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Can you get cancer from using antiperspirants?

If underarm wetness and excessive sweating make you feel uncomfortable, how about the claim that antiperspirants can cause breast cancer? Alarming is it not? Put your worries aside. Here are some helpful facts to help you not sweat the false stuff about antiperspirants.

The claim that antiperspirant use may increase the risk of breast cancer has existed for over two decades. Although this misconception has been debunked by several reputable institutions such as the American Cancer Society, American National Cancer Institute, and Cancer Research UK, some consumers still believe that it is a cause for concern.

Deodorants and antiperspirants

Deodorants work by eliminating odor-causing bacteria on the skin surface without reducing sweating. Antiperspirants are deodorants that have active components such as aluminum salts that dissolve in moisture from sweat. It forms a temporary gel plug that inhibits the passage of sweat to the surface, and thus lessens sweating. [1]

Aluminum and cancer

Aluminum has been considered a possible carcinogen due to its potential to damage DNA and prevent DNA repair [2] and to effect estrogen-like activities, [3] which are known mechanisms in the formation of cancer.

The mode of action of antiperspirants, together with the possible carcinogenicity of aluminum, have led to the birth of several myths about the link between antiperspirants and breast cancer.

Do you still believe in such myths? Have a look at this infographic.

If these facts are not enough, regulatory bodies like the Food and Drugs Administration and the European Commission consider the use of antiperspirants as generally safe. So, say goodbye to sweaty underarms, wear an antiperspirant with confidence.


[1] Bretagne, Alice & Cotot, Franck & Arnaud-Roux, Mireille & Sztucki, Michael & Cabane, Bernard & Galey, Jean-Baptiste. (2017). Mechanism of eccrine sweat pore plugging by aluminium salts using microfluidics combined with Small Angle X-ray Scattering. Soft Matter. 13. 10.1039/C6SM02510B.

[2] Lankoff, A., Banasik, A., Duma, A., Ochniak, E., Lisowska, H., Kuszewski, T., Góźdź, S., & Wojcik, A. (2006). A comet assay study reveals that aluminium induces DNA damage and inhibits the repair of radiation-induced lesions in human peripheral blood lymphocytes. Toxicology letters, 161(1), 27–36.

[3] Gorgogietas, V. A., Tsialtas, I., Sotiriou, N., Laschou, V. C., Karra, A. G., Leonidas, D. D., Chrousos, G. P., Protopapa, E., & Psarra, A. G. (2018). Potential interference of aluminum chlorohydrate with estrogen receptor signaling in breast cancer cells. Journal of molecular biochemistry, 7(1), 1–13.

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