For many of us, summertime means more time spent outside and in the sun – backyard cookouts, relaxing by a pool, maybe even s’mores over a campfire. This year, even though “summer fun” might be looking a little different, there’s still plenty of chances to enjoy the warmth and sunshine of summer!
Unfortunately, however, all of that extra time in the sun also means sweat is inevitable. You may have just cringed a little bit thinking about it--but remember, sweat is not the enemy! In fact, a little bit of sweating is pretty natural (and even good for our bodies). What’s not-so-great, however, is when body odor tries to tag along.
Whether you’ve recently made the switch to aluminum-free or you’ve been using natural deodorant for a while, here are some tips to help you deal with the extra heat and smell sweet all summer long!
Know what you are buying.
Deodorants and antiperspirants are two very different things. Antiperspirants use aluminum to block up your pores and prevent sweat from escaping your pits. This can be problematic as it stops your sweat from flushing toxins out of your body, causing you to sweat even more in the long run! On top of that, aluminum is harmful to the naturally-occurring good bacteria under your arms, which can help you fight off odor and keep your pits healthy.
Instead of using an antiperspirant, try out an aluminum-free deodorant with the power to keep you smelling fresh, while keeping your pores clear and nurturing a healthy microbiome for your entire body.
If you’re curious about the other major differences between antiperspirant and aluminum-free deodorant? Find out more here.
Keep your underarm hair trimmed.
Keeping your hair trimmed where your apocrine glands are located (armpits and private areas) means there is less surface area for bacteria to thrive. For those who choose to keep a little extra hair under the arms, the application process can be even more important. Your deodorant works best when it is in direct contact with your skin, which can be difficult when swiping your stick across an armpit with a layer of hair in between. If you’re already applying your deodorant in a hurry, you might inadvertently only apply the deodorant to that hair (without getting to the skin underneath), which can potentially make your deodorant much less effective. So, when applying your newest stick of SmartyPits, one technique would be to apply the swipe in the same direction every time, making sure the deodorant reaches your skin.
Apply when you’re dry.
It’s common practice to apply your deodorant just after your shower or bath—sometimes almost immediately after you pat yourself down with a towel. In order for your deodorant to do its job, it needs prolonged direct contact with your skin to do its job, and wet skin will prevent any deodorant from reaching your pores and will wick away your initial application before it can really do anything for your pits. So, when applying your deodorant, be sure that your skin is clean and dry. Make sure you dry yourself thoroughly after bathing/showering. Damp areas also encourage the growth of bacteria, so it’s important to try to keep bacteria at bay before stepping out in the sun.
Wear clothing with natural fibers.
There’s a reason a flowy cotton dress is a summer wardrobe staple. Synthetic fibers are more likely to hold onto odor, even after washing. If you find yourself extra stinky while wearing synthetic fibers like polyester, you might be smelling odor from previous sweaty/smelly experiences, as well as compounding the stench for the next time. If you do like to wear synthetic fibers, spot-treating the underarm area when you wash can help a bit in keeping odor from locking into your clothing.
Take care of stains quickly.
If you’re planning on heading out into the sun, it can be tempting to cake on the deodorant. However, too much product sitting on your skin can actually create or worsen pit stains, as opposed to preventing them. If you end up with the dreaded pit stains or discoloration in your shirts, letting your sweat spots or stains stick around can transform a single smelly t-shirt into a stained mess. Not only does the passage of time allow for any existing stains to dry and set into the fabric of the shirt, but it also gives odor-causing bacteria time to feed on your sweat and spread to more of your clothing.
If you notice a shirt that is especially sweaty or already forming pit stains, it is a good idea to get it into the wash as soon as possible. If you aren’t able to wash the shirt immediately, pre-treat the stained areas ahead of time, or simply soak them in water to delay the growth of bacteria and keep stains from becoming permanent.
And remember--only apply as much deodorant as can absorb into your skin! The best way to keep deodorant off shirts is to make sure it’s absorbed before putting on clothing.
Switch it up.
If you feel like your deodorant is suddenly not working, you may be right! Believe it or not, certain skin chemistries can sometimes become less responsive to natural deodorant after a while, so switching up to a different scent might be all you need to start smelling sweet again!
Now that you’re ready to get outside and enjoy the sun without worrying about stinky pits, what summer scent will you try?