GreenYour Personal Care
Choose crystal deodorant
Crystal deodorants are made of naturally occurring potassium aluminum sulfate. The aluminum component of crystal deodorants differs from the aluminum salts added to antiperspirants, however, because they do not block pores to stop the wearer from sweating. Instead, they form a topical layer on the skin, which creates an environment where it is impossible for bacteria to thrive, eliminating odor-causing bacteria and therefore body odor. Since they contain only natural mineral crystals, choosing a crystal deodorant is an easy way to green your personal hygiene and avoid the chemicals found in conventional deodorants and antiperspirants, such as triclosan, parabens, and formaldehyde.
Find it! Crystal deodorant
Below is a sampling of crystal deodorants on the market today. You can also find them at health food stores and chains like Whole Foods.
Made from 100 percent natural mineral crystals, Crystal Body Deodorants—available in stick, roll-on, spray, or rock forms—are paraben-, fragrance-, and aluminum-free. What's more, they won't leave behind a sticky white residue and are completely hypoallergenic.
DSA's Thai Crystal Deodorants are available in original rock, roll-on, spray, and stick forms. Made in the USA and recommended by the Walter Reed Army Hospital.
PitRok Original 80 gram crystal deodorant does not contain aluminium chlorohydrate or aluminium zirconium and is perfume-free. It comes in minimal packaging, using mostly recycled materials and an award winning design.
This natural bacteria buster will not only benefit your underarms but your checking account as well—it's meant to last over a year. Power Prism products are available in original rock or spray forms; all are vegan and aluminum-free.
Before you buy
Keep in mind that if you choose a crystal deodorant concocted with natural minerals in lieu of an easy-to-find variety, you'll likely be confronted with a higher price tag as chemicals generally come cheaper than natural ingredients. For example, a Crystal Body Deodorant Stick will set you back $6.31, while a stick of Sure Invisible Solid Anti-Perspirant & Deodorant costs $3.19. However, crystal deodorants boast a longer shelf-life than stick and spray varieties.
Choosing crystal deodorant helps you go green because...
- They rely on 100 percent natural mineral crystals, not health- and eco-unfriendly chemicals, to battle odor-causing bacteria.
- Like other conventional skincare and cosmetic products, deodorants and antiperspirants contain petroleum-derived components. Petroleum is a non-sustainable resource with various eco-repercussions.
- When used in the original rock form, crystal deodorants require minimal packaging and last longer than regular stick, spray, and roll-on varieties.
Similar to other beauty and skincare products, such as lipstick, shaving cream, and body lotion, many popular deodorants and antiperspirants contain mineral oil, a petroleum-based substance. The production of the petrochemicals used in deodorants and antiperspirants pollutes the environment by releasing hazardous chemicals into the air and water. Mineral oil-based deodorants support the hazards of the petroleum industry, which include about 2.6 million gallons of oil spilled every month during transportation and about 71 million pounds of toxins released into the air and water during refinement.
Conventional deodorants and antiperspirants contain a host of harmful chemicals and compounds. Parabens, known endocrine disrupters, are not only detrimental to human health, but also destructive to animal hormones and development. (Studies have found higher levels of parabens in tumors from human breast tissue, but, because the potential damage to the endocrine system has yet to be proven, the controversy surrounding the toxicity of parabens is still being debated.) Additionally, triclosan, a potent antimicrobial agent used in some deodorants and other personal care products that's been found in 55 percent of streams examined in 2002 at levels high enough to disrupt the natural life cycle of frogs. Triclosan can cause skin and eye irritation, and can result in the formation of dioxin and chloroform, both probable carcinogens, under the right circumstances. While diethanolamine (DEA) is infrequently used in skin and hair care products because it is a known carcinogen, the more commonly used chemicals TEA and MEA are often contaminated with diethanolamine. Lauryl/laureth sulfates are common skin irritants that can dry out the skin and hair with longterm use.
Aluminum—the agent that closes pores and prevents wetness in astringent compounds found in antiperspirants—destroys ecosystems, pollutes water, and uses massive amounts of energy during the mining process. In 2004, the FDA added a new warning label to antiperspirants containing aluminum, specifically to alert those suffering from kidney disease. Aluminum has also been connected to contact dermatitis, with aluminum chloride being the most irritating of aluminum compounds found in antiperspirants.
Formaldehyde, which can be found in the preservatives common in roll-on antiperspirants, is a chemical solvent compound that's also found in cigarette smoke, car exhaust, and home construction materials. It is one of the world's most hazardous compounds to both ecosystems and health, according to the Environmental Defense Scorecard. It was classified as a known carcinogen in 2005 by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), and can offgas during perspiration. Ingestion of the chemical can cause severe physical reactions, including coma, internal bleeding, and death.
Controversy: Aluminum's links to cancer and Alzheimer's disease
For years, rumors have circulated that the neurotoxic aluminum found in antiperspirants is a cause of breast cancer, although actual scientific results regarding the matter have been inconclusive. Antiperspirant manufacturers and the FDA claim the cancer-antiperspirant link to be strictly myth, while groups such as the American Cancer Society believe the correlation should not be completely ruled out. Similar myths have linked aluminum to Alzheimer's disease after a study in the 1980s revealed that the brains of Alzheimer's patients contained high amounts of aluminum. Subsequent findings have debunked this hypothesis.
- DEA: Diethanolamine (also related to the additives TEA and MEA). Suspected carcinogen, used as an emulsifier or foaming agent.
- formaldehyde: A flammable reactive gas belonging to the VOC (volatile organic compound) family of chemicals.
- parabens: This family of preservatives (which includes methyl-, ethyl-, propyl- and butyl-parabens) can affect the endocrine system, which produces the body's hormones.
- triclosan: A potent antibacterial agent.
- The Green Guide - Readers Rate Eco-friendly Deodorants
- The Beauty Brains - Do Mineral Crystal Deodorants Really Work?
- Environmental Working Group - Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database Check out where your favorite deodorant/antiperspirant ranks on the hazard scale