Deodorants fall into 2 functional categories: maskers and preventers. Maskers attempt to mask body odor by perfume fragrances or natural essential oils. These deodorants are activated by the moisture of sweat.
Deodorants with antiperspirant agents are classified as drugs by the FDA. Antiperspirants attempt to stop or diminish perspiration.
Aluminum compounds are common in antiperspirants. Their primary function is to plug the sweating process. Aluminum complexes react with the electrolytes in the sweat to form a gel plug at the sweat gland duct. Aluminum salts interact with the keratin fibrils in sweat ducts to form a physical plug, keeping sweat from reaching the skin’s surface. Aluminum salts are also slightly astringent, causing skin pores to contract, thus limiting sweat flow.
Aluminum is one of the few abundant elements that plays no positive role for living cells. Aluminum is a neurotoxin. Aluminum can adversely affect the blood-brain barrier, have epigenetic effects, and cause DNA damage.
The FDA has acknowledged that aluminum can be absorbed through the skin. Yet the FDA has done nothing to prevent the use of aluminum in deodorants.