Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Deodorant Alternatives: Lemon Deodorant

There is debate about the link between deodorant and breast cancer. I really don't want breast cancer. Anyone else agree?
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It seems that scientists generally say that deodorant is safe. But the breast cancer numbers are rising. This could have to do with the fact that the baby boomers, who were told that formula feeding was better than breastfeeding, are now getting older. It may have to do with the general loss of nutritious ingredients in our food. And it may be our deodorant, which douses the skin right next to our breast with chemicals that we would never put into our mouths. Or it may be all three.
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Whether deodorant causes cancer or not, I am curious with our culture's obsession with underarm odors. There are many cultures around the world that don't find the odors offensive, many even find the odors an aphrodisiac. My husband showers every day, but doesn't put on deodorant. Unless it is real hot, I honestly don't ever find his odor offensive.
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Underarm odor is not caused by sweat, but by the bacteria that thrives on sweaty skin. What lemon does is takes away the odor of the bacteria. What does deodorant do? Here is the answer I got from WikiAnswers

"Deodorant is spread into the armpit to help mask the smell of sweat. They do not cause your armpits to sweat less, though. Antiperspirants plug the sweat glands up in your armpits so that you do sweat less. Most antiperspirants also have a deodorant in them as well, to not only help you to sweat less, but reduce any odor caused by the sweat in your armpits."

So, if deodorant covers up the odors, then lemon, which eliminates the odor, is just as good. If antiperspirant clogs the sweat glands, I think that is something I don't want happening on my skin.
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I started using the lemon last month, because it was August. I thought August would be the best time to test it, since I get real sweaty. Not to mention, I'm quite pregnant, so I get sweatier than the average woman. So far so good. At the end of each day, I check and I don't smell!
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I get lemons for $0.19 at the Asian market down the street. I see myself using about two lemons per month. So, if it takes you four months to get through your cheap $2.00 deodorant, you save a grand total of $1.44 per year. Not a huge savings. But you also save yourself that feeling you get every morning when you put on your deodorant. You know the one where you wonder, "Am I doing the right thing for my body?"
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How do I do it? I just slice a little bit off of my lemon every morning and rub it on. Make sure that there is no pulp residue in your armpit, though, because the pulp is sticky.

23 comments:

Saving for a Home said...

This so interesting! I suffered from axial abscesses a couple of years back and was told repeatedly it must be because of my bras with underwires. Oddly enough I moved further south (and kept wearing the same bras) and the abscesses stopped. I'm always weary they may come back and am looking for something that may help. I never even thought about my deodorant! Now I buy my deodorants usually for free or VERY cheap, but I will gladly pay more to avoid the pain and cost of medical bills. Thanks for the tip!!

KC said...

Thanks for this tip! I will be trying this one out.

Organizing Mommy said...

O.K. so I'm going off to buy lemons, I guess. I have switched to mainly wearing deoderant unless I really do not want the hassle of sweating and stinking. Even though I know anti-perspirant is bad for you, I still wear it occasionally. I'm too American, eh?

Carla said...

Baking soda works well too. Lemons are a dollar each here, so not very economical.

Emily said...

I have a friend who uses baking soda. I was afraid it would get all over my clothes because I wear a lot of black, but it does work.

Anonymous said...

Interestingly enough, I've tried to switch from regular to "natural" deodorants at least 4 or 5 times over the last 10 years, but every time I switch, I get an itchy rash under my arms. I'm pretty certain that it's NOT an allergic reaction because I've used different brands and types (roll-on, stick, clear, etc). I suspect it's the sweat loving bacteria causing problems.

DarcyLee said...

Saving for a home-

I've read that wearing under wire bras is not good for our breasts.

Emily-
Tammy at Tammy's Recipes uses something else for deodorant called a deodorant crystal. The link is here http://www.tammysrecipes.com/node/1881
This is my first time visiting your blog and I know I will be back! I found you through Organized Everyday.

Emily said...

DarcyLee - It appears that the crystal is a type of antiperspirant- sort of. It prevents the sweat ducts from sweating. I found this, with a rundown of alternatives. http://www.hyperhidrosisweb.com/underarm-odor.html

Anonymous- if you think it is the bacteria causing problems, you can keep that in check using witch hazel, vinegar, or apple cider vinegar. They are all antibacterials of sorts.

Anonymous said...

I've been deodorant free in sunny AZ for 3 years now (including a summer pregnancy). I use a mixture of 1/2 baking soda and 1/2 cornstarch. My husband likes this plain version. For myeself, I have also added lavender and/or rosemary that I ground up in the coffee grinder. I like the smell and it's supposed to have antibacterial properties. You can even stir in a little essential oil. I think I'll try lemon...

The Tiny Homestead said...

what about vinegar? in a spray bottle ideally. I think that would work too and even cheaper than lemons. once it dries it doesn't smell.

Emily said...

Vinegar sounds good, once it dries. Sometimes the lemon takes longer to dry than I like, so vinegar might be good applied with a cotton ball? I think the spray bottle may spray a little too much. I might experiment and repost. Also, apple cider vinegar changes the PH, which makes it hard for the bacteria to thrive. That sounds interesting to me to.

Emily said...

"Apple cider vinegar is also helpful in eliminating underarm odor when used in place of a deodorant because it reduces the pH of the skin and odor-causing bacteria can’t survive in areas of the skin with low pH"

http://www.hyperhidrosisweb.com/underarm-odor.html

Thusa said...

Do you shave under your arms? I can't imagine that after a fresh shave a lemon on your armpit wouldn't hurt. I would have to also suggest the corn startch/baking soda mixture.

Alyssa said...

Am I the only one that noticed that WIKIANSWERS is her information source?!?

AbbeyLehman said...

Wikianswers was just fine for the type of info she presented, IMNSHO. I will have to try these options--I've wanted to ditch the underarm gunk for a while, but nothing has worked so far. I may also try the vinegar option in other bodily creases.

Emily said...

Abbey, I'm going to write an updated post of other things I've tried and loved and hated since I wrote this post. I'll give you a hint, baking soda won and vinegar lost. ):

Thusa, I've never had a problem with lemon hurting after a shave.

Nibsie said...

Limes work way better.

Debtfreemommy said...

I have the same issue as saving for a home and have been told to switch to all natural. I also tried like Anoy. and had the same itchy feeling. I also started getting a bumpy rash. Must be that bacteria.

My mom worked for a man who was an engineer with NASA and built space shuttles. His first wife died of breast cancer. He swore it was anti prespirent that caused it.

rach said...

So I used baking soda and just patted it under my arms. My under arms turned dark and I shower frequently and wash well. Why did this happen. I stopped using anything all together and seeing the darkness go away. Anyone else ever have this problem?

Emily said...

rach, I've been using baking soda for about two weeks instead of lemon and love it. I would imagine it is a skin sensitivity.

Anonymous said...

How do you make 2 lemons last a whole month. Once I cut a lemon, it shrivles up in about 3 days. ?

Emily said...

Anon, I wrap them in tin foil.

tarynkay said...

I know this is an old post, but I really love our homemade deoderant. I have never heard of using lemons. We used to use straight baking soda, but my husband started getting rashes from it. I've talked to a lot of people who love baking soda at first and then start developing rashes. So I did some quick and dirty internet research and found a recipe: 1 part baking soda to 1 part cornstarch, mixed with just enough coconut oil to hold it together. You use coconut oil b/c it's solid at room temperature, but you could use shortening or something if you didn't want to spring for coconut oil. Some people add essential oils or something, but I am happy to smell like nothing. It makes a kind of thick lotion that works better than any deoderant we've ever bought. It is not an antipersperant, so you can still sweat, you just won't stink. When I used antipersperant, I always found it creepy that I couldn't sweat anyhow. It lasts FOREVER, since you only need a tiny dab at a time (like 1/8 tsp). I usually mix up just 1/2 cup at a time and keep it in a little jar in the bathroom. You do not need to keep it refrigerated or anything.

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