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#1
Old 01-20-2009, 12:53 AM
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Can't use deodorant- how do I keep myself from stinking?

So, my armpits have been getting red, itchy rashes on and off for the past couple of weeks. I'm about 90% sure it's something to do with the Tom's Hippy-Dippy Deodorant that I started using a few months ago. However, now basically everything irritates my armpits so I can't use my tried and true brand either. I'm probably going to hold off from using deodorant until I can see a dermatologist, even if my skin heals.

I don't empty the room when I lift up my arms or anything, but I'm pretty sure that people can tell whether I'm wearing deodorant or not and I'm pretty sure they would prefer that I give the pits a daily swipe or two.

My question is, is there a way for me to emit less odor for the duration of this deodorant-free period, aside from washing my pits several times a day? I will be swabbing my arms with that mineral salt stuff (I don't count it as deodorant because, c'mon, it's a chunk of salt) and dusting with talcum powder. I will also probably reduce my intake of things like garlic and onions.

However, I have the following restrictions:
(1) Nothing with alcohol. That's just going to irritate the skin and make it take longer to heal.
(2) Nothing with a particularly high or low pH. See (1).
(3) No antiperspirants. I'm allergic to those, too.
(4) Nothing that involves just covering the smell up with perfumes. I don't want to be *that* girl.

Any ideas? Also, would there be any point to giving my coworkers a heads-up?
#2
Old 01-20-2009, 12:58 AM
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I had this problem once and used antibiotic cream, it worked better than I thought it would.
#3
Old 01-20-2009, 12:59 AM
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Shower every morning, avoid strenuous exercise and spending time in hot areas. You'll be fine unless you're an unusually perspiring person.

If you don't mind ruining a shirt and are still worried about it, apply a heavy dose of deodorant to the armpits of the SHIRT before you go to bed at night. By morning, it will be dry, and will micro-deodorize you as it rubs off. Don't use the deodorant you think caused the rash.
#4
Old 01-20-2009, 01:25 AM
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Shave your pits*. Armpit hair's main purpose is to give something for stink molecules to grab on to.

* this assumes you're a guy. If you're a girl, advice may be redundant
#5
Old 01-20-2009, 01:31 AM
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Use as hot a water as you can stand on your pits when showering and get a Wal-Mart pack of 7 fresh undershirts and go through the entire new pack before re-washing . It should hold the stink at bay until your till your pits heal.
#6
Old 01-20-2009, 01:40 AM
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(you're a girl, right?)

Wear an undershirt under your top, if you're not doing so already. Or something like an undershirt, a ladies fitted t-shirt. A 3-pack of crisp white men's Hanes actually isn't a bad addition to a girl's wardrobe.

Note that too much washing and scrubbing can dry out your skin and make a rash worse, don't go overboard. I'm sure you don't stink that bad.
#7
Old 01-20-2009, 01:43 AM
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What about just Gold Bond?
#8
Old 01-20-2009, 01:45 AM
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I only mention this b/c I had it once--

you might have a yeast infection in your armpits. I got it once when I was much heavier than I am now. (I'm still a chunky monkey)

It was hellish. Try some generic monistat on it. Or try laying around with your arms over your head. (It might help and it can't hurt.)

(Fun aside, except for from being on antibiotics once--never had it in my area)
#9
Old 01-20-2009, 03:34 AM
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There are two underarm deodorants in the world that work for me. One is Suave Naturals. I'm fond of the berry aroma - I love that it doesn't smell like deodorant. Alas, I haven't seen it for sale in months. The other is Arm and Hammer invisible solid (or some shit name like that) - unscented. ANYTHING else gives me rashes. It happened suddenly, too - I discovered the berry deodorant, loved it, lost it, then all of a sudden, everything I tried sucked. Arm and Hammer is good, but I miss raspberry pits...

Joe
#10
Old 01-20-2009, 04:00 AM
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Mix talcum powder that you're using 50/50 with baking soda. It will work to neutralize underarm odor just as it neutralizes smells in your fridge.
#11
Old 01-20-2009, 09:23 AM
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Try using Vagisil powder under your arms. It's made for drying and de-odorizing your "down there" area, so I'd imagine it'd do the same for your armpits.

FWIW I've had problems with deodorant before. I've had great success with Almay and Mitchum clear gels for sensitive skin (solids are really rough on the pores IMHO). But those both are listed as anti-perspirants so they may not work for you.
#12
Old 01-20-2009, 09:43 AM
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[double post, with typo]

Last edited by VunderBob; 01-20-2009 at 09:45 AM.
#13
Old 01-20-2009, 09:44 AM
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I had that problem, and figured out on my own that I was allergic to deodorants with zirconium. I switched to Sure which is zirconium-free, and have not had a problem since.

Something to consider...
#14
Old 01-20-2009, 09:48 AM
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Fiancee has same problem. He uses prescription Phisohex, which in my opinion is a nasty caustic substance that will eat your body away, but he sure doesn't stink.
#15
Old 01-20-2009, 09:55 AM
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If you are truly allergic, you may want to try not using anything at all. Apparently if you wash well, (no soap, or soap once a week) in a month or two you cease to stink. I don't know why, but it works for me. The downside is that if you use soap frequently you may have break outs since your skin chemistry has already made adjustments.
#16
Old 01-20-2009, 10:08 AM
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Could you use the deodorant crystals?
#17
Old 01-20-2009, 10:28 AM
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If you don't have a physically active job where you break a sweat, then showering every day and putting on a clean shirt is enough. Really, it's enough. It's the bacteria on your body that smells, not the sweat. If you shower every day and wear a fresh shirt, you will not grow enough bacteria to smell.

How often do you change the blades on your razor? Do you keep it outside the wet zone of your shower because bacteria will be on/grow on skin cells.

I really recommend you put nothing on your pits until the rash clears up or your derma instructs otherwise. Keep your razor blades dry and fresh.
#18
Old 01-20-2009, 10:31 AM
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You could make your own:
1 Tbsp baking soda
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 Tbsp jojoba oil
if you want, a drop of essential oil (I like vanilla)

Melt the coconut oil. Mix all the ingredients. Put it in a little glass jar. It will set overnight, or you can refrigerate it.

I made some of this at a homemade cleaning/body products workshop and I didn't think it would work, but it does. It might be less irritating to you, especially if you leave out the EO.
#19
Old 01-20-2009, 10:35 AM
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I vote for talcum powder until you heal. I wouldn't give coworkers a 'heads up,' exactly (unless you eat garlic and onions for brekkie, you're probably more conscious of any personal odors than they are), but you could work it into conversation or something. You know, 'Ooh, ouch' 'What is it?' 'Oh nothing, nothing. Embarrassing. I tried this new deodorant and it gave me a horrible rash. Now I itch and hurt and can't use deodorant.' 'Sucks. But that explains the smell.'
#20
Old 01-20-2009, 10:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Poysyn View Post
Could you use the deodorant crystals?
That is what I used when allergies were making me break out in rashes using any of the many, many deodorants I tried. Thankfully, that particular allergic reaction has faded over time, and it has been years since.

Something like this is what my dermatologist recommended, and it worked fine even when I was sweaty and icky from working out. It is available lots of places (including Amazon, apparently).
#21
Old 01-20-2009, 10:59 AM
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"Deodorant" is just something to make you not stink, hence the "odor" part. That's why the crystal rocks are deodorants, not anti-perspirants. They won't make you not sweat; they're just supposed to make your sweat not stink. Anti-perspirants, which are what most people call "deodorants," make you not sweat by plugging up your sweat glands with stuff. (sounds gross when you think about it, doesn't it?)

Rubbing baking soda under your arms after a bath or shower is supposed to help. Cutting back on stinky foods is a good idea. Chewing parsley is supposed to be good for your breath, but I don't know if it would help with body odor.
#22
Old 01-20-2009, 11:09 AM
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Use unscented anti-perspirant.
#23
Old 01-20-2009, 12:30 PM
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Wash with tea-tree soap. Dry, then use BFI Antiseptic First-Aid Powder. Use sparingly.
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I am not a real Doctor
#24
Old 01-20-2009, 01:02 PM
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If it doesn't irritate your skin, use Dial soap. It has triclosan, which is an antimicrobial. It will ensure that you are free of stinky bacteria after you shower. My dad refuses to wear deodorant/anti-perspirant. Everyone in the family noticed that he smelled less when my mother switched to dial soap in the shower. As an added bonus, it totally cleared up any acne I was getting on my shoulders/back.....
also, before i get clobbered, I realize that anti-microbial soap is not necessary to prevent the spread of disease - so it's pointless for hand soap, etc. However, since triclosan retards bacterial growth, I still claim that it would help with any stink.

Last edited by dactylic hexameter; 01-20-2009 at 01:05 PM.
#25
Old 01-20-2009, 01:20 PM
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My partner as well as my ex both had the same problem, and both swear by tea tree oil.

Put a few drops in your hands, rub them together and rub it on your pits. It kills the smell quite effectively.
#26
Old 01-20-2009, 01:25 PM
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Thai deodorant stone? Had a friend who had some type of rash and was tired of changing deodorants.
#27
Old 01-20-2009, 01:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Acid Lamp View Post
Apparently if you wash well, (no soap, or soap once a week) in a month or two you cease to stink.
So, you mean "wash" with just water? This takes me back to when my brother was a teen and took showers with water only, and came out smelling worse than when he went in. Do you rub/scrub yourself with a washcloth, or anything else?
#28
Old 01-20-2009, 01:46 PM
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Your screenname bears the answer.
#29
Old 01-20-2009, 01:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gigi View Post
So, you mean "wash" with just water? This takes me back to when my brother was a teen and took showers with water only, and came out smelling worse than when he went in. Do you rub/scrub yourself with a washcloth, or anything else?
My guess is that Acid Lamp is referring to the chemical difference between soaps and cleansers. A soap is a specific chemical composition. Many cleansing agents that we call "soap" are actually detergents, another chemical beast altogether.
#30
Old 01-20-2009, 04:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by criminey.jicket View Post
If you don't have a physically active job where you break a sweat, then showering every day and putting on a clean shirt is enough. Really, it's enough.
Maybe for you. I do exactly what you say, and I still get stinky pits. (Fortunately, I can use most anti-perspirant/deodorants.)
Quote:
Originally Posted by SP2263 View Post
I had this problem once and used antibiotic cream, it worked better than I thought it would.
Hey, good idea!

I've found that Neosporin ointment with pain relief works miraculously for all sorts of skin irritations. The ointment, not the cream. Maybe this will help kill bacteria, help clear the rash, and provide some pain relief.
#31
Old 01-20-2009, 04:18 PM
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I'm allergic to different fragrances, and some irritate me and some don't. After my third or fourth round of nasty rashes (I'm a slow learner) I switched to Almay gel, which works great. While I was waiting for the rash to go away, I used Gold Bond.
#32
Old 01-20-2009, 04:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bacon Salt View Post
(1) Nothing with alcohol. That's just going to irritate the skin and make it take longer to heal.
Actually, you might want to reconsider. Very occasionally I get a rash there, and I've temporarily switched to rubbing alcohol. It does sting, but in 2-3 days my rash is gone. YMMV, of course.

Do you rinse your underarms immediately after washing them, or do you soap up other body parts before rinsing? If the latter, deodorant soap itself can irritate that area. Just rinse right away.
#33
Old 01-20-2009, 04:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gigi View Post
So, you mean "wash" with just water? This takes me back to when my brother was a teen and took showers with water only, and came out smelling worse than when he went in. Do you rub/scrub yourself with a washcloth, or anything else?
Most days I wash with just water, or a very small amount of a natural soap applying it only to the areas that are likely to offend, Pits, behind the ears, crotch. Otherwise I simply scrub off with a japanese washcloth. It is an exfoliating scrubby thing. Once a week, (usually Sat) I get a thorough scrub all over. I never soap my face. Hair is washed every third day or as necessary. FWIW, I neither smell, nor have any problem with acne. I put it down to my skin achieving a natural balance, while simple bathing removes the dirt and dead skin effectively enough to eliminate odor and clogged pores. Even after a workout, I just smell of sweat, and not BO.

However, I'll warn that it can take a while for this to happen and for a week there you might find yourself stinking up the joint until you even out. During that period, I washed twice a day to ensure any odor was kept to a minimum.

Last edited by Acid Lamp; 01-20-2009 at 04:42 PM.
#34
Old 01-20-2009, 05:16 PM
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Are you really sure you smell that badly? Remember that widespread use of deodorants is a very new invention.
#35
Old 01-20-2009, 05:31 PM
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With all due respect to Acid Lamp, I would only point out that very few people who smell bad think they smell bad. I used to work next to a person who followed a soap-free hygiene regimen, and let's just say his confidence in his system was misplaced.
#36
Old 01-20-2009, 05:36 PM
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Ask Autolycus, Really Not All That Bright, Ivylass, Ludovic, or The falling Reverend. They've all met me in person.

I know if I smell. If I perform a lot of outdoor chores I can wrangle up a stink, but really washing up takes care of it. There is a difference in body chemistry from person to person as well. I use as little soap as possible, not none at all.
#37
Old 01-20-2009, 05:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jodi View Post
With all due respect to Acid Lamp, I would only point out that very few people who smell bad think they smell bad. I used to work next to a person who followed a soap-free hygiene regimen, and let's just say his confidence in his system was misplaced.
I live with Acid Lamp and very rarely does he actually smell of anything. I'm not a big wearer of deodorant unless I think I'm going to sweat, and I generally don't get smelly unless I've been sweating like a pig from a long day of outdoor work. I have, however, known people who remind me of what you're talking about, and generally they tend to be of the "don't bathe at all for two weeks straight" variety rather than the "exfoliates but does not use soap every time when bathing" variety; it makes a huge difference, as I could tell by his ripeness when the last shower was.
#38
Old 01-20-2009, 05:54 PM
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Er, the "him" in the last part of that paragraph was a guy I knew from when I was an Anthropology major. Nice guy, but you could tell he only showered every other week because he'd slowly go from "fresh as a daisy" to "sitting in a garbage heap" over a two week period.
#39
Old 01-20-2009, 09:13 PM
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There's an alternative deodorant that involves mineral crystals or some such. I haven't tried it myself but it's another option for you. Examples here and here.
#40
Old 01-20-2009, 09:23 PM
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Wash the area thoroughly with a mild shampoo. Avoid wearing synthetics (e.g. polyester) as they don't breathe.

As long as you're not working up a sweat, that should be fine, esp in the winter.
#41
Old 01-20-2009, 10:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Acid Lamp View Post
Ask Autolycus, Really Not All That Bright, Ivylass, Ludovic, or The falling Reverend. They've all met me in person.
While I'd like to note that I have never made an effort to smell him, Acid Lamp doesn't smell.

*runs off to add to list of things I never thought I'd say*

Last edited by Really Not All That Bright; 01-20-2009 at 10:43 PM.
#42
Old 01-21-2009, 12:06 AM
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Since advice has turned to how to fix the underlying cause of my itchy armpits, You Are Not My Doctor So Any Suggestions Given Will Be Taken Under Advisement But Not Treated As Final Answers. So, now that the boilerplate is out of the way...

Wow- lots of good ideas. As it turns out, my combination of Chunk O' Salt (the Thai mineral stuff alluded to several times in this thread) and talcum powder mentioned in the OP knocked out the odor about as well as my usual brand does. I will definitely try some of the methods mentioned in this thread if that stops working. To keep my post from being even longer, I'm not going to address the deodorizing methods individually. If anybody has a burning desire to hear my opinions on the various deodorizing methods mentioned here, I'll do another post.

Since a couple of people expressed doubt, I know I have a noticeable odor without deodorant because my dad mentioned that a room that I alone had been in for a couple of hours had a B.O. smell. I'm 22 so my body still hasn't totally settled down hormonally. I know I don't smell all that bad, but at one of my jobs I'm going around town and soliciting business for a florist so I really need to be smelling fresh and pretty.

On to figuring out the underlying cause.

Yeast infection: I had half-considered that I might have a yeast infection. My body odor hasn't changed, if that means anything. I've never had a yeast infection in my girly parts so I hoped I just wasn't susceptible. I have gained a few pounds over the past couple of months...

Zirconium: Tom's Hippy Dippy and my old standby are both zirconium free.

Antiperspirant: Haven't used it in ten years as I'm allergic to it.

Lingering deodorant soap: I use Dove or Dr. Bronner's. I used deodorant soap once around the time this problem started, but I haven't used it since.

So, thank you everyone for the suggestions and advice.
#43
Old 01-21-2009, 01:31 AM
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Just popping in to mention that I had the EXACT same problem with Tom's deodorant. I tried several different.....er......flavors and had trouble with every one. I finally got fed up and switched back to evil non natural Lady Speed Stick, and the problem went away immediately. I don't have sensitive skin. I will certainly be looking into some of the ideas posted here.
#44
Old 01-21-2009, 01:55 AM
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Another thing to look at is the method of delivery.

I began to get rashes when I used a solid deodorant / antiperspirant. After trying several brands with all of them doing the same thing to me, I saw a dermatologist. She advised to switch to a roll on, spray or cream.

Ten years of a roll on and I'm itch free and smell good. YMMV.
#45
Old 01-21-2009, 06:19 PM
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Update:

Went to the doc today. He looked at my underarms and said I had a fungal infection, possibly an opportunistic one that showed up when I had my initial inflammation but possibly not. He gave me a script specifically for the type he thinks I have so we'll see how that goes.
#46
Old 01-21-2009, 07:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kneepants Erasmus, the Humanist View Post
Just popping in to mention that I had the EXACT same problem with Tom's deodorant.
Apparently a lot of people have the same problem (reas the comments). What's in that stuff?
#47
Old 01-21-2009, 07:21 PM
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I haven't found one of the "natural" deodorants (aside from the crystal stuff which I haven't tried and don't want to) that didn't irritate my skin after a couple of days. Also, they don't work at all on me.

Yet it sells like crazy around here. I don't get it.
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