Test of chemicals in deodorants

14. jan 2019

Deodorants may contain ingredients that are allergenic or suspected of being endocrine disrupting. However, there are also plenty of good options on the market, shows test from The Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals.

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Test of chemicals in deodorants
Photo: The Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals

The underarm skin is sensitive

Most people use deodorants on a daily basis, and deodorants stay on the skin until your next shower.

Underarms are a sensitive place because of moist and shaving. This means that chemical substances, such as perfume, has a greater likelihood of penetrating the skin.

Deodorants are one of the products that most frequently cause perfume allergy. Because of this, it is a good idea to use a non scented deodorant.

See the full test (in Danish)

Test of chemicals in deodorants

The Danish Consumer Council has made a test of chemicals in 77 deodorants from the Danish shops, based on the ingredients listed on the packaging.

The test shows that it is easy to find a deodorant free from problematic substances. 24 deodorants receive the best score. Many of these are deodorants with the Nordic Swan Ecolabel.

Some deodorants contained chemicals that can be problematic. 29 deodorants obtain the lowest score, because they contain unwanted substances. See list of unwanted chemicals below.

Read about all tests performed by the Danish Consumer Council THINK Chemicals

The cocktail effect of unwanted chemicals may cause risk

The deodorants are not harmful on their own, but they contribute to the total exposure problematics chemicals, also known as the cocktail effect.

By doing test like these, we allow the consumers to make an informed choice, and show which products are free from unwanted chemicals.

Unwanted chemicals found in deodorants

Triclosan is a suspected endocrine disruptor, and it is harmful to the environment. The substance was found in one deodorant from Forever Living.

Hydroxyisohexyl 3-cyclohexene carboxaldehyde (HICC) is a very allergenic perfume, that is banned in cosmetics from 2021. This perfume was found in 6 deodorants, including products from Lancôme, Calvin Clein, Hugo Boss and Elisabeth Arden. 

Read more: Allergenic fragrance is banned, but allowed to stay on the market for years

BHT is a suspected endocrine disruptor. It was found in 12 deodorants, including Palmolive, David Beckham, The Body Shop, Adidas and Burberry.

Butylphenyl Methylpropional is a suspected endocrine disruptor. It was found in 11 products.

Read report from The Danish Centre of Endocrine Disrupters (external link)

Cyclopentasiloxane / cyclomethicone is suspected to be endocrine disrupting and harmful to the environment. The substances have been found in 8 deodorants, including Clinique, Clean and Tommy Hilfinger

Parabens (Methylparaben og propylparaben) are suspected endocrine disruptors. The substances were found in one deodorant from Helena Rubinstein.

Iodopropynyl butylcarbamate is an allergenic preservative, which was found in 5 deodorants including Biotherm and Vichy.

For questions please contact project manager Christel Soegaard Kirkeby at csk@fbr.dk