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Sometimes “the cure” leads to a worsening of the very problem you’re trying to solve. Such may be the case when it comes to antiperspirants. As reported by Real Clear Science, antiperspirants affect the bacterial balance in your armpits, leading to an even more foul-smelling sweat problem. 

The reason your sweat smells is because the bacteria living in your armpits break down lipids and amino acids found in your sweat into substances that have a distinct odor. Antiperspirants address this problem using antimicrobial agents to kill bacteria, and other ingredients such as aluminum that block your sweat glands.

 

Antiperspirant use alters your bacterial composition

Every subject in a recently conducted study ended up altering the bacterial composition of their armpits. While it was a challenge to determine the exact changes since every person’s microbiome is distinct and individual, the researchers did find one clear trend. 

Those who used antiperspirants saw a definitive increase in Actinobacteria. These bacteria are hugely responsible for that foul-smelling armpit odor. Other bacteria found living in people’s armpits include Firmicutes and Staphylococcus, but the odors they produce are milder, and they’re not produced quite as readily. 

The situation here is much like it is in your gut. When you eat foods or take drugs that kill off beneficial bacteria, more potentially harmful microbes are allowed to take over the turf.

Here, the less odor-causing bacteria are killed off by the aluminum compounds (the active ingredient in most antiperspirants), allowing bacteria that produce more pungent odors to thrive instead.

In some participants, abstaining from antiperspirant caused the population of Actinobacteria to dwindle into virtual nonexistence. The take-home message: using an antiperspirant can make the stink from your armpits more pronounced, while quitting antiperspirants may eventually mellow the smell. 

 

Aluminum-containing antiperspirants may promote cancer

Unfortunately, altering the microbiome in your armpit isn’t the worst thing that can happen when you regularly use antiperspirants.  

The aluminum chloride in antiperspirants, which blocks your pores from releasing sweat, may also contribute to an increased cancer risk. Aluminum chloride actually acts similarly to the way oncogenes work to cause molecular transformations in cancer cells.  

Aluminum salts can mimic estrogen, and previous research has shown that aluminum is absorbed and deposited into breast tissue. The researchers actually suggested that raised levels of aluminum could be used as a biomarker for identification of women at increased risk of developing breast cancer. In one study, reviewing the most common sources of aluminum exposure for humans found that antiperspirant use can significantly increase the amount of aluminum absorbed by your body. 

Aluminum is also widely recognized as a neurotoxin, and Alzheimer’s patients typically have elevated levels of aluminum in their brains. While there are other sources of aluminum, antiperspirants are a major one, as most people use it on a daily basis. According to one review, about 0.12 percent of the aluminum applied under your arms is absorbed with each application. When you multiply that by one or more times a day for a lifetime, it can up to a massive amount of aluminum—a poison that may be more toxic than mercury! 

 

Parabens in antiperspirants implicated in breast cancer

Parabens are another common ingredient in antiperspirants, and research examining parabens suggests chronic antiperspirant use may lead to a heightened risk of cancer as well, specifically breast cancer. 

The research in question looked at where breast tumors were appearing, and determined that higher concentrations of parabens were found in the upper quadrants of the breast and axillary area, where antiperspirants are usually applied. 

Parabens are chemicals that serve as preservatives in antiperspirants and many other cosmetics, including suntan lotions. Previous studies have shown that all parabens have estrogenic activity in human breast cancer cells. 

This research really raises a red flag, and while the authors note that the source of the parabens cannot be established—in fact seven of the 40 patients reportedly never used deodorants or antiperspirants in their lifetime—it tells us that parabens are problematic, regardless of the source. 

 

Do you really need an antiperspirant?

 Science is clearly showing that your body’s microbiome plays a major role not just in your health, promoting or warding off skin diseases for example; it can also dramatically alter things like body odor. So, it’s really in your best interest to work with your microbiome, rather than against it. Doing so could help you avoid all sorts of chemical toxins that most people slather on themselves without thinking twice about what it’s doing to their microbiome, or their health.

 

Source: articles.mercola.com