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Antiperspirant and Breast Cancer: Is There a Link?

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From bottles and microwaves to phones and McNuggets, it seems everything is giving us cancer. While I refuse to run from my car when pumping gas or stop using my cell, there is one allegedly carcinogenic item that I fear: deodorant.

I used to be a fan of the clinical strength stuff; however I started getting a bit wary when I wouldn’t perspire for days on end. It just didn’t seem natural to have such incredibly dry pits. I started questioning if it was harmful that my deodorant was preventing my body from a natural process—sweating.

A popular email that circulated a few years back stated that antiperspirant causes cell-mutations and leads to cancer. The explanation behind the assertion was that because we aren’t perspiring (thanks to our antiperspirant), our body has no way to rid itself of toxins. Since the toxins have no where to go, they deposit themselves in the lymph nodes and build up, causing a higher likelihood for developing breast cancer.

Subsequent research has proved the link between breast cancer occurrences and antiperspirant to be highly debatable and not necessarily true. Still, many consumers have switched from standard brands to the all-natural, aluminum-free stuff (myself included).

What’s the Alleged Link?
Cuts, nicks, and raw skin created by shaving supposedly leave skin more vulnerable to the absorption of harmful substances—specifically aluminum. Aluminum, short for aluminum chloride, is one of the most common environmental elements and a key ingredient in antiperspirants. If we absorb even more aluminum than normal into our bodies through nicks or cuts, it gets added to the natural toxins that our body is unable to release and increases our odds of developing breast cancer. Underarms are full of white-blood-cell-rich lymph nodes that aid in the removal of cancer-causing agents (including aluminum). Antiperspirants block the skin’s ability to sweat. When you can’t sweat you can’t rid yourself harmful cancer-causing toxins. These toxins need to go somewhere and they end up attaching to the lymph nodes under your arms, which, logically speaking, could cause breast cancer.

Add a Comment3 Comments

Great article! I feel it's safer to go with an aluminum and parabin free deodorant. There are lots out there. Many cosmetics are listed on this site ...this group has tested the toxicity level of so many products and you can find out how toxic it is. http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com/splash.php?URI=%2Fsearch.php

Even some of the deodorants with out aluminum have toxins or carcinogens in them.

Why take the chance? Our bodies are supposed to sweat, that's how they are designed.

October 5, 2009 - 6:58am
EmpowHER Guest

Just like most women in America, I shaved my underarms every day but that ended the moment I realized that deodorant was lodged in the hair follicles under my arms. I could actually squeeze them--like a pimple--and deodorant would come out! I was using a name-brand stick anti-persirant deodorant. If this was happening to me, I'm sure this is happening to many, many other women who shave their underarms. These days, I'll shave whenever I wear a bathing suit, but I won't wear deodorant for a day or two afterward. I don't wear sleeveless shirts anymore but I figure that's a small price to pay for peace of mind.

September 29, 2009 - 9:03am
EmpowHER Guest

Stick to your instincts. It seems interesting that antiperspirants have warnings not to use this product if you have kidney problems. My anatomy may be somewhat flawed but the last I heard, the kidneys weren't in the armpits. Our skin is more of an absorber than a barrier. Aluminum is not good for you inside or out. Xeno estrogens make it even worse. And you are right on about sweating. There is a reason we do it and we pay a dear price for shutting it off. Remember, women don't sweat, they glow.

September 28, 2009 - 11:24am
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