The Charleston Home


Detoxing My Charleston Home Week No. 6 | Aluminum-Free Deodorant

This is a tough one, and something I already experimented with a few years ago, and eventually gave up entirely because I didn’t like any of the deodorants I tried. Half the battle of switching to aluminum-free deodorant is picking the right one, and the other half is learning how and when to apply it. I tried again recently and here’s how it’s going and what I recommend.

The concern with antiperspirant deodorants is that the main active ingredient, aluminum, is being absorbed into the skin. Studies have shown that most breast cancers develop in the top part of the breast closest to the armpit. Per the National Center for Biotechnology Information: “Aluminum is known to have a genotoxic profile, capable of causing both DNA alterations and epigenetic effects, and this would be consistent with a potential role in breast cancer if such effects occurred in breast cells.”

There’s more science on this that you can read on websites like the National Center for Biotechnology Information.

Currently 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.

I sure would like to avoid that with a simple fix like changing deodorants.

Like I said, I experimented with aluminum-free deodorant a few years back for a good 8 months, but eventually gave up on it because I felt wet all the time. I’m much happier with the new brand I started using about 5 weeks ago and I think I will actually commit to this one long-term! Between my previous experience and my current one,

here’s a few important tips I have learned to make the transition a little easier:

  1. Understand there’s a detox process that may last a couple weeks in which you may sweat a little more than normal. This is normal! Hang in there.

  2. Try to shave your underarms during an evening shower. Then, wait to apply the deodorant until the next morning (wait a couple hours in the very least if you possibly can). Any irritation or small cuts from shaving will have time to heal and pores will have closed. This may seem inconvenient but it’s one the best things I’ve learned to do to avoid irritation, itching, etc. This is especially important for those of us with sensitive skin.

  3. That being said, still wait an hour or two after showering to apply the deodorant even if you did not shave your underarms. This allows time for the pores to close and you can avoid irritation.

  4. Don’t buy any roll-on brands that go on wet. You’ll never feel dry. (I made this mistake my first time!)

  5. Note that baking soda is an effective ingredient but can be irritating. So if you buy one with baking soda and you follow steps 2 and 3 and you still get a rash, try one without baking soda.

  6. You may need to apply more than once a day. So buy 2!

  7. You.will.still.sweat. You can’t avoid this. The job of antiperspirants is to essentially clog the sweat glands so you don’t sweat. You lose that when you lose the aluminum.

  8. That being said, if you know you’re going to be outside all day in during a festival in July, or you do very strenuous work outs a couple times a week, go ahead and use the “bad” stuff and don’t sweat it! (see what I did there) As far as I’m concerned, committing to making a change for the large majority of your days is huge progress and you should be proud of yourself for making the change at all!

I hope this helps! It takes some getting used to but it’s worth it to know I’m doing something healthier and safer for my body and potentially my future.