As awareness of “green” living choices expands, consumers develop a greater interest in using products that do not contain chemicals. Concern regarding several ingredients found in men's antiperspirant/deodorant products, particularly aluminum compounds, have led to the development of more natural men's products, including aluminum-free, organic and crystal deodorants.
Aluminum-based antiperspirants form a temporary plug on sweat ducts that stops the sweating process, temporarily eliminating perspiration and the resultant odor. Some researchers have expressed concern that aluminum may exert estrogen-like effects, disrupting normal hormone levels, as reported by the National Cancer Institute. Other researchers have expressed concern over a potential link between aluminum exposure and Alzheimer’s disease, although evidence remains circumstantial, according to a public health statement released by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.
Only some men's deodorants include aluminum compounds, which primarily serve an antiperspirant function. To determine whether a deodorant contains aluminum, carefully read the ingredient list. Commonly occurring aluminum compounds include aluminum chlorohydrate, ammonium aluminum sulfate and potassium aluminum sulfate.
Common brands of men's deodorant found in drugstores that do not contain aluminum include Old Spice Classic Deodorant Stick, Speed Stick Classic Scent Deodorant and Arm & Hammer Ultramax Deodorant. You can find additional aluminum-free alternatives at natural grocery stores and health-food stores.
Manufacturers have developed several deodorants labeled as "organic," but not all contain 100-percent organic ingredients, warranting a careful reading of the ingredients list. If the deodorant includes the label “USDA Organic,” it must contain at least 95-percent organic ingredients. Otherwise, it may include the label “made with organic ingredients," for which the requirements are more vague, states the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics website. Some of these “made with organic ingredients” products may still contain ingredients of concern, including phthalates and parabens, which may exert effects on some hormones.
Men's deodorants that contain primarily natural or organic ingredients include Organic Grooming by Herban Cowboy, Aubrey Organics Deodorant Spray, Burt's Bees Men's Natural Deodorant and Tom’s of Maine Natural Deodorant. They are available from natural-food stores and many online drugstores.
Crystal deodorants can be purchased in the form of a stone or distilled into a spray. However, crystal deodorants contain alum, a form of aluminum, according to the Organic Consumers Association website. Alum occurs naturally in mineral salts used to make these crystals. Despite their natural bumpy appearance, the crystal stones are manufactured.
Men's deodorants that contain crystal-based mineral salts include Crystal brand Roll-On Body Deodorant and Tom's of Maine Crystal Confidence 24 Hour Deodorant. Thai Deodorant Stone is one solid crystal stone.
Karyn Thompson is a licensed clinical health psychologist living in the Philadelphia area. Her academic areas of interest are in helping people change their health behaviors, such as losing weight, stopping smoking, and adopting an exercise plan. She currently works as a part-time college lecturer, research consultant, and freelance writer.