Lets talk armpit health.
For 30 years, when it came to deodorants or anti-perspirants, I was a total Walmart girl. I’d buy whatever products were on sale, not caring for brand, ingredients, reputation or anything else. I wore Dove, Secret, Arid or whatever else smelled good. And it all worked out fine - until it didn’t.
When I turned 30 (so long ago!) I went through a period of stress - personal, professional, you name it. Now, normally, I compartmentalize and move on. Repress, repress, repress. I’m not saying its a healthy method, but its what I DO. This time, however, it was different - my body took over and metabolized that stress in a highly unusual way.
It all started under my arms. I quickly developed a red, painful rash in my armpits that would crack and bleed. The redness gave way to boils and flakes - at the same time. The pain was so bad, that I spent all of December 2010 with my hands under my arms, hunched over. I stopped using anti-perspirant - forget about shaving - and went to the doctor. The official diagnosis was “contact dermatitis” which is basically a reaction that appears when the skin connects to something it is intolerant of. Not a lot of help.
By the process of elimination, we figured out that I developed an adult onset allergy to chemical fragrances. How did this change my life? Let me list the ways…
-No more perfume
-No more hairspray (not that I wore tons. But occasionally…)
-Walking through Duty-Free was a nightmare
-No random lotions from the pharmacy
-Hugs with heavily perfumed or cologned loved ones was excruciating
-No more fabric softener
-Scented soaps and shampoos were out of the question
-Etc etc etc…
What’s a girl to do?
A girl researches and experiments, that is what she does.
My parents told me stories of oil massages and ayurvedic remedies from their childhoods in India. That got me thinking - how could I go back to basics?
I experimented by applying mustard oil under my arms. The mustard oil actually did a great job of healing and soothing my ravaged pits, but the scent was less than ideal. I graduated to coconut oil… and then shea butter mixed with coconut oil.. and then baking soda added to that. Gradually, my home made deodorant recipe evolved into the spray I now use every day. Its a soothing combination of natural ingredients and essential oils that works to soften my skin and prevents light odours.
This product grew into another and another, until I had replaced all my lotions and potions with natural alternatives. Lotion, face moisturizer, scrub, bath salts and more - the beginnings of the complete line I carry today.
As for my allergy, it’s still going strong. I get hives on my arms and neck if I use artificially scented body care, or if I get too close to someone wearing perfume. Certain laundry detergents and fabric softeners make my throat close up and I have banned air fresheners from our house and cars. Interestingly, each change in habit and lifestyle led me to more and more information on what is ACTUALLY in the every day body and house hold products we use - and what their effects could be. Its a strange world we live in, let me tell you.
I’ve adopted a cleaner life - and I am grateful for this bizarre chain of events that led me to this place. In my wildest dreams I never thought I would become any kind of “urban hippy”, but here we are.
These days, my armpits are doing just fine, thankyouverymuch. Seven years later, I still have scars on both from the burns, but otherwise doing well. And, in case you were wondering, they smell fab 😉