Your deodorant stinks, or
What’s wrong with conventional deodorants and antiperspirants


Your conventional deodorant and antiperspirant is full of chemicals that can cause cancer, hormonal imbalances, reproductive harm, and developmental disorders. They also damage the environment. Switch to a natural deodorant and eco-friendly lifestyle.

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Ever wondered what you’re actually spraying or rolling onto your armpits? Deodorant is something we don’t usually think about until it isn’t working properly – and when that happens our first thought is “Panic!”.

We put so much care and consideration into what we choose to eat and drink as well as all of the products that make up our skin care routines, wondering whether or not they are doing us and the environment more harm than good. But our poor armpits don’t get such love.

We buy whichever old deodorant or antiperspirant we’ve used since high school, grabbed at the chemist without a second thought and then hidden in the mess of bathroom drawers because they’re too ugly to earn a place on the shelf, despite their daily use.

Hidden away in these conventional deodorants and antiperspirants are a whole cocktail of chemicals – not to mention their plastic packaging – which are dangerous to ourselves and the environment. The potential of cancer, hormonal imbalances, and developmental disorders are just the beginning.

Here’s what’s hiding in your conventional deodorant and antiperspirant:


Parabens are used as a preservative. They are absorbed by your skin and interfere with how your body produces and regulates estrogen and other hormones.

Multiple parabens are often combined in a single deodorant or antiperspirant. Research undertaken at the University of Reading has shown that combining different parabens can strengthen their estrogenic effects.

Parabens may cause or contribute to cancer. Some laboratory testing has confirmed this link, whilst the US National Cancer Institute argues that there is a lack of conclusive evidence. Scientists urge that more research is needed on the carcinogenic effects of parabens and the danger that they pose to human health. “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence,” says Dr. Philip Harvey, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Applied Toxicology.

Aluminium Salts

Aluminium salts are used in antiperspirants to plug your sweat ducts, trapping sweat – which is a combination of water, ammonia, protein, salt, and urea – inside your skin. Sweating regulates your body temperature and, like breathing, is a necessary natural process.

Aluminium salts can cause gene instability in your breast tissue, leading to cell mutation and the growth of tumours.


Triclosan is a chemical used to kill bacteria on your skin. It is an endocrine disruptor, meaning it can mimic hormones or interfere with hormonal signaling, causing the growth of tumours and developmental disorders in children.

The use of triclosan in personal care products is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. The FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) has banned its use in soaps but not deodorants and antiperspirants.

Triclosan also contaminates aquatic environments: when exposed to sunlight in aqueous environments it is converted into dioxin, a highly toxic compound. When mixed with the chlorine in tap water or swimming pools it becomes the carcinogen, chloroform. Triclosan is poisonous to algae, and has been found to be absorbed and built-up in the fatty tissues of fish.


Phthalates are used to extend the life of fragrances. Another endocrine disruptor, this chemical affects the way your body produces and uses testosterone, impairing your reproductive ability and impacting foetal development during pregnancy. It can also cause early onset puberty, which is associated with breast cancer later in life.

Exposure to high concentrations of phthalates in utero has been found to lead to a lower IQ and a 72-78% increase in the risk of asthma in children.

The EU has banned the use of some phthalates in toys and other products used by children due to health concerns, but they continue to be used in conventional deodorants and antiperspirants.


The term “fragrance” in the ingredients list of personal care products can include any number of chemicals which companies need not declare as their combination is protected as a “trade secret”.

The chemicals that make up “fragrance” often include the carcinogens styrene and naphthalene, the endocrine disruptors di-isononyl phthalate and oxybenzone, and synthetic musks, all linked to hormone disruption, breast cancer, allergies, and reproductive harm.

Plastic packaging

Although only around 10% of all solid waste that we produce is plastic, it comprises up to 80% of the waste which pollutes our land, shorelines, and oceans.

Plastic has been found in the bodies of almost all marine species, from the smallest plankton to the biggest whales. Birds, mammals, fish, invertebrates, and reptiles eat or become entangled in our plastic waste causing restrictions to their movement, feeding, breeding, and finally wounds and ulcers which kill them. Plastic also lodges in the digestive tracts of some animals, causing them to starve to death.

The production of plastic accounts for approximately 8% of the world’s oil extraction.

Due to its widespread use and the way in which it breaks down into more and more minuscule particles, scientific studies have discovered plastic to be present in drinking water, food, and our atmosphere.

Biodegradable plastics in landfill are broken down into methane, a dangerous greenhouse gas contributing to global heating and climate change.

Obviously, much needs to be done to prevent these poisonous chemicals and plastics from being produced for our consumption in the first place. However, there are ways to protect yourself from them. Switch to a natural deodorant which is eco-friendly and non-toxic, and which uses sustainable packaging to start reaping the benefits.

For a natural deodorant brand that works, is vegan and plastic-free, is nourishing for your skin, and isn’t tested on animals, check out nackt natural deodorant.


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