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ARE DEODORANTS DANGEROUS? Exploring Health Concerns and Natural Alternatives

by Toby Gibson 12 Jul 2023 0 Comments
ARE DEODORANTS DANGEROUS? Exploring Health Concerns and Natural Alternatives


If you're here reading this blog, chances are you've wondered about the safety of deodorants. Questions like Why is deodorant bad for you? Are antiperspirants bad for you? and Why is aluminium in deodorant bad for you? might have crossed your mind. 

And If you've been researching natural deodorants, you've likely encountered rumors linking certain chemicals in deodorants and antiperspirants to cancer, cognitive disorders, allergies, and skin irritation.

But are these claims based on truth or mere speculation?

The reality is that the ingredients present in deodorant and antiperspirant products can enter our bodies through the armpits and olfactory system into our bloodstream. This means that the chemicals and synthetic components used in conventional roll on deodorant and sprays we apply daily have the potential to accumulate in our bodies. The frequency of application directly correlates to the amount of these substances entering our system.


Common chemical ingredients found in deodorant and antiperspirants include parabens, triclosan, phthalates, propylene glycol and aluminum. Research has linked these ingredients to several medical conditions including types of cancer and reproductive development issues.


In the world of deodorants and personal care products, parabens reign as common preservatives, effectively preventing the growth of fungi, bacteria, and yeast. However, concerns have emerged regarding their ability to mimic estrogen in the body's cells, potentially disrupting hormone production. While studies on the connection between conventional antiperspirants, deodorants and breast cancer have yielded conflicting results, further research is needed to establish a conclusive relationship.

But why take unnecessary risks when excellent alternatives in the form of natural deodorants are readily available? By embracing natural options, you can prioritize your well-being and peace of mind. Say goodbye to parabens and embrace safer, gentler alternatives.


Water serves as a breeding ground for microorganisms, necessitating the use of preservatives such as Triclosan to kill bacteria in products containing water, such as roll-on deodorants, spray antiperspirants, and gel deodorants. Studies have shown that triclosan has the potential to disrupt hormonal regulation in animals with the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) taking action to ban the use of triclosan in consumer skin care products. It's worth noting that the FDA classifies triclosan as a pesticide, highlighting the concerns surrounding its use in personal care products.

But fear not! Totem Eco's deodorants are in solid form, completely free from water and the harmful preservatives associated with it. By opting for our water-free deodorants, you not only prioritize your well-being but also contribute to the preservation of our planet.


Phthalates, commonly present in cosmetics, fragrances, and skincare products, serve the purpose of ingredient dissolution. However, these chemicals have potential associations with adverse health effects. Studies suggest a possible link between phthalates and pre-term births in pregnant women, as well as asthma. Moreover, a specific type of phthalate has been found to be connected to male genital birth defects and reproductive issues in adult men.

Again, why take the risk of using products containing this potentially harmful chemical when plenty of other safe body care products and natural alternatives exist.


Alcohol is a common ingredient found in many antiperspirants, serving multiple purposes such as dissolving various components and facilitating quick drying upon application. It possesses the ability to eliminate certain odor-causing bacteria, but it also has a downside. Alcohol can lead to skin dryness and potentially contribute to irritation.

While alcohol plays a role in the effectiveness of antiperspirants, it's important to be mindful of its potential impact on your skin. Consider the balance between its benefits and potential drawbacks when selecting antiperspirant products.


A mixture of potentially hazardous synthetic and natural chemicals, many of which are derived from petroleum that can trigger allergies and asthma. Some linked to cancer.  While many popular perfumes, colognes and body sprays contain trace amounts of natural essences, they are typically a mix of dozens, if not 100s of different synthetic chemicals and manufacturers are not legally obligated to disclose the specific chemicals used in these mixtures on their labels. The only information required is the inclusion of the terms parfum or fragrance. This lack of transparency means that when using products containing parfum or fragrance, you could be applying almost anything onto your skin.

Unlike regular deodorant, Totem Eco natural deodorants are specially formulated without parfum or artificial fragrances. Instead, they utilize the unique  aroma of Australian Botanical essential oils. These natural scents not only smell amazing but also offer holistic benefits by promoting balance in mind, body, and spirit. 


Aluminium deodorant and antiperspirant

Aluminum, a prevalent active ingredient in numerous antiperspirants, functions by effectively blocking sweat glands to minimize perspiration. Interestingly, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration mandates the inclusion of these potentially harmful chemicals for products to be labeled as Antiperspirants and sold over-the-counter.

However, concerns have arisen regarding the use of such compounds in skincare products. When aluminium enters the body, it can mimic the effects of estrogen, a hormone associated with elevated concentrations found in many breast cancers. Consequently, scientists have delved into investigating potential connections between breast cancer and deodorants containing aluminium. 

While the desire to avoid sweat is understandable, it's important to remember that sweating is a natural process that helps regulate body temperature and eliminate toxins. Using aluminum-based roll-on deodorants and aerosol sprays from the local chemist can clog pores and hinder optimal bodily functions. Opting for organic and natural deodorants allows you to combat odor-causing bacteria while enabling your body to eliminate toxins naturally.

It's worth noting that sweat itself doesn't cause body odor; it's the combination of sweat and bacteria on the skin. Rest assured, the right natural deodorant will keep you both odor and aluminum-free, providing a healthier alternative for your daily hygiene routine.


Propylene glycol finds extensive use in various consumer products, including deodorants, where it acts as an emulsifier, providing a smooth and pleasant application experience. Derived primarily from petroleum sources, this ingredient has garnered no significant evidence indicating harm according to research. Recognized by reputable regulatory bodies such as the FDA and World Health Organization, propylene glycol is deemed generally safe for application in foods, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics. So, what's all the fuss about?

While it's widely accepted that adverse health effects from propylene glycol consumption require substantial quantities, there is another concern to consider. Propylene glycol also serves as a penetration enhancer. Consequently, when combined with potentially harmful ingredients, it may facilitate their absorption through the skin. To be safe, we suggest you steer clear of body care products containing propylene glycol, particularly deodorants and antiperspirants given they are applied directly to your skin.


Shaving and the Potential Risks of Chemical Penetration

When contemplating the use of antiperspirants or deodorants containing potentially harmful chemicals, it's crucial to also consider the act of shaving. Many individuals shave their underarms, which can create small cuts and scratches, providing molecular-level entry points for chemicals to penetrate the skin barrier. These openings increase the risk of chemical absorption. It's important to be mindful of this aspect when choosing personal care products for underarm use.


Bad Body Odour

If you find yourself constantly reaching for your deodorant throughout the day, it could be a sign that traditional options are causing more harm than good. Ironically, your deodorant or antiperspirant could be making you smell worse.

The culprits? Aluminium and other chemicals found in regular deodorants. Over time, these substances can accumulate on your skin and in your pores, exacerbating the very odours they aim to combat. When mixed with natural bacteria that accompany sweat, these chemicals can actually worsen the unpleasant scent. And as if that weren't enough, they are also responsible for those stubborn white stains that plague your favourite clothing.

Don't let conventional deodorants sabotage your odour control efforts. Discover a better solution by using Natural Deodorants for long-lasting freshness and bid farewell to those pesky and costly deodorant stains.




Switching to a natural deodorant is often the initial step toward embracing a clean-living natural skincare routine. It not only reflects how you prioritize your body and overall health but also yields many advantages.

Natural deodorant offers benefits for both your skin and the environment. And the cherry on top? It's just as effective as the conventional roll-ons and sprays you may be accustomed to. While finding the perfect natural deodorant for your body and lifestyle may not always be easy, the transformation is undoubtedly worthwhile. Why not skip the hassle and discover our multi-award winning range of Totem Eco Natural Deodorant. Once you’ve made the switch you’ll never look back. 


Contrary to popular belief, sweat itself isn't to blame for body odor. The real culprit is the interaction between sweat and bacteria on your skin. When these two combine forces, a distinct scent may arise. 

Harnessing the power of naturally occurring active ingredients like Magnesium Hydroxide, along with the potent antimicrobial properties of unique Australian essential oils, and bacteria-fighting ingredients such as Diatomaceous Earth, Totem Eco’s range of natural deodorants are 100% effective in eliminating odour-causing bacteria while remaining gentle on your body. These remarkable natural ingredients won't hinder your skin's ability to sweat; instead, they neutralize the odor at its source. Say goodbye to unpleasant odors and hello to long-lasting freshness!


Natural deodorants are better for the environment. And Totem Eco’s range of natural deodorant sticks set the gold standard. We don’t use plastic and the packaging is made from 100% recyclable, reusable and composable cardboard tubes made with recycled paper. The deodorants are solid, meaning there is no water which would otherwise require the presence of harmful preservatives both for your body and the planet. We don’t use palm oil or palm oil derived ingredients that contribute to deforestation. All of our ingredients are either natural minerals or organic and naturally derived plant based ingredients. 100% toxin free, animal and planet friendly!


When it comes to the sensitive underarm area, especially after hair removal, the last thing you want is to subject your delicate skin to chemicals and aluminium. That's where plant-based ingredients come to the rescue! They offer a pore-friendly alternative, providing a smooth, conditioning touch that won't clog your pores.

However, it's important to note that not all natural deodorants are created equal. Avoid products with bicarbonate (bicarb) as it can cause a rapid shift from acidic to alkaline pH under your armpit, potentially resulting in chemical burns. Bicarbonate is commonly used as a household cleaning agent for a reason. Additionally, sodium bicarbonate is a white crystalline solid that can be abrasive in deodorant sticks requiring rubbing.

For those with sensitive skin or allergies, artificial fragrances in deodorants can trigger rashes and allergic reactions. By carefully examining the label, you can prioritize products that leave your skin feeling soft and calm, steering clear of redness and irritation.

Pamper your underarms with the gentle care they deserve by choosing natural deodorants with vegan, organic ingredients. Your skin will thank you for it!

Totem Eco Natural deodorant is available as both a natural deodorant paste and natural deodorant stick. All Totem Eco deodorant is free from harmful aluminium salts, sweat blockers and nasties. Made with love in Australia, we only use locally sourced natural and certified organic ingredients wherever possible to keep your skin fresh without loading your body with harsh chemicals.

See the full Totem Eco Range

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