When you say antiperspirant to most people, they think it’s the same thing as a deodorant. That is not the case, however. The main difference is that deodorants contain essential oils that prevent the growth of odor-causing bacteria but they can’t prevent perspiration (or sweating). Antiperspirants, however, are designed to prevent sweating and many contain aluminum chloride salt ingredients for that. There have been many myths that antiperspirants are not good for the health as a result:
- Rumor that the aluminum chloride is a direct cause of breast cancer. This rumor circulated internationally by an e-mail scam letter in the 1990’s. The e-mail claimed that antiperspirants trap toxins in the body that would otherwise be flushed out through sweating. As a result, those toxins form cancer.
While it’s true that about one in every eight women seems to manifest breast cancer in her lifetime, the rumor about antiperspirants being a direct cause has been found to be completely false. Even though the majority of cancerous lumps form in the upper part of the breast, that would still suggest that the chemicals from the antiperspirant travel upward into the lymph nodes and then somehow get into the breast muscle.
Ted S. Gansler, Director for Medical Content of the American Cancer Society found that aluminum salts and parabens are present in the lumps but that it doesn’t prove a causal link to antiperspirants. A 2006 study with the National Cancer with 54 women with breast cancer and 50 who were completely healthy and used antiperspirants found no link at all. So it has been safe to conclude that antiperspirants are not a direct cause of cancer.
- Aluminum Chloride in antiperspirants is said to be a direct cause of Alzheimer’s disease. While it’s true that higher levels of aluminum are found within the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s, this is more likely due to the fact that the dying cells are no longer able to flush toxins away. The studies in the 1980’s that did suggest a link had one serious flaw. They mostly involve patients who could no longer speak for themselves so their caregivers had to speak for them. However, most subsequent studies comparing those with Alzheimer’s to healthy patients didn’t suggest a link at all.
- Aluminum Chloride in antiperspirants is a direct cause of kidney issues. Actually, the only ones who need to be cautioned are those who are already known to have kidney issues. Healthy kidneys are more than able to process and eliminate aluminum very easily. However, those whose kidneys are functioning less than 30 percent can’t flush such toxins out as easily. This was found when many were given drugs mixed with aluminum hydrochloride in an attempt to control the high amounts of phosphorus in their bodies.
Those who have excessive perspiration issues who can’t get it under control by an antiperspirant have the option of using Botox. Unlike antiperspirants, Botox has the ability to completely block out chemical signals that the nerves send to the sweat glands. Unless you’re an athlete, an extreme outdoors person, or using a sweat lodge, excessive sweating can be very unhealthy. When sweating occurs, it’s not just water that is lost but also salt and other chemicals like ammonia and essential sugars which helps to break down protein.
It’s not only that it’s unhealthy. It can also cause a lot of embarrassment and odor. However, it’s not the sweat itself that gives off the odor but rather all of the unhealthy bacteria that it mixes with. Especially once puberty is reached, some of the underarm hormones mixing with it also cause the odor.
So is antiperspirant bad? The above are just some of the myths to antiperspirants that have been going around since the 1980’s or 1990’s. However, most of them have been found to not be directly linked to the use of antiperspirants. So unless your doctor specifically tells you not to, you’re probably safe to use antiperspirants if you wish. Like also stated above, you can turn to Botox if even antiperspirants don’t do it. According to a recent news article in BBC, a new generation of deodorants and antiperspirants are now being made. According to Dr. Gavin Thomas at the University of New York’s Department of Biology, the modern ones are designed to act like nuclear bombs in the underarms which prevent or kill the odor-causing bacteria.