Small Health Changes: Happy Pits

It’s been exactly 4 months since “my first day with cancer”. Months one and two were spent at endless doctors appointments, mostly in shock and confusion, and just trying to get from one day to the next without losing it. Those months also included the big baddie chemo drugs and lots and lots of down days. They also included chemo brain fog, emotional breakdowns and the slow realization that I may never get an answer as to why I ended up with cancer.

So… right around month 3, I decided to take a hard and very serious look at my environment. This included products I used, habits I had and daily choices I was making. What could I change for the better? What could I eliminate completely? Turns out… there was a LOT. Most of it was lurking in my kitchen cabinets and under my bathroom sink. Harsh chemicals used for cleaning everything from my skin to the litter box. So one day, I did some research and found an app called Think Dirty. It’s free and I downloaded it to see just how bad, bad was. It’s great because you can scan barcodes and see which specific ingredients are the worst offenders.

I filled 3 garbage bags that day. Insert wide-eye, open mouth emoji here.

I recently wrote more at length about some of the small and easy changes I’ve made for our entire home over on Lake Country Family Fun, so check that article out: 5 Easy Swaps to Make for a Healthier Home.

Today I want to focus on an easy change I made that I feel especially proud of. If you follow me on Instagram, I teased this post a while back and have recently had a few people ask about when it was coming, so here it is!

I officially switched to natural deodorant!

Let’s just begin by saying – I have super sweaty armpits. I’m a sweat monster and always have been. This is one of the best things about growing up and being a swimmer… “no sweat” Ha! Anyway, I was definitely that person with rings the size of basketballs down to my hips at body pump class in college and look like I’ve taken a full-on shower post hot yoga. I sweat. Antiperspirant was my bestie for a long time.

Recently there have been a lot of reports about antiperspirant and it’s possible link to breast cancer and alzheimer’s disease. Most antiperspirant worries center on the active ingredient — an aluminum-based compound that temporarily plugs the sweat ducts and prevents you from sweating. While the jury still seems to be out that the aluminum in antiperspirant is for sure linked to either of these issues, doing the research and understanding the risks led me to make the decision to go natural and see what happened.

But what about being smelly? I imagined heading out into the 90 degree heat and immediately regretting my decision. So again, more research. I found out that sweat doesn’t actually smell bad. It’s the crap that’s clogging your pores (bacteria and fat proteins mingling together.) Yuck. So my first plan was to detox and get rid of those toxins and stank. I’ll walk through each step it took for me to get to my happy armpit place.

Pit detox. This part was SO important for me. Many, many years of build-up yuck to get rid of.

First I took two weeks off of deodorant completely and just used witch hazel to clean my armpits a few times a day. If I was smelly, I would add a couple drops of essential oils directly to my skin. Favorites for this were tea tree and eucalyptus.

Next I did a true pit cleanse. I got this recipe from a favorite, and trusted blogger Lauren McBride.

Mix the ingredients together until they are the consistency of sour cream. I used a glass bowl and a plastic spoon – you’re not suppose to use metal. Slather up those armpits and let the mixture dry (about 15-20) minutes. Yes it’s a bit awkward to sit with your arms up like that but it’s worth it. Then wash off with a warm, wet washcloth. If you feel any stinging or irritation, wash off immediately – some people find that the mixture can be intense so just build up the time you keep it on. Some people also find that their armpits get red due to increased blood flow. I didn’t have of these side effects and overall the experience was pretty boring and I wondered if it even worked…


Once I did the formal armpit detox, I started in with my natural deodorant and I chose Native based on friends recommendations and reviews. It took a little while to get use to the consistency but overall I am loving the experience!

After just over a month of going natural, I have to say I’m so happy I did. My Native smells great! The first stick I chose was the Coconut & Vanilla, but I plan to check out other options when I need more. They have seasonal smells like rhubarb strawberry and hibiscus and mint! What will the fall scents be?! I do still sweat but there is no nasty body odor smell going on. One of my biggest and most annoying chemo side effects are hot flashes, so trust me – I get warm and this stuff does the trick!

I have not tested this deodorant out with super hard exercise, as I’m still on the mend, but I do plan to as time goes on. Call me a convert!

Anyone else use Native or other natural deodorants?


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Wisconsin wife and mama to Dane (4) and expecting baby girl in May. Navigating life post-cancer. Lover of food, red wine and laughs. Forever grateful for my wonderful life.

9 thoughts on “Small Health Changes: Happy Pits

  1. I’m day seven of Native and I am in love 😍. My pits are definitely going through an adjustment period BUT I’m happy I made the switch! Why keep using something that’s bad for you and wasn’t really working anyway?!? P.S. I love your blog and following your triumphant story. I have always admired your spirit Martha and think of you often. Keep up the good fight!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I use Native deodorant too! I switched to natural deodorant when I got pregnant the first time and started looking into everything I was ingesting and putting on my skin also. I tried a couple different natural ones before Native and none worked as well as this for me. I find I still sometimes need to reapply later in the day on some of those really sweaty summer days, but Native is the best!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I use Crystal. Drop a few essential oils on there and rub away! I haven’t used antiperspirant in probably 10 years. One of the best things I noticed about not using antiperspirant is that I don’t get armpit stains on my tops anymore. You know, the yellow and grimy ones that are impossible to get out!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I use Crystal with a few drops of essential oils and run away! One really awesome thing I’ve noticed about not using antiperspirant in years is that I don’t get those yellow and grimy stains on my tops anymore!

    Liked by 1 person

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