Help Reduce Sweat Stains and Odor With Antiperspirants Containing Aluminum Chlorohydrate
Aluminum chlorohydrate is a composite group of liquid water-soluble, aluminum salts with the common formula Aln(3n-v)-HCL. It is primarily used in cosmetics as a drying agent and in water purifying as coagulants and an antiperspirant. There are several theories on how this compound is helpful to humans. One theory says that it is an organic antiseptic that kills pathogens when consumed. The other theory is that aluminum chlorohydrate inhibits the growth of bacteria in wounds by killing the bacteria that cause bacterial infection.
The cosmetic use of aluminum chlorohydrate is widespread and found in many types of cosmetics, nail polish, toothpaste, breath mints, chewing gum, brake dust, and toothpaste. When added to the water supply as an additive, it forms a thin film or membrane that stops microscopic particles such as bacteria and viruses from entering the water. It also serves to prevent corrosion by eliminating minerals such as calcium and magnesium. Its abrasive properties are said to aid in the removal of stains on fabrics and textiles.
Although the composition of aluminum chlorohydrate is generally identical to that of aluminum chloride, the use of the latter is prohibited due to health concerns regarding its prolonged consumption. The Food and Drug Administration approved the use of aluminum chlorohydrate as a low-level antiseptic in cosmetics in accordance with the Cosmetic Ingredient Review and considered it safe for use. However, certain countries banned the compound because of the concern that it might cause toxicity. In certain cases, drinking or dosing with aluminum chlorohydrate may cause diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting; gastrointestinal irritation such as itching and swelling of the lining of the intestine; rashes; and chest pain. The potential for aluminum poisoning was also raised following the diagnosis of encephalopathy, a condition wherein the brain functions abnormally and becomes sensitive to toxic agents.
Because of the serious health issues associated with aluminum poisoning, manufacturers of skincare products including deodorants have replaced the aluminum chloride in their products with sodium aluminum (caustic soda) as a substitution. Sodium bicarbonate is also used in some skincare products such as creams and ointments. Proponents of this change to state that the new compound has an attractive physical and chemical composition that does not result in serious health hazards. They also claim that their use is safer than using aluminum chlorohydrate because it does not form a metallic oxide on application. Proponents also claim that sodium bicarbonate is less harmful to the body than aluminum chlorohydrate, particularly for people with renal impairment.
One controversy surrounding the use of aluminum chlorohydrate as an ingredient in skincare products is its effect on the perspiration ducts. Exposure to high levels of this ingredient can eventually cause the glands in the skin to cease functioning altogether. The gland secretes a liquid that is partially evaporated in the sweat produced by the glands. This in turn triggers hyperhidrosis or increased sweating that can cause discomfort and even lead to other health complications. These effects are attributed to aluminum chloride's ability to bind with the sweat ducts in the body.
However, there are certain health risks associated with the use of aluminum chlorohydrate in antiperspirants. One of these is the potential for developing Type 2 diabetes. A high concentration of aluminum chlorohydrate in antiperspirants can inhibit insulin action in the body. Excessive insulin may then stimulate the pancreas to manufacture excessive amounts of glucose that could eventually lead to diabetes. Another possible health risk is the abnormal regulation of glucose levels in the blood that can cause hypoglycemia.
Proponents of aluminum chlorohydrate claims that these concerns are unfounded and that the use of aluminum in antiperspirants is safe. Some of these claims include the claim that aluminum chloride does not undergo any metabolic or chemical reactions when it is applied to the skin and that therefore it is not absorbed into the body. However, these claims have not been scientifically proven. Further, aluminum chlorohydrate is still considered to be a hazardous material according to both the environment agency and the US Environmental Protection Agency despite the lack of evidence that aluminum chlorohydrate has health hazards. Studies indicate that exposure to aluminum chloride can cause the following health problems:
According to the World Health Organization and the American Academy of Dermatology, the use of aluminum chlorohydrate in underarm antiperspirants is not recommended due to the fact that there is no scientific evidence that it is effect.