5 Harmful Toxins Lurking in Your Deodorant (plus an Underarm Detox Recipe)

Beauty body care teenager woman apply deodorant

drewssexybody (3)Written by: Jeff Taraday

No matter what your grooming regimen is, there is one thing almost all of us do once, if not multiple times each day – we apply something crucial under our arms so we don’t stink and scare our friends/family/co-workers away. While you may be visiting this site to learn about how to eliminate toxins and contaminants from your food, have you ever stopped to think about just what you are putting on a very delicate and porous part of your skin every day?

Aside from the unsightly yellow stains that might be showing up on your light-colored shirts, your armpits might be absorbing a whole host of toxins that are a cause for serious concern. Let’s go over some of the most common ingredients in commercial deodorants/antiperspirants and find out why some people are deciding that it is time to detoxify their underarms… and why you might want to as well.

  • Aluminum is a controversial topic to say the least, bearing many thin and alarmingly strong connections between breast cancer and Alzheimer’s. Some studies show minimal risk, but other studies such as this one published in 2011 show that aluminum is absorbed by your body and deposited in at least part of your breast tissue. Raised levels of aluminum are used as a biomarker for women who are at a higher risk for developing breast cancer.
  • Parabens, while usually used in very small amounts, have been shown to act as hormone disruptors and while no studies have shown a connection between parabens in cancer, they have been found in biopsied cancerous breast tissue. To be on the look out for these, they will typically have names such as propylparaben, benzylparaben, methylparaben, or butylparaben.
  • Phthalates, of which there are about 25 different types, are a range of chemicals designed to make plastics more flexible, but they have permeated our lives far beyond plastics. They have found ways into many household products and even into our food, leaching into processed foods from the pipes and plastics used in the processing machinery. Phthalates have been linked to problems with brain development and fertility problems, particularly in men.


So besides switching out your deodorant to one that doesn’t contain any of these ingredients, what else can you do? There remains the fact that you have most likely been using potentially harmful products for some time, so it might be beneficial for you to do something to help your body detoxify a little more efficiently. Bentonite clay has been known to be effective for detoxifying your skin and it just might help out with your underarms. There are many bentonite clay detox recipes out there, but here is a simple one that’s worth a try.

bentonite-clayUnderarm Detox Recipe:

  • 1 tablespoon bentonite clay
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1-2 teaspoons of water (for desired consistency)



  1. Mix all ingredients into a glass bowl.
  2. Spread in an even layer over your armpits and let it sit for 5-20 minutes.
  3. Your armpits might be a little red, but it will go away.
  4. Wash off in your shower with a wet washcloth.

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Jeff Taraday

Jeff Taraday

Certified Health Coach and Nutritional Education Trainer at The Plant Eater
Jeff Taraday is a reformed junk food addict, barbecue junkie, and beer-swilling frat guy who discovered the power of a whole foods, plant-based diet in in 2010. Switching to a plant-based diet has helped him lose over 40 pounds, clear up his mind, and transform him into a fitness and exercise junkie and a plant-based nutrition advocate.

Jeff is a certified Health Coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and a Nutritional Education Trainer through the Nutritional Education Institute. He has also completed a certification in plant-based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Foundation. He is the author of the blog The Plant Eater, and coaches individuals and families how to easily and deliciously incorporate nutrient-dense, plant-centric meals into their daily lives. He currently works as a wellness coach for a corporate wellness consulting firm to improve the lives of the employee populations of companies around the country.

He is also a member of the board of Groceryships, a non-profit that provides grocery scholarships, nutritional education, and emotional support to low-income families in South Los Angeles, California.

For more from Jeff, you can subscribe to his newsletter.
Jeff Taraday


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