducing perspiration, the problem with regular deodorants and anti-perspirants is that they are loaded with toxic chemicals that can have damaging long term effects.

When you drill down into the ingredients in big brand deodorants that you'll find on your supermarket shelf, it can be both eye-opening and concerning when you learn more about these ingredients.

Common harmful chemicals used, include names like: 

  • Parabens
  • Phthalates and
  • Aluminium ...just to name a few.

And the reason this is alarming, is because these chemicals are linked to:

  • Hormonal disruption
  • Reproductive problems
  • Blockages to the lymph nodes leading to Breast lumps and;
  • Cancer.

Other harmful toxins commonly found in regular deodorant and anti-perspirant products include, Triclosan and Propylene Glycol.

So what exactly what are these hidden chemicals and what are the main reason to avoid them and look for safer, natural alternatives when it comes to your body freshening routine? 

Let's dive in...


Probably one of the most widely recognised names on the list, Parabens are a chemical preservative used in many deodorants and other personal care products.

Studies have conclusively shown that parabens enter the body, and then mimic estrogen in your body’s cells, which ultimately leads to an interference in the way your body produces hormones.

To highlight how damaging this can be: a 2004 study on breast cancer patients showed that 18 of 20 presented with parabens in their bodies. This is a highly alarming correlation, especially when one considers the proximity in location between where deodorant is most often applied, and breast tissue.


Second to parabens in terms of awareness, phthalates are plasticisers found in children’s toys, fragrances, deodorants and lotions.

A plasticiser is a substance added to a material to make it softer and more flexible, increasing its plasticity. Phthalates are bad news, and there are numerous studies to show this. Exposure to phthalates has been linked to asthma, ADHD, breast cancer, obesity, autism spectrum disorders and male fertility issues- just to name a few.

One study conducted by leading phthalate researcher Dr. Richard Sharpe exposed pregnant rats to phthalates and showed that this exposure created marked abnormalities in their male offspring. Harmful phthalates have also been banned in California and the EU. 


There is a growing body of research to support that aluminium is toxic to humans in certain forms. Aluminium has been linked to both breast cancer, and to Alzheimer’s.

Similarly to parabens, there have been numerous studies into the link between breast cancer and the presence of aluminium in patients- and in many breast cancer patients there is definitely the presence of aluminium. While there have been no studies that conclusively link the use of deodorants with aluminium to breast cancer, the correlations are worth noting.


Did you know triclosan is actually a pesticide?

Its main purpose is to kill pests and bacteria, and studies have suggested that triclosan could contribute to making bacteria resistant to antibiotics. When you combine triclosan with water it can actually create chloroform, a carcinogenic.

And yet, it is still being added into most deodorants today.

Propylene Glycol:

Last but certainly not least, is Propylene Glycol, otherwise known as one of the signature ingredients in antifreeze.

This substance is so toxic that in the USA, the EPA has published stringent safety disclosure instructions that require handlers to wear gloves when handling this substance, and that the substance is only disposed of via burying.

The FDA and World Health Organization officially recognise the ingredient as generally safe for use in foods, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics, but how can it be safe to rub on to sensitive tissue if it must be handled with gloves?

So, where does this leave us?

Firstly, being aware and being vigilant about what’s in your deodorant is most important.

And you cannot always rely on the labels from large companies to outline the risks that you may be running by using their products. This presents quite a problem, as many millions of people blindly purchase and use these products, not realising the impact that they're having on their long term health.

Safe Chemical-Free Alternatives

When it comes to chemical-free safe alternatives for your daily use deodorant, luckily these days there are a number of conscious companies who put people's health first.  Visit your local health food store and you'll find a handful of tox-free options that you can experiment with.

Also, we offer a trusted brand which we will mention here, or you can make your own DIY version at home with a handful of basic natural ingredients.

1. DIY Natural Deodorants

- DIY Spray Recipe

Using a small funnel, add the following ingredients into a glass, amber spray bottle:

Gently shake the bottle to combine and then store in a cool dry place.  Shake again before use and spray underneath the arms or as a light body mist after showering or throughout the day.

Witch Hazel is a popular chemical deodorant alternative as it is a natural anti-inflammatory, and it doesn’t leave residue on the skin.

- DIY Roll On Recipe


Place the coconut oil and shea butter in a small glass bowl or jar and rest inside a small to medium saucepan.

  1. Add water to the saucepan (just enough to surround the jar, without overflowing into it). Gently heat.
  2. As the water begins to heat, stir in the coconut oil and shea butter until it melts.
  3. Once melted, add in the arrowroot, baking soda and drops of essential oils.
  4. Pour the mix into a small jar and allow to cool at room temperature until it sets.
  5. Cover and store for use.


Use your pinky finger to scoop out a small amount and rub between your fingers until it melts.  Gently apply to arm pits slightly moist after showering or bathing.  Apply in the morning or as needed.

2. Tox-Free Boutique Brands

One of our favourite, local trusted brands is Noosa Basics.

It's one of handful of quality alternatives on the market to the bigger commercial brands, many of which are laden with chemicals.

Paraben and Aluminium-Free, Noosa Basics offers a roll-on and stick deodorant.

Noosa Basics Roll-On Deodorant is packed with aloe vera and coconut oil to moisturise, hydrate and protect your skin, all while absorbing moisture and providing helpful antibacterial properties.  It's quick, easy, and smells wonderful.

Noosa Basic’s Deodorant Stick is totally organic and is handcrafted in very small batches, in fact just one batch per week!  This all-natural, aluminium free deodorant has only 7 ingredients and is 100% effective in neutralising odours to keep you fresh all day.

The Main Take Away

When it comes to your daily personal care routine, one of the most important areas to be self care aware is with the deodorants you use.

Most commercial deodorants and anti-perspirants are riddled with chemicals that enter your bloodstream, block lymphatic drainage, and can cause harm to your endocrine and immune systems over time and distance.  These products are one of the major causes of long term health problems without you even realising the cause once the symptoms appear.

Don’t pollute your body with chemical deodorants - instead, look for safe products made from natural ingredients and you'll be doing the best for your health and wellness.

Tolman Self Care.


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