Why Antiperspirants Can Be Bad for You

Why Antiperspirants Can Be Bad for YouExcessive sweating and body odor can be a huge problem. Luckily, deodorants and antiperspirants are an effective solution. However, you should keep in mind that everyday use of antiperspirants can be bad for your health. What are the drawbacks of antiperspirants that you should be aware of?

First of all, let’s figure out the difference between deodorants and antiperspirants. Deodorants eliminate odor by killing bacteria that cause it. They are formulated with antimicrobial agents such as alcohol, mineral salts (potassium alum, ammonium alum), essential oils, triclosan, etc. Deodorants don’t affect perspiration, they simply prevent body odor.

Antiperspirants, on the other hand, stop or significantly reduce sweating and thus reduce the moist climate in which odor-causing bacteria thrive. They are typically formulated with aluminum compounds, such as aluminum chloride, aluminum chlorohydrate, and aluminum-zirconium. These ingredients form a temporary plug in the ducts of sweat glands, preventing the glands from excreting sweat, as well as have a slight astringent effect on the pores.

In the United States, the FDA classifies most deodorants as cosmetics and antiperspirants as over-the-counter drugs, and there’s a reason for that. Modern deodorants don’t affect your body, unless you’re sensitive or allergic to any of the ingredients, while antiperspirants affect an important bodily function. Sweating is a thermoregulation mechanism, so the constant use of antiperspirants involves certain health risks. What are they?

As we’ve already said, antiperspirants significantly reduce sweating and therefore affect your body’s ability to regulate its temperature. This shouldn’t be a matter of great concern during the cold season, but when the weather is hot, insufficient thermoregulation can lead to nausea, dizziness, and even heatstroke.

You should also keep in mind that excessive perspiration can be a sign of certain diseases or conditions, such as endocrine disruptions, infections, medication side effects, and even certain types of cancer. When you use antiperspirants on a regular basis, you conceal a symptom and make it harder to diagnose a problem if you have one. So if you feel like you sweat more than what is necessary, and if deodorants don’t help you get rid of body odor, you should probably see a physician.

One more drawback of antiperspirants is their ability to plug the sweat gland ducts. Aluminum-based compounds in antiperspirants react with the sweat to form a gel plug that prevents the sweat gland from excreting liquid. Normally, these plugs are removed over time by natural skin peeling, but sometimes it doesn’t happen. This may lead to inflamed and swollen lumps in the armpits (hidradenitis).

Finally, aluminum compounds in antiperspirants may cause the skin to develop an allergic reaction, especially in people with sensitive skin. The probability of irritation, itching and rashes increases if you use antiperspirant right after you’ve shaved your armpits.

However, it should be noted that there is no evidence to support the link between antiperspirant use and breast cancer or Alzheimer’s disease. The existence of such a link is just a myth, so you shouldn’t worry about it. In fact, the concentration of chemicals in antiperspirants is too low to have any significant effect on your health.

So what’s the conclusion? We don’t say that you should stop using antiperspirants altogether. Sometimes they’re the only way to cope with excessive perspiration that is not caused by disease. However, it would be wise not to use them constantly and opt for a natural deodorant (for example, a mineral deodorant spray) whenever it’s possible.



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