June 09, 2023

Are Aluminum-Free Deodorants and Antiperspirants Better?

woman applying aluminum-free deodorant
There are two types of products people apply to their underarms to address sweating and odor. Antiperspirants are designed to reduce the amount of sweat coming from the sweat ducts. These products typically contain aluminum salts that dissolve to fill and block the openings. 

Deodorants aren’t designed to prevent sweating and don’t contain aluminum. Their function is strictly to prevent odor by reducing bacteria in the armpits. They may also be scented to hide unpleasant smells. 

Deodorant vs. Antiperspirant

Given the difference in their function, the first decision you need to make is deodorant vs. antiperspirant. 

  • Antiperspirants are a great option if you sweat a lot, as it will reduce the amount you perspire.
  • Deodorants will deodorize the sweat and make you smell less. These are a good option for those that don’t sweat a lot.

Why Aluminum-Free Deodorant or Antiperspirant?

As noted above, deodorants and antiperspirants have different purposes and ingredients. However, many products available today are dual-purpose deodorant-antiperspirants. Because some people are concerned about exposure to aluminum, they may consider switching to an aluminum-free option. 

Specifically, they may worry that aluminum can be absorbed by the body and cause diseases like breast cancer or kidney disease. However, research hasn’t found any link between aluminum in personal care products and these conditions.

Doctors may caution people with existing kidney disease to avoid aluminum-containing products. However, aluminum isn’t the cause of their condition. The National Kidney Foundation has stated you can’t absorb enough aluminum through your skin to damage your kidneys. 

Similarly, there isn’t any evidence directly linking deodorant and antiperspirant ingredients like paraben to breast cancer or kidney disease. 

That said, decisions about hygiene and hygiene products are very personal, and there’s nothing wrong with seeking alternatives free of aluminum or any other ingredient that concerns you.

Do Aluminum-Free Antiperspirants Work?

Aluminum-free products have their pros and cons.

Pros of Aluminum-Free Antiperspirants

  • They may cause less irritation if aluminum bothers your skin.
  • They don’t interrupt the natural flow of sweat.
  • Many options use plant-based and organic ingredients. 

Cons of Aluminum-Free Antiperspirants

  • They aren’t designed to reduce perspiration.
  • You may need to apply them more often.
  • They can be more expensive.

Talk with Your Baptist Health Doctor About Aluminum-Free Personal Care Products

Are aluminum-free products better? There’s no clear answer to that question. Ultimately, it’s a matter of opinion and preference. Generally speaking, doctors don’t have health concerns about traditional antiperspirants or combination antiperspirant-deodorants for healthy patients. But your choice should reflect your wants and needs. 

It’s best to talk with your Baptist Health primary care physician if you have questions or concerns about the ingredients in antiperspirants and deodorants. Information found online can be confusing at best and, in some cases, incorrect. 

Your doctor can share the latest science-based insights on the safety and effectiveness of various types of products so you can make an informed decision about them. And if the antiperspirant or deodorant you’re using causes problems like skin irritation, they can connect you with a dermatologist for specialized care and recommendations. 

Learn More.