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Bust a myth: Antiperspirants do not increase risk of cancer

Antiperspirants do not increase the risk of cancer but those with kidney problems should use caution.

It has been claimed that chemicals in antiperspirants and deodorants get into the underarm skin especially after shaving and cause cancer. The reasoning behind this is that since antiperspirants limit perspiration, the chemicals cannot find their way out of the body through sweating. These chemicals build up to eventually cause breast cancer since the armpit is closest to the breast.

Science however refutes this. A recent study by the National Centre for Biotechnology Information showed that yes, frequent use of antiperspirants, caused accumulation of aluminum in breast tissue but showed no correlation between aluminum salts and breast cancer.

Usually, the aluminium is filtered out by the kidneys and would only accumulate if you have kidney problems that affected their effectiveness. And this could cause problems like bone diseases or dementia.

“However, if you have normal kidney function, your kidneys can usually process the amount of aluminum from antiperspirants and cosmetics that is absorbed through your skin,” says Dr Benjamin Chan.

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