on switching to healthy deodorant

i always figured i'd start this series talking about deodorant. so when elizabeth commented specifically asking me to address this, it sealed the fate.

deodorant is one of the hardest but most important changes you can make in your lifestyle. we've been conditioned to believe that perspiring from your underarms is awful and shame-worthy. mainstream media has been telling us the perks of antiperspirant, so we never have to deal with sweat marks again.

but here's the thing: we are supposed to sweat. antiperspirants use aluminum to temporarily block your sweat glands so you don't perspire. aluminum is not good for you. some studies have noted that most breast cancer tumors start on the upper outer part of the breast, close to where you apply antiperspirant. and the tumors have aluminum in them. it's been theorized that the harmful ingredients in antiperspirants and mainstream deodorants are absorbed into the skin, especially after shaving (which is essentially leaving lots of little nicks on your skin).

ok sorry, i didn't mean to scare you. but it's kind of hard to convince you to make the switch without some facts, right? and, it should be noted, these aren't hard facts. it's difficult to navigate what a lot of these chemicals really do to us in the long run, but in my opinion less potentially toxic chemicals is a better option.

now you're probably saying but alex, i used natural deodorants and i STUNK. yo, i did too.
not all natural deodorants are created equal. but here's the big thing about switching from mainstream deodorants to natural ones: you're going to stink in the first week. and it's totally normal. your body needs time to expel the product build-up that's been feeding into your underarms for the last...many years. so yeah, you might stink. but once you're over that hump (for most people, this lasts a few days somewhere in the middle of their first week)? you're great! i rarely smell when i sweat nowadays, even when i don't wear deodorant, and i'm only about two years into my deodorant switch.

some deodorants do work better than others, however. it often depends on your body chemistry, but toms doesn't really work for me. but! it does work for other people, so to each their own.

i've found two that work well for me. both are deodorant creams, which take a bit of getting used to, since you do rub a pea sized amount into your underarm with your fingers. people get weird about this, which i totally understand. but since you're responsible for cleaning your underarms, i'd say you shouldn't worry. just wash your hands once you're done applying.

i like the soapwalla deodorant cream (in the classic lavender tea tree scent) for when i'm working out hard. things like races, or tough exercise classes, call for the soapwalla. for me, it's the best at keeping me from getting too sweaty. the tea tree helps neutralize odors, while the baking soda absorbs sweat. win win. one thing to note is that you shouldn't apply this deodorant immediately after shaving. when you shave your underarms, you also create small skin tears, and the tea tree and baking soda will sting a bit. it's best to shave the night before, or wait an hour or two before applying.

but the baking soda is a bit harsh for sensitive skin, and i began developing a bit of a rash from using it every day. so on regular days i like the meow meow tweet deodorant cream in grapefruit. it's based in arrowroot powder, which deodorizes and absorbs a bit of sweat. i've found that i am a tiny bit sweatier when i use this one, but i don't think that's such a bad thing anymore. i mean, if i'm not sweating through my underarm, i'm sweating somewhere else (like my back...ew).

there are tons of other healthy options out there, and erin boyle over at reading my tea leaves wrote a pretty comprehensive guide to other brands, as well as a recipe to make your own deodorant.

and at around $15, you're not breaking the bank to make your body infinitely healthier.

so there you have it! deodorant! please, don't hesitate to ask any questions i might not have addressed.

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