“I’m gonna be honest with you, that smells like pure gasoline.” Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
Today I would like to talk about armpits. Did you know that your armpit can get infected? Neither did I, until mine got infected. OK, that’s a bit of an exaggeration; it was actually my sweat gland in my armpit that got infected, not my whole armpit. Either way though, it hurt and it was really pussy and gross. That’s right, I used the word pussy. I keep it real, people!
Anyways, turns out my personal problem was my antiperspirant. I used to slather on the “clinical strength” stuff with reckless abandon. The thing is, antiperspirants work by blocking the sweat ducts to reduce the amount of sweat that reaches the skin’s surface. So it’s not hard to see how a blocked sweat gland could eventually become so blocked that gunk builds up and it becomes infected.
After that experience, I decided to switch up my armpit game. First, I accepted that I will sweat. Sweat isn’t the enemy, it’s bacteria, so I actually smell better now that I don’t use antiperspirant, presumably because I don’t have any more buildup to cause bacteria. Then, I went on a search for a natural product that would help to deodorize. Here’s a list of things that I have tried. But first, a disclaimer. There are a gazillion posts out there that will give you all the scientific details about why certain things work, but in the interest of not turning this into the length of a master’s thesis, this will not be one of those posts. However, I encourage you to share in the comments why anything I’m recommending may or may not work and what you do for your own personal armpit game.
- Cornstarch – It helped to sop up the sweat, but it did nothing for the stench.
- Coconut Oil – If you believe the internet, coconut oil fixes everything from flat tires to yellow teeth but the internet LIES about it being an effective deodorant.
- Apple Cider Vinegar – Maybe this would have worked but I will never know because the one time I tried it was right after I’d gotten my underarms waxed and I couldn’t stand the stinging so I washed it off.
- Baking Soda – This work phenomenally well, but I am one of the lucky people who develops a rash from the baking soda throwing off my pH balance so I can only use it every other day.
- Magnesium – I’ve tried milk of magnesia, magnesium chloride, and magnesium oxide. Believe it or not, only the milk of magnesia worked for me.
- Zinc Oxide – Also known as diaper rash cream. Works well but turns everything it comes into contact with white and it smells like cod liver oil.
- Tea Tree Oil – This oil is uber antibacterial so it works well to stop the stench but the smell’s not all that pleasant so I always mix it with other oils.
Because of my love of baking soda I alternate between two different deodorants because I don’t develop the baking soda rash if I only use it every other day. So, every second day I dab milk of magnesia on my armpits and sometimes I use zinc oxide because I still have a tube of diaper rash cream to use up. Without further ado, here is my bomb-tastic baking soda deodorant recipe. Also, if you’re feeling cheap, you can skip the recipe and just dab some baking soda right on your clean pits. It works like a charm.
- 2 T coconut oil
- 2 T baking soda
- 1 T shea butter
- 5-10 drops essential oil of your choice (my current oils are lavender and rosemary, but tea tree and wild orange regularly make their rounds)
Melt the shea butter and coconut oil in a double boiler. Take off the heat and mix in the baking soda and essential oil. Let cool and slather on as needed.
I’m not going to lie, this probably isn’t the last you’ll hear about my armpits. I am always testing out new deodorant recipes so if I find another that I love as much as this recipe, I’ll be sure to share. And I have other armpit thoughts that I’ll be sharing one day, like, to shave or not to shave, that is the question.