Don't Use Antiperspirant

Switch to antiperspirant-free deodorant to reduce sweating and save your shirts.

This is easily my tip of the year.

Switching to antiperspirant-free deodorant has changed my life in a fairly significant way. I used antiperspirants for 20 years and always assumed they were helping. I switched to pure deodorant and—BAM—just like that, the sweating under my arms ceased almost completely. Over six months later and it continues to amaze me.

And another thing—did you think that sweat causes that nasty yellow staining on your shirts? Well, I've got news for you, buddy:  sweat doesn't cause stains, antiperspirants do. Specifically, it's the aluminum-based active ingredients found in antiperspirants that cause those stains.

My Story

I discovered the solution on a whim.

Like I said before, I had lived with excessive underarm sweating for 20 years.

I had tried nearly everything to cure my excessive sweating:  regular antiperspirants ($3), extra-strength antiperspirants ($5), prescription-strength antiperspirants ($8), actual prescription antiperspirants ($11+). My doctor even discussed taking some sort of pill or having botox injections to treat the sweating, which I was not interested in. (To be fair, the prescription antiperspirant did mostly work but irritated my skin so badly that I had to stop using it after a couple of days.)

I also came to realize that the aluminum-based ingredients in the antiperspirants were what was ruining my shirts all these years. As with the different types of antiperspirants, I experimented with all sorts of stain fighters and cleaners to try to save my shirts. Most did nothing.

So I finally gave up. I decided to switch to plain old regular, cheap, antiperspirant-free deodorant. I figured that since I was going to sweat anyway (as the antiperspirants did nothing to stop it), then I would at least stop destroying my shirts.

You know what happened next, as I've already made it quite clear. My underarm sweating fell drastically (think ~90%) and my shirts no longer have any sort of staining. Plus, I no longer have to live with the embarrassment of always having wet underarms.

Real Savings

This was obviously a huge revelation, but let me also address the monetary impact. I had gotten into the habit of throwing out and replacing white t-shirts every six months or so and dress shirts about once per year. Casual shirts (polo shirts and the like) would last 2-3 years but would eventually succumb to nasty, stiff, caked-on stains.

Each year I bought about 24 white t-shirts (12 every 6 months) at about $3 each, 12 dress shirts at about $70 a pop, and maybe 7 casual shirts for $30 each.

That comes to about $1,100 per year. Now let's assume these shirts last 3x longer. That's $2,200 in savings every 3 years, or about $730 per year.

Oh, and since regular deodorant is so cheap I probably save $60 per year ($5 per month) versus antiperspirants. So I'm saving nearly $800 per year.

Shopping for Deodorant

Most of what you will find in your local supermarket or drug store is antiperspirant/deodorant combos. In fact, of the several dozen underarm products at a local Walmart probably less than 10% were deodorant-only products.

These should be labeled fairly clearly, and often the packaging will state that the product is "aluminum-free", but you can always check the active ingredients to make sure.

A Conspiracy?

Could it be that this is a massive conspiracy by Unilever, Procter & Gamble, and the other conglomerates? Antiperspirant that keeps you sweating so you keep coming back for more, because you assume you would sweat more without it?

I'm a trusting person, so I'm going to dismiss this theory and assume that antiperspirants do help some people. But, you never know...

Your Results May Vary

A disclaimer:  I am no scientist. I don't know why this worked for me, but it did. Your body chemistry may be different from mine, and you may not see the same results. But what I do know is that if you have excessive underarm sweating then this is by far the easiest and cheapest option to try first.

If you try switching to antiperspirant-free deodorant, hit me up on Twitter @cschidle and let me know if you see similar results!

Oh, and in case you were wondering, the specific deodorant I use now is Arm & Hammer's "Essentials" deodorant. It claims to use natural deodorizers (including baking soda) and proudly states "No Aluminum" on the back. I buy it for $1.98 at Walmart.

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