Crystal deodorant is marketed as an alternative to conventional deodorants and antiperspirants. Crystal deodorants are typically made from mineral salts, such as potassium aluminum sulfate (also known as potassium alum). Proponents claim that the mineral salts in crystal deodorant can knock out the bacteria known to cause body odor.
Why Do People Use Crystal Deodorant?
Many consumers are concerned that ingredients in conventional deodorants and antiperspirants can increase their risk for certain diseases. For instance, some consumers suggest that the aluminum found in antiperspirants can cause Alzheimer's disease, while other individuals believe that substances in deodorants and antiperspirants can lead to breast cancer.
In an effort to reduce their risk for these diseases, a number of consumers opt for crystal deodorant over conventional deodorants and antiperspirants. Manufacturers of crystal deodorant claim that potassium alum molecules are too large to be absorbed into the skin, and therefore pose no health threat to the consumer.
Is Crystal Deodorant Safer?
There is currently a lack of scientific support for the claim that crystal deodorant is safer than conventional deodorants or antiperspirants. What's more, there's no conclusive research linking the use of conventional antiperspirants or deodorants to the development of breast cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute (NCI). However, the NCI states, there's some evidence that aluminum-based compounds in antiperspirants may be absorbed by the skin and produce estrogen-like effects. Estrogen, in turn, has the potential to promote the growth of breast cancer cells. The NCI notes that more research is needed to explore the possible relationship between antiperspirant-related aluminum absorption and breast cancer risk.
Additionally, there's no evidence that choosing crystal deodorants over conventional deodorants and antiperspirants provides greater protection against Alzheimer's disease. In fact, a 2002 study in the American Journal of Epidemiology analyzed data on 4,615 older adults and found no link between antiperspirant use and Alzheimer's risk.
Should You Use Crystal Deodorant?
While crystal deodorant is not known to cause any adverse effects, there's no evidence that crystal deodorant is safer or more effective than conventional deodorants or antiperspirants.
Darbre PD. "Aluminium, antiperspirants and breast cancer." J Inorg Biochem. 2005 Sep;99(9):1912-9.
Lindsay J, Laurin D, Verreault R, Hébert R, Helliwell B, Hill GB, McDowell I. "Risk factors for Alzheimer's disease: a prospective analysis from the Canadian Study of Health and Aging." Am J Epidemiol. 2002 Sep 1;156(5):445-53.
Namer M, Luporsi E, Gligorov J, Lokiec F, Spielmann M. "The use of deodorants/antiperspirants does not constitute a risk factor for breast cancer." Bull Cancer. 2008 Sep;95(9):871-80.
National Cancer Institute. "Deodorants and Breast Cancer: Questions and Answers". January 2008.