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The Dangers Of Chemical Deodorants & Safe Alternatives

Using a deodorant is a normal part of the everyday 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 look into the ingredients of big brand deodorants that most people use, what you'll discover can be both eye-opening and shocking!

Common ingredients include harmful chemicals such as parabens, phthalates and aluminium - just to name a few.

And the reason this should be alarming, is because these chemicals are linked to health issues that include, hormonal disruption, reproductive problems and blockages to the lymph nodes that can easily lead to breast lumps and related cancers.

For this reason, you should be very conscious of the daily anti-perspirant or deodorant product you use.  Here, we share with you why the most commonly used chemicals are a problem and why you should embrace safer, natural alternatives when it comes to your body freshening routine.

1.  Parabens

Probably one of the most recognised names on the list of toxic ingredients widely used, 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 the body’s cells.  This can ultimately lead to interferences in the way your body produces and regulates hormones, which can cause everything from allergies, skin ailments and irritability, to chronic fatigue and even cancer.

To highlight how damaging parabens can be, a 2004 study on breast cancer patients showed that for every 20 cases, 18 presented with parabens in their bodies.

This is a highly alarming correlation, especially when one considers the proximity of the underarm where deodorant is mostly applied, to the breast tissue.

2. Phthalates

Phthalates are compounds that help deodorant and other fragrant cosmetics and personal care products stick to your skin, allowing the smell to linger.

Besides deodorants, these "plasticisers" are also found in commercial soaps, body wash, shampoos and hair sprays.

Numerous studies have shown that regular exposure to phthalates can lead to such conditions as asthma, ADHD, breast cancer, obesity, pre-term births in pregnant women and low testosterone and reproductive levels in men.

3. Aluminium

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 alzheimers disease.

Aluminium is used in deodorant and anti-perspirant products because it essentially 'plugs' the sweat glands to minimise perspiration.

Once in the blood stream, aluminium mimics the effects of oestrogen - a hormone that in high concentrations has been closely linked to many breast cancers.

4. Triclosan

Did you know triclosan is actually a pesticide?

Chemically used as an anti-bacterial and to kill pests, there are safer, natural anti-bacterial agents that should be used on the body, particularly when it comes to deodorant.

Some studies suggested that triclosan can actually contribute to making bacteria resistant to antibiotics.  Additionally, when you combine triclosan with water it can actually create chloroform, which is known to be carcinogenic.

Despite the risks, tirclosan is a chemical ingredient - that whilst in the spotlight - is still widely used in many anti-perspirant and deodorants products today.

5. Propylene Glycol

Propylene glycol is a synthetic compound used as a food additive, but amazingly also, as a chemical anti-freeze agent.

It’s used in certain cosmetics and deodorants to soften their consistency and make the product easier to spread and apply.

One of the biggest issues with propylene glycol is that it expedites the absorption of other chemicals into the skin and therefore the blood stream.  For these reasons, propylene glycol is definitely a chemical that you should aim to avoid.

Safer Deodorant Alternatives

When it comes to choosing a safer alternative 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 number of tox-free brands that you can experiment with or you'll find one of our favourites brands called Noosa Basics available here in our store at

As an alternative, you can also experiment with preparing your own DIY deodorant using pure essential oils and a few additional natural ingredients.

Example DIY Recipes -

1. DIY Natural Deodorant Spray Recipe

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

Note: These are just a few of a variety essential oils you can use depending on your favoured style of scents.  Other popular choices include, Lemon, Lemongrass, Geranium, Tea Tree and Cedarwood.

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 unwanted residue on the skin.

2. DIY Natural Deodorant 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. 

The Main Take Away

When it comes to your daily personal care routine, the deodorant or anti-perspirant product you use every day is one you should play close attention to.

Most commercial deodorants and anti-perspirants are laced with harmful chemicals that once absorbed into your bloodstream, can cause a host of hormonal and health related problems that you definitely want to avoid.

Deodorant is one of those items that people use daily without much thought, not realising the long term harm they could be causing to their health. 

The message is simple.  Be very conscious of the daily deodorant you use and don’t pollute your body with harmful chemicals.  Instead, look for safe alternatives prepared from natural ingredients, that are easy to use, smell wonderful and will give you confidence and peace of mind.

Tolman Self Care.


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