Is Potassium Alum Safe for me to use as a daily Deodorant?
Ive been using this ingredient to make deodorants for more than 10 years and I have been using Alum deodorants for many more years than that and I am very very fussy about what I use on my skin and what I choose to use in my skincare products, but please don't take my word for it..
Potassium Alum has a very long history traced back to the 15th Century in Rome and it has a long history of safe use as a deodorant ingredient, used all over the world as a traditional alternative to the many modern ‘chemical’ deodorants.
Natural Wisdom uses pure crystallised Alum in our Deodorant balm.
Our Alum powder is a naturally mined mineral salt and our Deodorant Balm contains no more that 30% Alum. There are many solid Alum Crystal 'Deostones' that are simply the Alum Crystal in their moulded natural state and these are safely and effectively used as an underarm deodorant.
In our pursuit of designing and making gentle products suitable for all skin types, we blend our Alum with natural organic Tapioca powder, this helps promote a dry feeling as Tapioca is very absorbent, organic Aloe vera powder for its skin soothing and nutrient rich profile, organic CO2 extracted Pomegranate extract for its skin nourishing, nutrient dense antioxidant profile and organic Shea butter to hold all these lovely ingredients together in a soft and gentle format. Our scented Deodorant Balms contain the addition of less than 1% pure essential oils.
Maeve, I am still confused..
There is a such a lot of confusion and misinformation on the internet about pretty much everything and finding true facts can be difficult, you really need to know where to go to find solid true facts which is why I have written this article. You will find references to the information within this article at the bottom of the page.
First of all. You may have read on the internet that Potassium Alum is not safe because it is linked to Aluminium, you may have also read that it interferes with the bodies ability to perspire. These facts are not accurate.
Potassium Alum mineral salts are NOT the same as the aluminium found in commercial products. For lots of reasons but to keep this article short and readable….
- Not all Aluminium is scary! it is the third most abundant element in the Earths crust and we consume a lot of it everyday in the food and water we drink without any concerns to our health, it passes straight through us harmlessly, without attaching or changing along the way.
- It is the chemically produced Aluminium molecules that are cause for concern in our food products and our skincare products and our household products.
There are key differences between the Alum we use in our Deodorant Balm and commercial deodorants and antiperspirants.
- The Potassium Alum crystal powder we use occurs naturally in nature while synthetically created Aluminium such as Aluminium Chlorohydrate and Aluminium zirconium are synthetically created ingredients, these ingredients we are right to have concerns about using on our skin every day for years and years.
Antiperspirants and Deodorants, what’s the difference?
- A Deodorant neutralises the odour of sweat
- An Antiperspirant blocks the ability of the sweat glands to secrete sweat.
Potassium Alum has astringent properties and in this way it is a pore tightener, it is used as a ‘styptic’ to stop bleeding associated with tiny shaving cuts, combined with Tapioca starch our Deodorant promotes a dry feeling but our Deodorant doesn’t block the bodies natural process of sweating, Alum does not block the pores or suppress the bodies sweat glands in any way. If it did, it would be hailed as a natural treatment for people suffering from Hyperhydrosis (enhanced sweating) and as it is not effective for this condition its not used as a treatment for this condition whereas commercial antiperspirants containing Aluminium (A+++) ions are.
So your Deodorant Balm won't stop me from sweating?
The short answer is no it won’t stop you sweating but it will stop you from smelling for between 8-12 hours :-)
I personally believe that sweating is a natural physiological process and that it is not only healthy and natural, it is an imperative function of the body and it should not be interfered with.
Alum has strong antibacterial properties which neutralises the bacteria responsible for odour and this is how it will help keep you feeling fresh and comfortable.
There are many commercial Antiperspirants that use Aluminium chlorhydrate and Aluminium zirconium. These ingredients and Potassium Alum could not be anymore different from each other. ..
Aluminium Chlohydrate is thought to work when aluminium ions are taken into the cells that line the eccrine-gland ducts at the opening of the epidermis in the top layer of the skin. As aluminium ions are drawn into the cells, there is water that passes in with them and causes the cells to swell which squeezes the ducts closed so that sweat cannot get out.
There is a limit to the amount of water that each cell can accept and when the cells reach a balance, sweating stops until slowly the water escapes and the cellular swelling decreases and then the sweating process will resume. The process is dependent on the number of aluminium ions applied.
Aluminium chlorhydrate & aluminium zirconium are very soluble, and when used as an antiperspirant, these compounds are readily absorbed.
Once in the body, the aluminium portion of the molecule ionizes, forming positively charged free or radical aluminium (Al+++) which passes freely across cell membranes and creates a physical plug.
There are legitimate concerns that when dissolved, these molecules can be selectively absorbed by the liver, kidney, brain, cartilage and bone marrow. It is this concentration of aluminium that has been the source of concern in the medical community and has prompted the research being done on Alzheimer's disease and breast cancer patients.
Potassium Alum molecules have a negative ionic charge (- -), which is the opposite to a positive charge, this is significant because it makes Potassium Alum completely unable to pass through the cell wall. Potassium Alum can not be absorbed by the skin and it is this behaviour along with its benign molecular structure that makes Alum safe to use as a natural deodorant. It can not and does not cause an accumulation of aluminium or any other harmful elements in the body.
It is a scientific fact that Alum and Aluminium are two completely different substances, with very different and distinct chemical signatures. Alum & Aluminium possess very different chemical properties with very different chemical attributes.
Chemical formula of Potassium Alum: KAl3(SO4)2(OH)
Chemical Formula of Aluminium: Al2O3
Chemical Formula of Aluminium chlorhydrate: Al2Cl(OH)5
Chemical Formula of Aluminium Zirconium: C2 H7 AI CI N O4 Zr +5
I hope you are feeling reassured..
This article has been written by Maeve. Founder & Formulator of Natural Wisdom Raw Organic Skincare & Solid Vegan Perfumes. If you have any concerns about anything written in this article please email Maeve directly on firstname.lastname@example.org