The month before my experiment I had nothing but complaints about my antiperspirant. The 24-hour formulas left a strange film under my armpits that didn't wash away in the shower (um, not OK). The only time I could erase the sticky film from under my arms was by shaving. I blame the buildup on antiperspirant's primary active ingredient: aluminum, which clogs the pores underneath the arm to stop sweating.
To get rid of the waxy feeling, I turned to spray formulas. I was coughing and gagging in an antiperspirant cloud every morning. Apparently you have to keep the bathroom door open and crack all the windows to use these products without suffocating. Which made me question, should I be inhaling whatever is in this stuff anyway?
You'll hear the granola-toting, organic-loving crowd talk about how the aluminum in antiperspirant can cause everything from Alzheimer's to breast cancer. While I have no scientific facts to back these claims up, I would never put pore-clogging minerals on my face. So why should I treat my pits any different?
So I decided to give it up altogether. My theory: the less I used the aluminum-packed antiperspirants, the less I would need them. Eventually the bacteria levels and sweat glands in my armpits would balance out, removing the need for the extra-strength formulas I was slathering on daily.
Now I didn't just make this up. My hypothesis was based on a similar concept in skin care. When you strip all of your natural oils with harsh cleansers, your body goes into sebum overdrive to compensate. So the more often you use astringent products, the more oily your skin gets. Think about it . . . it makes sense!