The Cancer-Causing Ingredients Commonly Found in Deodorant

Natural deodorant has taken the wellness world by storm. And while it might seem like people are overreacting, there are countless examples of why mainstream deodorant might not be best. Case in point: Some deodorants contain harmful ingredients that might increase the risk of cancer. Curious to know what to avoid? See the cancer-causing ingredients in deodorant, plus other harmful chemicals, ahead.

Applying deodorant

Some mainstream deodorants contain cancer-causing ingredients. | Anetlanda/iStock/Getty Images

Cancer-Causing Ingredients in Deodorant

There’s a reason some consumers are willing to pay upwards of $20 a pop for an all-natural deodorant. With many cancer-causing ingredients in traditional deodorant, they don’t want to risk the potential side effects. But, while aluminum and parabens are more commonly known ingredients, there are a handful of others to watch out for.


As we mentioned above, parabens are one of the most well-known cancer-causing ingredients in deodorant. Parabens are preservatives used in a wide range of products to prolong shelf life. The downside? They can wreak havoc on the body and might also cause cancer.


Aluminum in deodorant has received backlash recently — and for a good reason. Typically found in antiperspirants, aluminum can impact breast tissue and cause changes that might help the growth of cancer cells. While many experts deem aluminum as a cancer-causing ingredient in deodorant, the jury is still out at the American Cancer Society. According to the organization, more research is needed to conclude whether or not aluminum is linked to cancer.


Another cancer-causing ingredient in deodorant? Silica. While it’s still not completely clear, crystalline quartz can allegedly contaminate the silica found in deodorant. Crystalline quartz is a carcinogen, which can cause cancer. On top of that, silica can also irritate the skin, so it’s best to steer clear of it altogether.


You might be familiar with talc from baby powder. But, did you know, some deodorants also contain talc? Some talc contains asbestiform fibers, which are a carcinogen and can lead to cancer. However, there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the ingredient. If cancer-causing ingredients in deodorant are a concern to you, consider avoiding the ingredient altogether. According to some reports, talc is not regulated in personal care products, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Other harmful ingredients in deodorant

In addition to cancer-causing ingredients in deodorant, there are a handful of other ingredients that can negatively impact health. Keep reading to find out what ingredients to watch out for and why.


One of the most common harmful ingredients in deodorant is phthalates. Common in products with lingering fragrance — i.e., deodorant — phthalates can tamper with the body’s hormone production.


If dermatitis is of concern, avoid triclosan. According to the FDA, triclosan is a pesticide, and the IARC says it’s a possible carcinogen. The harmful ingredient can irritate the skin, among other things.


While it might smell nice, fragrance is not always a good thing. Because the FDA does not require companies to disclose specific ingredients in fragrance, there is a lot of unknown in mainstream products. Fragrance can lead to a host of issues such as allergic reactions and even toxicity.

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