Is the aluminum in anti-perspirant putting you at greater risk for breast cancer? This question has done the rounds on the internet for years.
To date, studies investigating a possible link between underarm antiperspirants and breast cancer are limited, and researchers have not proven a relationship.
But I don’t think women have the whole story, particularly when it comes to the harmful effects of regular exposure to aluminum.
Take a look at a diagram of your lymphatic system. Observe that above the breasts, in the area above the arm pits, there are two ducts. These are the thorasic duct and the lymphatic ducts.
Consider that the lymphatic system is our body’s sewer system. The places that naturally elicit odor are the arm pits, genital area and the feet. These are the places where the body works to get rid of harmful toxins.
When you use antiperspirant, the aluminum actually closes off the pores of the arm pit. You are sealing off a vital avenue for your body to rid itself of damaging toxins.
Research on harmful effects of aluminum
While a definitive link hasn’t been established between the use of antiperspirant and breast cancer, the harmful effects of aluminum on the body are known.
Most of us do experience day-to-day exposure of aluminum through diet, cosmetics, sunscreens and antacids. Some researchers have argued that frequent application of aluminum-based salts to the underarm as antiperspirant adds a high additional exposure directly to the local area of the human breast.
They add: “Coincidentally, the upper outer quadrant of the breast is where there is also a disproportionately high incidence of breast cysts and breast cancer.” While this observation doesn’t offer definitive proof of a relationship between breast cancer and anti-perspirant use, it’s worth noting.
Other research demonstrates that aluminum from antiperspirant can be absorbed through skin. The authors argue that there is evidence that aluminum accumulates in the mammary gland and that when it does, it is associated with potentially unhealthy changes in the breast cells.
“The potential toxicity of aluminum has been clearly shown and recent works convincingly argue that aluminum could be involved in cancerogenic processes,” the authors say.
What you can control
Other experts say these claims don’t hold up to scrutiny. They say the studies are flawed or show no evidence that antiperspirants actually increase breast cancer risk. They advise women to focus on things they can control, such as eating well, exercising and limiting alcohol.
But there’s another thing you can control. You can choose what you use on your body every day. You can also choose a different type of deoderant that is aluminum-free.
The case for aluminum-free deoderant
No, they don’t work as well. Yes, they may need more frequent application.
But there’s more aluminum-free deoderants on the market today than ever before, and it’s not even an all-or-none proposition. You could make a choice to choose to limit exposure by using anti-perspirant for weddings or special occasions.
It’s truly every woman’s choice. In my opinion, it’s a choice best made with all the available information.