Aluminum Salts Used in Antiperspirants
What Is It?
The following ingredients are salts of aluminum that are used in the U.S. as active ingredients in Over-the-Counter (OTC) drug antiperspirant products: aluminum chloride, aluminum chlorohydrate and aluminum dichlorohydrate, aluminum zirconium chlorohydrate complexes, aluminum zirconium chlorohydrex complexes with glycine, and aluminum chlorohydrex complexes with propylene glycol or polyethylene glycol.
Why Is It Used?
The aluminum salts used as active ingredients in OTC antiperspirants are applied to the skin to reduce the production of perspiration (sweat) at the site of application and to help reduce or eliminate the unpleasant odor that arises from the bacterial breakdown of sweat on the skin. The active ingredient gives antiperspirants their sweat-blocking ability by forming a temporary plug within the sweat gland that stops the flow of sweat to the skin’s surface. By inhibiting perspiration, which is a necessary component for the growth of bacteria that cause malodor, antiperspirants also act as deodorants.
Learn more about the sweating process in the human body.
Like all cosmetic products, deodorant and antiperspirant products and their ingredients must be safe before they are introduced on the market for consumer use. In addition, antiperspirants are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as Over-The-Counter (OTC) drugs. As such, they must be shown to be safe and effective and must comply with all other requirements listed in FDA’s OTC antiperspirant monograph. FDA reviews individual antiperspirant active ingredients for safety; only those that are on FDA’s monograph approved list may be used in antiperspirant products marketed in the U.S.
More information about aluminum.
More information about the safety of antiperspirant OTC drug products.
In the European Union (EU), aluminum zirconium chloride hydroxide complexes and the aluminum zirconium chloride hydroxide glycine complexes are permitted within certain concentration limits for use in antiperspirant products, per Annex III of the Cosmetics Directive.