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Old Spice Antiperspirant – Safe or Toxic?

Old Spice Antiperspirant

Do you know what I do when I have a free minute? And by that I mean when my hands are occupied but my eyes and brain are not. Yes – you guessed it. I read labels. One day when I was brushing my teeth, I read the label on my husband’s deodorant (we’ll read it together in this post) and that started a long journey of looking for a safer alternative. In the span of about 6 months or so, he tried a number of deodorants. It was a challenge to find a deodorant that worked well enough to replace Old Spice antiperspirant. But before we talk about the deodorants he tried, let’s talk about Old Spice Antiperspirant and Deodorant (the brand my husband gave up using! – sorry Old Spice).


Ingredients of Old Spice Antiperspirant and Deodorant (Fresh Collection)


Aluminum zirconium trichlorohydrex gly 18% w/w in Old Spice Antiperspirant and Deodorant


Old Spice Antiperspirant and Deodorant

Some form of aluminum (e.g. aluminum chloride, aluminum chlorohydrate, aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex gly, aluminum zirconium trichlorohydrex gly) is necessary to make any antiperspirant. After spending a great deal of time reading the US National library of Medicine for the past two days, I concluded the following. Aluminum has been linked to Alzheimer’s and breast cancer in some studies. There is no conclusive evidence that aluminum causes Alzheimer’s or breast cancer. It is also not known whether a sufficient amount of aluminum can be absorbed through the skin to make a difference.

However, there is enough information for me to err on the side of caution and recommend less controversial personal care products, especially if you are pregnant or might become pregnant. In addition, what seems to be more certain is that some people are allergic to aluminum compounds and seek better alternatives. To make you feel better about giving up antiperspirant, you might be glad to learn that sweating is not always bad. Among other things, it helps with detoxification. The Old Spice contains many ingredients; some do not raise concerns, others do.


Other Ingredients in the Old Spice Antiperspirant and Deodorant


Stearyl Alcohol: an emulsifier and a viscosity agent; rated 1 in the Skin Deep database with limited data. This ingredient is often used in the organic and natural skincare lotion and creams. To make a lotion or cream, an emulsifier needs to be used to bind oil and water. To avoid any emulsifiers and other fillers, I recommend considering switching to facial and body oils.


C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate: an ester of benzoic acid; rated 1 in the Skin Deep database with limited data.


PPG-14 Butyl Ether: a polypropylene glycol ester of butyl alcohol; rated 1 in the Skin Deep database with limited data.


Hydrogenated Castor Oil: rated 1 in the Skin Deep database.


Phenyl Trimethicone: a silicon-based ingredient; rated 1 in the Skin Deep database with insufficient data regarding its impact on the environment.


Cyclodextrin: are produced from starch by means of enzymatic conversion; studies in both humans and animals have shown that CDs can be used to improve drug delivery from almost any type of drug formulation; rated 1 in the Skin Deep Database.


Behenyl Alcohol: used as an emollient, emulsifier, and thickener; rated 1 in the Skin Deep database with limited data.


Ingredients in Old Spice Antiperspirant and Deodorant with Contamination Concerns


Petrolatum: a semisolid mixture of hydrocarbons obtained from petroleum; may be contaminated with carcinogenic and endocrine disrupting PAHs (Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons); rated 4 out 10 in the Skin Deep database.


Mineral oil: a liquid mixture of hydrocarbons obtained from petroleum; rated 1-3 in the Skin Deep database; may be contaminated with carcinogenic PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons).


Talc: a mineral made up mainly of the elements magnesium, silicon, and oxygen. As a powder, it absorbs moisture well and helps cut down on friction, making it useful for keeping skin dry. Sometimes it contains a small portion of aluminum silicate. Talc can be contaminated with asbestos fibers, posing risks for respiratory toxicity and cancer. It is not clear if consumer products containing talc powder increase cancer risk. Studies of personal use of talcum powder have had mixed results, although there is some suggestion of a possible increase in ovarian cancer risk with the genital use of talc-based products. (source) Talc is rated 3 out 10 in the Skin Deep database.


Solvent in the Old Spice Antiperspirant and Deodorant


Cyclopentasiloxane: its full chemical name is decamethylcyclopentasiloxane) is commonly known as D5, rated 3 out 10 (10 being most toxic) in the Skin Deep database; may contain trace amounts of cyclotetrasiloxane (D4); is classified as an endocrine disruptor based on evidence that it interferes with human hormone function and human fertility by the European Union; its impact on the environment is controversial; read more about it here. 


Big No-No in the Old Spice Antiperspirant and Deodorant


The word “fragrance” or “parfum” on any product label represents an undisclosed mixture of various scent chemicals and ingredients used as fragrance dispersants. Phthalates are likely to be present in the mixture, because they are often used in creating fragrance so it is statistically likely, although this is my opinion and I simply don’t know if they are. There are a number of different phthalates and some of them are possible carcinogens and hormone disruptors (for detailed information on phthalates, read my phthalate primer here).


Fragrance mixes have been associated with allergies, dermatitis, respiratory distress and potential effects on the reproductive system.  They are rated 8 out 10 in the Skin Deep database.


I highly recommend that families with babies and small children stay away from fragrances as well women who are planning to conceive or who are pregnant.


Conclusion about the Old Spice Antiperspirant and Deodorant


In conclusion, due to a number of ingredients with health and environmental concerns in the Old Spice Antiperspirant and Deodorant, I am so glad that my husband does not use it anymore. My husband was pleasantly surprised that you do not have to use aluminum antiperspirant to get the job done.

To learn about deodorants my husband uses and likes now


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17 thoughts on “Old Spice Antiperspirant – Safe or Toxic?”

  1. I cannot wait! My husband has always said that antiperspirant isn’t healthy. But how to smell good? Please answer soon! 🙂

  2. I look forward to all your findings on everything. I recently in the past year started eating organic and trying to rid my body of all the harmful elements in this world.

  3. After starting a cleaner diet, both my husband and I have successfully been able to give up using deodorant. There is definitely the occasional time (hot sweaty days for example) where I regret that decision, but for the most part I think we smell just fine.

  4. I’m so confused! Right next to your email in my inbox was another email from called “Ingrediant Scares That Aren’t True”. Under that are catagories called “The Dirty Dozen of “Bad” Cosmetic Ingredients” and “Making a Safe Ingrediant Seem Scary”. The link is:

    I really don’t know what and who to believe, though I do tend to lean towards you in that you don’t sell products! Help!

    1. Hi Elizabeth,

      Thank you for tending to lean toward me. As you probably noticed, I do not use scary tactics. I always cite scientific studies. The difficulty is that a lot of harms may show up many years later and cannot be traced to any particular product. This is how toxic product manufacturers can get away with it. The cost of manufacturing of toxic product is so much lower. No wonder, they want you to keep buying their products. And as you correctly noticed I do not have any financial interest. In fact, I would be making big money if I were promoting toxic products.

      Thank you for asking the question!

      Best, Irina

      1. Thank you for getting back to me so fast!
        I know you have done great reviews on Laural Whole Plant Organics products and on Luminessance (sp), but why does the good stuff have to be so expensive? I used to use Sequoia Beauty before their rebrand, but then they priced me out. I know one can use baking soda, vinegar and lemon for many things, plus those Ingrediants are cheap, but I’d like something a little nicer. I frequently go to the Marin Farmer’s Market in San Rafael, as you do. Can you find a brand that’s good AND a bit cheaper? I would like to phase out the bad stuff. Thanks!

        1. I know. After rebranding Laurel priced me out too. Have you tried Luminance? They are reasonably priced, in my opinion. I appreciate your feedback. It is funny. I was just approached by a reasonably priced skin care/personal care business but have to do more digging and testing before I recommend them. So good to hear from you!

  5. Thank you for answering my questions. I enjoy your blog. My “baby” is 20 year old college student, but my sister has a 2 year old so I pass on your kid-related things to her! Thanks for your hard work.

  6. Hi Irina,

    Thank you for your information. I am creating an all natural deodorant and would like to use some of your information on my site. But without taking credit for doing the research myself. Fact based comments. I love your info and find it to be consistent with everything i have read on the subject. I would like to ask your permission to use some of your info, if thats ok with you? Thank you so much!

    1. Hi Graelon: Thank you for your question. I am also consulting with product makers to help them create the best products. Please contact me by filling out a contact form on the website. Thanks! ~Irina

  7. Mohammad Islam Tahir


    As a guy I’ve always thought about the deodorant issue but was uncertain. Thank you for shedding light send sharing your research/ experiences on this topic.

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