By Kate Downes, Licensed Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner
You’ve got cleansers and creams designed for your skin type. You exfoliate, mask, and gua sha. You even have a standing appointment with your manicurist. But how often do your underarms get any TLC?
Aside from a quick swipe of deodorant, our underarms often go forgotten in our self-care rituals. If you’re new to underarm self-care, this one’s for you. Let’s learn the ins and outs of pampering your pits!
Self-Care for Under There
If you’re like most people, your underarms are probably last on your self-care to-do list (if they even make the cut at all). Underarms are skin, too, and they have their own set of self-care needs to stay healthy. Here’s a simple routine and our favorite picks for healthier, softer underarms:
Cleanse: Unearth Malee Black Pepper Charcoal Detox Soap
Bacteria and grime easily collect under your arms. Give them a good scrub in the shower each day with an anti-bacterial, detoxifying soap like Unearth Malee’s Black Pepper Charcoal Soap. This natural soap quickly washes away grime and removes impurities from your pores. If you tend to get irritated armpits, try their Organic Olive Oil Soap instead.
Detox: YINA Anti-Pollution Mask
Use about once per week, after cleansing. Use 2-3 times per week if transitioning from an antiperspirant to natural deodorant.
YINA’s Anti-pollution Mask is great for detoxing both your facial and underarm skin. Swipe a generous layer of the mask onto your entire underarm area. The antioxidant botanicals in this mask will purify, brighten, and soothe the skin while eliminating any lingering toxins. Leave on for 10-20 minutes.
Nourish: Lhamour Rose Hip Facial Oil
If your underarms are dry and irritated, or if you’ve just shaved, consider adding in a gentle moisturizer before applying deodorant. This lightweight rosehip oil absorbs super-fast, so you’ll be able to apply your deodorant soon after. Because it includes sea buckthorn extract, it also helps even out skin tone and dark spots.
Protect: AKT Therapy Elemental Sun Balm SPF 30
Use before going outside sleeveless or on trips to the beach.
Sunscreen isn’t just for your face. This non-nano zinc oxide SPF balm is perfect for your underarms on sleeveless summer days. It’s lightweight, essential oil-free, won’t clog your pores, and leaves your underarm skin petal-soft. Not to mention, it’s coral reef-safe, so you can feel good about taking a dip in the ocean with it on.
Deodorize: Violets are Blue Magnesium Deodorant or môme care Indispensable Roll-On Deo
Applying a natural, aluminum-free deodorant is the last step in your health underarm self-care ritual. Violets are Blue Magnesium Deodorant is an expertly-formulated product that offers odor protection for even the most sensitive of armpits.
Instead of irritating arrowroot or baking soda, this blend uses a pH-balancing magnesium base plus gentle odor-killing natural oils and soft, absorbent tapioca starch. Along with keeping you smelling sweet and feeling dry, the magnesium in this deodorant absorbs through your skin to help with hormone balance, migraines, and muscle aches.
Môme Care Indispensable Roll-On Deo is another great choice for natural deodorants. It also balances your pH and odor levels naturally. If you prefer the roll-on style of deodorants or want a refillable option, this is your best choice!
Making a Smooth Transition to Natural Deodorants
It’s no secret that the two to four-week transition from antiperspirants to natural deodorants can be a bit…smelly. What is this phenomenon and what can you do to make a smooth transition?
Believe it or not, antiperspirants are considered over-the-counter drugs. Aluminum compounds create a plug in the pores of your underarm to basically stop sweat from leaking out. As you “come off” the antiperspirant, it takes a few days for this gel-like substance to leave the pores and you may not notice any change in how much you sweat (or smell).
After about a week, however, you will start to naturally sweat again. With sweat comes an increase in odor-causing bacteria. If you’ve been using antiperspirant for a while, you will likely smell more during this initial phase as your body detoxes. But don’t worry – it’s temporary!
During the third and fourth week after quitting your antiperspirant, these high bacteria levels will subside. You may also notice less sweating as your body re-learns how to regulate itself.
Still worried about the transition? Thankfully there are many things you can do to speed up the process:
Water is essential for flushing out those old toxins and clearing away bacteria. Plus, it will help your body re-establish its water balance as you start naturally sweating more. Sip on water or herbal tea throughout the day to help your body detox.
Wear natural textiles like organic cotton.
Synthetic fabrics (like nylon and polyester) trap moisture and bacteria thrive. Breathable, natural fabrics are the best for your skin and keep odor levels down.
See your acupuncturist.
Acupuncture has a natural detoxifying effect on the body. As your body settles into a new balance with your natural deodorant, acupuncture can help clear away that odor-causing bacteria faster.
Choose a quality natural deodorant.
Not all natural deodorants are created equal. Certain oils and balms may clog your pores and deodorants made with baking soda can irritate delicate underarm skin. We love Violets Are Blue Magnesium Deodorant and Môme care Indispensable Roll-On Deo because they’re both safe for sensitive skin, and compact enough to take with you to freshen up throughout the day.