Aluminium salts are found in many antiperspirants sold in the UK as the compound works by blocking the sweat ducts and therefore reducing the buildup of sweat and bacteria that can lead to body odour.
While this method of preventing odour is very successful, there are concerns that aluminium could have negative health effects, potentially contributing to conditions such as breast cancer and Alzheimer’s.
If you are concerned about the risks using an aluminium-based antiperspirant may pose to your health, then you can reduce the risk of absorption by your cells by ensuring that you only apply deodorant to skin that is not broken or damaged (for example by shaving).
You can also invest in an aluminium-free antiperspirant and deodorants such as those reviewed below.
Best Aluminium-Free Antiperspirants & Deodorants in the UK
1. PitRok W1060 Push-Up Crystal Deodorant
This deodorant is great for those with sensitive skin as well as being free from aluminium chlorohydrate, aluminium zirconium, parabens, SLS/SLES, propylene slycol and silicones, making it a great natural option.
For those who are animal lovers too, you will be happy to know that the product isn’t tested on animals either.
The deodorant has a long shelf life, with users claiming it lasts for a whole year, which is certainly good for your health and beauty bank! It also means you can reduce your plastic usage as you won’t be throwing away plastic deodorant containers so often.
The deodorant stick itself is a crystal that naturally stops bacteria from growing and therefore prevents odours.
The product must be used on clean, wet armpits in order to work which may seem odd to begin with, but it dries out within a minute to leave you odourless all day.
The brand also now have a spray version available if you prefer this method.
2. Green People Aloe Vera & Prebiotics Deodorant
Green People have created a simple but effective roll-on deodorant that is perfect for sensitive skin and conditions such as eczema and psoriasis as it contains only natural ingredients and is alcohol-free as well.
This deodorant contains prebiotics, which promote the growth of good bacteria that can combat the bad bacteria in your armpits.
Prebiotics aren’t the same as probiotics – this deodorant does not contain yoghurt!
The ingredients used are also mainly organic which is good news for those concerned with being green.
The brand also describes perspiration as an “essential process” and therefore this product does not prevent this, but it does contain antibacterial properties to prevent odour.
If you are looking for a light scent, rather than something overpowering then this is a great choice, as the Aloe Vera scent is light on both the skin and the nostrils.
3. Bioforce Salt of The Earth Deodorant Spray
This Salt of the Earth deodorant is the only one that comes in a spray bottle, however this is more of a pump bottle rather than your traditional deodorant spray can.
It contains all natural ingredients and is of course free from aluminium amongst other potentially harmful ingredients, yet still offers an antibacterial answer to and odour caused by underarm sweat thanks to the natural mineral salts and honeysuckle extract it contains.
For those with skin sensitive to perfumes, this is a perfect option as it is perfume-free, but still comes in a spray form rather than roll-on, so is easy to apply and contains Aloe Vera to soothe skin.
It is also vegan friendly and cruelty free for those concerned with preserving the fauna of the planet.
4. Green People For Men – No. 8 Thyme & Prebiotics Deodorant
Another deodorant from Green People, this one offers an alternative aluminium-free and all-natural product for men.
The fresh scent of thyme, clove and lemon easily replaces any body odours thanks to the prebiotics that prevent bacterial buildup without blocking pores.
The deodorant comes in a simple roll-on form which makes is easy to apply on clean, unbroken skin as needed. It should last about 2 months.
Due to its natural ingredients and no alcohol or perfume, the product is also perfect for those with sensitive skin and contains ethically sourced shea butter to help soothe skin.
As you’d expect from Green People, this deodorant is free from parabens, phthalates, SLS and other potentially harmful chemicals. It’s also vegan and cruelty free.
5. Clean Deodorant Balm Lemon + Geranium by The Natural Deodorant Co.
This deodorant isn’t what you’d normally expect from a deodorant as it’s more like a balm and comes in a jar.
As the name suggests, the deodorant contains only natural ingredients and is also vegan and cruelty free.
The exotic scents available make a nice addition to the deodorant, which is applied simply by rubbing the cream with your fingers onto your underarms.
Despite the anti-odour benefits, this deodorant will not prevent you from perspiring as it doesn’t block your sweat ducts.
However, it will prevent the smell that normally comes with sweating.
Potential Health Risks of Aluminium in Antiperspirants
It is speculated that the presence of aluminium in antiperspirants could pose potential health risks to those who use them.
Tests are continually being carried out on cosmetic products as we, the consumers, become more aware of health risks or problems that could be explained with the chemicals found in our daily product usage.
While there is no distinct evidence relating cancer to the use of an antiperspirants containing aluminium salts, tests where breast epithelial cells are exposed to aluminium chloride did lead to the cells becoming cancerous.
Tests have also shown that the compounds can also interfere with the body’s oestrogen levels, which heightens the risk of cancer as well as the majority of breast cancers cases originating near to the underarm.
You can read more on the topic of breast cancer at Breast Cancer UK here.
Aluminium antiperspirants block your sweat glands and don’t allow anything through, including toxins which your body needs to flush out in order to keep running as it normally should.
A potential health risk stemming from this concept is the development of breast cancer due to the excess toxins ending up in your lymph nodes and causing cellular changes.
It is specifically the aluminium-based ingredient which is used to block the sweat ducts so we don’t perspire. The body could possibly be absorbing this which could have negative effects (including causing breast cancer).
There are still no hard and fast answers as to whether antiperspirant is linked with developing breast cancer.
A systematic review failed to find a clear link between Alzheimer’s and exposure to aluminium.
However, one study found that Alzheimer’s patients had higher levels of aluminium in their brains.
The aluminium from antiperspirant is not directly absorbed by the body and is used to form a plug to stop sweat when mixed with the moisture of perspiration.
Patients with kidney disease whose kidneys are functioning at 30% or less should avoid aluminium antiperspirants, as when the kidneys aren’t working properly aluminium can accumulate.
However, aluminium levels cannot be absorbed from antiperspirant at a level or rate quick enough to harm the kidneys, unless ingested in large quantities.
So, avoiding aluminium antiperspirants due to kidney disease is probably being extra cautious.
Which Popular Antiperspirants Contain Aluminium?
When it comes to choosing an antiperspirant we all have our go-to brands, but a lot of big name products actually do contain aluminium, including the following:
- Dove Men + Care
- Driclor Solution
- Right Guard
- Sweat Block
Antiperspirant vs. Deodorant
Most of the natural products reviewed here are deodorants rather than antiperspirants, as antiperspirants almost always use aluminium salts as the key ingredient to block sweat ducts.
Antiperspirants work differently to deodorants:
- Antiperspirants: Block sweat ducts to prevent you from sweating. If you don’t sweat, the bacteria in your armpits can’t break down the protein in your sweat, which is what produces body odour.
Aluminium is usually used to block sweat ducts. Antiperspirants prevent your body from performing a natural process (sweating), so it you’re looking to live a more natural life, it’s better to choose a deodorant.
- Deodorant: Deodorants work by making it harder for the bacteria in your armpits to survive by making it more acidic or containing antibacterial ingredients. Often deodorants have an added scent to mask body odour.
These deodorants offer great natural alternatives for those looking for an aluminium-free product, but are also free from many other ingredients found in other everyday antiperspirants and deodorants.
If we had to pick just one of these products to recommend, it would be PitRok W1060 Push-Up Crystal Deodorant as it’s completely natural, lasts a long time and most people find it to be effective.
It’s fragrance free and is suitable for both men and women.
While the products may not prevent sweating (a naturally occurring process that is perfectly healthy!), they help prevent unwanted body odour by naturally eliminating or preventing bacterial build-up and therefore are an ideal option for those not only concerned with their own health, but with ethical and environmental concerns.
Naturaler is a UK website full of tips and recommendations for living a more eco-friendly, chemical-free and natural lifestyle.