Dirty Little Clean Secret #1 – I don’t wear deodorant

I’m sure some of you were caught off guard and a bit grossed out when I announced I don’t wear deodorant. I mean, I live in the south where it gets hot. And humid. And smelly. But I assure you, there are no malodorous armpits in this household. I may not use deodorant, but I do deodorize.

Let me explain why we decided to trash our stash of Degree and Dove. One of the main active ingredients in antiperspirants is aluminum zirconium which some claim has a link to Alzheimer’s disease and cancer. It works by creating a temporary plug in the sweat glands. The National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) provides an interesting fact sheet that succinctly explains the cause for concern:

“…Some research suggests that aluminum-based compounds, which are applied frequently and left on the skin near the breast, may be absorbed by the skin and cause estrogen-like (hormonal) effects. Because estrogen has the ability to promote the growth of breast cancer cells, some scientists have suggested that the aluminum-based compounds in antiperspirants may contribute to the development of breast cancer.”

To be clear, these claims have been neither soundly proven or disproven but to me, it’s enough to give pause and look at what is going on and in our bodies and decide of the potential risk is worth the benefit. Sweat is good. It’s the body’s way of regulating temperature and when you live where it hits 90 degrees on May 1, any help to cool off is much appreciated. So I’ll keep my sweaty pits, thank-you-very-much.

But sweat can stink. As we go through puberty, we begin excreting hormones through our sweat glands and when paired with all that funky bacteria that lives on our skin, a terrifically odorous aroma occurs. But remove the bacteria from the equation and you kill the stink. Which is why my ‘pits are nice and fresh.

In place of deodorant, the Hubs and I use a travel-sized spray bottle filled with rubbing alcohol and a few drops of tea tree oil.

Our super fancy armpit spray

Rubbing alcohol kills bacteria and tea tree oil has all sorts of antibacterial properties (I’ll dedicate an entire love letter to its awesomeness, soon). With a few sprays of this concoction in place of traditional deodorant/antiperspirants, I am odor-free all day. Hubs used to get wicked yellow, crunchy armpits in his white undershirts (another fantastic side effect of that lovely aluminum zirconium) and since making the switch, his shirts have been saved. And I no longer get deodorant marks on my clothes when I change my clothes for the 32nd time each day while deciding what to wear.

Did I mention how cheap it is? It’s cheap. Tea tree oil runs around $9 and will last you ages and rubbing alcohol is about $2. Should I say it again? It’s cheap. A quick internet search will yield a ton of other homemade recipes for deodorants, some of which are more similar in texture to your Toms of Maine. But this works for us and fits our budget nicely.

I chase toddlers, play at the park, clean the house, work out, run, cook, sleep, etc. etc. etc. and do.not.smell. Seriously, sniff me next time we meet.

So, there you have it. My first Dirty Little Clean Secret.

Would you ever make your own deodorizing spray? Are you cautious about aluminum-based products? 


10 thoughts on “Dirty Little Clean Secret #1 – I don’t wear deodorant

  1. I’ve thought about trying something out for awhile…….the Arm and Hammer stuff I used (sans zinc stuff) I didn’t care for after some use. I just may have some tea tree oil in my stash already. Will try it.

    • I haven’t tried Arm & Hammer but some others I used left me feeling waxy and damp. And they can get pricey, too. Let me know how you like it!

    • The only time I’ve noticed needing to reapply is after running outside at the end of a log, hot outdoorsy day. But at that point, I’m sweaty all over and need to shower, anyway. Josh keeps a bottle at work in case he’s sweating it out in the marshes.

  2. I use a botanical deodorant that is devoid of aluminum zirconium and made with vitamins, tea tree oil, and all natural moisturizers like sweet almond oil in it. I paid about $3.00 for it in January and still have LOTS of it left. LOVE it. And like you, I’ll keep my sweat, thank you very much!

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