How Antiperspirant Deodorants Mess with your Hormones

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"The responsibility of the lymphatic system is to filter out toxins and carry fluid and cells. Slathering on antiperspirants makes this system work overtime to remove chemical build up."

By staff writer, Marissa Cohen

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Ahh summer. A time for longer weekends, endless amounts of ice cream, and, of course, extra hours in the sun. Us New Yorkers cherish the precious months of warmer weather while we can, but while we’re all for a sunkissed glow, the heat also brings with it less glamorous effects (we’re talking about you, body odor). Before you stock up on antiperspirant deodorant, you might want to consider how slathering on those “anti-sweat” sticks can disrupt your hormonal system. 

Antiperspirant deodorant effect on estrogen 

Antiperspirants are applied directly to the delicate skin under our arms that is closest to our breast tissue and our lymph nodes. Science is careful about making cause-and-effect claims, however several studies have shown an association between antiperspirants and breast cancer due to harmful ingredients like aluminum and parabens. Aluminum-based compounds “form a temporary “plug” within the sweat duct that stops the flow of sweat to the skin's surface,” and parabens, preservatives used in these products, mimic estrogen. Having a high exposure to estrogen increases the risk of breast cancer because once estrogen attaches to hormone receptors, the cancer cells within these receptors begin to grow

Furthermore, the armpits are home to many lymph nodes, which are part of the immune system. The responsibility of the lymphatic system is to filter out toxins and carry fluid and cells. Slathering on antiperspirants makes this system work overtime to remove chemical build up. In her book Renegade Beauty, author Nadine Artemis explains that if the liver becomes clogged with toxins and hormones, it is unable to circulate through the lymphatic system, creating an excess. Here, we can see the connection between estrogen, the lymph nodes, and breast cancer. In fact, the lymph nodes in the underarm are the first place that breast cancer is likely to spread. Sounds to us like a bigger problem than a little B.O.… 

But, I don’t want to smell all summer 

We hear you. And so does the person standing next to you on the metro. The reality is is that having rancid body odor is actually not the norm. While no one is immune to a little stank, particularly pungent sweat is a sign of built up toxicity. By staying hydrated, eating a balanced diet with plenty of plant-based fiber, and exercising regularly, you can create a naturally-cleansed system. Those with chronic issues with excessive sweating and body odor should seek the help of a medical professional, such as an endocrinologist, to address the root cause. 

An At-Home Underarm Detox

If you thought the green facemask freaks your roommate out, just wait until she sees you walking around with armpit-mask. But, it’s okay because Kourtney Kardashian is recommending it, and we’re sharing the recipe she posted on her site, Poosh. 

*Note: Originally posted on 


1 tablespoon bentonite clay 

1-2 teaspoons water

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar 


Mix the ingredients and spread on pits for 5-10 minutes.

Keep your arms elevated either by standing or laying on your phone (feel free to do this with a friend for some extra laughs).

Wash off the clay in the shower or with a warm washcloth.  

Alternatives to Classic Antiperspirants 

We’re not gonna name names, but if you’re looking at your brand of antiperspirant and see aluminum and parabens on the ingredient list, it might be time to part ways. Finding a natural deodorant that actually works can be challenging, but here are some we’ve tried and can recommend (with the approval of loved ones who can attest to their effectiveness). 

  1. Schmidts 
  2. Ursa Major 
  3. Kopari Beauty
  4. Agent Nateur 
  5. Shen Beauty 
  6. Meow Meow Tweet 
  7. Kai
  8. Milk + Honey

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