This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclaimer for more info.

deodorants

I hope all you listeners and your families are staying well and safe.

This week's question is from a listener who has concerns about deodorant products. I've taken a while to respond to this question as I couldn’t find any credible evidence to discuss the safety of these self-care products. There are lots of examples of anecdotal evidence on the web and potentially false claims, so we have to be careful and not believe everything we read, see or hear… well, other than what you hear on this show of course.

But I finally have some studies to reference, so I can feel a bit more confident that what I’m relaying here is accurate.


Listen to Dr. Neal address this topic on Episode 990 of the podcast Optimal Health Daily.


Regulation of Cosmetics

The FDA is actually supposed to regulate cosmetics. But back in 1938, a law was passed that prevents the FDA from really doing anything to those that manufacture these products.

So, sadly, much like the nutrition supplement industry, it’s the “wild west” out there when it comes to the safety of make-up, deodorants, self-tanning lotions, shampoos and the like.

On the other hand, manufacturers in Europe have to show that products are safe for use and do not cause any abnormal changes to the body, cause cancer, or harm an unborn child before they can be sold on the open market.

That’s not the case in the U.S.

Parabens and Sulfates

Many of you might be concerned about parabens and sulfates, specifically.

I’ll start by discussing sulfates. As far as self-care products go, sulfates are most often found in soaps and shampoos. Two types of sulfate are most commonly used in these products and the good news there is both appear to be safe.

Next, parabens. This story isn’t as clear. Parabens have been around since the 1950s and are basically a type of preservative. In the U.S., you’ll find them most commonly in shampoos, conditioners, lotions, and makeup. It is believed that parabens are absorbed by the skin and can act like estrogen when it’s in the body. Because of its ability to mimic estrogen, some believe parabens may trigger harmful reactions which, in turn, may increase a person’s risk for certain diseases like cancer.

deodorant_safety

In 2014, the European Union banned the use of certain types of parabens. As expected, many here in the U.S. are hoping that our government follows suit. Right now, both the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention do not have a clear statement that states whether our current exposure to parabens is harmful to health. So, many health professionals that specialize in toxicology caution that we may want to limit our exposure to them.

Pthalates in Cosmetics

Now, there is another chemical that you didn’t mention, but I feel I need to mention it. Pthalates. Pthalates are commonly found in many of these same products. This is because they can act as skin softeners and moisturizers and prevent nail polish from cracking. But, phthalates aren’t just found in self-care products. They’re basically everywhere. They’re often used to preserve food and even found in our food packaging. It is for this reason that, back in 1999, the European Union restricted the use of 6 different types of pthalates.

So, the question now is: how much exposure to parabens and phthalates, in particular, is too much exposure? Sadly, we don’t know. This is why many toxicologists will advise us that we limit our exposure just in case.

Now, what’s the deal with deodorants, antiperspirants, and aluminum? Some antiperspirants have used aluminum because aluminum plugs up sweat ducts. A plugged up sweat duct then limits the amount of sweat that can be released. Deodorants often don’t contain aluminum. Instead, they may have the previously mentioned parabens.

When it comes to using deodorants, or antiperspirants with aluminum and the risk for Alzheimer’ disease and breast cancer, there doesn’t appear to be a clear relationship between any of these. We need more studies to know what’s going on.

What about Natural Deodorants?

And, finally, what about all-natural products? Well, those may not always be safe, either. For example, some natural products use essential oils. The problem with some essential oils is that some of those can also disrupt hormones.

So, what should you do? Luckily, major retailers are catching on to the potential harmful effects of these preservatives. CVS, Walgreens, Sephora, and Target are trying to rid their shelves of products that contain parabens and phthalates.

In the meantime, when shopping, be sure to a buy a product that is made in the USA or, if it comes from Europe, meets the European Union’s quality standards for cosmetics. It’s probably not a great idea to buy products from countries outside of these regulations.

Finally, look for product labels that specifically say, “Paraben and phthalate free” right on the packaging.


Listen to Dr. Neal address this topic on Episode 990 of the podcast Optimal Health Daily.


mm

Neal Malik

Dr. Neal Malik ("Dr. Neal") is currently a professor at California State University, San Bernardino. Before this, he served as Department Chair at Bastyr University California. Dr. Neal has also published peer-reviewed scientific research and presented at national conferences. Send in your health related question and Dr. Neal will answer it on the Optimal Health Daily show!
Minimalism Tips for Family Cheat Sheet

Minimalism Tips for Family Cheat Sheet

Enter your email to get our free PDF cheat sheet on minimalism tips for family members. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and life tips!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Join my weekly newsletter for life tips, quotes, and free tools to optimize your life (and make my day)!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Minimize Your Wardrobe: Inspiration File

Minimize Your Wardrobe: Inspiration File

Enter your email to get our free Inspiration File on minimizing your wardrobe. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and life tips!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Checklist: How to Declutter Sentimental Items.

Checklist: How to Declutter Sentimental Items.

Enter your email to get our free PDF checklist on decluttering sentimental items. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and life tips!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

5-Day Email Course - Get Started with Minimalism

5-Day Email Course - Get Started with Minimalism

Enter your email to join our free 5-day ecourse on getting started with minimalism. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and tips to optimize your life!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Checklist-How to Declutter Paper

Checklist-How to Declutter Paper

Enter your email to get our free PDF checklist on how to declutter paper. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and tips to optimize your life!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Checklist - How to Declutter Books

Checklist - How to Declutter Books

Enter your email to get our free PDF checklist on how to declutter books. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and tips to optimize your life!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Checklist - How to Help Kids Learn to Declutter Toys

Checklist - How to Help Kids Learn to Declutter Toys

Enter your email to get our free PDF checklist on how to help kids learn to declutter their toys. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and tips to optimize your life!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Checklist - Bare Minimum of Items for Moving

Checklist - Bare Minimum of Items for Moving

Enter your email to get our free PDF checklist on the bare minimum of items you need when moving. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and tips to optimize your life!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Checklist - Why Personal Finance is Important

Checklist - Why Personal Finance is Important

Enter your email to get our free PDF checklist on why financial literacy is important. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and tips to optimize your life!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Cheat Sheet - How to Overcome Money Fears

Cheat Sheet - How to Overcome Money Fears

Enter your email to get our free PDF cheat sheet on overcoming money fears. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and tips to optimize your life!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Bonus - Debt Payoff Tracker PDF

Bonus - Debt Payoff Tracker PDF

Enter your email to get our free PDF debt payoff tracker. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and tips to optimize your life!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Cheat Sheet - How To Stay Motivated When You Feel Stuck

Cheat Sheet - How To Stay Motivated When You Feel Stuck

Enter your email to get our free PDF cheat sheet on maintaining your level of motivation. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and tips to optimize your life!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Cheat Sheet - What Should I Do After A Deep Tissue Massage?

Cheat Sheet - What Should I Do After A Deep Tissue Massage?

Enter your email to get our free PDF cheat sheet on what to do after a deep tissue massage. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and tips to optimize your life!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Cheat Sheet - Tips for Sitting at a Computer All Day

Cheat Sheet - Tips for Sitting at a Computer All Day

Enter your email to get our free PDF cheat sheet on tips to counter sitting at a computer all day. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and tips to optimize your life!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Cheat Sheet - How Do I Stick to a Budget?

Cheat Sheet - How Do I Stick to a Budget?

Enter your email to get our free PDF cheat sheet on tips to stick to your budget. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and tips to optimize your life!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Expert Tips - How to Get Over a Breakup

Expert Tips - How to Get Over a Breakup

Enter your email to get our free PDF with expert tips on getting over a breakup. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and tips to optimize your life!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Expert Tips - How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

Expert Tips - How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

Enter your email to get our free PDF with expert tips on how to stop comparing yourself to others. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and tips to optimize your life!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Expert Tips - 10 Health & Fitness Quotes

Expert Tips - 10 Health & Fitness Quotes

Enter your email to get our free PDF with health and fitness quotes from Optimal Health Daily episodes. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and tips to optimize your life!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Cheat Sheet - Toxic Relationships

Cheat Sheet - Toxic Relationships

Enter your email to get our free PDF with tips on how to spot -- and get out of -- a toxic relationship. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration, quotes, life tips, and more!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

A Brand New You

Join our weekly newsletter for life tips, quotes, and productivity tools to optimize your life!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

OLD Podcast: Library

OLD Podcast: Library

Enter your email to get your password to access our handy library. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and life tips!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

5-Day Email Course - Get Started with Personal Finances

5-Day Email Course - Get Started with Personal Finances

Enter your email to join our free 5-day ecourse on improving your personal finances. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and tips to optimize your life!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Journaling Worksheet - PDF

Journaling Worksheet - PDF

Enter your email to get a sample of our journaling worksheet PDF with quotes and templates based on Optimal Living Daily episodes. You'll also get a weekly email with inspiration and tips to optimize your life!

You have Successfully Subscribed!