Updated: Sep 20, 2018
An armpit routine is a taboo topic that not many woman like to talk openly about. Today I will share with you my natural underarm routine and how to properly transition to natural deodorant in case you haven't yet already.
Let us start with why do we sweat? Sweating is important to the overall health of the body. It not only rids the system of toxins, but helps to regulate the body temperature, boost your mood and lower the risk of certain diseases. Sweating is our body’s main cooling mechanism. We sweat when it’s hot outside, after a long run, if we have a fever or are overly anxious and stressed.
Did you know sweat itself is actually not smelly? it actually has no odor. That signature sweaty onion “odor” develops when the sweat escapes from your glands and interacts with the bacteria that is living on our epidermis.
According to the National Cancer Institute there is no convincing evidence that antiperspirant deodorant is the likely cause of breast cancer. Despite there not being enough evidence provided to support the non-use of aluminum-based deodorant, I have chosen to remain aluminum free for the past 7-8 years. Aluminum temporarily plugs the sweat ducts and some research from The Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry suggests that aluminum-containing underarm antiperspirants, which are applied frequently and left on the skin near the breast, may be absorbed by the skin and have estrogen-like (hormonal) effects. Because estrogen can promote the growth of breast cancer cell, some scientists have suggested that the aluminum-based compounds in antiperspirants may contribute to the development of breast cancer.
To be clear those "sweat stains" under the arm of your favorite shirt are not caused by sweat, but by the interaction of sweat with aluminum compounds commonly found in antiperspirants.
I do not like to take chances when it comes to my overall health and well-being. I have long term decided to use natural products for my body. Look on the back of a label - my rule of thumb is 'if you can't pronounce it you probably should eat it or rub it on your body'.
I have found when the body is detoxing from harmful chemicals it tends to go through a malodorous detoxifying phase. Which is what happens when you switch to a more natural deodorant. During this time I suggest doing the following.
When transitioning to natural healthy deodorant it is beneficial to get your body active. Sweating will help speed up the detox process. Think about it, we've been clogging up our pits with chemicals every single day since adolescence. Get your daily dose of exercise even if it's 30 minutes of yoga.
2. Avoid certain foods.
I highly suggest from experience eating loads of wholesome homemade smoothies and salads and soups. Do your body a favor and cut down on fast food, curry/cumin, garlic and red meat during this time. Fun fact- In 2006, researchers from the Czech Republic collected perspiration samples from meat-eating and vegetarian men. They then asked a group of women to identify the foulest odor, based on numerous factors. Overwhelmingly, the vegetarians’ body odor was found to be much more appealing than the meat-eaters’. A simple way to remove potential stench is to cut out red meat all together. If a vegetarian's life is not for you, try cutting out some meat and replace it with seafood or veggie dinners. As the saying goes you are what you eat.. but in reality you smell what you eat.
3. Reapply a natural deodorant as often as necessary.
I've gone through a lot of different deodorant products trying to find the perfect one. I finally found and fell in love with the vegan company Primal Pit Paste. They actually have a Pit detox kit. My favorite 2 deodorants from them are Orange Creamsicle and Lavender. I did however find that using this deodorant gave me a baking soda rash- They since then have made formulas for people like me that are baking soda free and for sensitive skin.
Another company's deodorant I swear by is Lavanila. This one has been my tried and true and it's great if you are transitioning to natural deodorants. The Healthy Deodorant Sport Luxe is cruelty free, vegan and doesn't contain parabens or aluminum. I also enjoy their Natural Formula.
4. Cleanse underarms as often as necessary.
During this detoxing stage, you will release foul odors. It is the inevitable. I recommend using Pacifica's Underarm Deodorant Wipes. They have a variety of different ones to choose from. These will help keep you smelling fresh all day. After I cleanse I just reapply my deodorant.
5. Dry Brush
If you haven't invested in a dry brush, you should. Dry brush or massage the underarms for increased circulation. I like to do this step after I shower. It also helps decrease cellulite. I like this dry brush here or here.
6. Drink lots of water.
Drinking plenty of water helps with the detoxification process. This is a no brainer. We all need more water in our bodies anyways.
7. Underarm Sugar Scrub
You can DIY your own underarm sugar scrub by mixing coconut oil, sugar and baking soda and the optional use of your favorite essential oil such as lavender, wild orange or lemon and place in an 8 oz mason jar. You can substitute coconut oil with apple cider vinegar, lemon juice or honey. This sugar scrub will help to get rid of the residue that built up over time, as well as help lighten up your underarms because your getting rid of the dirt that has been accumulating in your pores and sweat ducts. You may also find a lovely drugstore detoxifying charcoal sugar scrub by Tree Hut here.
8. Underarm Deodorant Spray
I typically use this post wipes to refresh my pits and then I'll apply one of my favorite deodorants above. I love Pacifica's Rose Flower Underarm Deodorant Water.
9. Underarm Detox Mask
A detox mask for your underarm- now you may think I'm crazy but I promise it will help you transition to natural so much more smoothly and efficiently. I love using Lavanila's Underarm Detox Mask for it's revolutionary treatment specially formulated to detoxify and beautify the underarm area while making it easier to transition. It helps draw out aluminum and impurities, lightens, nourishes, and smooths skin and shortens the transition to natural deodorant.
10. Indian Healing Clay
This step should only be done once a month to help deep clean your pores, I use this for a deep cleansing facial and also for my underarms. I mix equal parts of Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay and Apple Cider Vinegar and mix in a bowl. You should use glass, plastic or wooden bowls and spoons - no metal! Apply to body and allow to dry up and crack. If you have sensitive skin only let it sit there for about 5-10 minutes. You'll feel a pulling and tightening sensation. Then remove the clay by washing with warm water. You may find this dream combination here.