The summer heat is on and so is the summer sweat.  With temperatures at 90 and above, who isn’t dewy after fifteen minutes of being outside?  Not to mention the humidity in the south that just adds to the glistening glow.  Some of us are just naturally sweatier than others and I like to think that means our bodies are highly functional at providing our own natural air conditioning.  After all, the body produces sweat to try to reduce the body’s temperature when it rises to a certain point.  During your workout indoors, you are going to sweat once your body temperature rises – it’s our bodies’ way of thwarting the heat, no matter what source is bringing it on (nervous sweat, workout sweat, mother nature sweat).

While our foreheads sweat, they don’t quite bring on the aroma that your underarms might when you have been sweating for a long period of time.  So, what do we do to prevent any odor that might offend our neighboring fellows? Well, throw on some deodorant or perhaps an antiperspirant to keep ourselves from even producing sweat.

Walk the aisle of the pharmacy and you will find a plethora of choices of deodorant and antiperspirants in all sorts of fragrances.  You will also have some options on more natural choices, thank goodness, that don’t cost three times the price of the big-name brands.

A key ingredient in our traditional antiperspirants that keep our cooling system in check is aluminum.  It seems odd that a metal substance would be put into a product that is supposed to make you feel and smell cleaner. It’s actually salts of aluminum that you will see on the labels with very long names like aluminum chloride, aluminum chlorohydrate or aluminum zirconium. It works by penetrating the skin and blocking your sweat glands, thus keeping you from producing any sweat.  Top off the aluminum with that ambiguous ingredient “fragrance” and that is likely to be a cocktail of toxic chemicals.

You may have heard that the aluminum in deodorant has been linked to breast cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.  There’s conflicting evidence online, and to be honest, it’s hard to say if those rumblings are fact or fiction.  Aluminum is, however, an ingredient that is well known for staining your clothes and it can even make you hotter when it intentionally clogs the pores to prevent nature’s cooling system in your body.

So, let’s look at some alternatives that could be safer for you in the long run, won’t interfere with your skin’s natural good bacteria biome and won’t leave you with those awful half moon stains on your shirts!

Baking soda: this is great for wicking away moisture without penetrating the skin and blocking your pores or your sweat glands.  It will also help thwart any offensive odor.  However, it does have a texture and if you have sensitive skin, it might be too harsh, especially if you have freshly shaved skin.  A good practice with deodorants containing baking soda is to shave at night and apply your deodorant in the morning.  If that’s still too harsh for you, there are other options.

Arrowroot powder and tapioca starch are some other great choices that have less texture than baking soda but still have moisture wicking power, odor absorbing properties and are not going to block your pores (and are certainly not a metallic ingredient).

If you are going to be using a more natural deodorant as part of your daily routine, you will want to find a scent that is pleasing to you.  After all, your nose is closest to it all day!  There are plenty of unscented options if that’s your preference but if you prefer a scent, many of the more natural deodorants are opting for fragrance from essential oils and ingredients like coconut oil and mango butter.

Some great brands to try with many options on ingredients and style (container or traditional stick) are Primally Pure, Native, Kompari, and Own Beauty.

If you want to make your own simple and natural pampering pit concoction:

  • ¼ cup organic coconut oil
  • 1/8 cup baking soda or arrowroot powder
  • 30 drops of your favorite essential oils

Warm the coconut oil in a double boiler; when liquified, add baking soda or arrowroot powder and stir until blended. Remove from heat, add in your oils, stir and pour into a lidded container.  Let cool slightly and stir again.

For a fresh summer scent try oils of blue tansy, lemongrass, or sweet thyme!


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