Cancer Causing Toxins in Deodorants and Antiperspirants

Cancer Causing Toxins in Deodorants and Antiperspirants


The Purist / Chemical Index /

Ah deodorant. One of the many taboo subjects women aren’t suppose to talk about.

The purpose of this post is to start the conversation. Chances are, you apply this product daily, without a second thought.

But have you ever taken a look at the chemical contents of commercial deodorants and antiperspirants?
They frequently contains toxic carcinogens such as heavy aluminums, parabens, triclosan, TEA, and DEA. These potentially deadly chemicals leach into the delicate underarm skin all day, everyday. In the case of antiperspirants, preventing sweat from coming out of your pores takes some heavy duty work from some heavy duty chemicals. Yikes.

So what’s a girl to do? Alternative deodorants get a bad rep—and I can see why. I had to try quite a few to find ones that were effective enough to tackle my *ahem* Mediterranean genetics. And I’m glad I did! I would much prefer to use sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), essential oils or salts to keep bacteria at bay than, you know, chemicals linked to causing cancer in humans.

The Purist’s Picks

Kaia Naturals The Takesumi Detox // juicy bamboo

After using this charcoal-based deodorant for the full detox period (30 days), I can say I’m a fan! However, it took the full 30 days for my underarms. Some people find it takes less. Thankfully, the detox period wasn’t awful or noticeable to the people around me (believe me, I checked. I have no shame.) If you are ready to give this detox deo’ a spin, I would highly recommend doing so in the cooler months. At this point, my underarms are way less, um, fragrant than they used to be.

  • Wearability: 5/5
  • Effectiveness: 5/5
  • Price: 4/5
  • Toxins: 4/5
  • Overall: 4.5/5

Garden City Essentials Deodorant Cream* // original

This is a very reasonably priced natural deodorant. The tub is generously sized at 4.5 oz, and it works just as well as the highly popular Soapwalla cream deodorant. Score! If you have a Whole Foods near you, check their beauty section for this brand. I’m subtracting one point from Wearability because I find scooping the paste out and apply to the underarms is a little awkward. *This product contains beeswax.

  • Wearability: 4/5
  • Effectiveness: 4/5
  • Price: 5/5
  • Toxins: 5/5
  • Overall: 4.5/5
Kiss My Face liquid rock roll-on // sport

The “Sport” version of this liquid roll-on is *really* effective if your pits are, er, potent. I’ve tried all the scents in this line. The Sport one is definitely the most effective. I am subtracting one point from Wearability because this stuff stings like crazy if applied to freshly shaved skin. Two points are docked from Toxins, as the data on Potassium Alum is a little iffy. If you are looking for a gentle natural deodorant, I would try one the others suggested here. This roll-on does not mess around. If I know I’ll be sweating a lot, I’ll use this deodorant. Most large natural beauty shops carry the Kiss My Face line.

  • Wearability: 4/5
  • Effectiveness: 5/5
  • Price: 5/5
  • Toxins: 3/5
  • Overall: 4/5

Soapwalla cream deodorant // original

This deodorant seems to get a lot of press. Some people love it. I tried it out and liked it… but it’s not my first choice. It works fine for day-to-day wear. In my opinion, the price is a little high for the 2 oz of product you receive. If you’ve tried Soapwalla and like it, I would recommend trying the Garden City Essentials version. It works exactly the same and has more than twice the amount of product in the jar, for roughly the same price. I’ve noticed a few natural beauty boutiques carry this product. (Torontonians note: Helen & Hilgard and The Detox Market carry this.) Again, I’m subtracting one point from Wearability because I find scooping the paste out and apply to the underarms is a little awkward.

  • Wearability: 4/5
  • Effectiveness: 2/5
  • Price: 3/5
  • Toxins: 5/5
  • Overall: 3/5

A final note

If you are on a budget, you can make your own natural deodorant cream by combining baking soda with water and lavender essential oil. I know several people who swear by it.

I’m hoping to put together a few beauty product DIY’s in the future. Stay tuned for the cream deodorant recipe!


I hope you found these reviews helpful. If you have questions, please let me know below.