Can Antiperspirants or Deodorants Cause Breast Cancer?

Most conventional deodorants and antiperspirants contain several ingredients linked to serious health effects, from Alzheimer’s disease to virulent cancers.  Since deodorants and antiperspirants are designed to stay on our bodies for hours, this allows the potential for more harmful chemicals to be absorbed.

Deodorants are more healthy than antiperspirants because they don’t interfere with perspiration, but many conventional brands contain harsh, potentially toxic ingredients that should be avoided. Deodorant ingredients to avoid include parabens and all forms of aluminum.

Deodorants work by:

  • neutralizing the smell of the perspiration mixed with bacteria
  • antiseptic action against that bacteria

The problem with anti-antiperspirants

The human body has a few areas that it uses to purge toxins; behind the knees, behind the ears, groin area, and armpits. The toxins are purged in the form of perspiration.

Anti-antiperspirants, as the name clearly indicates, prevent you from perspiring, thereby inhibiting the body from purging toxins from below the armpits. These toxins do not just magically disappear. Instead, the body deposits them in the lymph nodes below the arms since it cannot sweat them out. This causes a high concentration of toxins and leads to cell mutations: and to breast cancer.

If using a deodorant or antiperspirant stops the sweat from leaving the body…is it possible that it can ‘back up’ and be absorbed in the breast or other parts of the body? It seems to be working against nature…

Nearly all breast cancer tumors occur in the upper outside quadrant of the breast area. This is precisely where the lymph nodes are located.

An additional reason to avoid antiperspirants is aluminum content

Aluminum-based compounds are used as the active ingredient in many antiperspirants. These compounds form a temporary plug within the sweat duct that stops the flow of sweat to the skin’s surface. Some research suggests that aluminum-based compounds, which are applied frequently and left on the skin near the breast, may be absorbed by the skin and cause estrogen-like (hormonal) effects. Because estrogen has the ability to promote the growth of breast cancer cells, some scientists have suggested that the aluminum-based compounds in antiperspirants may contribute to the development of breast cancer.

Aside from aluminum, most antiperspirants also contain parabens, antimicrobial agents derived from toluene—a toxic petrochemical derivative.  Some evidence suggests that repeated exposure to toluene may contribute to hormone disruption.

Thirteen research studies performed since 2000 have shown that various types of parabens act like estrogen in living tissue.  Estrogens are known to drive the growth of cancerous cells.

What are the real facts on anti-antiperspirants and breast cancer


According to, all the current information indicates that using underarm deodorant has no direct, conclusive link with the development of breast cancer. There are some conflicting studies, but so far the general consensus is that it’s not a serious risk.

Researchers at the National Cancer Institute are not aware of any conclusive evidence linking the use of underarm antiperspirants or deodorants and the subsequent development of breast cancer. The FDA, which rates foods, cosmetics, medicines, and medical devices, also has not approved this or have any evidence or research data that ingredients in underarm antiperspirants or deodorants cause cancer.

In a May 1999 article by Dawn MacKeen on, Dr. Mervyn Elgart of the department of dermatology at George Washington University eloquently dismissed the rumor as, a “a bunch of nonsense”.  Other experts have expressed similar views, though not necessarily in those words.

Now the real facts..

Although a 2002 study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found no evidence whatsoever to support the claim that using antiperspirants or deodorants increases a woman’s risk of breast cancer, another study published in 2003 found a statistical link between underarm shaving combined with the frequent use of antiperspirants and an earlier age of breast cancer diagnosis. Researchers said it was unclear, however, precisely which of these factors — shaving or antiperspirant use, or both — was operative in their results, and that further investigation is required.

In 2002, the results of a study looking for a relationship between breast cancer and underarm antiperspirants/deodorants were reported. This study did not show any increased risk for breast cancer in women who reported using an underarm antiperspirant or deodorant. The results also showed no increased breast cancer risk for women who reported using a blade (nonelectric) razor and an underarm antiperspirant or deodorant, or for women who reported using an underarm antiperspirant or deodorant within 1 hour of shaving with a blade razor. These conclusions were based on interviews with 813 women with breast cancer and 793 women with no history of breast cancer.

Findings from a different study examining the frequency of underarm shaving and antiperspirant/deodorant use among 437 breast cancer survivors were released in 2003. This study found that the age of breast cancer diagnosis was significantly earlier in women who used these products and shaved their underarms more frequently. Furthermore, women who began both of these underarm habits before 16 years of age were diagnosed with breast cancer at an earlier age than those who began these habits later. While these results suggest that underarm shaving with the use of antiperspirants/deodorants may be related to breast cancer, it does not demonstrate a conclusive link between these underarm hygiene habits and breast cancer.

Because studies of antiperspirants and deodorants and breast cancer have provided conflicting results, additional research is needed to investigate this relationship and other factors that may be involved.


Common sense would dictate that in order to lower your risk of breast cancer you avoid the standard antiperspirants products and use only aluminum-free deodorant products.

deodarant A highly recommended aluminum-free deodorant product is Adidas Aluminum Free deodorant.

This aluminum-free deodorant is one of the few to offer an antiperspirant that is 100% aluminum-free.

You may have tried many of the other “aluminum free” choices on the market. But this one really works. First of all, it is just like any other stick style deodorant you make heave used in the past. But, most importantly, it controls odor and you will find that it does not cause you to sweat as much as some of the other “natural” brands you may have tried.



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