Natural Deodorants & Armpit Cleanses

I'm sure you've heard the buzz on natural deodorants.  Why, you ask are people making the switch?  Well...conventional deodorants and anti-perspirants contain a handful of chemicals and additives.  

First, let's discuss the difference between deodorants and antiperspirants.  Antiperspirants reduce sweating while deodorants remove the odor of sweat.  Sweat is your body's natural physical response to exercise or exertion.  Its purpose is to prevent the body from overheating.  While many conventional deodorants are effective in curbing sweat and odor, keep in mind they're using chemicals to be effective.  It takes unnatural ingredients to block our bodies natural ability to sweat.  Here's the short list of chemicals hidden inside many conventional and popular deodorants.
  • Phthalates– Endocrine disruptors often found in plastic particles that can cause hormone imbalance and even infertility 
  • Aluminum– evidence linking aluminum to cancer and Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Propylene glycol– common name: antifreeze. It is an additive in many personal care products but the EWG reports it carries a moderate risk of allergies and immunotoxicity.
  • Formaldehyde-  a known carcinogen
  • Parabens- A hormone disruptor.  Parabens have been found in biopsied tissues with breast cancer
  • Antibacterial Substances- Endocrine disruptors and can negatively impact immune systems
Now I've tried a handful of natural deodorants over the years.  I used Lavanila for a few years, and tried a few months wearing Native, but have most recently used Schmidt's which I really consider my favorite of all the brands I've tried.  I like that it comes in a traditional stick form (as opposed to a potted, scoop-able deodorant), limits sweat, blocks odor and doesn't make me smell (as I've found natural deodorants to do). 

However, I feel like my experience might have been more effective had I started with an armpit detox.  The purpose of an armpit detox is to expedient the natural deodorant adjustment period.  It helps pull some of those odor blocking harmful chemicals out of the skin and issues of the armpits.  This can be especially effective if you've been a conventional deodorant user for a long time.  Positive outcomes after armpit cleanse/detoxes include: less odor (even w/o deodorant), less sweat, and less rashes or reactions to natural deodorants.

Worth noting, keep in mind that like many detoxes, you may have a reaction.  Some people report that they excrete unpleasant odors in the first week(s) after an armpit cleanse as their body releases the toxins that have built up in the sweat glands from years of conventional deodorant usage.
 Sound interesting?  Here's what you do.

Armpit Cleanse Detox Recipe via Wellness Mama

  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (I used Trader Joe's raw apple cider vinegar) 
  • 1 tablespoon bentonite clay (I bought this brand on Amazon)
  • 1-2 teaspoons water (star w/1 tsp and add more to get desired consistency) 

1. Mix all of the ingredients in a glass bowl (do not use metal) with a wooden or non-metal spoon until about the consistency of sour cream.

2. Spread in an even layer over the armpits and allow to sit for 5-20 minutes.  I suggest starting slowly and working up to a longer period of time once you see how your body adjusts.  It it hurts at all, remove immediately.

3. This may cause some redness as it will increase blood flow to the area, but it will go away quickly.

4. Wash off in shower or with a warm, wet washcloth.

5. Repeat daily or as needed until under-arm odor goes away and natural deodorant is non-irritating.

Want to read more about this?  I found Wellness Mama and Mamavation to have a lot of information on armpit cleanses and detoxes. 

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