Healthy Q & A: Natural Deodorant

Q: My sister has breast cancer and was advised that she may want to stop using antiperspirant deodorant.  I’ve been reading about the aluminum in antiperspirants and how they could be harmful, so I wondered what you thought and if you had any recommendations on a natural deodorant (I know there are a lot of different ones available).

A:  Sometimes women undergoing radiation therapy for breast cancer are advised to discontinue using conventional antiperspirant deodorant due to possible skin reactions or irritation. 

Many women are concerned about the possible dangers of using aluminum-based antiperspirants.  There are a number of arguments against conventional antiperspirants.  One would be the idea that sweating is beneficial and is used by the body to excrete toxins, and by stopping underarm perspiration a person is blocking toxins in the underarm area.  Another thought is that aluminum is a metal and it is harmful to be smearing it in a person’s underarm pores.  Research has found elevated levels of aluminum in the underarm area and surrounding areas of people who used conventional antiperspirants.

I certainly don’t want to be alarmist about antiperspirants, since the research on it is mostly inconclusive.  Nevertheless, I don’t think putting aluminum on your body every day is a great idea, not to mention always having one’s sweat glands plugged up.

No matter how bad conventional antiperspirants may be, no one wants to smell bad. Thankfully there are a number of very effective natural deodorants available.  I wanted to specifically mention one I’ve use called LifeStinks.

I love LifeStinks deodorant for a number of reasons, foremost I guess would be that it is one of the most effective ones I’ve used of the many I’ve tried.  They’re also a local company, and owned and operated by a group of sisters in Beverly.

I used LifeStinks on numerous hot summer days and didn’t have an odor problem- which I thought was really impressive because I’ve used natural deodorants before that would work for a while but then seemed to get lazy on the job.  One recommendation is not to apply LifeStinks deodorant directly after shaving under the arms, to avoid irritation.


Also, be sure to check out our DIY Health & Beauty section this month below for a homemade deodorant recipe made with essential oils!