I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I have an underarm sweat and odor problem. I can’t tell you how many nice tops I’ve had to throw out because of sweat stains that I could never wash out. Finally I went to an endocrinologist and he diagnosed me with Hyperhidrosis. That’s medical lingo for sweating a lot. He went over various options, like prescription-strength antiperspirants and even surgery! But one of his recommendations combined with something else I discovered has been quite effective, so I thought I’d share the solution that has worked well for me.
First, the Perspiration Problem
The doctor told me about Drionic. It’s a small device I wear in my armpit for about 1-2 hours every 6 weeks or so. It uses a method called Iontophoresis – temporarily paralyzing the sweat glands through small electrical shocks. I know it sounds like it should be painful, but it’s not. In fact, the electrical pulses I get from my chiropractor are more uncomfortable.
I realize that this might not be the most holistic approach, but I personally feel much more comfortable with this method than with using commercial antiperspirants that contain aluminum. Especially while I was pregnant and now that I’m nursing. I’m yet to hear of any negative side effects from Iontophoresis, however, I understand that heavy metals like the Aluminum found in commercial antiperspirants can easily enter my bloodstream through cuts from shaving. From there, they can be transmitted to my baby, who doesn’t yet have a fully formed blood-brain barrier. As I pointed out in my post about The Vaccine Controversy, heavy metals in the bloodstream can lead to brain damage.
My only complaint about Drionic is the reliability of the device given the high pricetag. I’ve spent over $500 on 3 sets of devices plus batteries over the years. For some reason, the devices always seem to break down. Even today I’ve got only a single working unit, which means I can only do one side at a time. The other one worked only 2 times before it broke down. Unfortunately my complaints to the company that sells this device have fallen on deaf ears.
Next, the Underarm Odor
Although the Drionic device reduced my sweating by about 90%, it didn’t entirely control the odor. I noticed this especially after I gave birth. I suspect that the hormone changes I was going through made the smell worse than usual.
- 1 part coconut oil
- 1 part baking soda
- 1 part corn starch
Just mix these together into a paste and spread it on using your fingers or the back of a spoon. I’m still amazed at how well this is working for me. It doesn’t leave any residue on my clothes either!
If any of you have other suggestions for chemical-free deodorants and antiperspirants, I would love to hear them!
March 3, 2013 Update: I’ve contacted General Medical, the company that makes the Drionic Unit, and recently they replaced both units for just a small charge to cover shipping. I’ve only used the new units twice, but they seem to be working well.
I have also noticed that the coconut oil/baking soda/cornstarch mixture is causing a bit of a rash and occasionally small red bumps that itch a bit. I’ve heard several others complain about this too, and have since learned that baking soda is known to irritate skin on some people. So I’ve switched to using only coconut oil by itself on most days, and then on days when I need extra protection, that’s when I use the mixture above. The antimicrobial properties of coconut oil are quite effective. Wait until you’re smelly and then apply the coconut oil. You’ll be amazed at how quickly the smell disappears! But it needs to be raw (unprocessed) coconut oil, which I am not able to find at Whole Foods. I have to order mine from companies like Green Pastures’ Blue Breeze Coconut Oil. The only downside to coconut oil alone is that it is quickly absorbed, so you may need to re-apply often.