Life without antiperspirants and deodorants may seem unbearable, especially if you live in metro cities and have to commute via public transport daily! Unfortunately, there are things far worse than bad body odor, like cancer for example. Yes, those very same body odor control products that you use could be a cause for breast cancer, or so they say. But is it just another case of fear-mongering or is there any truth to these claims? Can your deodorant really give you cancer?
Antiperspirant & Deodorant Cancer Connection
“Cancer risk may increase when different parabens used in antiperspirants and deodorants combine with body cells”
According to the American Cancer Society, there is no clear link between cancer and parabens or aluminum in antiperspirants and deodorants. The absence of a clear link however, does not mean that there is none – it simply means that the connection is still to be proven irrefutably. After all, the risk of cigarettes causing cancer was unproven until the late 70s and 80s, but it did exist and we eventually found the evidence.
Unfortunately, until the connection is proven, regulatory authorities will continue to allow manufacturers to use such potential cancer causing chemicals. Many experts also point out that some of the chemicals in deodorants and antiperspirants are threatening in themselves, but these risks may be compounded when they are combined.
In studies conducted by oncologist Dr. Darbre (University of Reading, U.K), parabens, which are found in body odor products, were also found to be present in women’s breast tissue. While the effects of their presence are unknown, this finding in itself is worrying. According to Dr Darbre, the cancer risk may increase when different parabens combine with body cells.
How Can Antiperspirants & Deodorants Increase Cancer Risk?
“Estrogenic chemicals that are present in antiperspirants, interact with human hormones the way estrogen normally does and estrogen levels do have an influence in cancer cell growth”
The direct application of antiperspirants to underarm skin exposes you to chemicals like parabens and aluminum, providing an almost direct route of exposure to estrogen receptors in underlying tissue. This may not seem like a big deal, but it is, as these chemicals are classified as “estrogenic”. In other words, they interact with hormones and cells just as estrogen normally does. As estrogen levels do have an influence in cancer cell growth, experts are very concerned about the potential risk from deodorant usage.
Other experts caution against unnecessary exposure to chemicals that interfere with hormonal activity, whether or not there is a cancer risk. Wide use of antiperspirants and deodorants only began a few decades ago, so we still do not fully understand all of the health risks. Nevertheless, studies so far already show that antiperspirants and deodorants change the microbial balance in the underarms, the effects of which are still not clearly understood. Some speculate that this may be a factor that increases the risk of cancer too.
You wouldn’t dive into a pool if you were uncertain about your ability to swim. With the same rationale we’d also recommend that you avoid the use of antiperspirants and deodorants until they are proven to be completely safe.
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