Antiperspirants contain toxins that cause Breast Cancer and Alzheimer's.
Hoax or Fact:
These messages circulating online in several variants warn that Antiperspirants contain toxins that are absorbed into the skin, particularly when the skin is nicked during shaving, and thereby cause Breast Cancer and Alzheimer disease. Today we will analyze these claims in detail and find out actual facts.
Antiperspirants are applied to the skin, especially under the arms, to prevent or reduce perspiration. They are a subgroup of Deodorants which prevent sweating by affecting sweat glands and also affect odor. The cause of concern among antiperspirant chemicals is mainly attributed to Aluminum-based compounds and Parabens.
The active ingredients used in antiperspirants are Aluminum-based compounds, because they block the sweat glands and avoid sweat coming to the surface of the skin.
Some research has suggested that these aluminum compounds can get into the body through skin and cause changes in estrogen receptors of breast cells. Since estrogen is a female hormone known to cause breast cells, both normal and cancerous, to grow and divide, some scientists have suggested that the aluminum-based compounds used in antiperspirants may be a risk factor for the development of breast cancer.
Experts say that the natural estrogens formed in the body are hundreds to thousands times stronger than the estrogens believed to be formed through aluminum compounds in antiperspirants, and are more likely to play a role in development of breast cancer. Also that there are many such compounds in environment that mimic the natural estrogen activity. Note that humans are also exposed to aluminum from food, packaging, pans, water, air and medicines. So at this point, no clear link between antiperspirants containing aluminum and breast cancer has been found.
There's another theory saying that when toxins from body are released by sweat, especially under the arms, the antiperspirants are blocking them, allowing them to build up, and that the result is cancer.
Sweating is not the main way the body gets rid of toxins, so even if the skin pores under the arms are clogged, it shall not lead to accumulation of carcinogens; most of them are removed through the liver or kidneys and excreted out. According to experts, these rumors about antiperspirants don't stand up to the science.
Some studies back in the 1960s found high levels of aluminum in the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease. Since then the claims that antiperspirants cause Alzheimer's have been around. The studies were preliminary, and their results were not replicated in later research, following which, experts have in fact ruled out aluminum as a possible cause of Alzheimer's.
In a 1990 case-control study, epidemiologist Amy Borenstein of the College of Public Health at the University of South Florida in Tampa reported in the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology that she did not find any association between aluminum-containing products and Alzheimer's disease. It is to be noted that high levels of aluminum was not found in every person with Alzheimer disease.
Another group of chemicals, Parabens, a kind of preservatives used in antiperspirants, cosmetics & sun lotions are also said to cause breast cancer in women. Although preliminary studies suggested a link between use of Paraben chemical and breast cancer, extensive study showed that use of such antiperspirants or deodorants does not constitute the risk. You can read the detailed analysis on it in our article here.
Antiperspirants or deodorants have no proven impact on the risk of diseases like breast cancer and Alzheimer's. However, people with kidney disease should consult a doctor before using them. To avoid these diseases, experts say that being physically active, eating a healthy diet, and staying mentally engaged are more important. If you are still worried about aluminum or paraben chemicals, there are antiperspirants without these chemicals.