Deodorants and antiperspirants are widely used in the United States as they are more effective at controlling sweat and body odor. They became staples of American hygiene routines. But some scientists claim that they can be dangerous to your health. Studies haven’t discovered any compelling evidence to prove that they are dangerous.

In recent years, claims have been made that antiperspirants and deodorants may cause cancer, particularly contributing to breast cancer. A few researchers provided theories that lack more evidence. If you are a fan of deodorants, you should read the blog to uncover whether deodorant and antiperspirants increase the risk of developing breast cancer.

What’s the Difference Between Deodorant and Antiperspirant?

Antiperspirants and deodorants can reduce body odor but work in different ways.

Deodorants can increase the skin’s acidity whereas antiperspirants can reduce sweat.


Deodorants are made to mask or eliminate armpit odor. They contain alcohol. When you apply they turn skin acidic and keep the bacteria out.


Antiperspirants contain active ingredients called aluminum-based compounds that help block sweat pores temporarily. 

Underarm deodorants and antiperspirants are applied near the breast. They contain harmful ingredients hence many scientists have suggested a possible association between their use and breast cancer. But there is no evidence to prove that using these products play a role in the development of breast cancer.

Studies about Cancer and Body Odor-Fighting Cosmetics

Aluminum-based compounds can be found in antiperspirants. Some researchers state that aluminum-based antiperspirants were mostly applied on the skin near the breast which can be absorbed by the skin near breasts and have estrogen-like effects. Estrogen may contribute to the development of breast cancer. Hence they claim that the aluminum-based compounds found in antiperspirants may cause the development of breast cancer. 

Some scientists claimed that some aluminum-based compounds may have direct activity in breast tissue. It can happen to women who shave their underarms and they accidentally cut the skin. Through these small cuts chemicals may gain access to the lymph nodes which may cause cells to mutate and develop cancer. However, there is no reliable evidence to confirm any substantial adverse effects of aluminum that promote increased breast cancer risks.

The National Cancer Institute states that only some researchers have examined theories that the ingredient in deodorants and antiperspirants may increase the risk of breast cancer. However, these researches have failed to prove the connection between these products and breast cancer. 

The 2002 research examined 813 women who had breast cancer and 793 without breast cancer. They all used antiperspirant. The 2006 study concluded that there is no link between the use of antiperspirant and breast cancer, while contraceptives use and family history were linked with cancer.

The 2003 study analyzed that women who were diagnosed with breast cancer at their young ages were using antiperspirant and also shaved their underarms more often than women diagnosed at their older age. The study claimed that a relationship may exist between breast cancer and hygiene behaviors. However, other experts discovered no connection between underarm shaving and breast cancer.

Role of Parabens

Certain studies focused on deodorants and antiperspirants and cancer. They are also concerned about the synthetic substances known as parabens which is a family of chemicals often used as preservatives in many cosmetic products. Parabens including ethylparaben, methylparaben and propylparaben can be found in conditioners, shampoos, skin creams, toothpaste and other personal care products. They are made to inhibit the growth of bacteria.

Some researchers are concerned that parabens can imitate the estrogen activity in cells. The U.S Food and Drug Administration states it is reviewing the safety of parabens. But it seems there is no evidence to prove that it can cause breast cancer and other health issues.


No research has proved any connection between the use of antiperspirants and deodorants or other ingredients to increase the cancer risk, hence you can use these body odor products.