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Can I make my own aluminum free deodorant?

Floraesthetics asks…After reading your blog post about scare tactics, I decided to try my hand at homemade deodorant. I looked at all kinds of recipes, and I created one based on the available ingredients I had in my kitchen. The result was amazing! I was so excited to have created a natural, “aluminum-free” deodorant that worked. Then, I researched a little more and realized that the clays I was using have aluminum content. I went back online and noticed that many natural deodorants contain clays that have aluminum. Can you help me figure out if it can be called aluminum-free if it contains bentonite clay, for example? Also, how does this type of aluminum fit into the neurotoxicity issue?

The Beauty Brains respond

First a little background about the different kinds of aluminum in Antiperspirant/Deodorant products.

How is Aluminum used in APDs?

Ingredient: Aluminum zirconium tetrachorohydrex glycine

Function: These ingredients are designed to interact with the pores of your body, creating tiny gelatinous plugs that reduce sweating. Best research shows no connection to Alzheimer’s disease.

Ingredient: Bentonite, Kaolinite

Function: These are naturally occurring clays that are used as thickeners because of their ability to gel the solvents typically used in deodorants. We have not been able to find any reference linking these to the Alzheimer’s controversy.

Can you legally claim aluminum-free?

Unfortunately we’re not lawyers (although we do like to watch them on TV) so we can’t really advise you of the legality of making such a claim. You’re certainly free to make such a product for your personal use, but if you plan on selling your own deodorants we recommend consulting an attorney. Regardless of what legal council tells you, would this claim really pass the “red faced test” for you? In other words, if you really don’t believe the scientific consensus that says aluminum salts in APs are safe, then can you in good conscience add aluminum containing ingredients to your deodorant? If science says they’re safe, they should be safe in both cases.

{ 5 comments… add one }

  • Viktoria Torma January 24, 2015, 2:22 am

    And what about the breast cancer with aluminium containing deos?
    You might write about is earlier, but I an very new here, and do not had time to scan most of the posts.
    So cab you explai me with a link or a few words what about the explanation, that:
    ” strong aluminium containing deos closes the pores of the armpit region. With this it prevents the detoxification procedure of the breast area, and helps the cancer to appear”
    If we think about this, bentonite clay is trivially not the same cathegory than other alum salt. The explanation sounds reasonable for my brain. What do you think about it?

    • Randy Schueller January 24, 2015, 7:53 am

      The body detoxifies itself through the liver not by underarm sweat glands.

      • Viktoria Torma February 1, 2015, 8:02 am

        I know, that mainly liver is the detoxification issue, but there is really no detoxification through the skin, and through the sweet glands?
        I’m not a biologist, i’m a chemist, but it seems strange that the body do not use all ways which is available for such an important process. (To say the truth, I have a lot of something, which I think to be an experience for having detoxification through the skin).
        I’ve read a lot of things pro and contra about this issue, and I’m really excited about your opinion…
        To be exact:
        There is much rumours about aluminium containing deo’s can be brought in connection with breast cancer. Are they all not true, and alu containing deo’s are all safe, or there is something inside?
        It is very hard to know the truth, and there are explanations sounds reliable for those who are not really professionals in that field. It is very similar to parabens (as everybody say they are toxic, much effort has been made to prove it, but simply nobody could, at least for the small ones). I just wonder your opinion about the deo’s…

  • Vivian June 11, 2015, 11:49 am

    Lavilin is a great aluminum-free brand, comes as both a roll-on and as a cream.

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