Underarm care may not be the most glamorous topic, but it is an important one. Although perspiration can be unpleasant and uncomfortable, it allows your body to self-regulate its temperature and eliminate wastes. You should not prevent it but encourage it, so your body can go through the natural process of detoxification.
What to do about smelly armpits?
Sweat alone does not smell bad. Sweat contains mainly water and tiny amounts of minerals. But the bacteria that live on your skin thrive with moisture and, when mixed with sweat, generate offensive body odors. Therefore, the first and most important step in underarm care is washing your armpits regularly, as often as needed, with a mild cleanser and water. Other factors that can influence your axillary body odors are the foods you eat and some medical conditions.
Antiperspirants and Deodorants
One common way to manage bad odors caused by sweat is the use of antiperspirants and deodorants.
Antiperspirants contain aluminum compounds as their active ingredient, which prevents sweating by blocking the sweat glands. While being sweat-free may sound enticing, clogging the sweat glands interrupts one natural way to remove toxins from the body. Moreover, studies have shown that while it does not naturally occur in breasts, aluminum can deposit in breast tissue. The same studies cite a possible link between aluminum-based antiperspirant salts in the adjacent underarm area and breast cancer.
Deodorant provides a less worrisome alternative. Deodorant products do not prevent sweat but rather provide scents that can effectively mask bad odors. However, some conventional deodorants contain other questionable ingredients, such as parabens and synthetic fragrances.
How to choose a natural deodorant
The most popular natural deodorants, and the safest available, are cream deodorants. Generally, they contain vegetable powders and clays to absorb the sweat, and non-synthetic fragrances from essential oils. (Some essential oils, like tea tree and lavender, also inhibit bacterial growth.) Absorbent powders like baking soda, tapioca starch and arrowroot powder absorb excess sweat without blocking the glands and allow their normal function. Among the ones I tried and found to be effective at preventing bad odors are: Osmia Organics, Meow Meow Tweet, Soapwalla and Schmidt’s.
However, you should take into consideration that deodorants mix with each person’s personal body odor and create a unique scent that may differ for each person.
If you have already tried a cream deodorant like the ones I mentioned, but you experienced sensitivity to baking soda, you may want to try the new Meow Meow Tweet Baking Soda-Free Deodorant with Grapefruit. Deodorants with baking soda should not be applied on freshly shaved armpits to prevent irritation.
Have you tried a natural deodorant that worked for you?
Photo credits: Lilly Wallace