Alum deodorant is a natural deodorant alternative to potentially dangerous, commercially available deodorants. Most deodorants found in stores use a toxic aluminum compound in their antiperspirant formulation, but an alum deodorant employs safe forms such as potassium alum or ammonium alum. These deodorants are for consumers who want to use safe, natural products on their bodies and reduce their risks of diseases and disorders.
Deodorants that are marketed as crystal deodorants usually contain potassium alum or ammonium alum. These are natural crystals and stones that are better for the body than their toxic aluminum counterparts. Thailand, Mexico and the Far East have used these types of deodorants for many years.
Potentially toxic aluminum compounds such as aluminum chlorohydrate or aluminum zirconium typically are found in antiperspirants available in stores. Much of the danger associated with these compounds can be traced back to their composition. These compounds are soluble and can be absorbed through the skin. After the compounds have been absorbed, the aluminum molecules can be ionized, which can then form free radicals. Free radicals can travel across cell membranes and negatively effect the kidney, liver, brain, cartilage and bone marrow.
Studies have called into question aluminum's safety in personal care products such as antiperspirants. Seizures, breast cancer, kidney problems, Alzheimer's disease and bone formation disorders have been linked to the use of aluminum in antiperspirants. An antiperspirant's effectiveness often can be correlated to the amount of aluminum that is contained in it, so health concerns have arisen among consumers. As a result, many consumers have taken to looking for and using natural alternatives to antiperspirants that contain these dangerous aluminum compounds.
In contrast to aluminum, potassium alum is considered to be pure. Potassium alum contains a negative ionic charge, which does not allow it to travel across cell membranes, so it cannot be absorbed like aluminum can. Excess chemicals, oils, fragrances and alcohol usually are not found in these products. Pure potassium alum is colorless, and alums are even pure and powerful enough to be used as an astringent. An alum deodorant that contains potassium alum can be found at health food stores, green-living stores and online.
There are many health risks associated with the use of aluminum in antiperspirants, but potassium alum and ammonium pose no similar risks. Some people can experience minor skin irritation after using an alum deodorant that contains potassium alum, but potassium alum has not been linked to cancer. In fact, doctors have recommended the use of alum deodorant for cancer patients who are undergoing radiation treatment.