Aluminium salts in deodorants may be linked to breast cancer


Image via Pinterest

October is the month devoted to Breast Cancer Awareness. And although more research is being conducted on how to fight this illness, the best weapon of any woman is prevention. Regular self-check-ups, a good conversation with your OB/GYN if you feel any changes in your breast tissue, and an overall healthy lifestyle including a nutritious diet and regular sport are your best weapon against this illness. However, there has been one lingering question in the scientific community for years: Could deodorant have something to do with the apparition and progression of breast cancer tumors?

The beauty industry has long brushed off the accusations that aluminium salts in deodorants and antitranspirants could be linked to breast cancer . However, a group of researchers in Geneva has been able to demonstrate that aluminium salts in deodorants may be linked to breast cancer and could pose an increased risk for this illness. This study has recently been published in the International Journal of Cancer, a peer-reviewed medical publication with the latest scientific discoveries in cancer research.

André-Pascal Sappino, co-author of the study, isolated human mammary cells and later replicated it in studies on mice. The study found that long-term exposure to aluminium salts resulted in tumors which metastise (or spread) aggressively. The study concludes that in the light of the above evidence, aluminium salts in deodorants may be linked to breast cancer. Professor Sappino, who happens to be an oncologist, told several English media that although this is a first step in an overall bigger investigation needed to determine a direct link, he advises males and females to steer clear of deodorants or antiperspirants that contain aluminium salts. 

{On a personal note, people who are close to me and had any type of cancer were advised by their oncologist to be very careful about the deodorant that they were using and avoid antiperspirants altogether.}

Sappino said in further interviews with The Daily Mail in the UK that asbestos was considered harmless for 50 years, and he hopes it doesn’t take so long to ban aluminium salts for personal care products. Other voices have stated that this study is inconclusive because it has been carried out in mice. Dr. Sally Norton, an NHS consultant, stated nonetheless that  ‘[…] the increasing use of chemical products on ourselves, around the home and in our wider environment is almost certainly causing some harmful effects and we should try to reduce them wherever possible. ‘

I agree with this last statement. Using that synthetic-ridden lipstick might not cause you an illness on itself, but could contribute to an excessive accumulation of synthetics (what other people refer to as chemicals or toxics) that your body might not be able to get rid of.  This phenomenon, also known as bioaccumulation, has made me take a cleaner approach to my personal beauty routines, my diet, and my consuming habits.  

One of the first things I switched dramatically was my use of deodorants. I’ve been avoiding aluminium salts for years, but some of the available counterparts (such as Tom’s of Maine) include propylene glycol, which is on my list of no-no compounds that I use under no circumstances.

My personal advice? Ditch any deodorant or antiperspirant with aluminium salts (yes, including those natural-looking alum or crystal stones, which are composed of aluminium) and look for another alternative. If you’re OK with using propylene glycol then Tom’s of Maine is a fantastic alternative. If you are willing to try a totally natural product, don’t hesitate to read my two posts containing a review of some effective natural deodorants and a homemade natural deodorant recipe (just click on the pink links.)

With regards to my personal reasons for switching my deodorant and never looking back, I prefer to put something clean (as in toxic-free) under my pits, which happen to be close to my lymphatic nodes. However, I feel this study is the indication that more research should be conducted, that we should rethink our personal hygiene habits, and that those advocating for cleaner deodorant formulas are not part of a hippy conspiration. Let’s remember in the US anything can go into the market and not be banned until a lot of people report injuries after using the product. If the use of talc has been linked to ovarian cancer (link to the American Cancer Society), I personally feel that banning aluminium salts will be the next big hit to the personal care industry, which is using too many synthetic and potentially harmful ingredients. 

Shaney Jo Darden agrees with me on this one. For over fifteen years she has been fighting to avoid dangerous chemical compounds in personal care products, and has educated teenagers through her nonprofits  Keep A Breast and Non Toxic Revolution about making cleaner choices in products they use every day. If you have arrived at this article, I wholeheartedly recommend you to visit her website The Keep A Breast Foundation. The website also includes a recipe for a super simple DIY natural deodorant that you can access visiting this link or watching the video below:


If you would like to read the full study and reach your own conclusions, please visit this link. The name of the study is Aluminium chloride promotes tumorigenesis and metastasis in normal murine mammary gland epithelial cells and is authored by Stefano J. Mandriota, Mirna Tenan, Paolo Ferrari, and Andre-Pascal Sappino. 

Disclosure level 0: The author was NOT compensated to write this article. The post contains NO affiliate links; they are included as information-only. All opinions are author’s own and are not intended to diagnose, prevent or otherwise advise in any health-related matters. Please consult a physician if you have any personal concerns.


Leave a Reply