Antiperspirants and Menopause – What you need to know!


antipersperantsSo even though we’ve all made it through the sweltering heat of summer, many of us are in the midst of our very own personal, perpetual heat wave: Menopause.

And if you’re like most women going through this time of Change, you’re combating the Sweltering Sweats any and every way you can think of, including increased and concentrated antiperspirant use.

Some women have even been told that if they apply antiperspirant to the palms of their hands and around their hairline, this will help calm the clammy drips that so often accompany hot flashes.

Hold on! Not so fast!

There’s a study that was published in the not- too- distant past that many missed. This study was published in the Journal of Applied Toxicology and in it some very alarming connections were made between the aluminum compounds used in antiperspirants and Breast Cancer/ Alzheimer’s development.

This study sites that the metals used in antiperspirants, i.e.: cadmium and aluminum salts, have been shown to exert estrogen-like effects on the body many times greater than the effects originally attributed to the paraben family of preservatives during that much-hyped controversy.

This study also states that some of these metal ingredients have been shown to actually promote the growth of breast cancer cells in lab experiments.  These offending ingredients are labeled ‘metallestrogens’ and it’s believed they disrupt the normal hormone communications within breast tissue.

Throughout my career, I‘ve found that most folks are not clear on how the body works regarding the sweating process, or the difference between Antiperspirants and Deodorants. There’s a difference between the two types of products—and it’s vast. For the sake of our health, let’s stop right here and take a closer look:

A pea-sized bead of sweat is capable of cooling about 1 quart of blood, 1-degree Fahrenheit.  hat’s pretty powerful stuff! Sweat also serves to detoxify the body and when it’s squelched, toxins build up in the body and begin to wreak havoc over time.

There are 2 types of sweat glands:

The Eccrine glands (which we have the most of). These glands produce the most underarm sweat and they open directly onto the skin surface.

Second to these are the Apocrine glands, which are triggered by emotions and hormones. These glands become active only during puberty and do not serve to regulate body temperature.

Sweat glands are located in the middle of the dermis and they are long, hollow, coiled tubes of cells.

Sweat- on its own- is odorless. It is actually bacteria involvement that creates the odor that we associate with body odor when sweating occurs, be it from excessive heat, emotional stress – or hot flashes.

Antiperspirants contain chemical compounds that serve to block the pores of the armpit by forming a plug to ‘seal’ the pore, in order to stop the discharge of  sweat. This becomes very worrisome when you consider the metallestrogens we mentioned earlier!

Just where do these ‘plugs’ go after they’ve done the job of pore plugging and sweat blocking? Do they accrue in the body? Do they magically disappear?

Antiperspirants routinely contain aluminum salts in either the form: aluminum chlorohydrate or aluminum zirconium. Both of these compounds are shown to be very soluble and easily absorbed into human tissues. It’s also known that once inside the body, the aluminum portion of the molecule then ionizes, thus forming free radical aluminum.  This rebellious molecule passes easily across cell membranes. Not good. Now think upon this for a moment more please… when one applies these ingredients to SHAVED armpits, fresh out of a hot shower, the absorption rate is intensified.

When the aluminum plug is dissolved, it is selectively absorbed by the organs, namely: the brain, liver, kidneys and bone marrow. Combine this rather pesky news with the news that these compounds are believed to mimic estrogen in the female body, and you can see a Perfect Storm scenario brewing.

When one stops to consider that most breast tumors are found to develop along the outer portion of the breast, underneath the armpit area, there is significant cause for pause when reflecting upon this study and its connections.

The FDA defines antiperspirants as ‘Drugs’ because they actually alter the structure or function of the body, to which they are applied. Throughout my career, I’ve never recommended using them and if anything, have implored my female clients to cease using them immediately. Needless to say, I’m NOT popular among sweating women in hot climates!

Deodorants on the other hand, allow the release of sweat but work to prevent odor causing bacteria formation by combating it with antiseptic agents. Deodorants are also defined by the FDA as ‘Cosmetics’ because they do NOT alter the structure or function of the body.  Quite a difference from the ‘drug’ classification of antiperspirants!

natural deodorant orchidThere are many lovely, safe and natural deodorants available on the market today, and many contain natural ingredients such as:  lavender, tea tree oil, sea and mineral salts, cardamom, etc. to naturally combat odor and bacteria development. They are also mixed in benign bases like coconut oil, beeswax, olive oil, all of which are very friendly to body tissues and don’t mimic estrogen within the body.

On the flip side, there are also deodorants that are composed of petroleum-based chemicals, alcohols, FD&C colors and synthetic fragrances, all of which can still cause allergic reaction and inflammation to the user. These, I don’t recommend.

Keeping one’s pits sweet smelling is a billion-dollar business.  It’s also serious health business.

Right now, the industry states that there is ‘no conclusive proof’ linking the use of antiperspirants to cancer or other diseases. The more the industry begins to study this link however, the more conflicted medical findings are becoming.

Until these studies are completed, consumers are left to worry- and make their own decisions. I want you to be informed, and at this point in time, it seems that a woman going through the bumpy road of hormone imbalances due to Menopause would be VERY wise to avoid any and all estrogen-mimicking ingredients, be they in her beauty and skin care products or her diet!

© copyright 2017 Carrie E. Pierce all rights reserved.

carrie pierceHealth and Beauty has been Carrie E. Pierce’s career focus for over 28 years. Throughout her career, Carrie has served as: Guest and Corporate Makeup Artist for numerous major, international cosmetic companies and as a Hollywood film, TV and special effects makeup artist. She’s provided skin care and makeup services for the fashion industry, as well as restorative make up procedures for burn and scar patients, cancer patients, domestic violence survivors and women suffering with self-esteem issues.  Carrie is a licensed Aesthetician, Certified Color Analyst, Menopause Skin Care Specialist, Author, Public Speaker and served as co host of the syndicated radio show ‘Magnificent Menopause & Beyond©’. It’s her mission and her passion to help women be the best they can be – especially as they move through Midlife! Find out more


Carrie Pierce
Author: Carrie Pierce

Carrie Pierce has worked exclusively in the Health, Beauty and Entertainment industries for over 30 years. She’s a Licensed Aesthetician, Certified Color Analyst, former Hollywood Film and TV Makeup Artist, syndicated Radio Talk Show Host and a published Author, specializing in Midlife Health and Beauty issues. It’s Carrie’s mission -and her passion- to help make Midlife the very best it can be- for women and men everywhere!

View Comments (2)
    • Hi Sharon! There are many lovely, safe and natural deodorants available on the market today, and many contain natural ingredients such as: lavender, tea tree oil, sea and mineral salts, cardamom, etc. to naturally combat odor and bacteria development. They are also mixed in benign bases like coconut oil, beeswax, olive oil, all of which are very friendly to body tissues and don’t mimic estrogen within the body. Find the one that best suits your needs.

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