I basically called my mom for help. Except when I say mom, I mean an esthetician.
Natural deodorants are for other people. I rarely get B.O., so something that merely deodorizes would be a waste of money for me. What I need is hardcore antiperspirant, because my armpits are basically upside-down puddles, all the damn time.
What makes an antiperspirant an antiperspirant and not just a deodorant is aluminum (which is natural, by the way). Compounds of aluminum are used in antiperspirants to temporarily plug your sweat ducts through a pH reaction.
"But the internet and hippies told me that’s dangerous," you say? Actually, there’s no proof of that. Aluminum chloride has been shown to be a neurotoxin, but the aluminum compounds found in the overwhelming majority of over-the-counter antiperspirants are forms of aluminum chlorohydrate or aluminum zirconium, both of which are considered low-risk ingredients, even in the eyes of the hypersensitive Environmental Working Group.
So until proven otherwise, GIVE ME ALL THE ALUMINUM.
No, seriously, I want the maximum available. So I started looking at the level of the aluminum compounds in the antiperspirants I’d been using (I’m always switching because nothing ever works well enough), and then I checked out the levels in the drugstore antiperspirants marketed to men. The men’s formulas averaged an aluminum compound level of 20%; the women’s formulas averaged 16%.
In my research (reading the back of every product at the local CVS) I found only one “women’s” formula with FDA-maximum aluminum compound of 25%: Mitchum For Women Advanced Gel. Even the “clinical” formulas maxed out at 20%.
I strongly prefer an invisible solid to a gel, but I also strongly prefer having not-damp armpits, so I gave it a try.
So far, I’m really happy with it, especially considering I’m putting it to the test at the height of summer. It’s definitely keeping me drier than the invisible solid with a 15% aluminum compound I was previously using. I know, duh, math--but prior to this, I really figured all antiperspirants pretty much worked the same and I just had to pick which silly scent name I preferred.
So, should you try it? Here are a few things to consider.
• The aluminum complex in Mitchum For Women Advanced Gel is aluminum sesquichlorohydrate (a form of the aforementioned aluminum chlorohydrate). Some people with sensitive skin may find this more irritating than the various forms of aluminum zirconium in other formulas.
• That said, aluminum zirconium (usually followed by tetrachlorohydrex gly, trichlorohydrex gly, octachlorohydrex gly or pentachlorohydrex gly) is believed to be what causes yellow pit stains. The Mitchum formula is less likely to discolor your shirts.
• Also take the base ingredients into consideration. The Mitchum formula is alcohol-free and contains both aloe and dimethicone, which I’ve found to balance out any potential irritation with soothing, protective benefits.
Luckily, even if you want to give it a shot and decide after a week or so that it’s not quite right for you and your soggy underarms, it’s only $4. For me, it’s totally been worth finding out that I don’t have to sweat quite as much as I was.
Favorite deodorants or antiperspirants? Favorite silly deodorant-scent name?