On Friday, I went to WalMart and had a serious pow-wow with the deodorant aisle. The time had come to determine what to do with my underarms. (I do wish there were a more elegant word for them.) Let me begin at the beginning ....
A few years ago, I read that aluminum was not a good thing to spread on your skin once or twice each day. There've been no definitive studies linking aluminum with cancer or Alzheimer's, but many people are worried that we just haven't found those links yet. For me, that wasn't the point. I began to realize that I really didn't need antiperspirant anymore. I don't sweat. A little deodorant in the morning is adequate now that I'm older. So I don't need aluminum -- the ingredient that makes it an "antiperspirant." If I don't need the aluminum, why slather it on for the rest of my life?
So I looked for alternatives.
Which brings me to these:
That's when I first discovered that my armpits are a bit sensitive. The UltraMax Arm&Hammer seemed to irritate the skin. So I jumped over to Tom's deodorant. See the pleasant one I picked? It was pricey, over $4.00, but scented with lavender.
And within days, my armpits were itchy, red, and unsightly. I showed them to Adam. One of the perks of a good marriage is that you have someone to show your itchy armpits to! He said, "Oh, I've had that before, remember? When you bought me the green deodorant? You're allergic. You'd better stop using that stuff." So I discontinued the Tom's.
And I returned to Suave, which didn't make me happy. But my underarms were content.
Then last year I found a recipe for homemade deodorant, and I joyfully made a batch and began to sell it, receiving good reviews from my customers. And I used it myself.
And my armpits became itchy and irritated ... again! Argh!
I read online and found that a small percentage of people have a skin reaction to the baking soda found in homemade deodorant. Baking soda is highly alkaline, and it can unbalance the pH in the skin. One online writer recommended compensating with an acid like apple cider vinegar. So for about a week I dutifully applied a sponge dampened with water/apple cider vinegar to my armpits 1/2 hour before applying the deodorant. But it didn't seem to work well.
Sigh. Can you believe I'm making a product that I can't use myself? Thankfully I haven't yet had a customer come to me with the same complaint.
This predicament led me to the deodorant aisle at WalMart last Friday. And I discovered an odd fact: there are many more simple deodorants made for men, than for women. Yes, you heard that right. Women (apparently) are more concerned about not sweating than men are. Old Spice alone makes about half its underarm products as simple deodorants, leaving out the aluminum. The Speed Stick product you see above is also aluminum-free deodorant. But women's brands have no such allowances. I was really surprised! Why? Don't we think of men as sweating more? Don't you think men would want all their products to be antiperspirant? I'm bemused.
In the end, I was left with only these options: 1) buy a men's product, 2) buy a product I'm allergic to, or 3) use aluminum. So I bought myself the least-stinky Old Spice deodorant I could find. I apologized to Adam for smelling like a man. It's hard. Why doesn't Old Spice make a ladies deodorant? I wish I knew. It seems a bit discriminatory to me, but I'm sure they've done their studies and worked their demographics, and they know that women want antiperspirant.
Do you, ladies? What say you?