Thursday, August 14, 2008

A more natural deodorant that WORKS

For years I've been concerned about using commercial antiperspirant. The aluminum compound that is the active ingredient in making you not sweat is, well....aluminum. And aluminum has been indicated to be a cause of Alzheimer's Disease. Maybe it is and maybe it isn't, but since I have a hard enough time remembering all that I need to remember, I've tried to find a replacement for said antiperspirant.

That should be easy, right? I mean, what did people used to do - besides stink?

Well, the first thing I tried was buying commercial deodorant. It doesn't have the aluminum in it that the antiperspirant does. Didn't work, I smelled like a guy, because "guy" deodorant is all that I could find. After sweating though it....ewwww, I tried something else.

Then I tried some of a name-brand "natural" deodorant. Now I used to like the company, but hey, something has happened. I don't know if they were bought out by someone else or what, but the last tube of toothpaste I bought from them was NOT "natural! I didn't find that out until I'd brought it home and used it. But I sweat through their deodorant and stunk, so back to the drawing board .

I then tried just using antiperspirant every three days and using the "natural" stuff the other two. Nope, didn't work. Anytime I'd go outside into the heat, ewwww. Plus, after going OFF of the antiperspirant, when I'd go back ON it, my lymph glands under my arm would swell and hurt - a LOT.

Ok, things were getting serious here. Time to troll the 'net for solutions. And the advice of most of the posts: baking soda - either plain or mixed with cornstarch.

I bought a large box of baking soda, emptied out a small container of bath powder, recycled said container and it's powder puff and wahlah. It did work ok, for about 3 weeks. At the end of 3 weeks I had the worst "burn" under both arms. Seems it's too alkaline for my body. 5 months later, I still have scars under both arms - well deeply browned skin where it was once only lightly brown, in the exact same area/shape as the cracked, red, painful skin was.

Things went from serious to critical. I HAD to find an alternative. So I asked a couple of local homeopathic types what they used. One said to get some ointment from the store, Lanocaine, I believe he said and mix it with essencial oil - either rosemary or lavender, just a few drops.

Well, I looked at the ingredients in the ointment he suggested (and it was ointment, not a lotion) and it was FULL of petroleum products that I didn't want to use. The closest "natural" cream I could find was some "Udderly Smooth Udder Cream". Sort of like "Bag Balm". Yep, it's used on cows and goats. But it had the least amount of objectionable contents that I could find, in a price range I could afford. (I didn't have the $$$ to buy cream or lotion at the health food store). So I bought the cream, and brought it home. I found a small container and using a clean cotton swab, put some into the clean container - about 1/8th cup worth of the cream. Then I added about 10 drops of some lavendar essential oil I had. I mixed it up and dipped my finger tips into it. I rubbed it under my arms after my shower and hoped for the best.

Out into the GA heat I went. And it worked very well. It was early spring and the temps were only going up to the 80's. The week we hit the low 100's I did notice that I was sweating through it just a tad. I could smell me, but the kids say they couldn't.

My second person told me they just mixed up alcohol and their favorite aftershave lotion. And the next week he brought me some of his "potion". Ummmm. That was really sweet of him, but I don't wanna smell like a guy. Yeah, even though I'll be 55 tomorrow (15th of Aug) and am still a bit of a tomboy, I do NOT want to smell like a guy. (They just get to play better sports than we girls get to play! Not that I play anything any more.)

Anyway, I decided I don't want ANY body odor, so when the temps got to 100 + degrees, I tried just putting plain alcohol on a cotton ball and swiping it under both arms. Then in the am, when I'd get dressed I'd use the cream I had made. It WORKED!!!! And after a couple of days of forgetting to put on the cream, just the plain old, $.79 a bottle, generic rubbing alcohol, I found out that it works the best!

I've used this all summer. I've gone outside after 2 days of not showering (I was sick, ok?), worked in the garden, got good and sweaty and didn't sweat through this. There was only ONE time, all summer long, where I could smell me, but again, the kids said they couldn't that I had any odor at all. And all I did (since I was out and about in the car - with no a/c), was take a $.50 bottle that I had of alcohol and sprayed it under my arms. Odor gone completely and no, I don't smell like I've just been to the hospital!

Who'd have known something so cheap would work so well. I do sometimes put on the cream - it smells nice, but still lets me sweat. Which is what your body NEEDS to do to keep itself healthy.

In my life there is a corrolation between when I started becoming less active and finally got to the point of hating any exercise (from a girl "jock" back when being one was "unladylike" and got me into a LOT of trouble!) It's when the deodorant I used to use became an "antiperspirant".

When I was a kid, all that was on the market was "deodorant". It was meant to help mask the smell of human sweat. Then, our good friends the chemical companies, gave us antiperspirant which was meant to STOP us from sweating. That why the directions tell you it takes three DAYS for it to get into your system and "work".

I wonder how many of us "fat" (and I AM a BIG girl) people are people that used to be active, but "all of a sudden" found ourselves not liking exercising? I mean, I used to run laps for FUN. Yes, everyday, I would go out to the track field, before the rest of gym class (all SIX years of it that I CHOSE to take) and run laps. What happened? You don't need a gym class to run. I went into the Air Force and HATED when we had to run. What happened in 2 years time to go from loving to hating running? That was the time period when all the deodorants, to keep up with the "new, improved" model, went to antiperspirants. And guess what, if you don't sweat, you get TOO HOT. And that makes you feel sick.

I'm finding that I am just now liking to sweat again. I'm still overheating because I'm overweight. But since I can now sweat (sorry, when I get into extreme heat, I do go around with wet armpits on my clothing, but it only matches the wet streaks that were already down my back and around my waist.) anyway, now that I'm sweating, I'm finding that I don't mind exercise. I don't mind the heat and don't mind being outside - because the heat isn't affecting me the way it was.

So, for 79 cents for the alcohol and 50 cents for a "finger tip sprayer" or $1 for a bag of cotton balls, I have solved my need to be social acceptable and still not gunk up my body with a mineral known to be associated with at least one dibilitating disease.

First an aluminum-free baking powder (alum is actually short for hydrated aluminum potassium sulfate) and now no more Aluminium chloride, aluminium chlorohydrate, and aluminium-zirconium compounds, most notably Aluminium zirconium tetrachlorohydrex gly and Aluminium zirconium trichlorohydrex gly in my "deodorant". Woohooo! And it's a LOT cheaper too!

If you want to read an interesting article try this one on Deodorants. About half way down the page, is a health effect section.


Anonymous said...

Wow!! I am having this very same problem at the moment, no commercial deodorant is working for me for about a month! No matter what I do, even when I wash with antibacterial soap it only lasts about 1/2 the day and I have to apply and wash again!! I'm going to try the alcohol! I knew there had to be something natural that would work!! Thank you sooo much for sharing!!

JennVan said...

Great post about deodorant. I had the same concerns about commercial deodorants and antiperspirants a few years ago. I learned that what makes us "stink" when we sweat is actually the microbes that feed on the sweat, not the sweat itself. So if you can kill off the microbes, your sweat/you won't stink. It was recommended to me to use a mineral/crystal deodorant and I tried a few but they didn't work very well for me. My doctor then suggested Crystalux brand crystal deodorant in a spray and its been great. I use 4 sprays in the morning every day and it works like a charm no matter how much I sweat. And I sweat a lot less because I don't get as hot. Like was mentioned, our bodies are designed to sweat, we to sweat to release the heat. Sure when its super hot I get sweat marks on my clothes but it washes out with baking soda and vinegar in the wash. Its the deodorants and antiperspirants that don't wash out well.

Jamie said...

I was just searching for info on using alcohol as deodorant and found this. I SO appreciate that you took the time to detail your journey to figure this out. I'm on day 4 of using just alcohol in the morning and I do notice that i get a little smelly (although my husband can't smell it). I need to fill a small bottle to bring along with me at least on hot summer days. Why I tried this in PA summer heat, I'll never know!

My quest for this began because I found that not only would the antiperspirant/deodorant sometimes fail (often in the office, of all places), but it was leaving a film on my clothing that was impossible to remove, and sometimes even a film on my body. That just can't be good for me. I have shirts that have smelly pits from the deodorant buildup right out of the wash.

Thank you so much.