Trying To Be Greener

Safer eco-living, one day at a time

How safe is your deodorant? August 19, 2008

The Environmental Working Group has a website called Skin Deep. This site is an excellent resource for consumers in that it lists thousands of personal care products in an organized way and rates them on how safe their ingredients are.

“Skin Deep pairs ingredients in more than 25,000 products against 50 definitive toxicity and regulatory databases, making it the largest integrated data resource of its kind.Why did a small nonprofit take on such a big project? Because the FDA doesn’t require companies to test their own products for safety.”

At Skin Deep, you can find hundreds of specific items for hair, skin, eyes, nails, baby, oral care, fragrance, and makeup rated from 0-10, zero being the safest. Each item’s score is explained in detail and safer options are given.

In today’s post I’m listing safer deodorant choices from Skin Deep’s site that can easily be found at your local drugstore. I’ve also listed some common items with high (not safe) scores as comparisons. It should be noted that although Skin Deep gives products a “low hazard” score, some of them contain the chemicals below with cautions from testing results of these chemicals:

Aluminum Chloride: Organ system toxicity, in vitro tests on mammalian cells show positive mutation results, reproductive effects at moderate and high doses, and animal studies show brain and nervous system effects at high doses

Aluminum Chlorohydrate: Developmental/reproductive toxicity, Neurotoxicity

Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex Glycine: Strong evidence of human neurotoxicity when product is airborn

Gylcerin: One or more animal studies show kidney or renal system effects at very low doses, mammalian cells show positive mutation results, animal studies show reproductive effects at moderate doses

Diproplyene Glycol: One or more animal studies show brain and nervous system effects at high doses

1 PEG-14 Dimethicone, PEG/PPG – 18/18 Dimethicone, PEG-8 Distearate, and Triclosan: Also known as 1,4-Dioxane: Endocrine disruption, identified as a probable human carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Propylene Glycol, which the FDA says is safe for general use but can cause cancer and contains toxins that affect reproduction

Alcohol Denatured: Cancer, Developmental/reproductive toxicity, Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive)

Butane and Propane: Allergies and immunotoxicity

fragrance: often means Diethyl Phthalate or DEP: endocrine disruptor that has been linked to reproductive and abnormalities

PEG/PPG – 18/18 Dimethicone - Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive)

Benzyl Alcohol: Neurotoxicity

Silica: Cancer, Allergies/immunotoxicity

Deodorant with a score of 0 having a “low hazard”:

  • Crystal deodorant stick, roll-on, and spray

Deodorant with a score of 1 having a “low hazard”:

  • CVS Ultra Dry Anti-Perspirant Roll-On Unscented – Aluminum Chloride,
  • Ban Antiperspirant & Deodorant Original Roll-On Unscented – Aluminum Chlorohydrate
  • Ban Classic Original Antiperspirant & Deodorant Original Roll-On Unscented – Aluminum Chlorohydrate:
  • Almay Antiperspirant & Deodorant, Clear Gel; Fragrance Free – Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex Glycine, Gylcerin, Diproplyene Glycol
  • Almay Antiperspirant & Deodorant, Clear Gel – Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex Glycine, Gylcerin, Diproplyene Glycol
  • Almay Antiperspirant & Deodorant Fragrance Free (Powder Fresh and Soothing Aloe) – Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex Glycine, Gylcerin, Diproplyene Glycol
  • Lady Mitchum Clear Gel Antiperspirant & Deodorant Unscented – Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex Glycine, Diproplyene Glycol,
  • Mitchum Antiperspirant & Deodorant Clear Gel – Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex Glycine, Diproplyene Glycol
  • Almay Stay Dry Hydro Solid Antiperspirant & Deodorant, Fragrance Free – 1 PEG-14 Dimethicone, Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex Glycine, Diproplyene Glycol

Deodorant with a score of 7 having a “high hazard”:

  • Right Guard Sport Deodorant – fragrance, Triclosan, Propylene Glycol, Alcohol Denatured
  • Right Guard Sport Deodorant Aerosole, Original – fragrance, Triclosan, Propylene Glycol, Butane and Propane
  • Dry Idea Antiperspirant Clear Gel Powder Fresh – fragrance, Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex Glycine, Propylene Glycol, Alcohol Denatured
  • Dry Idea Antiperspirant & Deodorant Clear Gel Powder Fresh – fragrance, PEG/PPG – 18/18 Dimethicone, Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex Glycine, Propylene Glycol, Alcohol Denatured
  • FDS Feminine Deodorant Spray White Blossom and Baby Powder – fragrance, Benzyl Alcohol, Propylene Glycol

Deodorant with a score of 8 having a “high hazard”:

  • Secret Platinum Antiperspirant & Deodorant Invisible Gel Powder Fresh Scent – fragrance, Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex Glycine, Propylene Glycol, Alcohol Denatured
  • Dove Invisible Solid Antiperspirant & Deodorant, Powder Fresh – fragrance, Silica, PEG-8 Distearate, Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex Glycine, Propylene Glycol

Last week, it was time for me to buy new deodorant (this post is research I did in anticipation of this). I had always heard of “crystal deodorant” but it I just couldn’t understand how it could possibly work. Well, I’m very pleased to say that it does. I’ll be honest, though, it wasn’t perfect but I don’t know of a deodorant that is.  It’s nice to know that a deodorant with one of the safest scores works as well as others. By the way, according to the packaging, the crystal stick can last up to a year!

Visit Skin Deep and check out some of your favorite products to see how they rate. Then decide if you need to make some changes. If you do, don’t feel you need to do it all at once. Just make changes as you run out of things.

See my other posts on how safe is your bar soap, shampoo and conditioner, and baby soap and shampoo.

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13 Responses to “How safe is your deodorant?”

  1. Jennifer Says:

    Is the crystal deodorant just a deodorant or is it also an antiperspirant?

  2. Jennifer,
    The Crystal deodorant is a “Body Deodorant Stick” and on the back of the packaging it says, “Natural Deodorant Protection. Crystal Body Deodorant is made of 100% Natural Mineral Salts which eliminate odor by leaving an invisible protective barrier against odor-causing bacteria. It is fragrance free, non-sticky, non-staining, leaves no white residue and can be used by both Men and Women. Crystal Body Deodorant can last up to a year of daily use.” Safe for the Environment and Endorsed by Cancer Treatment Centers.

    I hope this helps. Thanks for your comment!

    Kirstin @ Trying To Be Greener

  3. Marcy Says:

    Ah, this is where it gets tough. I want to avoid the nasty stuff as much as possible (and keep it away from my little one as well) but have a hard time parting with certain things– like makeup and antiperspirant. Then again maybe I’ll have to try some of the brands that are at least on the low-risk category. Seeing that the crystal deodorant is endorsed by cancer treatment centers is impressive, and says a lot. Having seen plenty of people have to go through cancer treatment there is definitely the motivation to do whatever possible to lower your risks.

  4. Marcy,
    I know, it’s hard for me as well to give up items I’ve been using and like. But as we’ve both mentioned, it’s best if we just try something else that’s lower on the scale. We may just (hopefully) be surprised at how it does the job!

    Thanks for your comment.

    Kirstin @ Trying To Be Greener

  5. David Bridger Says:

    Thank you for this excellent post on an important topic!

    I can vouch for the effectiveness and pleasant experience of using a crystal deoderant stick. The ones I use last about 8 or 9 months, which makes them very good value for money as well as the other benefits.

  6. Jan Turner Says:

    When I exit, you’ll probably ‘tag’ me a dinosaur or at least, some what nutty. Loved your post and so glad I found your blog. I have been using Salt Crystals for 18 – 20 years and truly love them. I am currently using one I bought online thru S & S mktg. for $5/95 and the invoice says it was May 2007. It was a 4 oz bulk stone (looks like an igloo) and I use it with absolute confidence that I am protecting my breasts. I can not see that it has shrunk – it baffles me! My last one lasted me I think for 6 – 7 years. I remember it costing about $10 or less.

    One does not have glandular interference with these stones,
    ergo there is not cessation of underarm sweat – but total control of odor. I have been telling people about it for years, but have never swayed even one person. We are so brain washed by Madison Avenue.

    Bought a roll on for my adult son and sprays for his two daughters. I don’t think they liked them much. I personally love the stones. They work, they are cheap – how good is that? There was one outfit online who had darling and quite elegant containers for the stones – couldn’t find them last time I ordered

    Thank you so much Kirsten for a great post. Jan

  7. B Says:

    I use the invisible Almay and it’s the only thing I find that actually has worked. All the other ones don’t stop the odor. And it doesn’t leave white powder on all my clothes. Glad to see it’s on the low risk end :) Thanks for the info!

  8. Allie Says:

    Great post! I was actually thinking about switching deodorant when I found your blog, and I will definately check it out. With high incidences of lymphatic-system and other cancers in my family (both parents, maternal grandmother, aunts & uncles on both sides), I know I need to find a better alternative. Thanks!!

  9. Rebecca Says:

    This is great.. I’ve been stuggling with this issue for a while and purchased a Tom’s of Main deodorant. Woa Nelly it was totally useless and left me quite embarrassed hoping people couldn’t smell me, and I’m not even a sweater!! I was ready to can the whole thing and go back to my old stuff but thanks to your post I think I’ll try an Almay product and see how that goes. (Never heard of this crystal stick thing…). I’ve been to Skin Deep tons of times but get a little overwhelmed with the amount of information.. Thanks for simplifing it for me.

  10. organicsyes Says:

    I use Miessence Deodorant:
    Ingredients:
    certified organic aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) leaf juice certified organic citrus bergamia (bergamot) essential oil xanthan gum certified organic canaga odorata (ylang ylang) essential oil sodium bicarbonate certified organic pelargonium graveolens (geranium) essential oil certified organic citrus aurantifolia (lime) essential oil certified organic pogostemon cablin (patchouli) essential oil aqua
    certified organic aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) leaf juice, certified organic citrus bergamia (bergamot) essential oil, xanthan gum, certified organic canaga odorata (ylang ylang) essential oil, sodium bicarbonate, certified organic pelargonium graveolens (geranium) essential oil, certified organic citrus aurantifolia (lime) essential oil, certified organic pogostemon cablin (patchouli) essential oil, aqua

    Works great! And our whole family loves it!
    Susan

  11. Thank you for your information.

  12. Lea Says:

    I use a deoderant called LikenPlant found at my local Whole Foods store. I have been using it for about 6 months already and it works wonders, I don’t sweat or smell. It is aluminum free and organic. Try it


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