Secret Deodorant Gets Busted: pH-Balanced and Full of Toxins. (Sigh.)

I first met Jessica Assaf back in 2008, when she was a plucky high school student with Teens Turning Green and I was writing this book about greening your lifestyle. We interviewed Jessica about her group’s awesome projects, like when they all wore prom dresses and combat boots to encourage peers to choose toxin-free beauty products for prom season. Good times.

Anyway, Jessica is now an NYU student (that’s my other alma mater, btw) and continuing her eco-beauty activism as president of Teens Turning Green NYC and director of a forthcoming film called Body Burden. Her latest action, from the Department of “Sh*t I Wish I Thought Of:” Plastering toxic warning labels all over Secret Deodorant in Lower Manhattan drug stores. Um, hello, awesome!

Except if you’re one of Secret’s devoted fans, of course. Because here are the hard facts that Jessica sent my way:

According to the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Report, ingredients in the deodorants are linked to developmental and reproductive toxicity, neurotoxicity, immunotoxicity, and organ system toxicity. Specifically, Secret Deodorant contains Butane, a chemical linked to allergies, immunotoxicity, and organ system toxicity, and 18% Aluminum Chlorohydrate, which is linked to developmental and reproductive toxicity and neurotoxicity. The product also contains Dimethicone, a silicone emollient, which coats the skin not allowing toxins out. It may promote tumors and accumulate in the liver and lymph nodes.

Yikes. The good news is that there are some safer options out there that actually work. And no, they aren’t a hippie crystal rock. I test-drove a couple of decent natural options for Planet Green last summer, and my No More Dirty Looks girls review another great option over here. Full disclosure: I tend to swap off between my beloved Beacon Bird Bath and stealing Dan’s Old Spice, depending on the level of sweat protection I need. (Strong-Enough-For-Him Old Spice isn’t necessarily safer than Secret or any other regular antiperspirant, but I really like how it smells. All chemical-y fresh.)

Since I’ve been all about body image lately what with Never Say Diet, I realize I’ve been neglecting my eco-beauty activism roots. So I wanted to give Jessica a shout-out and also make sure y’all know about the new and awesomely redesigned Skin Deep, which is the Environmental Working Group’s database of cosmetic ingredients. Plug in any one of your favorite products and you’ll get a safety rating plus a ton of info on any potential hazards they contain.

For more on Jessica’s Secret Mission (ha! see what I did there?) check out coverage on Good and TreeHugger. And watch out. She could be headed to a CVS near you.

Filed under Happenings, Ingredients, Products

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