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Deodorants vs. Antiperspirants: What is the Difference?

Deodorants vs. Antiperspirants: What is the Difference?

Are you confused about the difference between deodorant and antiperspirant? If you are, you are not alone. 

Since both of these products categories work very differently to address the same exact problem: odor control – in today’s DECODED I thought I would clarify some major differences between the two once and for all. 

 

How antiperspirants work

Antiperspirants reduce sweat, while deodorants reduce odor. Antiperspirants contain aluminum salts that plug your pores by binding to a protein in the sweat duct. Clinical strength antiperspirants have also been introduced and consumers should really understand the difference:

A regular antiperspirant produces a 20% sweat duct plug formation with aluminum, while clinical strength produces a 30% sweat duct plug formation also with aluminum. This is why it is highly effective at keeping sweat at bay, but the increase in aluminum is very troublesome.

 

The Science

You wouldn’t knowingly ingest a spoonful of toxic cosmetic ingredients, yet so many people would not think twice with applying them to their skin every single day. In some ways, smearing toxins under your arms in the form of deodorant or antiperspirant may be worse than if you were to eat it. 

“When you eat something, it’s broken down by your liver and digestive system,” says Heather Patisaul, Ph.D., an associate professor of biology at North Carolina State University. “But when you put something on your skin, there are times when it can enter your bloodstream without being metabolized.

Patisaul studies endocrine disruptors — both suspected, as well as known chemicals — that may disrupt your body’s reproductive and developmental hormones. She says rubbing something on your skin doesn’t mean all—or even any—of it will make its way into your bloodstream; it depends on the chemical. Blood tests have the ability to show that many of the substances commonly included in deodorant products can, in fact, worm their way past the epidermis and into the body.

 Keep in mind, the underarm area houses fatty tissue that can be susceptible to storing substances — especially if you shave and apply antiperspirant chemicals on the broken skin. The scientific community still does not support the possibility that antiperspirants are a possible danger to your health (that is why they are still on the shelves). It is up to you as a consumer to make the decision if you think this is a risk to your health.

 

 Deodorants vs. Antiperspirants: What is the Difference?

 

How deodorants work

In our discussion of deodorants, we will be referring to deodorants made of natural ingredients  or that qualify as “natural”:

Deodorants are topical products that are designed to work on the surface of the skin to eliminate bacteria that causes odor. They do not prevent you from sweating, but this is also what is part of the healthy appeal for consumers; as deodorant allows your body to function the way it was designed to in order to expel toxins. 

However, this is sometimes problematic for “extra” sweaty individuals, but keep in mind most deodorants are actually formulated with powder to help absorb the sweat and primarily work on eliminating the bacteria that causes odor. 

I always suggest that consumers should look for deodorants that are formulated with low levels of fragrance. If the deodorant scent is strong, you may be asking for trouble in terms of rashes and irritations as this is a common problem with natural deodorants. Plus, your underarms are a delicate area and house fatty tissue. When you shave and apply a product loaded with chemicals on broken skin you may provide a gateway into your bloodstream.

 

So which product is right for you?

Determining what product is right for you really boils down to your individual needs. Finding which product delivers the performance you are looking for can be a bit of trial and error. But ultimately, it is up to you to do the research and decide on the risk and reward on something you use everyday of the year, sometimes twice a day, and possibly for most of your life.

We would love to hear your thoughts and insights on this issue! Let us know in the comments below.

Aluminum in Antiperspirant: What You Should Know

Aluminum in Antiperspirant: What You Should Know

As a veteran product developer from the beauty industry, I understand the harmful ingredients that are formulated in many products, and while they may work, there are effective natural alternatives. This week, we are decoding a controversial ingredient used in antiperspirant

 

WHAT IS ALUMINUM CHLORIDE?

Aluminum is a metal that most of us come in contact with on a daily basis. It is a naturally occurring element from the earth and is used in the manufacturing of cars, paint, propellant, fuel additives, over the counter medications (like antacids), soda cans and aluminum foil. YES, it is also the same one used it in antiperspirants — a consumer product that is applied 360 days a year.

 

TYPES OF ALUMINUM YOU WILL FIND IN CONVENTIONAL ANTIPERSPIRANTS

  • Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex GLY (found in solid antiperspirant formulation)
  • Aluminum Chlorohydrates (found in roll-on and aerosol antiperspirant formulations)
  • Aluminum Chloride (found in roll-on and aerosol antiperspirant formulations)

 

THE PROBLEM  

Aluminum used in antiperspirants block your sweat glands to prevent you from sweating. While this may sound like a good thing, sweating is the body’s natural way to expel toxins on a daily basis. Thankfully, there are aluminum-free alternatives that you can turn to.

 

SO WHAT REALLY HAPPENS?

When applied to the underarms, aluminum migrates into your sweat glands, causing an obstruction in the sweat gland so sweat can’t reach the surface of your skin. This is what keeps your underarms dry. Unfortunately, it can also migrate into your bloodstream, as confirmed by blood tests.

 

THE SCIENCE

You wouldn’t knowingly ingest a spoonful of toxic cosmetic ingredients, yet so many people are fine with applying them to their skin every single day. In some ways, smearing toxins under your arms in the form of deodorant or antiperspirant may be worse than if you were to eat it.

“When you eat something, it’s broken down by your liver and digestive system,” says Heather Patisaul, Ph.D., an associate professor of biology at North Carolina State University. “But when you put something on your skin, there are times when it can enter your bloodstream without being metabolized.

Patisaul studies endocrine disruptors — both suspected, as well as known chemicals — that may disrupt your body’s reproductive and developmental hormones. She says rubbing something on your skin doesn’t mean all—or even any—of it will make its way into your bloodstream; it depends on the chemical. Blood tests have the ability to show that many of the substances commonly included in deodorant products can, in fact, worm their way past the epidermis and into the body.

 

WHY IS ALUMINUM IN ANTIPERSPIRANT SO CONTROVERSIAL?

The topic of aluminum in cosmetic products is a controversial one. While there is no hard evidence that aluminum causes breast cancer or Alzheimer’s disease, there are studies that have shown possible links. In my opinion, why run the risk? It is always better to practice PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE.

Keep in mind, the underarm area houses fatty tissue that can be susceptible to storing substances — especially if you shave and apply antiperspirant chemicals on the broken skin. The scientific community still does not support the possibility that antiperspirants are a possible danger to your health (that is why they are still on the shelves). It is up to you as a consumer to make the decision if this is a risk to your health.

 

heather switching to natural deodorant

Heather, a previous kaia naturals intern talks about how using antiperspirant for 17 years affected her body. Read more here.