TMI alert: I’m going to talk about my armpits now.
My armpits are stinky. I come from an Earthy Eastern European people who, I truly believe, spent so much time tending their livestock they started to smell like them. Frequently I tell my children, “take a shower. You smell like a goat.” To be fair, just as often I say, “I’m going to take a shower. I smell like a goat.” If you’ve never been around goats they really don’t smell that great. Some days, neither does my family.
From about the 5th grade on my mother taught me that, if I were going to win friends and influence people, it’s important to rid myself of lingering goat musk. She gave me a stick of Secret antiperspirant (which at that time was still strong enough for a man, but made for a woman). Problem solved! No smells remained but the gentle, lingering aroma of baby powder. But then…..
In college I started developing these horrible painful lumps under my arms. Like… so big and so painful I could barely put my arms down. A pharmacist recommended a salt crystal deodorant. This isn’t so much deodorant as… well… salt. You wet it and rub it under your arms and, VOILA! No sweat. Within a few days the pain was gone and all was well again. Unless I got REALLY sweaty. I mean, sitting in class, freshly showered and taking notes I was fine. Playing racquetball in the gym? Not so much. So back to Secret I went (or Suave or Dove or whatever was on sale). Whenever the pain would return I’d switch back to the crystal for few days until it went away but then I learned something….
The aluminum in deodorant is a known neurotoxin. This isn’t one of those vague things like “We fed a 1 pound rat 12 pounds of bacon a day and the nitrates killed it.” This is well known, documented science. And aluminum is in pretty much ALL commercial deodorant (unless you specifically look for “natural” products like Burt’s Bees etc). It’s the MAIN ingredient. And doctors the world over agree that it may be linked to Alzheimer’s and other cognitive disorders. In case that’s not enough, it can also cause renal failure, respiratory problems and more. For more on this, go to www.fda.gov or www.who.int and search “aluminum.” You have to wade through the science-speak but you’ll get the drift. For less official but easier to read versions simply Google “aluminum in deodorant.” You’ll get hundreds of thousands of hits. OR just read your deodorant label. There is a warning on there “contains aluminum.” There’s a reason why they have to tell you that.
If that’s still not enough to disturb you, the binding agents, parabens, have been linked in some studies (admittedly, more along the lines of the 12 pounds of bacon studies) to cause or worsen breast cancer and reproductive problems.
OK. So here’s the thing: most everyone I know uses deodorant (there is one lady I used to work with… but that’s a blog for another day) and MOST of them don’t suffer from either Alzheimer’s or breast cancer. And, as previously mentioned, I seriously need some help keeping the BO to a minimum. Nobody wants to smell that! AND, if you haven’t picked up on it yet from reading my blog, I’m pretty lazy about taking action on things if action isn’t very easily taken. So, knowing all this, I was still using Secret (well… actually I think it was Degree most recently).
But then… darn! My armpits are starting to hurt. And somewhere in the last move I lost my salt crystal. And no one around here sells it. What’s a stinky modern girl to do? Why, just Google it, of course! Did you know that there are at least fourhundredsixtytwoGAZILLION natural alternatives to commercial, aluminium deodorant? Here’s the kicker (and, if this blog has taught you anything it should teach you that this is the norm, not the exception): the natural stuff is not only safer but CHEAPER. Here are a few for your perusal:
1) Baking Soda. Yup. That’s it. You know how it sucks the stink out of your fridge, carpet & cat littler box? It will do the same thing on your stinky pits. Just put a bit in your hand, moisten, and rub it in. I’ve read that this can be harsh on sensitive skin so that leads us to….
2) Apple Cider Vinegar. My handsome hippie husband believes that the cure to nearly everything in the world from the common cold to world war (well… ok maybe not THAT) is Apple Cider Vinegar. Turns out there are quite a few folks dabbing this smelly crap (sorry, Honey, but it really is awful) under their arms to rid themselves of… well… smell. Apparently the vinegar stink evaporates in a minute or two and you’re left altogether stinkless for a day or even two. Be advised to NOT do this immediately after shaving unless you want to react like the kid in that movie Home Alone.
3) For those who believe that nothing can be that easy here’s the recipe for you:
1/4 cup of baking soda, 1/4 cup of arrowroot powder & 6-8 TBSP of coconut oil (this can be hardened or softened by warming or cooling).
If you can’t find arrowroot (you probably can’t unless you live somewhere near a great natural food & health store) you can use cornstarch and get a close approximation.
Mix your dry ingredients and then work the oil in until you end up with something firm but pliable. Stuff it into your old twisty deodorant tube (or, really, any container with a lid) and you’ve got new deodorant.
“So,” you may ask. “How did it work for you, Goatgirl?” Well… the truth is I haven’t made it through the list yet. So far, baking soda works like a charm. It’s a tiny bit messier than the “normal” stuff and if I traveled a lot I would probably hate that. But I don’t so it’s no big deal. When I try the rest, I’ll let you know.
Have you tried an “alternative” antiperspirant/deodorant? Tell me all about it!
OK. So, I’ve tried 2 of the 3. Being lazy, it’s the one that requires mixing I haven’t done yet. Both worked great!!! The baking soda can be a bit drying if you use it every day but, as it turns out, even if you smell like a goat that’s not necessary. The effects seem to linger 2 or even 3 days between applications. The Cider Vinegar was ok too but, if I got REALLY sweaty I smelled a little like vinegar. Which is almost as bad as goat smell.
One other thing…. here’s an interesting article my chiropractor led me to:
I’m in love! I’m in love! And I don’t care who knows it! OK. Well… that may be over-stating a bit. But a few weeks ago I finally worked myself up to the 2 minutes of measuring and mixing required to make the coconut oil stuff and I LOVE it!!!! It has virtually no smell at all so I don’t smell like a goat OR spoiled apples. It is creamy and feels nice against my skin. And, even over several 80 and 90 degree days over the past few weeks, it works BETTER THAN ANY STORE BOUGHT DEODORANT I’ve ever tried. When stored in a cool place it is solid enough that you could probably store it in a re-used solid deodorant stick container but if it gets too warm it will melt all over the place, so I wouldn’t recommend it. I keep mine in an old baby food container and it is just lovely. Here’s wishing you a warm summer with healthy odorless pits! :)