The fussy myth-busters are back! We’re revitalised and ready to bust some pesky myths, as well as some serious moves.
Last time, we took on “clean beauty”, which turned out to be pretty confusing. This week’s topic is a little more straightforward but is a subject shrouded in myth: aluminium in deodorant.
We’re here to ask: what’s the deal with aluminium in deodorant? Is it as harmful to us as people say? Is “clean” really king? If these are some of the questions that keep you up at night, look no further as we lay down the bare facts.
BUST A MYTH: All deodorants contain aluminium
Seeing as we’re here to reveal the truth, let’s get the most important fact out of the way: there’s no such thing as an aluminium-free deodorant. “Wait, I thought you said this wasn’t going to be confusing”, just hear us out.
There’s no such thing as an aluminium-free deodorant because all deodorant is aluminium-free. It’s antiperspirants (yes, there’s a difference) that contain aluminium. It’s a common mistake to confuse the two but to call them one and the same would be wrong.
As we’ve talked about before, there’s a functional difference between antiperspirant and deodorant. While the latter does what it says on the tin - it de-odorizes - antiperspirant actually prevents you from sweating. This is where aluminium comes into play, plugging your sweat glands so you don’t sweat.
So there you have it. You don’t have to worry about aluminium in your deodorant because it’s simply not there.
BUST A MYTH: Aluminium causes breast cancer
The fears about links between aluminium and breast cancer are founded in the proximity of the underarms to the breasts. Seeing as it’s something we use every day, there are concerns about the high exposure of the breasts to chemicals such as aluminium. But are these concerns justified?
There are studies that claim a possible connection between the use of antiperspirants and breast cancer. These are rooted in the knowledge that most breast cancers develop in the upper outer area of the breast that is closest to the underarm, i.e. the area where we slather on our antiperspirant. The thinking is that the aluminium is absorbed by the skin and then travels via the lymph nodes into the breast tissue.
However, the science just doesn’t work out. If you ever did A-Level biology, you’ll remember that the skin’s main function is to provide a barrier to your internal systems. So any harmful substance shouldn’t be getting absorbed by your skin.
And the links to breast tumours? Well, there just isn’t any evidence. Although there have been a variety of studies (some of which show a relationship between antiperspirant use and breast cancer) most of the results are conflicting and are not accepted by the wider medical community.
BUST A MYTH: Aluminium is linked to Alzheimer’s disease
During the ‘60s and ‘70s, there was a growing suspicion that aluminium was connected to the development of Alzheimer’s, a degenerative brain disease. Since then, several studies have exacerbated this suspicion, notably a study from 1990 that suggested a link. But where do we stand today in 2021?
Well, firstly, that groundbreaking study from the ’90s turned out to be not very convincing. Since the study relied on other people, i.e. not trained professionals, to provide patient data, it was soon discredited as unreliable.
While the question of the safety of aluminium accumulation in the body still exists, the fact of the matter is that there just isn’t enough evidence to suggest that we should be worried. The overwhelming scientific and medical opinion is that you can carry on using your antiperspirant, no sweat.
BUST A MYTH: Chemical-free deodorants are better
One argument that seems to never go away amongst the wellness crowd is that by plugging your pores full of aluminium, you’re stopping your body’s natural detoxifying process. This is true, to an extent.
Sweating is natural! We sweat to excrete some of the toxins that may have entered our body, which could include potentially cancerous chemicals. It’s also an important part of temperature regulation. But considering that the body is a rather complex system with quite a number of effective detoxifying mechanisms, a lack of sweat is not a serious risk factor.
So no, a little bit of antiperspirant isn’t going to hurt you. However, in today’s 21st-century world where we’re exposed to a barrage of “dangerous” chemicals on a daily basis, we believe that if you can let your body do its thing, naturally, then you’re winning.
Or as we like to say, sweat yourself free!
BUST A MOVE: Fussy lets you choose what’s best for your body and the planet
The main thing to take away from this myth-busting mission is that when it comes to your body, it’s wholly and emphatically your choice.
Maybe you’re not entirely convinced and are still a little worried about aluminium. Perhaps you want to allow your body to get back into its natural groove. Or it might be that you’re not worried about your pits but more about the planet, and are looking for a more sustainable way to fight B.O.
At Fussy, we put people, planet and armpits first. We’re fussy about all three, which means zero toxic ingredients, sustainable materials, and of course effective stink-stopping technology. We make it easy for you to make the best choices for both your health and the planet.
Ready to join the refill revolution? Just click here.