The sweaty summer months are approaching quickly, so check out these simple tips for improving your body odor so you can ditch harmful deodorants for good!
Sweating is a natural process of cooling and detoxifying your body. And it’s an important feature of the body’s most unique organ: your skin. Non-toxic deodorant is often the “last frontier” of natural products—people are reluctant to ditch their favorite conventional deodorants. We understand the reasons people hang on to conventional deodorants and antiperspirants: we don’t want to look sweaty, smell stinky, or feel uncomfortably damp in our armpits.
Unfortunately, your deodorant, and particularly your antiperspirant, could be interfering with your body’s natural attempts to remove toxins and could potentially be causing long-term health effects like breast cancer or Alzheimer’s disease. Studies show that mothers who have used an antiperspirant containing aluminum salts (a common antiperspirant ingredient) absorb the aluminum transdermally and even pass the aluminum on to their children during pregnancy.
Did you know that using certain deodorants or antiperspirants daily can change the bacterial microbiome in your armpits? Consistent use can actually make your sweat smellier (due to overproduction of a bad bacteria) if you briefly discontinue use. Just because your sweat may smell strong if you forget to put on your antiperspirant for one day does not mean that you shouldn’t try to ditch your antiperspirant. In fact, that’s a good reason to try to detox your armpits and transition to a nontoxic option!
Once you correct the bacterial imbalances in your armpits, your sweat should not actually smell particularly unpleasant. You can try our suggestions below to detox your armpits and rebalance the bacteria. If you’re considering switching to a nontoxic deodorant, we highly recommend you try these suggestions as you switch so that your overall body odor is reduced at the same time. Your new deodorant will be much more effective if it’s not fighting conditions that foster bad body odor.
Have you ever noticed that your sweat smells particularly strong when you wear certain shirts? Wearing natural fibers (versus synthetics) can make a huge difference in the smell of your sweat! Synthetic fibers can contribute to bad bacteria overgrowth and are often heavily treated with chemicals. Look for 100 percent cotton, linen, or bamboo rather than polyester, rayon, or other synthetic blends.
Certain foods will actually change the way your body odor smells. If you want to test the way foods can change your body odor, try removing typical offenders like caffeine, alcohol, pork, and foods fried in unhealthy oils. In general, a clean and balanced vegetarian diet will help you maintain a neutral body odor, though beware of garlic and onions, which may make your sweat smell strong. The best foods for combating body odor are leafy greens.
Bacteria loves moist environments, which is why it can thrive so well in your armpits on a hot day (and produce odors). When you step out of the bath or shower, make sure you dry off well, paying particularly close attention to your armpits. Not only will doing so make an inhospitable environment for bacteria to grow, but it will also allow you to apply a deodorant more effectively. In a pinch, you can wipe off excess sweat with a paper towel if you want to keep your armpits dry and are not able to wash with soap and water (for example, while traveling, after exercising, or at your office).
Staying hydrated helps your body remove everyday toxins in an efficient way and can help prevent body odor. Make sure you’re drinking clean, filtered water for the best benefit.
The chlorophyll in leafy green vegetables is what makes them a good defense against body odor. If you’re looking to add extra support to your diet, taking a daily chlorophyll supplement is a good way to help your body detox properly. Probiotics and probiotic-rich foods are another way to ensure your microbiome is balanced and healthy.
Healthy acids like apple cider vinegar or fresh lemon help neutralize bad bacteria that may be growing in your armpits, causing a foul odor. After you shower, you can use a cotton ball to apply any of these acidic foods to your armpits. Allow to air dry and follow with a deodorant (optional). Witch hazel is another liquid you could apply the same way to get similar results.
If you’re looking to take your armpit detox a step further, you can try a clay mask. Mix one tablespoon bentonite clay, one teaspoon apple cider vinegar, and one to two teaspoons of water. Spread onto your armpits and let sit for five to 20 minutes before washing off with warm water. You can repeat this daily until you notice a decrease in underarm odor.
Once you detox your armpits, it’s time to transition to a natural deodorant. There are some good options you can purchase now, but here’s our DIY homemade deodorant recipe if you’re feeling really inspired!
Note: Bentonite clay has negative ions, which absorb metal. I use a wooden spoon to avoid touching any metal to the clay, though plastic also works well in this case.
I don’t apply the deodorant every day; I find that I don’t need it that often. That’s why I like to keep it in my purse in case I end up in a situation where I need to apply (usually it’s if I’m wearing a shirt or dress made with synthetic material). I love that this recipe works well to neutralize odor.
Detox your armpits as you transition to a nontoxic deodorant (see previous).
if applying a deodorant with your fingers, use a small (pea-sized) amount and warm up with your fingers to soften it so it absorbs well.
Kelly and her best friend Allison spent their college years together at The University of Texas at Austin. After seeing how the changes in diet and environment completely turned Allison’s health around, Kelly became hooked on living a cleaner, less toxic lifestyle herself. Kelly joined Allison and her Aunt Marilee in the Texas Hill Country for a summer detox where she lived in an environment free of harmful chemicals and ate according to the principles Food As Medicine. The results? All of the “normal” problems Kelly had experienced her whole life disappeared, and she is now passionate about helping others avoid unnecessary suffering. Kelly lives in Austin, Texas with her husband, Sam, and baby girl, Reid. Check out branchbasics.com to learn more.