A couple of years ago I made the switch from a popular deodorant commonly seen in commercials and readily available in every grocery store and pharmacy across the US to a natural, plant-based deodorant. You have to understand, this was a brand I had been loyal to since I was a teenager, yet I didn't think twice about kicking to the curb when I learned the adverse effects of what was in its ingredients and the damage they could potential cause.
With up to 95% of cancer being environmental, it makes sense that we should consider what's in our environment that could be contributing to this statistic. While we can't control everything, we can control what's in our homes and what goes on our bodies.
Detoxing our homes isn't hard... detoxing your armpits though...
Expect some uncomfortable adjustments!
I wasn't aware of this "detox period" when I made the switch and it wasn't until I was leaving a friend's house that I realized what was happening and all I could do was pray she didn't notice! Eww!
There's tons of information out there on the science, so I won't bore you. Here's the gist of it:
Bacteria resides in your armpits (as does the rest of your body and you need a lot of it, so don't go washing yourself with antibacterial soap, that's just not necessary) and it's perfectly normal and natural for it to be there. When using conventional deodorant, this bacteria doesn't work like it was designed to. When you make the switch to natural deodorant, this bacteria goes through an adjustment period as it's turned loose to go back to it's normal function.
Here's how I view it... you ever have a dog or pet that has to be kenneled or put in a room for a little while? If your pets are like my dogs, they pretty much stay quiet. Then they're released and it's like FREEDOM!!! And they go crazy all over the house! Sometime later, they get it out of their system and they're back to their mellow selves.
This is how this bacteria acts... it goes crazy and comes with a certain scent that's pretty unpleasant. This can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. Mine lasted about two weeks.
So how do we shorten this "detox period"? Let's face it... no one wants to stink!
Easy, bentonite clay and apple cider vinegar with the mother.
1 tbsp of benonite clay
1 tsp of apple cider vinegar
1-3 tsp water
Mix in a glass bowl until its a smooth paste and then apply to armpits (do not mix with a metal spoon or metal bowl). Let it dry for about 5-10 minutes (your skin may feel tight) and then rinse off. Repeat once or twice a week as needed.
So here's the next question I hear that people also hesitate to ask... "I've made the switch and I don't really want to go back, but I still have some stink from time to time that I don't like. What do I do?"
That's a great question! Your body is exposed to toxins every day so you may be detoxing through your armpits (which is kind of what they were designed to do along with sweating). Here's some tips:
- Drink lots of water (half your weight in ounces)
- Avoid stimulant drinks like coffee (haha)
- Take detox baths (epsom salt, baking soda and essential oils, click here for my time and time again tested favorites!)
- Let your pits breath some air!
- Make a 1:1 apple cider vinegar and water spray (I added lavender, tea tree and peppermint essential oils, check out why they're my fave here) to help calm the scent in there... bonus: it's great for breastfeeding moms who might be experiencing some scent issues due to breastfeeding
- Avoid putting on deodorant immediately after shaving
Here are some other tips to limit the toxins you're exposed to:
- Ditch and switch the toxic cleaning products in your home (need help, click here to grab my all-in-one home cleaning kit)
- Use clean personal care products (like my favorites here)
There's lots of natural deodorants on the market these days, which is exciting because I see it as people are starting to get the picture. They're demanding better ingredients! Unfortunately, many products marketed as green or plant-based still have a lot of not so nice ingredients... this is called greenwashing and it is deceptive marketing practices to make you think you're getting a safer version than you really are. In many cases, they're actually worse! This is why I stick to one brand for all of my household and personal care products and that's why I only use this deodorant or (gasp) even this toothpaste as my deodorant! I know I can trust their products to have the highest quality ingredients, which means I don't have to spend hours researching all the different ingredients out there! I mean, really, who has time for that?!?
So how about you? Are you in to clean up those pits and maybe even more?!
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