By Asja Baško
There is so much going on in your life – job, daily chores, husbands and boyfriends, kids and babies with their needs and wishes, household stuff, friends, Facebook, your own interests and needs – that it’s so good to have things that you can just do automatically without much thinking and fussing around. Deodorant is one of those magic tools – you just apply it and off you go to rock the world.
But how often do you think about what deodorant does and how it achieves the miracle that prevents odor? As those few times when you forgot to apply deodorant, you smelt so awful, disgusting or stinky. I need to admit that I never questioned my relationship with deodorant for 17 years. Ok, there were two things that bothered me – clogged pores and a few inflammations time to time. But with so many things going on in my life, I was like…I will think about it tomorrow. About 5 years ago, I read an article that said aluminium and other ingredients in the deodorant are harmful. It was scary, seeing how I’m harming my body every single day and listing potential cancer risks without any reference to scientific findings or a proof. Did it persuade me to leave my deodorant? No, but it cast some doubt. So one eventless morning, instead of adoring looks of my deodorant roll, I turned it around and checked the ingredient list on EWG SkinDeep database. I was unpleasantly surprised at what I saw and was full of determination to go to the shop and get aluminium free or another natural deodorant.
First up was a crystal rock deodorant, then came several natural deodorants with varying degrees of success including some awfully stinky and embarrassing accidents, small victories and for sure the need to apply them more often per day than the conventional deodorant ones…and by more often, I really mean more! My record was 9 or 10 times per day whilst a stressful time at the office I felt that I need to reapply my natural deodorant every 2 hours to maintain socially acceptable smell. And all that crazy sweating and wondering is this really worth it and a huge wish to get back to old times when I could just apply my deodorant in the morning and forget about my armpits until next morning. Now for 3 years, I’m deodorant free with only a bar of soap, water and perfume being my supporters for dealing with my armpits. The issue that kept me on the track and didn’t let me give up was the question of toxins.
A simple explanation of deodorant and its magic is the following: some bacteria live in your armpits, feed on fats and proteins coming out from your armpits and thus produce a smell. Deodorant stops the smell by creating unpleasant environmental for bacteria so bacteria die and there is no remaining bacteria to create the smell. Antiperspirant stops the sweat by plugging your sweat glands so no food comes out for bacteria. The superhero is antiperspirant deodorant that provides smell and sweat control at the same time up to 48hours. It’s like closing the gate of the dam. But there is one less known issue – the lymphatic system. No matter how healthy you eat and live, your body is producing and accumulating toxins, waste and other unwanted materials that the lymphatic system collects and helps the body to get rid of. And like it or not, but your armpits are one of the main places where your lymphatic system releases them out of your body. So by blocking sweating and applying antiperspirant deodorant or antiperspirant, you just simply keep accumulating toxins and waste that over time will start to harm your body. Plus chemicals in deodorant that enter your body. I think it’s enough good reason to change your deodorant before companies will modify their conventional deodorants and antiperspirants.
So how to choose the right natural deodorant? Actually it’s like a dating and it will take some time to find the right one as you need to take into account following things:
You will sweat more with natural deodorants no matter how expensive or supernatural one you choose, especially in the beginning. When you stop using conventional deodorant, you are opening the gate of the dam and your body will sweat and sweat. And the smell! Your body will need time to adjust to the new freedom of being able to sweat. It took me more than 6 months until the whole sweating process normalized. And now, even with huge stress, it’s much less sweating than before. Also, the smell has changed a lot.
Don’t apply the deodorant before training and sleeping. Give your body a rest and let it do its work without any disruptions.
In the beginning, use both deodorants – conventional one for stressful and eventful days and natural one for relaxing days. So you won’t get disappointed and give up so fast before seeing actual changes.
The intensity of sweating as well as the diversity of smell is influenced by your stress level, food eaten(processed, deep fried, actually any food … even an innocent vegetable like an onion can trigger you to smell more stinky), smoking, drinking alcohol, health issues, drugs & medication (including the pill) and hormonal changes (pregnancy, breastfeeding, etc.).
Be ready that you might need to implement some lifestyle changes to solve the smell issue based on point No. 4. Now I really know when I have messed up with the food … the smell!
No matter how simple it sounds, sometimes all your armpits need is a nice bar of soap and water.
Deodorant replacement is not as easy as shampoo or toothpaste replacement but it helps you to be more aware of your body, be healthy and enjoy your own odor. The last part might sound weird, but your body can smell good on its own, you just forgot it in everyday life.