What is it?
Aluminum chlorohydrate is a simple form of a group of FDA-recognized aluminum-based salts that can be used to reduce underarm wetness in underarm antiperspirant products. Aluminum chlorohydrate is also widely used in water purification to remove dissolved organic material. Aluminum is the third most abundant element in the Earth's crust behind oxygen and silicon, but, like many of earth’s resources, its supply is finite.
What does it do?
Aluminum chlorohydrate is one of the 18 aluminum-based active ingredients approved by the Food and Drug Association for use in over the counter underarm antiperspirant products1. Our clinical studies show our antiperspirant stick help reduce sweat and perspiration . Aluminum chlorohydrate works by forming a temporary plug within the sweat duct that help reduce the flow of sweat to the skin's surface2. While the aluminum chlorohydrate reduces the amount of sweat on the skin surface, the ingredient also creates a skin environment which is hostile to the growth of malodor-producing bacteria to help reduce underarm odor.
How is it made?
Aluminum chlorohydrate is typically prepared from virgin aluminum, mined and purified from naturally occurring mineral bauxite. This process is very energy intensive, creates greenhouse gases and the mineral supply is finite.
In our antiperspirant products, we use an aluminum chlorohydrate prepared from recycled aluminum (recycled in the USA), which was originally refined and purified from bauxite ore. The recycled aluminum is then combined with hydrochloric acid and water and reacted under controlled conditions to form the aluminum chlorohydrate ingredient.
While efforts have reduced the carbon footprint of primary aluminum production from the mineral bauxite, preparing pure aluminum from recycled sources takes just 8 percent of the energy needed to make primary aluminum from bauxite and was the responsible/sustainable choice to serve as a source for our aluminum chlorohydrate3. Using recycled aluminum reduces energy consumption and greenhouse gas production as compared with sourcing aluminum from bauxite ore and helps to manage depletion of a global finite resource.
What are the alternatives?
There are 18 aluminum-based salts recognized by the US Food and Drug Administration to reduce underarm wetness. These include a number of forms of aluminum-based salts including aluminum chloride, aluminum chlorohydrate(s), and aluminum zirconium salts. Among these options, aluminum chloride is the simplest form but its inherent acidity means that it can be damaging to many fabrics and some may find it irritating to the underarm. Aluminum chlorohydrate is the simplest salt that is not damaging to fabric and is generally well-tolerated on the skin. There are a number of more complex aluminum chlorohydrate salts, as well as aluminum zirconium salts.
Consumers who do not wish to use an antiperspirant product may be interested to know that Tom’s of Maine also produces a line of deodorant sticks and roll-ons, which include a number of aluminum free deodorant options. We feel it is important to offer individuals a choice and trust that they will establish a personal care regimen that is right for them.
Is this the right option for me?
We are aware that many people are concerned with the safety of aluminum-based underarm products as a small number of studies have linked the use of such products with the occurrence of breast cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
Researchers at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), a part of the National Institutes of Health, are not aware of any conclusive evidence linking the use of underarm antiperspirants and the development of breast cancer.4 Based on a thorough review of all the literature available, and the recommendations of the American Cancer Society and the Alzheimer’s Association, we believe that the use of our product is safe. If you are concerned about the risk of Alzheimer’s or breast cancer, we encourage you to contact your healthcare professional to address your individual circumstances.
As recommended by the FDA, you should consult your doctor about the use of antiperspirant if you suffer from kidney disease. Since the kidneys play an important role in eliminating aluminum from the body, the FDA decided it was prudent to alert consumers who have kidney disease to the fact that their exposure to aluminum from use of antiperspirants might need to be discussed with their physician in order to make sure that the aluminum will not accumulate in the body. As with any OTC product, antiperspirants should be kept away from children.
Tom's of Maine recognizes that no two people are alike, and even with naturally derived ingredients, some individuals may develop an allergic reaction that is unique to them. As with any product, be sure to discontinue use if you experience discomfort or other indications that the product may not be appropriate for your individual body chemistry.
1 21 CFR 350.10
3 Aluminum Association – Environmental Product Declaration – Secondary Aluminum Ingot Issued October 16, 2014 (valid for 5 years)