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Pharmacy and Medications

Use of Product containing Aluminum

11/18/2010

Question:

Hi guys, I wondering what complication may arise from using Aluminum-containing deodorant or sunscreen? Some source said it is ok as long as no allergy to Aluminum, some said it increases the risk of breast cancer. Which source is correct?

Answer:

The only contraindication to using aluminum containing deodorant/antiperspirant products is a known hypersensitivity to aluminum or some other component in the product.1 Consumers using these products occasionally complain of local irritation, which typically resolves when the product is discontinued.1

It is typically very difficult to establish the cause of any cancer. Most cancers occur as a result of a complex interaction between genetics, environment, metabolism and duration of exposure. Any number of factors may play a role in the ultimate development of the disease.

Recent data indicates that a high proportion of breast cancers occur in the upper outer quadrant of the breast. Researchers have attempted to link this finding to the application of antiperspirant/deodorant products to the adjacent underarm area. The thinking is that chronic application of these products allows some of the components in them to be absorbed causing toxic effects. According to the theory, the upper outer quadrants of the breasts are most affected because this area is adjacent to the area where absorption occurs. However, studies attempting to establish a link between breast cancer and the use of underarm antiperspirant/deodorants or other skin creams have produced contradictory results.

The National Cancer Institute currently states that there is no conclusive research linking the use of antiperspirants/deodorants to breast cancer.2 

1. Lexi-Comp OnlineTM , Lexi-Drugs OnlineTM , Hudson, Ohio: Lexi-Comp, Inc.; 2010

2. National Cancer Institute. Cancer Topics. Factsheet.http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/AP-DeoAccessed 11/16/2010.
 
This answer was prepared in part by Mollie Manning a PharmD Candidate 2011 University of Cincinnati College of Pharmacy

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Response by:

Robert James Goetz, PharmD, DABAT
Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati