Within the realm of natural and organic personal care products, deodorants and antiperspirants loom large simply because the overall category itself is very large in any retail health and beauty aids planogram. These two related products—i.e., antiperspirants and deodorants (AP/Deo)—are fraternal twins joined at the axilla that perform in this same anatomical arena using some of the same tricks. This sibling rivalry has been dominated in the past few decades by antiperspirants with ever-increasing claims for sweat reduction efficacy and odor reduction.
Lately, however, the industry has seen the proliferation of natural market-targeted deodorant entries. The primary reasons for this are the perceived unnatural blocking of sweat glands and alarmist concerns over the safety of aluminum—concerns that are based on misinformation and the supposition that aluminum has systemic toxicity when applied topically. Also, since in the United States claims for anti- perspirant activity are drug claims, and all approved over-the-counter (OTC) drug actives are aluminum salts, the industry does not see any natural antiperspirant actives. What is seen is the use of potassium alum—interestingly, its full name, potassium aluminum sulfate, is almost never used, most likely to mask this salt; however, this ingredient has been judged ineffective as an antiperspirant under the same OTC monograph.