Antiperspirants and Breast Cancer Risk

Can your antiperspirant raise your risk for breast cancer? Some experts say yes; others say no. Those who believe that using an antiperspirant does raise your risk cite two contributing factors.

The first issue has to do with some common ingredients in antiperspirants and how those ingredients can easily absorb into the body through the skin, especially if a woman shaves her underarms. The second issue is that antiperspirant restricts sweating and thus reduces the health benefits that sweating provides.

First we’ll look at the ingredients in antiperspirants. There are two substances commonly found in antiperspirants that have become a public concern (at least to some): parabens and aluminum salts.

Parabens are a preservative that—in some ways—mimic the female sex hormone, estrogen. Lifelong exposure to estrogen has a well-documented association with increased breast cancer risk. The second ingredient of concern is aluminum salts, which are known to have a genotoxic profile, capable of causing alterations in DNA.

In the late 1990s an email began circulating on the internet warning of carcinogenic ingredients (namely parabens and aluminum salts) in popular brands of antiperspirant. This email set off a fury of concern leading to many studies and various interpretations of these studies. For more detailed info on both sides of this issue, you can explore the links below or do some research of your own.

 A separate, but related, issue is the health benefits of sweating. As the name indicates, antiperspirant reduces perspiration; but by doing so, it can reduce some of the health benefits of perspiring. Dr. Mercola reports the health benefits of sweating on his website, including:

  • Maintenance of proper body temperature, which keeps you from overheating;
  • Expulsion of toxins, which supports proper immune function and helps prevent diseases related to toxic overload;
  • Cleaning the pores, which helps eliminate blackheads and acne.

For those who are concerned, there are deodorants that are free of aluminum and parabens. They do not restrict perspiration, but they are supposed to help with odor. Other alternatives can be found in most health stores or online. It’s important to evaluate these other options carefully, as sometimes they have their own hidden health risk. I personally chose to give up antiperspirant because it made logical sense to me that stopping sweating—and suppressing the release of toxins—could not be helpful for my body. I also know that what is absorbed through the skin goes into the bloodstream, so I use only pure and organic substances on my body whenever possible. That was the decision I came to after reviewing some of the information available on the topic. You may come to a different conclusion. There is no right or wrong—just finding the solutions that work best for you.

For Further Exploration:

Dr. Mercola Believes Aluminum-Containing Antiperspirants Increase Your Risk of Breast Cancer

Concentrations of Parabens in Human Breast Tumors

Previous Tool Back to Healing Tools Index Next Tool


© Copyright Laura Rennard - Web Hosting by Mosaic Data Services - Photos by Sarah Clarehart Photography