War of the Pits

The title sums up the toughest part of becoming green. It almost feels that you have to reinvent the wheel ah! ufff!!  There is something about having an undesirable smell (B.O.), sweaty axillas, sweaty clothes and yellow armpit stains.  

Way before we started this blog I  tried to find natural deodorants. My sister introduced me to the crystal deodorant (Naturally Fresh).  Ehhh the crystal is so so.  I felt it was kind of harsh. I felt that I stank after about a month or two. I was done with it. My husband used it for a long time and it worked for him. 

I tried a few more that truthfully I don’t remember their names because none of them worked. But they were the most common ones that you find at natural health stores. I did like the Primal Pit deodorant a lot.  The only problem was that it gave me “angry pits” (very red, irritated axillas).  Apparently that was due to the baking soda (that most natural deodorants have).  It helps to neutralize odors. Primal pit has come up with a “lighter” version for those with angry pits but never bother to buy it.

I recently started using Bare Bones Deodorant and I really like it!f  It has few ingredients and most of them are organic. It comes in a stick.   It feels good and smells good. I don’t feel that I stink even after working out. My sister also uses it and likes it.

What I did notice though were some yellowish pit stains in a brand new white blouse. I have used the blouse on  three occasions, not even full days and I freaked out! Most internet info says that it is due to the aluminum … but I have consistently use this deodorant for 6 ½ weeks and the deodorant does not contain aluminum. So the answer that I consistently have found after reading a few things online is that the combination of sweat and aluminum causes yellow pit stains and sweat alone also causes yellow pit stains. Most regular deodorants have antiperspirant (that does not let you sweat as much, clog your pores).   My guess is that you may not sweat as much and therefore the yellow pit stain show up at a later time (you are bound to sweat even with antiperspirant at one point or another).  Most deodorants that are more natural  don’t have an antiperspirant component, so you are bound to sweat and therefore have yellow pit stains on your clothes… eekkk!!

So there are plenty of blogs, website, etc. to tell you how to get rid of these stains, here are 3 links to blogs that talk about how to get rid of these stains that look pretty good (123) So I am not going into details about how to get rid of this monstrosity of situation! One thing for sure, do not use bleach, that makes it worse!

In other words, yellow pit stains can happen with your Dove deodorant/antiperspirant or no deodorant or with natural and/or organic deodorant. So, I am actually excited that I can keep using my Bare Bones deodorant. Now here are some questions: Do different fabrics prevent this yellowish mess?  I have read that regular cotton shirts have a  protein that reacts with sweat and aluminum and create these yellow pit stains.  Would alternating deodorants help with issues of sweat, odor, even yellow pit stains?  Does nutrition play a role on sweat composition?

I have spent quite a bit of time looking at the FDA website cosmetic section and the EWG’s Skin Deep website; this is a pretty cool website that rates most beauty products according to safety of their ingredients. The score goes from 1 to 10 and informs you of the data availability, overall hazard, cancer, developmental and reproductive toxicity; allergies and immunotoxicity and use restrictions. The best is to get a score between 1-2. Here is a picture of it (Please please forgive me for the following pictures, but taking pictures of the computer screen is never pretty)


 I came to find out that the dreaded Aluminium Zirconium Tetrechlorohydrex that is the main ingredients for the antiperspirant deodorants (help to clog the pore so you don’t sweat as much) has had claims to be linked to breast cancer because it prevents toxins from leaving the skin and to Alzheimer’s disease as well. Interesting enough neither the FDA or the EWG’s Skin deep website consider this ingredient dangerous. Please look at the pictures below. The FDA picture look under Subpart A, the Scope section (this document is from 2004). The EWG’s Skin Deep website gave it a score of 2 (look at the picture bellow) 



On the other hand I read a document from the FDA from 1974 and indicated that zirconium aerosol can be quite dangerous : Zirconium-containing complexes. The use of zirconium-containing complexes in aerosol cosmetic products is prohibited because of their toxic effect on lungs of animals, as well as the formation of granulomas in human skin (21 CFR 700.16).

 I checked out the score on EWG’s Skin Deep Website of the deodorant that I use in between my disappointments (in between the natural deodorants that don’t work for me) Dove Cool Essentials Cucumber and Green Tea scent and it has a score of 3. But if you look at the picture below the offending ingredients are fragrance, BHT and dimethicone; not the aluminum zirconium.


Unfortunately, Bare Bones Deodorant is not in the EWG’s Skin Deep database but under the FAQ page it tells you that you can create your own report by typing the ingredients! I think that is a very powerful tool don’t you think!



I did check the primal pit paste and the score is 1, yeah!! But it gives me “angry pits”Boo


Bottom line, deodorant containing aluminum can give the beautiful yellowish color to the pit area on your clothes as well as sweat by itself with no deodorant. The FDA website and the Environmental working group (EWG’s) Skin Deep database can give a powerful tool to check for ingredients toxicity and rating of the overall ingredients. If you can’t find the products you can add all the ingredients and find the score. Also, you can look up individual ingredients just for your own reference. On my end, I will stick with my Bare Bones Deodorant for now. May the pit force be with you!!

Con amor,


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