Deodorants And Antiperspirants During Pregnancy- Are They Safe?

7 min read

Written by Editorial Team

Editorial Team

Are deodorants and antiperspirants safe to use during pregnancy

Being presentable plays a significant role in boosting your confidence level. Irrespective of whether you are a homemaker or a professional, it is vital that you maintain your self-esteem during pregnancy.  Self-care should be an essential part of your everyday routine during pregnancy to boost your confidence levels. While choosing products such as deodorants and antiperspirants during pregnancy, you must stick to all-natural products.

You also have to spare a little more time for personal hygiene during pregnancy than your pre-pregnancy time. But why is this caution necessary, and what harmful effects can such self-care products cause? What are the alternatives available to keep you safe and ensure that you can continue to look and feel beautiful?
Read ahead to know more!!

In This Article

Should I Exercise Caution When Selecting Toiletries During Pregnancy?

Yes, you must be cautious when selecting your toiletries during pregnancy. Natural remedies are always a safer alternative to chemical products. For example, you may prefer olive oil for hair, virgin coconut oil for moisturization, oatmeal and cucumber, as a face pack, apple cider vinegar as a toner, and so on.

Some make-up products are not safe during pregnancy, and you may have to ditch them so that there is no harm to your baby in the womb. There is one class of toiletries that we use routinely without giving much thought to what goes inside them – deodorants and antiperspirants.

Both these categories of self-care products are laden with chemicals that may do more harm than good.
Deodorants and antiperspirants are an essential part of day-to-day existence for most people. Getting pregnant boosts this necessity as sweating during pregnancy increases due to hormonal and other physiological changes as your body prepares to raise a new life.

[Read: 5 Harmful Chemicals You Need To Avoid During Pregnancy]

What is the Difference Between Deodorants and Antiperspirants?

difference between deodorants and antiperspirants

Deodorants and antiperspirants have the same end function – to fight body odor. But the working mechanisms of both are very different. A deodorant is made of antibacterial ingredients. It works by killing bacteria that are formed when you sweat, thereby neutralizing the sweat smell.

An antiperspirant works by building a barrier between sweat glands and the skin surface by clogging, closing, or blocking the sweat pores. The pores cannot release sweat to the skin surface. While deodorants destroy the root cause of body odor, antiperspirants block the whole process of sweating.

Is it Safe to Use Deodorant and Antiperspirant During Pregnancy?

It is not safe to use all the deodorants and antiperspirants that are available on the market. You should especially think twice before selecting a product that is a combination of both deodorant and antiperspirant. Applying these occasionally is comparatively safe. Here we are discussing everyday exposure.

Many companies use chemical components in their deodorant and antiperspirant preparations to increase their efficiency. Therefore, look closely at the label of your favorite deodorant when you are pregnant. Ensure that the following toxic ingredients are not a part of your favorite deodorant and antiperspirant (which is not an easy task).

Potentially Harmful Chemicals in Deodorants and Antiperspirants?

harmful chemicals in deodorants

Following are some of the potentially harmful chemicals in deodorants and antiperspirants:

1. Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex /Aluminum Chloride Hexahydrate

Both the above ingredients come under category C, the rating that should be avoided whenever possible. Aluminum is the most used chemical in many antiperspirants. As soon as it comes in contact with sweat, aluminum acts as a solvent and forms a temporary plug in the sweat glands. This plug helps block sweat from reaching the skin surface.

During pregnancy, frequent and increased aluminum exposure can cause:

  • Anemia
  • Memory issues like dementia
  • Bone disease
  • Extreme fatigue and weakness
  • Issues with bone

Additionally, aluminum can pass through the mother’s skin into her bloodstream. Therefore, using products containing this chemical is very dangerous during pregnancy and during the nursing period as well. Though a negligible amount of aluminum passes into breast milk, overly using products containing this chemical can adversely affect milk production.

2. Triclosan

This chemical possesses antibacterial properties and hence is found in a majority of deodorants. As triclosan is chemically stable, it will not wear down easily, therefore it increases the efficiency of the deodorant. Using deodorants with triclosan during pregnancy can:

  • Alter hormone regulation. This ‘endocrine disruptor’ property of triclosan can adversely affect the hormones that regulate your baby’s growth.
  • The ‘chemically stable’ property causes harmful effects during pregnancy. Once it gets into your system, this chemical will not break down easily. As a result, there are increased chances of this chemical passing into the fetus through the placenta.
  • High exposure to endocrine disruptors during pregnancy could have a conceivably negative effect on the development of the baby’s reproductive system.
  • Triclosan is a powerful antibacterial agent. Long-term exposure to this chemical can trigger a condition called antibiotic resistance – a new class of bacteria develops and are resistant to antibiotic treatments.
  • Above all, EPA (environmental protection agency) now records triclosan as a pesticide.

3. Phthalates

These chemicals help maintain the fragrance of the deodorants and antiperspirants. Phthalates easily penetrate the skin. Constant exposure can:

  • Trigger miscarriage.
  • Alter hormonal systems and cause genital reproductive abnormalities in male fetuses.

4. Parabens

Parabens are used as preservatives in deodorants and antiperspirants as they are inexpensive. These chemicals are estrogenic, which means that they mimic the effect of estrogen.

5. Propylene Glycol

This is another frequently used chemical in deodorants and antiperspirants. It creates a soft and smooth consistency. This synthetic liquid also helps in absorbing sweat and holding moisture:

  • PG acts as a penetration enhancer. Therefore, if paired with harmful chemicals, it can increase their absorption.
  • PG is a skin sensitizer and can induce an allergic reaction in the skin, like hives.
  • It can cause developmental complications in the fetus and endocrine complications in expecting mothers.
  • PG can trigger respiratory issues like asthma.

How Much Deodorant And Antiperspirant Should You Use?

When it comes to pregnancy, it is always good to be safe than sorry. The same is applicable while using deodorant and antiperspirant during pregnancy. Pregnant women should limit the number of deodorants and perfumes they apply each day.

Always use as few aromatic products as possible, particularly scented lotions and creams during pregnancy since most of them are laden with chemicals. Pregnancy is not a good time to experiment with new products. You can always opt for safer alternatives such as natural essential oils and plant extracts to substitute commercial self-care products.

What are the Alternatives for Deodorants and Antiperspirants During Pregnancy?

Following are some alternatives to deodorants and antiperspirants you can try during pregnancy:

1. Crystal Deodorant Stone

This stone is composed of alum (potassium alum, ammonium alum). The mineral salts in this stone are made up of larger molecules, and can’t penetrate your skin. As a result, you can enjoy fragrance minus the risk of chemicals.

2. Milk of Magnesia

Milk of Magnesia is a milky liquid, which is magnesium hydroxide suspension widely used as a laxative. This milky liquid is also surprisingly effective in controlling body odor when applied under the armpit. This aluminum-free deodorant is also available in roll-on forms.

Read here to know the importance of magnesium during pregnancy.

3. Baking Soda and Cornstarch

Instead of subjecting your skin to harmful chemicals, especially during pregnancy, you can try this natural way to prevent body odor and wetness to a certain extent. Mix one portion of baking soda with six portions of cornstarch. Just like talcum powder, use this mixture under your armpits.

4. Lemon Juice

The citric acid in lemon juice destroys odor-causing bacteria. Many expecting mothers rely on swiping their armpit with sliced lemon to fight the body odor. Remember not to apply this juice to a recently shaven armpit.

5. Alcohol

Rubbing or spraying alcohol in the armpit is an inexpensive and easy way to kill odor-causing bacteria. Adding a few drops of your favorite essential oil can enhance the effect of this simple deodorant.

Natural Fragrance Must-Try During Pregnancy

Natural Fragrance

Instead of deodorants and perfumes, consider using essential oils during your pregnancy. Concentrated essential oils can irritate the skin and should be diluted with carrier oils before application. Jojoba oil, coconut oil, sweet almond oil, and apricot oil are all common carrier oils.

Natural fragrances may not work as well as conventional perfumes and deodorants but are a safer alternative to commercial products. Long-term use of these natural products brings out their effectiveness. Natural fragrances come in jars, sprays, roll-ons, and sticks.

Some of the ingredients found in the best natural fragrance for pregnant women include:

  • Chamomile oil
  • Lavender oil
  • Sandalwood
  • Tea tree oil
  • Lichen oil
  • Rosemary oil
  • Coconut-Lime
  • Cucumber Melon
  • Balsam
  • Citrus oil
  • Raspberry
  • Cranberry
  • Green Tea
  • Cinnamon
  • Rose
  • Hibiscus
  • Ylang-Ylang
  • Cocoa butter
  • Mango butter
  • Peach
  • Lemon mint leaf
  • Lilac
  • Geranium
  • Honey Apple
  • Frankincense
  • Passion Fruit
  • Cherry
  • Spearmint

During pregnancy, when selecting perfumes and deodorants with safe ingredients, choose a reputable brand. Do remember that organic fragrances can cause problems too. When it comes to selecting deodorants and antiperspirants during the course of pregnancy, avoidance is the best strategy. Using all-natural products is your next best option!!


1. Can Antiperspirants Cause Birth Defects?

Antiperspirants contain parabens. Parabens are linked to birth defects. If your brand has a high level of this ingredient, do stay away from it during pregnancy.

2. Can I Use Deodorants During Pregnancy to Combat Body Odor?

Yes, you can. As long as you don’t use anything too strong. Just a mild spray will suffice.

3. Can Lemon Juice Replace Deodorants During Pregnancy?

Many women do this. However, it is definitely not as convenient as deodorants. They can irritate your skin too.

4. Can I Develop Breathing Issues if I Use Deodorants During Pregnancy?

Yes, sadly you can. You are very sensitive during pregnancy. The chemicals in your deodorants can cause respiratory issues.

Read Also: Are Spas During Pregnancy Safe?

Editorial Team,

With a rich experience in pregnancy and parenting, our team of experts create insightful, well-curated, and easy-to-read content for our to-be-parents and parents at all stages of parenting.Read more.

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