• Dr. Heather Robinson, ND

Under Armour: The do's and don'ts of deodorant

Hi I’m Heather, and I’m a serial deodorant collector.

I have bought and not used countless sticks, sprays and gels trying to find one that works. It is hard enough to find one at any given drug store to suit your needs, and has an added difficulty when in search for a ‘natural alternative’. Your skin (including your armpits!) is a major detoxifying organ as well as an accessible way to affect you internally so what you put on is incredibly important. Your under arms are also in close proximity to axillary lymph nodes (play an integral role in your immune system) which are connected to your lymphatic system across the body. What you put on topically can fairly easily access the bloodstream, so it is crucial to be kind and mindful to what you're putting under there!

Ingredients to Avoid

  1. Aluminum compounds: Used as an antiperspirant by blocking the sweat from escaping the pores and has been linked to breast cancer (estrogen mimetic) and Alzheimer’s.

  2. Parabens (methyl, ethyls etc): These are chemical compounds that work as both a deodorizer and antiperspirant and can disrupt our hormone balance, again mainly due to it’s estrogenic effects, also linked to breast cancer.

  3. Propylene glycol: This is the agent that creates that smooth application however it has been shown to cause delayed allergic reactions and linked to kidney and liver damage.

  4. Pthalates: Found in both antiperspirants and deodorants and are in a variety of products including cosmetics, plastics and perfumes which help to dissolve other ingredients for consistency. The presence of pthalates are linked to birth defects in pregnant women, hormone disruption and potentially cancer (cell mutation).

  5. Triclosan: This substance is classified by the FDA as a pesticide (ew) and a carcinogen by the Environmental Protection Agency (also, ew). It is also found in antibacterial soaps, gels and wipes. This can cause skin irritation/dermatitis and as a carcinogen, linked to cancer.

Click here to see a list and evaluation of common deodorants on the market.

Natural Alternatives

Typically the natural alternatives contain:

  • A carrier for application such as coconut oil, shea butter or beeswax (also moisturizing)

  • A deodorizing agent such as baking soda (caution: some people as sensitive to this and can cause a burning sensation and redness if the ratio is too high).

  • A fragrance such as essential oils which serve as a light scent and natural antibacterial component.

  • Mineral salts: some will contain this antiperspirant which creates a layer on top of the skin rather than plugging pores.

  • Try making your own!

My Personal Success: Saje’s Natural Deodorant Spray – I haven’t experienced the burning as I had from other baking soda-containing products, it sprays on easily and usually lasts the whole day to keep me fresh, however it doesn’t work to decrease sweat.

Note: Whole and Holistic and all it’s member have no affiliation with any product or company, nor are endorsed or advertising for compensation.


1. Darbre, P. D., et al. "Concentrations of parabens in human breast tumours." Journal of applied toxicology 24.1 (2004): 5-13.

2. Horvath, Edward P., et al. "Evaluation of the neurophysiologic effects of 1, 2‐propylene glycol dinitrate by quantitative ataxia and oculomotor function tests." American journal of industrial medicine 2.4 (1981): 365-378.




#deodorant #armpit #BO #skin #health #aluminum #parabens


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Disclaimer: Any information on this website is for informational purposes only and are not intended to be used in place of professional medical advice.

Always seek the advice of a qualified health care practitioner with any questions or health concerns you may have.


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