Potassium Alum

Aluminium in Deodorants

The question of Aluminium as an ingredient in antiperspirants and deodorants is why I started on this career pathway. In the 1990s, there were studies published that appeared to show the link between the use of Aluminium in antiperspirants and Breast Cancer & Alzheimer’s Disease. These studies have now raised more questions than answers, and more research needs to be done before it can be said that Alumium has any causative effect on these diseases.

The concern: In these studies, Aluminium was found in studies of brain and breast tissue

Uses of Aluminium: Aluminium is the third most abundant element on the planet. We consume it in our food, our water and through products such as deodorants  (Salt of the Earth 2019). There are different types of Alumium used depending on what you need it for. Aluminium Chloride or Aluminium Chlorohydrate are traditionally used in antiperspirants. The Aluminium Chloride reacts with amino acids and peptides in the skin, forming a layer which blocks the sweat glands in your underarms, therefore, making it useful in antiperspirants meaning to stop sweating. You will not find this Aluminium on Wild Earth Beauty.

Potassium Alum is a natural mineral salt that has been used for thousands of years, since the Egyptians, see here for ideas of its uses. Alum has larger molecules than Aluminium Chloride. As Alum has smaller particles, it is thought not to be absorbed into the skin. Therefore it apparently sits on the surface of the skin, creating a barrier. This you will find on Wild Earth Beauty.

Perspiration is a natural process which purifies and cools the body as well as helping with the eliminations of toxins. Therefore we do not consider that antiperspirants are needed but rather deodorants. In fact, in some parts of the world antiperspirants are considered a drug and therefore you will not find them for sale like you find them in the UK.

Deodorants work by preventing the smell of body odour. When you use Alum as a deodorant ingredient, it forms a barrier, so that the sweat does not mix with the natural bacteria of the skin, which is what causes the odour.

Potassium Alum
Potassium Alum

How is it made? It is a multi-step process that begins with extracting alumina from its original, mineral source, bauxite. The alumina extracted from bauxite is reacted with sulfuric acid to form aluminum sulfate. Aluminum sulfate is mixed with potash (in this case potassium sulfate) in an acidified water mixture to produce the ingredient potassium alum. Cited from  Toms of Maine 2020

Conclusion: Is Potassium Alum safe? The jury is out on this one I am afraid, there is just not enough well-done research to say either way. As humans, we use and digest aluminium daily. So whether a regular underarm application of Alum salts increases the risk of adverse effects exponentially or you consider it safe as it is not absorbed by the body. This is a decision you are going to have to make. If its a concern for you, then there are plenty of good deodorants that do not use Potassium Alum.

On Wild Earth Beauty you will find Potassium Alum in Green People & some Salt of the Earth deodorants. If you want an Alum free deodorant, tick the Aluminium Free box under Ingredients on the left-hand tab on the product pages.

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