Three years ago I was living in Cuba and spent much of my time in the water swimming and scuba diving.
Life was great until I began breaking out in rashes under my arms. Initially I assumed it was from my BCD which I wore while diving. I cleaned it, took a break from diving, and yet the breakouts were getting worse.
Since childhood I’d been addicted to applying and reapplying deodorant due to my body odor. I can even recall my mother telling me on several occasions how badly I stunk. Since high school, I made a point to try every deodorant available to help minimize my odor. While in Cuba, I was in possession of about 17 different deodorants, from men’s deodorant, women’s, teen deodorant and even clinical strength. Nothing seemed to be good enough to mask my smell completely. As my arm pits broke out even more, I began trying new deodorants—even buying them online. Nothing seemed to help.
Eventually the rashes in my arm pits turned into the staphylococcus infection. It was extremely painful and never completely went away until very recently.
During one of my episodes of having a severe staph infection in my right armpit, I decided to go to a new doctor who informed me that I needed to quit shaving under my arms and also lay off the use of deodorant for several weeks until the infection cleared up. I was appalled! On top of that, she suggested that I no longer use soap to wash my arm pits because she believed I was scrubbing too hard. She recommended that I simply rinse with warm water, pat my armpits dry and refrain from using any type of deodorant. She explained that scrubbing too hard was causing me to disrupt my body’s natural ability to clean itself by scrubbing off both good and bad bacteria which basically created an imbalance. She also said that the deodorant typically on the shelf at any store contained aluminum which clogs pores and causes a negative reaction on the surface of my skin; combine shaving on top of that and it’s a recipe for disaster.
I listened to my doctor, for the most part: I stopped using soap, began shaving with an electric razor and switched from rub on deodorant to the aerosol kind. Weeks went by without a breakout, until one day I started to feel a knot under my skin. I was devastated and I knew I had to stop using deodorant.
The first step I took was to throw away all 20 plus deodorants housed in my top drawer. The second step was to buy a crystal stick, which is basically a roll on stick of salt that’s hard and not sticky. At all. You have to wet your under arms prior to application. I used the crystal stick for several weeks, but I could still smell a terrible odor on myself at all times. Others claimed they didn’t smell me at all, but to be honest I didn’t care about anyone else—I hated my own scent. After using it awhile without a break out, I moved to Japan and met my spiritual guide, Sam. She is full of information about everything so I decided to ask her about different deodorants to see what she suggested I do about my unruly body odor. Sam instantly told me to throw it all away. She explained exactly what my doctor had, but she lead by her own example and wears absolutely no deodorant at all. Ever.
Sam asked me to smell her armpits and I did without hesitation. I expected some terrible smell, but nothing. Nothing? No way! She had to be lying. She told me that after a month or so of no deodorant use at all that the smell would “equalize” itself and I wouldn’t really have an odor unless doing something very physical such as running, sex, beach yoga or other activities in which I would really exert myself.
On May 7, 2015 I used deodorant for the very last time and I couldn’t be happier—or smell more lovely. The whole month of May was horrible though. I would shower and instantly smell body odor. My clothes stunk and I had to shower twice each day. I made my own organic baby wipes to use in between showers just to try to keep the smell from burning my nostrils. This part was the gross part of the transformation. By mid June, I was using baby wipes much more seldom and reduced back down to a shower each day. The smell was still there slightly, but hardly noticeable at all to me and others claimed to not smell me at all.
Today, I can proudly say that I will never use deodorant again. Think of all the hassles: it costs money, it leaves white marks on clothing, it sucks when blow drying your hair and your hair gets stuck in the deodorant, it clogs your pores, it changes your pH levels, it literally gives you an odor and contains many harsh chemicals that can harm your body; it’s an extra step to do each day and, once hooked on deodorant (just like smoking cigarettes), it really really sucks to go a day without it. Now that I’m deodorant free, I can say for the first time in my life I am odor free as well. I feel great, have had zero breakouts, no staph infections, no gross odors, no deodorant marks and still minimal perspiration. It’s been a long journey, but it’s been worth it.
Author: Sara Touchet
Editor: Caroline Beaton