The composition of a deodorant is not to be taken lightly, given that it is applied to a sensitive and delicate area of the body. What are the ingredients commonly found in a deodorant? Which ones should be avoided and why? The answers are provided in this article.
What ingredients does a deodorant typically contain?
The composition of a deodorant.
Unlike antiperspirants, deodorants do not block perspiration. It is recommended to use deodorants for light to moderate sweat flow. Deodorants are now available in several forms: roll-on, solid stick, spray and cream.
To fulfil their primary function, which is to mask unpleasant odours without blocking sweat, deodorants incorporate various ingredients:
These ingredients are crucial in deodorants as they directly target the cause of bad odours: bacteria. Among the common antibacterials used in natural formulas, we find certain essential oils such as that of palmarosa or peppermint as well as less natural actives like triethyl citrate, albeit still authorised in organic products.
Beware, some more "conventional" deodorants may contain triclocarban or even triclosan. However, these are endocrine disruptors as well as potential skin irritants and eye irritants. They are also suspected of increasing the risk of breast cancer.
Furthermore, it is also advisable to avoid choosing a deodorant that containsalcohol. Used for its antibacterial properties and also for its ability to "dry out" the deodorant more quickly, alcohol has a strong drying effect and can cause irritation, redness and tingling in the underarm area.
Finally, some deodorants contain parabens which act as preservatives but also as antimicrobial agents. However, these compounds are recognised endocrine disruptors (= which disrupt hormonal balance). Therefore, avoid choosing a deodorant containing, for example, Butylparaben or Propylparaben in its INCI list. It should be noted, manufacturers have replaced these preservatives with other ingredients such as MCIT (methylchloroisothiazolinone) or MIT (methylisothiazolinone). However, due to constant exposure to the same substances, the skin sometimes develops sensitivities to these compounds.
Thanks to their microporous structures, certain clays such as the diatomaceous earth powder, kaolin, perlite or even white clay are drying agents that can absorb their weight in moisture. Their antibacterial action also acts on the bacteria present on the skin, thus limiting the appearance of bad odours. Among the absorbent powders, it is also possible to mention the baking soda, common in natural deodorants as an alternative to aluminium salts.
It should be noted that talc is sometimes used to absorb moisture and excess sweat. However, this mineral powder is widely controversial today.In 2012, ANSES concluded that it was not possible to exclude the presence of asbestos fibres in some talc deposits. Moreover, studies have demonstrated harmful effects on the respiratory system following the inhalation of talc.
Fragrance agents, incorporated into formulas to mask odours.
And what about aluminium salts in all of this?
In everyday language, the term "deodorant" is more commonly used than "anti-perspirant". Thus, we sometimes refer to deodorant with aluminium salts, when in fact it is ananti-perspirant.It is possible to identify aluminium salts on I.N.C.I. lists under the following names: Aluminium Chloryde, Aluminium Chlorohydrate, Aluminium Chlorydrex, Aluminium Sesquichlorydrate, Aluminium Zirconium. Several studies have correlated the presence of aluminium salts in breast cells with the development of malignant tumours and therefore breast cancer. Even thoughthe SCCS (Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety) issued a report in 2019 attesting to the verylow skin absorption(around 0.00052%) of aluminium salts, even on shaved or waxed skin, byprecautionary principle, it is still preferable to exclude them from daily hygiene products.
What about alum stone?
In response to the negative publicity associated with aluminium salts, alum stone has carved out a place for itself in the bathroom. However, it is not as natural as its name might suggest. In fact, it can sometimes be a 100% synthetic stone, manufactured fromAmmonium Alum or synthetic Ammonium Sulphate, a by-product of the nylon chemical industry. In any case, whether natural or synthetic, alum stone contains aluminium salts.
The solution, therefore, lies in the use of deodorants with clean formulas, made from natural ingredients that are respectful to the environment and health.
Our two deodorants contain 98% naturally sourced ingredients. They are formulated without aluminium, alcohol, and talc. They reduce the bacteria responsible for odours to provide a sensation of freshness thanks to their various fragrances: bergamot - green mandarin and rose - vanilla. They contain the following two active ingredients:
The diatomaceous earth :
Thanks to its microporous structure, diatomaceous powder is a drying agent that can absorb up to its own weight in moisture. Its antibacterial action also acts on the bacteria present on the skin, thus limiting the appearance of unpleasant odours.
The sodium bicarbonate :
Sodium bicarbonate possesses naturally absorbent, odour-neutralising and anti-inflammatory properties to soothe irritated skin.
Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety : SCCS/1613/19 (2019)
Mandriota SJ, Tenan M, Ferrari P, Sappino A-P. Aluminium chloride promotes tumorigenesis and metastasis in normal murine mammary gland epithelial cells. Int J Cancer. (2016)
Willhite CC, Karyakina NA, Yokel RA, et al. Systematic review of potential health risks posed by pharmaceutical, occupational and consumer exposures to metallic and nanoscale aluminum, aluminum oxides, aluminum hydroxide and its soluble salts. Crit Rev Toxicol. (2014)
Evaluation du risque lié à l’utilisation de l’aluminium dans les produits cosmétiques - Point d’information - ANSM : Agence nationale de sécurité du médicament et des produits de santé.