Unless you’ve lived a seriously sheltered life (and boy are you lucky if you have, well in this circumstance anyway!), you’ve likely encountered a serious case of B.O. at some point in your life. We’re not talking about the mildly sweaty scent of a properly protected and perfumed person who just happens to be perspiring. No, we’re talking about a serious case of the smellies. And, if you’re anything like us, you were permanently scarred by the aforementioned B.O. and have subsequently swiped (obsessively, perhaps) every kind of anti-perspirant known to man (and woman) with the hope of preventing any sort of pungent perspiration (and sweat stains!).
With the controversy surrounding anti-perspirants, though, (their aluminum content has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological problems as well as cancer,) many women are steering clear of the aluminum-based anti-perspirants. But even conventional (non-anti-perspirant) deodorants are not without flaws. According to Dr. Brooke Kalanick, a licensed Naturopathic Doctor with her Masters in Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine and the co-author of Ultimate You: A 4-Phase Total Body Makeover, “most breast cancers occur in the upper outer quadrant of the breast (area next to the armpit) and most deodorants contain estrogenic preservatives called parabens. So, rubbing exogenous estrogens into this area near the breast is a terrible idea…[especially since] the underarm is rich in lymph nodes which will carry these absorbed chemicals all throughout the body.”
Fret not, though, odor avoiders: skimping out on traditional deodorants and anti-perspirants will not ensure a lifetime of loneliness due to your offensive odor. Rather, there are quite a few natural deodorants on the market. (Dr. Brooke Kalanick prefers Weleda Spray Deodorant, available in Wild Rose, Sage or Citrus, and Lavanila The Healthy Deodorant.) Or, you can make your own! Here is Dr. Brooke Kalanick’s recipe (and a few important tips) from Ultimate You: A 4-Phase Total Body Makeover:
To make your own all-natural, homemade deodorant: Place ½ -1 teaspoon baking soda in your palm. Add a small amount of water and mix into a paste. Apply to your underarms and let dry.
To scent the baking soda for a pretty smelling deodorant, add a few drops of your favorite essential oils to your palm when you add the water.
If you still notice body odor, swab your underarms with rubbing alcohol two to three times per week. The alcohol will kill the bacteria that cause odor.
Note that baking soda will clump up in humid weather and although it works great for this purpose, the box is poorly designed to sit around in your bathroom and not soak up water from the air. Get a small glass jar to keep it in for ease and tape the baking soda box shut until you need to refill the jar.
Remember, this is not an anti-perspirant, so you will continue to sweat. But your body expels toxins and other gunk through sweat, so this isn’t necessarily a bad thing (so long as you control the smell!). If a special occasion or a high-stress situation, though, demands dry underarms, use a conventional deodorant/antiperspirant. But, when the heat is off, so to speak, go back to more natural options that reduce your exposure to estrogenic preservatives or toxic aluminum.