Let's face it - our armpits can really stink sometimes. While underarm odor annoying, it isn't necessarily unhealthy. It's typically caused by the bacteria that live in our armpits, and while these colonies of bacteria are quite harmless, the smell that they create can be off-putting for the people around us. However, turning to harsh chemicals to cover up the smell or kill the bacteria can end up doing more harm than good, and can even end up making you smell worse in the long run. Read on to learn more about what causes underarm smell, why over-the-counter products can be harmful, and what you can do to safely and naturally treat armpit odor.
Head into any drugstore and you'll see a whole aisle of products meant to be used to cover up or eliminate your natural armpit smells and reduce excessive underarm sweating. Products labeled as deodorants are used for the smell, while those labeled as antiperspirants will actually reduce sweating. While they may sound beneficial for those of us who want to improve our body odor, these products are actually harming the natural balance of your underarm skin. Antiperspirants use antimicrobial ingredients to kill bacteria, along with other substances such as aluminum that will actually block up your sweat glands. Because they disrupt the bacterial balance, though, using them could result in an even worse smelling sweat problem.
According to one study, those who used antiperspirants saw an increase in Actinobacteria, which are typically responsible for unpleasant armpit odor. There are other types of bacteria living in your armpits as well, like Firmicutes and Staphylococcus. These bacteria tend to produce milder odors, and they don't produce them quite as much. It turned out that these milder bacteria are more often killed off by the aluminum compounds (which are the active ingredient in most antiperspirants). This means that the worse-smelling bacteria is given more room to thrive, which is definitely not what you want! In some participants of the study, not using antiperspirant at all caused the population of super-smelly Actinobacteria to start to disappear until there were nearly none left. It's clear that using an antiperspirant may make your pits smell worse, while eliminating antiperspirants may help with the smell.
Keep in mind that using antiperspirant blocks your sweat glands. Sweating is important for your body, as it helps to keep us cool and rids us of certain toxins. In addition, there have been certain studies that say that aluminum and other ingredients in antiperspirants and deodorants are really harmful and can end up damaging our bodies and causing disease.
Eliminate Toxins Safely
Quitting the antiperspirants can be extremely beneficial to your body and can even improve your natural body odor in the long run, but it may take a while for your body to adjust to the new regimen. While it's important to stay away from the chemicals in over the counter products, it doesn't mean you have to live with your own strong body odor. There are plenty of safer deodorants that use natural substances to keep you smelling fresh. However, switching over to a natural deodorant suddenly can cause some people to break out in a rash. Your body needs a detox to unclog the sweat glands and allow your lymph nodes to drain out toxins.
Doing an armpit detox isn't too complicated, and the benefits are enormous. You can expect to see results within just a few days after you start.
Option 1: Apple Cider Vinegar Paste
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tbsp bentonite clay
- Water (as needed)
Mix these ingredients together until they form a thin paste, add a little water if it needs to be diluted. Spread it on your armpits and let it sit for a few minutes, then remove it with a warm and wet washcloth. Do this daily, and increase the time you leave it on, until your underarm odor has improved, or until you can use a natural deodorant without irritation. If using this mixture causes any pain, rinse it off right away.
Option 2: Sauna
You could also try sweating in a sauna every day for a few days. Saunas make you sweat more than usual, and sweating will help remove any built-up toxins in your body, so after a few days you can expect to see improvement.
Option 3: Bath
In addition, you could also add apple cider vinegar to your bath water (a cup or two), or try an epsom salt bath. These options will help draw out toxins and re-balance your body's natural bacteria within a few days.
Natural Deodorant Options
Once your body is detoxed, you can start wearing a natural deodorant to cover up any remaining body odor (or just because it smells great). Make sure you choose an option with no synthetic ingredients, so you know that what you're putting on your underarms will be safe for your health, and won't disrupt your body's natural balance. Ingredients like patchouli and tea tree are great ones to look for. Patchouli has actually been used as a deodorizer in ayurvedic medicine for hundreds of years, while tea tree is gentle on the skin and has antimicrobial properties.
Check out these natural and organic deodorant options, patchouli and tea tree. These deodorants are made with healthful ingredients that smell wonderful and are added to a base of grass-fed tallow. Tallow is great for your skin because it's a bio-identical oil (which means it's highly compatible with our own skin), and will nourish, repair and moisturize your skin.
No one likes to smell bad, but sometimes it can be inevitable, especially on hot summer days or after an intense workout. If you're looking to switch from an antiperspirant to an all natural deodorant, try an armpit detox first to eliminate harmful chemicals and restore the natural balance of your body's bacteria. Then you can safely use a natural deodorant without worrying about it causing a rash or irritation.