Before my sophomore year in college, my grandpa restored an ’87 Plymouth Turismo and gave it to me for my birthday. I was ecstatic because I no longer had to bum rides off of my friends, I could take that car anywhere and everywhere.
After driving it for a only a few weeks, I realized my new-to-me car had quite some personality. If I wanted air to flow on the driver’s side, I had to roll down the window on the passenger side. If I wanted to lock the car doors, I had to manually twist the knobs to the lock position…which translated to “turn it on bake.” And on special days, a leaf or two would spit out of the vent and smack me in the face as I drove around town.
Yes, that car was something special and will always hold a warm-fuzzy place in my heart. It also reminded me of something similar…Our bodies have their own unique personalities. And when our hormones are off-kilter, bodies begin to develop their quirks, their overheating, and even fluids that need to be checked on a regular basis in order to reach the one state that all bodies strive be in: BALANCE.
Nowadays, we hear of artificial estrogens creating havoc on our hormones from parabens, birth control, hormone replacement therapy, xenoestrogens, BPA, and phthalates. No wonder bodies can create quirkiness via any body system. If my hormone communication is disrupted, I’d be shocked if my own system WEREN’T spitting out leaves through my vents just to keep the channels clean!
The best way to prevent imbalance is to be aware. What are your fluids telling you? What story does your breath say? What is your gut health giving away? You may decide to do a double dose of working out and find afterward that your left armpit smells like eu-de-skunk while your right armpit has no scent at all. Quirky? You bet! However being aware of this can help you develop a plan that will raise your current bar of health.
To be aware also requires you to understand your-Self and how you function. The body doesn’t become quirky because it wants to, there is a complex genius behind its malfunctioning. One great way to help prevent hormone imbalance is to zoom-in on your pit health. The pits can give a lot of information away. From strange smells, to dryness, to lumpiness, the pits can start to talk. All you have to do is listen…
Keep in mind, you have two different sweat glands working on-call, everyday: the apocrine glands and the eccrine glands. The apocrine glands produce a fatty, bacteria-feasting sweat, which we’ve come to know as “B.O.” Eccrine glands are like natural A/C units for the body, producing clear neutral-smelling sweat that cools down over-heated body temperatures. These two glands are connected to your levels of activity and emotions. This explains a LOT when it comes to understanding their fluctuations in producing sweat, and how they do their best to accommodate your body’s need for balance.
Alongside your apocrine and eccrine glands lay complex channels that allow lymph fluid to move and flow. Major lymph nodes reside in your armpits called “axillary” lymph nodes. Like all lymph nodes, they filter waste from cells, transfer and evacuate environmental pollutants, and are in direct connection with one’s immune system. The lymphatic system, in general, is the sewage system of the body. If it gets clogged, problems can arise. If it moves freely, it can protect you from foreign invaders, to say the least.
By zooming-in on our pit health, we are also touching base with the health of our breasts. Imagine your armpits and breasts as siblings. They’re deeply connected and when one is not doing so well health-wise, the other feels the repercussions.
Breast tissue is known to have dense estrogen receptors and over time, will collect heavy metals, excess estrogen, and even candida mycotoxins (fungal spores) that lead to imbalances in their overall health. Add bras to that equation, with their restrictive qualities, and you’re dancing with the possibility of developing tumors, fibroids, cysts, and increasing your chances of developing breast cancer.
I understand the topic of breast cancer can be scary. World-wide, one woman is diagnosed with breast cancer every twenty-three seconds. That’s a pretty scary fact. However, we can still stand in our power. As I said before, there is a complex genius behind all malfunctioning. Once you’re aware of it and you’ve done your homework to educate yourself, you can take the next step and plan accordingly.
Years ago, we slathered bright white, strongly fragrant deodorant up and down our pits, oblivious to its side effects. All we thought about was the best coverage, during the most vigorous work and exercise. Plus, if it was sold on the shelf at the drug store, why would we question the quality? Who knew that paraben and aluminum in antiperspirants would eventually be linked to tumors in the armpit?
What we’ve also learned since then, is that your skin is like a sponge. It absorbs EVERYTHING. And this is why choosing a cleaner product to use under your arms is so important. Each time you use it for your armpits, you’re indirectly nourishing your breasts with the same product and ingredients.
By choosing a better quality deodorant, you’re enhancing the communication via body systems and hormones, while taking your breast health to a whole new level! Men, this is for you too!
What makes a good quality deodorant?
If you can answer “Yes” to all of these questions:
“Do I know what all of the ingredients are (in the deodorant)?“
“Are all of the ingredients organic or therapeutic grade?“
“Are the base ingredients shea or cacao butter, baking soda, coconut oil, clay, or beeswax?“
“Are essential oils included?“
If you answered “Yes” to these questions, I’d say you’re off to a good start!
Monoterpenes (plant chemicals or compounds) found in essential oils have many benefits to boost pit health. They have natural anti-inflammatory properties, they speed up cellular repair, some have analgesic properties where they reduce pain, and others increase lymphatic flow and help the liver’s ability to break down carcinogens, stimulating apoptosis (cell death), and even turning on protective genes.
Essential oils are your friends, and when they’re added to an already simple odor-repelling formula, you will have another dependable and preventative holistic tool at your fingertips and in your medicine cabinet. Mind you, be cautious if you have a sensitivity toward scents, essential oils are not for everyone.
Still unsure about what to use? I’ve included three examples below of tried and true deodorants I absolutely love. Remember, just because I love them doesn’t always mean you will, however, these are great products to begin with your search for the perfect “for you,” pit protector and breast nourisher.
- Sandalwood Essential Oil: This beautiful grounding-aroma oil contains phytoandrogens (like plant testosterone) so when applied to our armpits, it synchronizes with our natural androgens and permeates throughout the day. If you use it before working out, you’ll find the aroma becomes even more intense due to this characteristic.
- Pranarōm Floral Deodorant Roller: Made purely of essentials oils, the roll-on applicator makes it easy to apply throughout the day when necessary. They have one blend for men and one for women, however either can be used for both genders.
- Alaffia Deodorant: I love that they have a variety of scents, as well as clay and charcoal bases to help draw toxins out. These work really well if you have a sensitivity to coconut oil, although check the ingredients if you are allergic to coconut oil. I believe some may still have a small percentage in the formulas.
Very important to keep in mind when using an organic deodorant: If your pits break out in a rash, stop using the product immediately. This doesn’t necessarily mean the product is bad or doesn’t work. Many ingredients like clay, coconut oil, and charcoal help draw toxins out from the cells. In Ayurveda, oil pulling is called oil pulling for a reason! If you used synthetic-filled and chemically-enhanced antiperspirants most of your life, and now you’re switching to these new ingredients, it may do more harm than good at this moment in time.
I would recommend doing a liver and/or heavy metal cleanse first. This way, you’re ridding your body of toxins in a more comfortable way. In the meantime, do your best to use a deodorant that does NOT have coconut oil in it. Clay and charcoal can be soothing, however, they also have toxin-removing properties, so be aware.
For those who want to know more, I highly recommend reading Nadine Artemis’ book Renegade Beauty: Reveal and Revive Your Natural Radiance. This book is a great reference book for anyone who is interested in holistic health, especially deep discussions of skin health. I owe a lot of my recent experimenting to this book!
By being aware of products we use and understanding how our bodies function, we can still take thoughtful action and do our best to prevent imbalance manifesting in our most precious of tissues. Simple steps, such as changing your deodorant, can create giant leaps of health down the road. Being aware of what you are exposing your body to is of the greatest importance. It’s never too late to change. Wouldn’t now be a good time?
From the pits of despair to the e-PIT-ome of pit health,
Renegade Beauty: Reveal and Revive Your Natural Radiance, by Nadine Artemis