Is alum stone really far from being good for health?

When a (real) alum stone displays a natural origin and offers multiple uses, it appears to be an out-of-the-box product for moms (and dads!). It responds, in fact, to a great trend: the attraction to natural and/or ecological cosmetics, specifically for fatherhood. However, this rock is not so clear: sometimes adored, then vilified, questions.

The alum stone, a rock with multiple uses (face, deodorant, shaving, etc.)

Until the early 2000s, alum stone quietly went its own way and was sold primarily as an antiperspirant or natural deodorant. It was also said to have flame retardant properties after shaving and even “blood cut” after a cut. On the face, armpits or legs, it could be useful, especially since it is enough to moisten it before passing it over the affected area. It couldn’t be easier to use!

Alum stone, a carcinogenic product?

With the craze for natural products in cosmetics, alum stone quickly became a boon to manufacturers. Then we saw more and more alum stone deodorants ” on the shelves. Until the publication of several scientific articles, making a link between breast cancer and alum stone, after the publication of studies dedicated to this topic.

A american investigation from 2003in which 437 women with cancer be you This highlighted the age difference between those who had frequently used an antiperspirant while shaving their armpits during their lives, and those who had never applied it. For the former, the average age at which they developed breast cancer was 59 years, compared to 67 years for the latter.

Other studies have concluded that cosmetics can be a greater source of exposure to aluminum compounds than foodagain making the effect of a bomb.

At the end of 2011, based on scientific data, the French Agency for the Safety of Medical Devices (Afssaps) recommended reduce the concentration of aluminum authorized in cosmetics, however, the link between aluminum exposure and increased cancer risk has not been established. He then specified that “more than twenty-five aluminum compounds are among the substances that can be used in cosmetic products” and pointed to aluminum chlorohydrate, “one of the most widely used, particularly as an antiperspirant.” However, although the link with the appearance of cancer could not be demonstrated, the consequences of the intake of aluminum in repeated doses on animal health tipped the balance (neurotoxic effects and consequences on the testes, embryos and the development of the nervous system ). how do you remember the article published at the time by premium Beauty News, the human impact had also been taken very seriously “the effects in humans (neurotoxicity, bone damage, anemia) are also known in patients with kidney failure chronically exposed to aluminum, as well as in parenterally fed premature infants. »

So much data that had led the Afssaps to declare that “exposure to antiperspirant products with concentrations of 20% aluminum chlorohydrate does not guarantee the safety of the health of consumers under normal conditions of use. Therefore, I had recommended restrict the concentration of aluminum in antiperspirant or deodorant products to 0.6% ; and encouraged not to use aluminum-containing cosmetics on broken skin, a recommendation he later asked to include on the packaging.

Little by little, sales fell and some brands replaced this ingredient in their products, thus exceeding the recommendations of the ANSM (National Agency for the Safety of Medicines and Health Products that replaced Afssaps in 2012). Also implicated in the possible appearance of alzheimer’s disease, alum stone in fact, it has lost popularity.

The return to grace of the alum stone and, more broadly, of aluminium.

In April 2020, the Scientific Committee for Consumer Safety (CSSC), a scientific body made up of independent experts in charge of advising the European Commission on the possible risks associated with non-food consumer products, issued a final opinion on the use of aluminum in cosmetic products. He considered it safe, as long as the concentrations respected those recommended. That’s it :

  • 6.25% in non-spray deodorants and antiperspirants,
  • 10.60% in spray deodorants and antiperspirants,
  • 2.65% in toothpastes,
  • 0.77% in lipsticks.

The CSSC stated that in view of recent studies, the risks mentioned a few years earlier had not been proven. He then stated that the aluminum was hardly absorbed into the skin, even just shaved off, and was not stored there either.

For his part, the Federation of Beauty Companies (FEBEA) stated in a press release “All the latest evaluations and bibliographies carried out up to 2017 by other scientific committees have been reviewed and confirm that aluminum in cosmetics plays no role in breast cancer “. What to question the past incriminations of aluminum salts. To date, alum stone and aluminum derivatives are still considered risky ingredients by some brands, which prefer to avoid them. Real precautionary principle or marketing argument? Hard to decide.

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