OPINION: Natural deodorant is a money grab


Nadine Jallal, Opinion Writer

The rise of the natural beauty industry has overtaken the minds of consumers. The global market value of natural cosmetics and personal care industries is steadily increasing and is expected to reach $54.5 billion by 2027.

One corner of the natural beauty industry is dedicated to deodorant. The harmful, “unnatural” ingredient the industry is trying to replace in deodorants and antiperspirants is aluminum. An aluminum compound is used in most deodorants advertising antiperspirant abilities. A deodorant is only used to mask odors, while an antiperspirant is used to mask odors and stop the body from sweating and creating odors in the first place. The aluminum in antiperspirants is used to temporarily plug sweat ducts and prevent you from sweating. 

The use of aluminum in antiperspirants is a common practice. Recently, studies suggesting a correlation between using aluminum-based antiperspirants and diseases, such as cancer, Alzheimer’s and kidney diseases, began popping up. However, many researchers and scientists have since dispelled these findings. Many of the studies could not prove a direct causation between aluminum antiperspirants and the diseases mentioned. Complex diseases such as cancers and Alzheimer’s often have no single cause or contributor. Rubbing a miniscule amount of aluminum on your armpits likely will not contribute to the risk of developing these diseases, especially since only trace amounts of the aluminum could be absorbed through your skin.

Though the scientific community’s criticism of the rumors about antiperspirants is easily accessible online, fear-mongering articles by beauty magazines and advertisements for natural deodorant brands bury them in a Google search. Even entering the deodorant aisle in a store can cause stress for consumers about whether they are choosing the right or most healthy product. Seeing new deodorant brands plastered with buzz words and phrases such as “all natural” and “no parabens, aluminum or artificial additives” creates fear that the alternatives are deadly. Well known brands such as Dove, Secret and Degree have also introduced their own “0% aluminum” lines of deodorant to regain the business of consumers who are making the switch to natural deodorants. It’s all about the money for the businesses. They see this movement to natural deodorants as a new avenue for profit. 

The prices of natural deodorant brands are often significantly higher than other generic brands, making the seemingly “healthier” choice yet again more expensive and inaccessible to people who cannot afford it. Expensive “natural” options in beauty, food, clothing and more add to the elitism surrounding sustainability and the natural movement.

With the endless amount of opinions and recommendations out there concerning natural products and the use of chemicals, it’s hard for consumers to decipher whether they are in any real danger when using aluminum antiperspirants. The natural beauty industry revels in the current discourse on deodorant ingredients because it favors their more expensive products, even when they’re likely not much better or necessary. The insufficient correlation between aluminum and adverse health effects does not have enough scientific backing. It should not have produced such a big shift in the market, but fear-mongering and invasive marketing strategies have taken the little evidence they have and ran with it. 

You can keep the deodorant you’ve been faithful to for years. It is not hurting you. Trying to switch to a natural deodorant is a more expensive and unnecessary process you don’t have to go through. Natural deodorant reviews are often plagued with people complaining about its inefficiency in truly masking odors and its lack of antiperspirant abilities. The trouble of switching to a natural deodorant that is affordable and works is not worth it, especially if it is not necessary.