An Armpit Tale

You may have started to use, or planning to go all natural with deodorants. The majority of Deodorants and antiperspirants on store shelves contain aluminum & chemicals called parabens. And, the health community has advised, that putting these under the arms where they can be easily absorbed into the bloodstream may be harmful. The armpits are also access points to the lymph nodes, and the chemicals from odor-fighting products may affect the body’s immune system responses. Research undertaken over the past 15 years has indicated a possible association between the use of deodorants & antiperspirants and breast cancer.  Researchers were unable to find sufficient information to prove a possible link, but advocated the need for further study. The studies that have looked for a connection between antiperspirants/deodorants and breast cancer have produced conflicting results.  Because of this, it is probably best for women with an increased risk for breast cancer to stop using these products altogether or use them sparingly. With that said, it was time for me to try some new no-aluminium/natural products. But, more research was needed.

My research brought up Armpit Detoxification (when someone stops using chemical deodorants and antiperspirants, toxins start to leave the body, resulting in an armpit detox).  Detox is necessary to help the body rid itself of toxins that have built up on the skin.  And, it may also help to reduce the capacity of sweat glands and the amount of odor they produce.  Mary at Kaia Naturals said. . "The truth is, your natural deodorant isn’t making you smell worse – the bacterial communities under your arms are changing and it doesn’t happen overnight! It can take up to 30 days for your body to fully detox from aluminum". Most armpit detoxes are meant to make the transition from an aluminum-based antiperspirant to a natural deodorant easier.

Many of the articles in favor of armpit detoxes claim that the natural deodorant will work better afterward.  According to  Healthline. . "There’s no proof that these detoxes can reduce odor or make a deodorant more effective. However, deodorant and antiperspirants change the types and amounts of bacteria in the armpit".  Then, I read an article on Racked.  . that claimed using an AHA or BHA treatment instead of a deodorant was actually a safe, effective alternative to conventional deodorants. . ."the best natural deodorant may very well be in your skincare stash right now: an acid meant for your face".  Using a toner on your underarms, especially one with actives in them like AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acids) for getting rid of dead skin cells or BHA (Beta Hydroxy Acid) which is anti-inflammatory, means not only will you get cleaner underarms, but brighter, smoother, and healthier ones as well. If that isn’t enough to convert you, the low pH of these acids also kills odor-causing bacteria.

Well, this was so much better than using pastes with charcoal or vinegar to me.  Now, I had a plan and purchased some new deodorants. Got out my Glycolic & Salicylic acids and started using them on a cotton round right after a shower. . . Let the armpits dry before applying the new Secret 0% aluminium deodorant.  The first week was Secret + Salicylic pads and the funk was real. The following week I switched to Dove 0% + Salicylic and the funk continued. By the third week the armpits were getting raunchy and now there was more sweat if I went outdoors. So, I started using The Ordinary Glycolic 7% before applying the deodorants and used them both on alternate days.  Well it got to be 90 degrees in my neck of the woods, and these two were not cutting it.  I needed stronger stuff.  On one of my posts, my blogger pal Eugenia mentioned Megababe Rosy Pits. And, I got it from Target with a quickness.  By week four Megababe was going to be my best friend. But, she had trouble working alone and needed reinforcement.  It became necessary to re-apply my deodorant mid-day.

So, I used Pacifica Deodorant wipes that are natural & aluminium free in-between showers, before re-applying the new deodorants.  Nah. . No can Do!  Then, I got back on using the AHA's/BHA's first, before applying it.  Two weeks later, this girl Rosy Pits was just not cutting it.  After seven weeks of this experiment, I got sick and tired of smelling like week old fish.  No perfume in Macy's could counteract this bodacious body odor I was carrying around. That was not ME.  Thank goodness I kept my stash of tried & true sweet smelling deodorants. Now, the acids are only for my face & neck, and the 0%/naturals are out the door.

The chemicals in your sweat don’t turn smelly until bacteria transform them into that characteristic whiffy scent, and without the chemicals, the bacteria have nothing to work with. Anti-perspirants reduces the bacteria. It does appear that there’s no science-based reason to discontinue using your tried & true deodorant, natural or otherwise. And, there’s no evidence to show that the body odor you’re trying to mask will suddenly, miraculously disappear. If you feel more comfortable using a natural product, and find one you like, Kudos! But, if your body odor and sweating is persistent and bothersome, an antiperspirant is likely your best bet. My body tells me that I'm ideally suited for an antiperspirant. . . the active ingredient, typically an aluminum salt forms a plug that pretty much blocks the sweat gland. And that is what I need. If you have been contemplating changing your deodorant because your current product seems to be ineffective, try using AHA/BHA's in your routine. If all else fails, contact your Dermatologist.

More to read . . Here, Here & Here.

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