Potassium Alum

What is it?

Potassium alum, or potassium aluminum sulfate, is a naturally occurring mineral and the major component of deodorant crystal products.    

What does it do?

In our Mineral Confidence roll-on product, potassium alum functions to inhibit the growth of odor-causing bacteria and reducing unpleasant odor caused by skin bacteria when we sweat.

Potassium alum does contain aluminum, so there is a low level of aluminum and we do not make the aluminum-free claim with this deodorant.  However, potassium alum it is not an antiperspirant ingredient and products containing it, such as our Mineral Confidence roll-on deodorant, do not reduce sweat production. 

How is it made?

Our Stewardship Model guides us to select ingredients which have been processed in a manner that supports our philosophy of human and environmental health.

Obtaining the purified potassium aluminum sulfate used in our roll on deodorants is a multi-step process that begins with extracting alumina from its original, mineral source, bauxite. The alumina extracted from bauxite is reacted with sulfuric acid to form aluminum sulfate. Aluminum sulfate is mixed with potash (in this case potassium sulfate) in an acidified water mixture to produce the ingredient potassium alum.

What are the alternatives?

Potassium alum is not the only deodorant active available, but it has a long history of safe usage in foods. We use hops extract in our stick deodorant products and we’ve also used lichen extract in the past; these two botanicals also provide deodorant activity by targeting odor causing bacteria. Artificial odor inhibitors could also be used, but they don’t meet Tom’s of Maine Stewardship Model for natural, sustainable and responsible.

Is this the right option for me?

Potassium alum is considered to be Generally Recognized as Safe by the US FDA1.

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.

21CFR 182.1129