Blog Update!
For those of you not following me on Facebook, as of the Summer of 2019 I've moved to Central WA, to a tiny mountain town of less than 1,000 people.

I will be covering my exploits here in the Cascades, as I try to further reduce my impact on the environment. With the same attitude, just at a higher altitude!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Using Lemon for Deodorant

Of all the personal care products that I've switched out for organic, all natural or otherwise inert options, antiperspirant/deodorant is the one product that I just can't make the switch.

I've tried countless natural deodorants (they didn't really work or irritated my skin), made my own (definitely irritated my skin) and always ended up back with the nasty aluminum based antiperspirant. It was the only thing that kept the stink at bay. Unfortunately, it also seemed that the more I used it, the more I relied on it to combat the stank.

I've been reading a lot lately about the human skin microbiome and how, with all this washing and scrubbing and antibacterialing, we've completely offset the balance in our skin. The "good" bacteria gets disturbed, allowing the "bad" bacteria to run amok. For the last month, I've only used soap on the more critical areas - pits and bits. Not only does this keep my skin from drying out, but I'm hoping it is also allowing my skin bacteria to return to its preferred external homeostatis. I'll write more about this later (I'm doing another experiment there), but back to the pits.

Anyway, a reader on Facebook (thanks Brenda!) recommended using lemon slices as deodorant and there seem to be many people it's worked well for. It's one of the few things I haven't yet tried. Rubbing alcohol or vodka is the only other one I haven't tried, but I'm afraid they're too drying and it seems like they would really wallop skin bacteria in a bad way. However, maybe that's what's needed. But, I digress.

So, starting today, I'm going to use lemon slices for deodorant for a week and will report back and let you know how it's going. I'm giving it a week mainly because I suspect there will be some residual benefit of the commercial antiperspirant for at least a few days. Hopefully, if it fails, peak stink won't occur until the weekend, when I'm not at work.

What's your favorite non-commercial (non-antiperspirant) method to not repel the rest of humanity?


Anonymous said...

I got a rash from homemade deodorants that had baking soda in them. Once I figured out it was the baking soda that was bothering me I looked for a recipe without that in it. So far the one I'm using is okay but still not as good as the ones you buy in the stores.

Bootzey said...

I too need professional deodorant. I have used lemon and alcohol with relative success. But they only work in the winter. In the summer and when I'm running, I either need something strong or I need to stay away from people.

My man consistently makes his own deodorant, He makes with, among other things, tea tree oil witch I can't use. He just made me a batch with honey instead. Seems to be working. But his turned the hair under his arms red from brown.

Crunchy Chicken said...

I always have a reaction to baking soda - it turns my armpits brown and the skin peels off in large, frightening chunks.

If the lemon doesn't work, I'll keep on hunting for one without the baking soda. Although I suspect it won't be sufficient for these pits.

I have one more experiment up my sleeve (ha!), but I'm on the waiting list for that one. More to come... :)

Adrienne said...

The baking soda/cornstarch/coconut oil stuff works *great* for me. I mean better than commercial stuff as far as smell goes. Unfortunately, I get a rash from the baking soda too. I'm currently trying a recipe with *less* baking soda and working my way up to see how many days a week I can tolerate it before I get itchy pits.

Brad K. said...

I don't know that my "need" for antiperspirant is as strong as for others.

My dad, years ago, claimed his barber told him he could use his shampoo as a body wash -- he didn't need a separate soap. It has worked well for me for years. I work part time at Walmart, and haven't run into any personal hygiene issues, even when I worked in the garden center, or as the pictures-Santa.

I do use cornstarch baby powder for the pits and bits, mostly just to reduce chafing. As I say, after a month or so I of the shampoo/cornstarch baby powder change, I haven't noticed an odor issue.

If I am working hard and sweating up a storm -- well, if the boss wants me working hard, she better figure I will look a bit less pristine, and the odor will be reasonable if no longer baby-fresh.

In the winter if the water heater isn't on, a sponge bath with clear water and a clean wash cloth is sufficient, with the baby powder, to maintain for weeks, no soap needed.

And I think I recall something about giving it a month to let the body readjust to withdrawing from the chemical brew we call commercial antiperspirants.

Your mileage may vary!
(I am 62, male, 280 lbs, and fairly sensitive about odors - mine, others, household, etc.)

Anonymous said...

For the last four months, I've used LaVanila natural deodorant. (I bought two that I like - the grapefruit and the lavender scent.) Like a lot of natural products, it's expensive and unfortunately only available at Sephora, but I swear by it. Like you, I've tried a lot of the others and thought they were all the same. Of course, you still sweat, it's not an antiperspirant, but it is a great deodorant. I used it while sweating heavily in Istanbul and on the hottest days here in the midwest. On the worst days, I might need to rinse my pits at the end of the day, dry and reapply, but it does keep the odor down. Less bad days, I reapply at night, no need to rinse even. I've heard that Soapwalla Kitchen also makes a great deodorant cream and I figure if I ever become dissatisfied (or bored) with LaVanilla I will give that one a try.

Another thing to try are supplements. (Disclaimer, I work for a natural health clinic that does IV vitamin supplements and has a store onsite...) B vitamins and zinc will also help with body odors. I take a B complex and I squirt zinc drops into the water I drink. I like to help this prevents some odor too.

Crunchy Chicken said...

Brad K. - Yeah, I'm figuring it might take a while for things to adjust.

I think the big problem will be that a lot of my shirts are stained from using antiperspirants and the gunk holds in the stink from previous wearings. So, I honestly can't tell if it's me or my pre-stinking shirts.

Crunchy Chicken said...

Anonymous - I've been looking into some backup alternatives. I'm sure I'll still need/want to use antiperspirants on occasion, but if the lemon doesn't work, I'd really like to have an alternative that does. It's really a matter of finding something that doesn't have baking soda in it.

I might try the zinc since that's in a popular product Lavilin (which is different than what you're using, I think).

Beth said...

I have tried several different brands of natural deodorant. The one that I found the most effective always gave me a rash after a few days due to the baking soda. So I used some other brands that didn't give me a rash but sometimes left me a little smelly at the end of the day. Then I started using Primal Pit Paste (the stick version). I have found it to work great all day and it doesn't give me a rash (though it does have some baking soda). This post reminded me that I needed to order some more and so I just clicked over to their website and they're having a big sale right now if you're interested in trying some. 25% off with the code BIGBLOWOUT. Ive been using the Orange Creamsicle scent but I just ordered some of the others hoping that they'll be just as good.

Crunchy Chicken said...

Beth - Thanks for the heads up. But I'm still scared to try anything with baking soda since I always have such a severe reaction. I really don't want to go through that again :)

Delora said...

I use deodorant from Kiss My Face, which is the only commercial non-aluminum formula I've found that works for me. I'm a fan of the Sport scent:

A friend of mine raves about this natural deodorant that uses embedded Ozone to kill the anaerobic bacteria. It might be worth a try:

Anonymous said...

My husband thinks I'm so weird because I only ctually wash my pits and bits and face...glad I'm not the only one!