Want stench-free armpits? Stop using soap. For rizzles.

Ever since I was a tween I’ve been a sweater. Not the article of clothing, the kind that oozes wetness in large quantities. Arguably this is a good thing, cos getting out nasties and all that. But then there are the wet marks on clothes, and… the smell.

Have you ever noticed how when, say, your knees sweat, it doesn’t get super stinky? Ordinary old sweat isn’t stinky, especially when it can evaporate before the nasty bacteria get to it. I always thought that was why armpits get so smelly – the sweat chills out in your clothes, can’t evaporate cos your arms are holding it in, the bacteria get to it, and it’s all over. Arms tightly wedged against your sides for the rest of the day.

Of course the only way to prevent stinkage in such a case is to stop the sweating, which some aluminium loaded antiperspirants claim to do. I’ve tried them. They don’t. Plus they load you with aluminium, which isn’t good for you on any level. Alternatively, you could try lots of spraying of something that smells more – deodorants, body sprays, whatever. Can be effective, but a) you end up smelling like cheap fragrance, and b) there’s probably heaps of crap in those too.

Three or so years ago I stopped using the normal sorts of deodorants. I tried using natural ones, homemade ones, and just applying neat essential oils to my pits (when you heat up, so do they, and get nicely smelly, but it’s actually not good to apply essential oil to skin neat, and being preggers there are quite a few I can’t use, and also then you start associating that smell with armpits, which makes it much less nice). Sprinkling liberally with cornstarch powder (never talc, cos it’s so small it can get through your skin) can certainly help with moisture absorption but is MESSY and still doesn’t really stop smellage.

Then Amazing Husband casually mentioned that a friend had mentioned to him that soap is bad cos it stops the good bacteria from doing its job. Well, we kinda knew that already and hadn’t been using soap anywhere but feet and pits for a couple of years, but it made me curious – what if using soap on pits actually made them stinky after the initial freshness? Experiment time.

So we both started using just warm water to wash our armpits, then applying coconut oil and baking soda. Amazingly, even after a whole day of sweating (say working in the garden or summing), there was no stinkage. No. Stinkage. Hopefully AH won’t mind me mentioning that he used to have worse stinkage issues than me. I won’t get into details. And both of us would end up with our clothes being stinky as soon as we merely*thought* about wearing them. No longer.

Now, the coconut oil and baking soda step is essential. Perhaps only one of them is, but if so, I’m not sure which. (UPDATE: it caaaan work with just the coconut oil, but the bs makes it much more effective). The coconut oil is a bit antibacterial which I’m guessing helps out with nasty bacteria, but doesn’t seem to affect the nice ones too much. And it helps the bs stick. The bs freshens and exfoliates, though can cause ouchies if you rub in it so be careful. And if you’re tempted to try the no soap without those two, just don’t. AH did and it didn’t end well.

(Now, for the ladies, you might be wondering about shaving. Coconut oil. That’s all you need. I do add soap for my legs cos I found just coconut oil wasn’t slippery enough or made me itch more or something, but for pits, coconut oil is quite adequate.)

UPDATE: I’ve had a few people ask how one applies the coconut oil and baking soda. You rub the co in, then stick flattish fingers into the bs and dab it onto the pits. I usually do two lots of dabbing per side.

I also noticed after a couple of weeks that only using warm water for washing was fine for odour, but not for discolouration, so I started with the oil cleansing method (using coconut oil) with great results. Most attractive armpits I’ve had since I was a child. The basics of oil cleansing: you massage oil into the area to be cleansed, then wipe the oil away with a facecloth soaked in water as hot as you can handle. I do it for my face too, using olive oil; no longer need to moisturise and no longer battle with crappy combination skin đŸ™‚


One Response to “Want stench-free armpits? Stop using soap. For rizzles.”
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  1. […] already written a post about how to get rid of stinky armpits by no longer washing them (see here). You might wonder: if I don’t use soap on my pits, do I use it at all? The answer is yes: […]

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