Just the Pits: Why you smell and what to do about it.
The most common question I get is about deodorant. People tell me they can’t live without their antiperspirant because they sweat so much or they work out a lot and they smell. Their biggest complaint is that natural deodorants just don't work for them. Well guess what, there is hope!
Up to 100% of the products that you put on under your arms (as well as your scalp and private areas) absorb into your bloodstream within 26 seconds! So it is vital that we use the safest products under our arms.
There are different types of sweat. Most sweat is clear and not very stinky-its purpose is to cool down the body. But stress, sex, hormones, and anger can cause body odor to smell. However, there is a bigger issue: pit bacteria.
Arm Pit Bacteria:
Just like your gut bacteria can change when taking antibiotics, your under arm bacteria micro biome can change from using toxic chemicals (antiperspirant and deodorant, soap, body wash).
*This can cause your sweat to stink even more.
*Switching back and forth between your antiperspirant and a new natural deodorant could make the problem worse.
The Truth about Sweating:
Sweating is natural and we need to be able to sweat!
*Your body sweats to detoxify and cool down. When you try and stop your self from sweating you could be creating more long-term health problems.
*Natural deodorant doesn't stop you from sweating because sweating is a good thing! But it can help you stink less and changing your pit bacteria may actually lessen the amount of sweat and odor!
Toxic Chemicals in most Antiperspirants and Deodorants:
What to avoid in conventional products and why: (See my blog post on toxic chemicals for more information).
*Aluminum– may be linked to breast cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
-Crystal/natural deodorants may still contain aluminum. Look for Mineral salts or potassium alum. Make sure if a product contains baking soda that it is also aluminum free.
*Parabens – are endocrine disruptors; traces have been found in breast cancer tissue.
*Formaldehyde releasers –known carcinogen, usually not listed on ingredients but found in other ingredients because of how they are made .
*Fragrance (Parfum)-legally hides hundreds of chemicals under this term.
-Phthalates are in 75% of fragrance – are endocrine disruptors; linked to birth defects, infertility, breast cancer, diabetes, obesity, autism and ADHD.
*Triclosan-(antibacterial substances) –a registered pesticide, is also an endocrine disruptor, interferes with the bodies thyroid hormone metabolism. It has been shown to weaken muscles, including the heart.
*Propylene glycol – an antifreeze agent. Linked to cancer, developmental/reproductive issues, neurotoxicity, endocrine disruption and liver and kidney damage.
Arm Pit Detox Prep and tips:
Why do an arm pit detox?:
*Just simply switching to a non-toxic deodorant can cause problems for many people. These issues can include:
- Excessive sweating
-Strong body odor
*Detoxing will help alleviate and shorten these symptoms.
*Detoxing will help eliminate some of the build up and chemicals in the body.
Helpful hints to help you detox:
*Drink lots of water to help flush toxins and avoid dehydration.
*Dry brush prior to showering to help detoxify and help lymph circulation. (http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-12675/a-step-by-step-guide-to-dry-skin- brushing.html)
*Try shaving at night and doing the detox or applying deodorant in the morning to reduce irritation.
*The chlorophyll in leafy vegetables (spinach, chard and kale) is what makes them a good defense against body odor. Taking a daily chlorophyll supplement is a easy way to help your body detox properly.
*Eating parsley can also help as it has natural odor fighting properties.
*Probiotics and probiotic-rich foods (fermented foods) are another way to ensure your microbiome is balanced and healthy.
*Try wearing loose, natural fibers so your body can breathe.
*Avoid toxic laundry detergents (I recommend Molly Suds or Charlie’s Soaps) and never ever use dryer sheets.
Detox the pits: Edited to add: If you don't want to make your own, one of my favorite companies sells a pre-made pit detox: www.earthley.com)
1 tablespoon bentonite clay
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1-2 teaspoons of water (to get right consistency)
1 drop of organic geranium oil or lavender oil (optional)
*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.
*Spread in an even layer over the armpits and allow the mask to sit for 5-20 minutes. *Starting slowly and working up to a longer period of time once you see how your body adjust should help. If it hurts at all, remove immediately.
Other helpful hints:
*Try using witch hazel or a natural toner with witch hazel under arms prior to applying deodorant. Apple Cider Vinegar also works but has a lasting smell.
*Apply a few drops of organic lavender, geranium, lemon, or tea tree oil (diluted in a carrier oil) to underarms prior to using deodorant.
*If you continue to sweat excessively or have very strong odor, seek medical advice.
Some diseases cause the body to produce particular odors, as do some drugs such as Effexor and Wellbutrin.