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words by: Laura Robbins
image by: Billie on Unsplash

I’ve got my notebook open, a fresh page ready to go, and my new year’s resolutions on my mind. And so, do I grow out my armpit hair?

This might sound like a trivial question, but there are a lot of societal messages tied up into if I have hair on my armpits or not. As a cis-identifying woman, I experience daily expectations and pressures to be a certain way, and that way is groomed from head to toe. Having cleanly shaven armpits tells the world I care about how others see me. It says I’m put together woman, ready for a day at the office or a classy drink with girlfriends. Unshaved pits mean I am rebellious. I am a wild one with strong political views. 

But does it?

Or does having shaved armpits just mean I like the feeling, and unshaven I appreciate the look? Why is it that my armpit hair, or lack thereof, has such a strong impact on those around me who might, oh my, witness the state of my underarms?

I can’t answer those questions, but I can tell you that yes, I do find myself making assumptions about one’s character if their armpits are unshaven. I think a lot of that has to do with the current buzz certain female celebrities are creating over their choice to keep their armpits au-naturel. 

Emily Ratajkowski was famously photographed for Harper’s Bazaar in a black lace bra with her arms stretched behind her head, showing off her unshaven armpits. She wrote an essay for the magazine, about “the importance of women’s right to choose (how she dresses, what she posts, if she decides to shave or not) no matter what influences have shaped the way she presents herself.”  She wants women to skip shaving if that’s what makes them feel sexy. I think that’s the key thing here. In her eyes, it’s not about making some sort of statement, it’s about feeling comfortable in your body in whatever way you choose. She’s not here to please others, but to feel powerful in her own skin. 

Gigi Hadid, Paris Jackson, and Madonna’s daughter Lourdes Leon are just a few other celebrities who have recently caused an uproar over unshaven armpits. That’s right, people are still shocked to learn that, gasp, women have hair. 

So what should I do? 

I think the important thing is to think about why we’re doing whatever we’re doing, and not just blindly execute what’s been set out as an expectation of us. Think about what makes you feel beautiful, and not what others tell you is beautiful. The topic about growing out armpit hair or keeping it clean shaven is just a small portion about being mindful and intentional with how we live our lives, expressing yourself in ways you desire for you and you only. 

Happy New Years, and may 2020 bring you confidence in your own skin. Hairy or not. 

Photo by Haley Lawrence 

 

We sweat. We sweat when we know we have a big meeting coming up. We sweat when we’re running late to pick up the kids, or when we stub our toe on the bed frame. Again. 

We sweat when we walk, run 5km on the treadmill, or when we’re just working to stay cool in our South facing apartment in the middle of July. We sweat a lot in our daily lives, but the elements that trigger the body’s response to sweat are also what make our sweat smell differently at times. 

The difference

The human body has over 2-3 million eccrine sweat glands distributed over almost the entire body surface. The main function of the eccrine sweat gland is the control of body temperature (1). This is an important factor in heat-loss, either when the environment is hot or when you’re doing something physical that raises your temperature (2). This form of sweating is incredibly sensitive and precise, and it will increase or decrease in response to subtle changes in the environmental temperature (3). It’s much less smelly, if at all, compared to psychological sweat. 

Psychological sweating, also known as stress sweat, gets activated from things like anxiety and pain and doesn’t begin to occur in the body until teenage years. It’s due to apoeccrine sweat glands, which develop from eccrine sweat glands during puberty (1). This form of sweating can take place over the whole body, but is most present in your palms, face, and you guessed it, armpits. The increased sweat output from psychological factors, like anxiety and stress causes sweat that smells, as apoeccrine glands release a milky fluid when activated, which is odourless until combined with the bacteria on your skin (1).

What to do about psychological sweat

We can’t really change our natural bodily response to anxiety and stress, but we can tune into it to decrease the amount that we might trigger our apoeccrine sweat glands. 

  • Being mindful about what causes anxiety and stress for you can play a big role in reducing your psychological sweat. The best way to stay present and tune into your bodily responses is to journal, or even just quickly note down what’s triggering you each time your heart rate amplifies and your sweating increases. For example:
    • “Got a last minute meeting invite for today – I stressed about getting my work done before it.”
    • “I slept through my alarm and was late getting to my appointment. My stomach was in knots the whole drive there.”
    • “I had an exam today, enough said.”
  • Once you have a better idea of what causes anxiety and stress in your everyday, you can be better prepared to work with it. It’s not about avoiding these situations, but about being better equipped to deal with them. Meditation and deep breathing are specifically known to reduce moments of stress and anxiety, and regular practice can generate inner peace, satisfaction, and creativity (5).
  • Arming yourself with a little pre-planning also helps. When you know you’re going to have a stressful day, maybe you have a presentation or a first date, apply a stronger deodorant, like our Sandalwood and Bergamot. There is nothing that says you need one deodorant to manage all your needs. Our bodies have different needs every day, and your deodorants should serve those varying needs. You may not need an extra strength deodorant every day, but helping your body stay fresh smelling throughout that nerve wracking first date is where it comes in handy. And if it’s an easy Sunday of reading your favourite book on the patio or seeing a friend for brunch, then our happy medium strength Lemon Myrtle and Geranium free-from deodorant, or even our gentlest Detox Peppermint and Activated Charcoal is ready for the day. 

Deodorants featuring Copaiba such as the personalized Woodsy deodorant or the limited edition Holiday deodorants help combat psychological sweat with stress-reducing properties and by serving as a powerful reminder in your routine to take a deep breath and slow down.

Empower yourself with these techniques, and don’t let your sweat control you. 

References:

  1. Saga, Kenji. “Histochemical and Immunohistochemical Markers for Human Eccrine and Apocrine Sweat Glands: An Aid for Histopathologic Differentiation of Sweat Gland Tumors.” Journal of Investigative Dermatology Symposium Proceedings, Elsevier, 16 Dec. 2015, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022202X15528741.
  2. Kondo, Narihiko, et al. “Function of Human Eccrine Sweat Glands during Dynamic Exercise and Passive Heat Stress.” Journal of Applied Physiology, 1 May 2001, https://www.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/jappl.2001.90.5.1877.
  3. Robinson, Sid, and Aline H. Robinson. “Chemical Composition of Sweat.” Physiological Reviews, 1 Apr. 1954, https://www.physiology.org/doi/abs/10.1152/physrev.1954.34.2.202?journalCode=physrev.
  4. Harker, M. “Psychological Sweating: A Systematic Review Focused on Aetiology and Cutaneous Response.” Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, Karger Publishers, 20 Feb. 2013, https://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/346930.
  5. Coppola, et al. “Natural Stress Relief Meditation as a Tool for Reducing Anxiety and Increasing Self-Actualization.” Latest TOC RSS, Scientific Journal Publishers, 1 Jan. 1970, https://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/sbp/sbp/2009/00000037/00000003/art00003.

The holidays can bring so much joy. So much connection, conversation over dinner, and happy moments. And there can be a lot of stress and anxiety mixed in there as well. We’re making sure you’re covered and smelling fresh with these two beautiful limited edition winter scents. 

Our Winter Spice features that distinct warm holiday smell with hints of cinnamon, sweet orange, and cloves. It’s like all your best holiday memories of warm drinks by the fire, wrapped up into one free-from deodorant. 

Winter Mint gives you that invigoratingly fresh feeling with our special use of Japanese peppermint. The high concentration of menthol gives this free-from deodorant a winter wonderland scent. 

Both special edition scents feature copaiba oil, giving them natural anti-inflammatory properties. And because copaiba oil’s scent has a direct effect on the mood, the aromatherapy aspects will aid to reduce any holiday stress levels this year. Like all our products, these deodorants are safe and free-from toxins. Their aluminum-free qualities safely neutralize underarm odour by using botanicals and scientifically validated ingredients of the highest quality.

It’s the season of giving, so treat yourself and a loved one to these two holiday scents, available in a bundle.

 

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Benefits of Copaiba Oil when used in Free-From Deodorant

 

What is Copaiba Oil?

A powerfully relaxing essential oil, Copaiba comes from a fragrant, large tropical tree native to South America. Traditionally used since the 19th century as a healing and anti-inflammatory agent in Brazilian folk medicine, its pleasant and spicy aroma can be found in our Personalized Woodsy deodorant and limited Edition Holiday scents.

The Science

In recent years, several studies suggest a broad spectrum of benefits from Copaiba oil, including antimicrobial (1) and anxiety reducing tendencies (2). Copaiba oil’s main component is beta-caryophyllene (BCP), which is known as a cannabinoid (3). Let’s get technical for a second: 

  • Cannabinoid refers to any compound that triggers your endocannabinoid system (ECS) by activating its receptors (4). The ECS plays an important role in regulating many functions within your body, including the inflammatory system, immune function, sleep, and hormones. 
  • These endocannabinoids activate your cannabinoid receptors—cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) and cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2). Copaiba oil is a CB2.

Beta-caryophyllene directly activates your CB2 receptor. BCP is also commonly found in CBD oil, and while Copaiba and CBD oil have similar benefits, at this time scientists are able to collect more reliable information about dosage and effects with BCP’s in Copaiba oil than with CBD.

The Benefits 

Because of the effects of BCP on the mood, just smelling Copaiba oil after a long and stressful day can reduce feelings of anxiety. For this reason, Copaiba oil is often used in aromatherapy. The combination of the woody scent and its gentle effects on your hormones can improve your day immediately.

Studies have even found  that low concentrations of Copaiba oil are able to inhibit bacterial growth (5), which makes it the perfect addition to your deodorant routine. Using Copaiba oil topically can significantly speed up any healing processes and protect the area from future infections.

You can feel relaxed and protected with Copaiba oil, found in our Personalized Woodsy deodorant and limited Edition Holiday scents.

References:

  1. Santos, Adriana O., et al. “Effect of Brazilian Copaiba Oils on Leishmania Amazonensis.” Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Elsevier, 15 Aug. 2008, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378874108004480.
  2. Kobayashi, Cristine. “Pharmacological Evaluation of Copaifera Multijuga Oil in Rats.” Taylor & Francis, https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.3109/13880209.2010.515595.
  3. Bahr, Tyler, et al. “Effects of a Massage-like Essential Oil Application Procedure Using Copaiba and Deep Blue Oils in Individuals with Hand Arthritis.” Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, Churchill Livingstone, 10 Oct. 2018, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1744388118304079.
  4. Bahr, Tyler, et al. “Effects of a Massage-like Essential Oil Application Procedure Using Copaiba and Deep Blue Oils in Individuals with Hand Arthritis.” Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, Churchill Livingstone, 10 Oct. 2018, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1744388118304079.
  5. Bahr, Tyler, et al. “Effects of a Massage-like Essential Oil Application Procedure Using Copaiba and Deep Blue Oils in Individuals with Hand Arthritis.” Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, Churchill Livingstone, 10 Oct. 2018, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1744388118304079.

Our philosophy: deodorant is not made to be one-size-fits all. Like medicine, like skin care, like body care – not only do our needs vary from one person to the next, they also vary day to day, moment to moment.

A guide to choosing your Nala deodorant:

As a baseline, all Nala deodorants are unisex, safe for all ages, and free-from aluminum, known carcinogens, and cruelty.

From there, each formula is unique. In addition to different scents, each Nala deodorant is a different strength to best suit individual needs.

A quick run-down of our deodorants to help guide the conversation of which deodorant may be best suited to your needs today.

Peppermint-Charcoal Detox Deodorant

The Peppermint-Charcoal deodorant is our most gentle formula, baking soda free. Recommended as a transition deodorant for those new to free-from deodorants, but also great everyday deodorant. Use alone, while detoxing, or in conjunction with one of the other two. The deodorant glides on clear and a little goes a long way. 

Peppermint has naturally cooling properties which can lower your internal temperaturemaking it a great deodorant for the summer time and warm weather. For hot sleepers, apply it before you go to sleep to wake up feeling tingly and refreshed.

Lemon-Myrtle Geranium Deodorant

A light lemony smell, this Lemon-Myrtle Deodorant is an excellent everyday deodorant. With a low percentage of baking soda, it is a more gentle formula than the Sandalwood and offers stronger protection than the Detox. 

Organic Lemon-Myrtle extract not only gives off fresh citrus vibes but it is also a powerful cleansing agent with antibacterial and antimicrobial properties2. Providing light, floral undertones, organic Geranium serves to fight bacteria3 and leave you feeling fresh.

Sandalwood & Bergamot Deodorant

Our strongest deodorant with the highest concentration of baking soda. Great for those days where you’re looking for a little bit of extra protection, or a good everyday deodorant for heavier sweaters. The Sandalwood & Bergamot is our best-seller among men but is enjoyed by all sexes.

Sandalwood has a ceremonial significance in addition to being a strong disinfectant. Its emollient (read: smoothing) properties remove harmful bacteria from the surface of the skin while also soothing any irritations or breakouts4.

Reach for this one on days of big meetings and long shifts. Our co-founder Ada wore this on her wedding day.

Personalized Deodorant

Looking for something a little more catered? Our Personalized Deodorants let you customize your deodorant with the scent and strength right for you. You even get your name printed right on the box to make it feel truly yours. Choose between Unscented, Eucalyptus, Citrus, or Woodsy scents along with an Extra Strength, Regular Strength, or Sensitive Skin formula. Create a deodorant fit for your specific and evolving needs.

Decision time

Take your own personal needs into consideration when purchasing your next deodorant. Start with a deodorant that calls you most, and adapt as your needs evolve. Feel free to rotate, mix them up, and use them in conjunction with each other (detox at night with a regular strength deodorant during the day, for example). It can require a shift in mindset, but learning about your own individual needs and preferences and how they vary will allow you to best serve your needs. You know you best, honour that.

Still stuck on where to start? Shoot us an e-mail at sayhello@nalacare.com, we’re happy to help.

References:

  1. Aishwarya Balakrishnan /J. Pharm. Sci. & Res. Vol. 7(7), 2015, 474-476. Therapeutic Uses of Peppermint –A Review
  2. Wilkinson, Jenny M., and Heather Cavanagh. “Antibacterial activity of essential oils from Australian native plants.” Phytotherapy Research 19.7 (2005): 643-646.
  3. Prabuseenivasan, Seenivasan, Manickkam Jayakumar, and Savarimuthu Ignacimuthu. “In vitro antibacterial activity of some plant essential oils.” BMC complementary and alternative medicine 6.1 (2006): 39.
  4. Burdock, George A., and Ioana G. Carabin. “Safety assessment of sandalwood oil (Santalum album L.).” Food and Chemical Toxicology 46.2 (2008): 421-432.

In terms of beauty, our society doesn’t look too kindly on sweat.

We may be beset by advertisements encouraging us to live the sweat life, but those ads are usually accompanied by images of pristine-looking men and women without so much as a touch of glow on their brows.

The beauty industry has even gone so far as to employ chemistry to physically block our sweat glands – in the form of antiperspirant – rather than allow a little moisture to escape our underarms.

We at Nala have a different approach to sweat.

We think sweating is nothing short of a small miracle.

The release of moisture from the pores of your skin is a highly effective, fine-tuned system with significant health benefits – and it’s time we started celebrating it.

How sweat works

Sweat is secreted through the pores of the skin via our sweat glands. We all have between 2 and 4 million sweat glands in our body, although the number doesn’t necessarily dictate how sweaty an individual will be: factors like gender, genetics, environmental conditions, age and fitness level/weight tend to determine sweat more than quantity of glands.

Eccrine sweat glands are spread throughout the body, and their chief role is to regulate the body’s temperature.

When our autonomic nervous system (aka our involuntary body responses) experiences a rise in body temperature, it signals the eccrine glands to emit a mix of water, sodium, and other trace materials in the form of sweat. This sweat then cools to the temperature of the air outside the body, and helps to drop our internal temperature.

This automatic reaction is easiest to notice on a cool day if you’ve been exercising – as soon as you stop moving your sweat cools quickly, as does your overall body temp (sometimes to your detriment). Still, how cool is it that our body intrinsically releases sweat in order to keep our temperature out of the danger zone?

The other kind of sweat gland is the apocrine gland, found only in the underarm and the groin.

While these glands respond to rising body temperature, they’re also triggered to release sweat when we experience anxiety, stress, and/or fluctuating hormones. Unlike eccrine glands, apocrine sweat glands release a bacteria that helps to break down sweat, but is also responsible for body odour.

Regardless of number or kind, our sweat is essential for maintaining a healthy body temperature range.

But that’s not all.

Detoxification

The detoxification, or “detoxing” of our bodies is still an incredibly important process (albeit one that’s often misrepresented).

Our sweat is an essential form of natural bodily detox, which is why practices like steaming, saunas and sweat lodges have existed for centuries.

We’d like to clear a few things up for you, though.

First, our body has another finely tuned system that mostly manages the toxins that enter our bodies: between our liver and kidneys, most of the harmful substances we ingest or absorb are processed, contained and expelled.

Problems start to arise, however, when our bodies are overwhelmed by toxins and the liver and kidneys can no longer process the load. When this happens, excess toxins are stored in our fat, and, from there, secreted through our sweat glands.

The most important thing you can do for detoxification is to support your vital organs by eating well, minimizing drug and alcohol intake, and avoiding chemically-laden cleaning and cosmetic products.

However, given the sheer volume of environmental toxins we come into contact with daily, regular sweating due to exercise or saunas is a great way to detoxify, provided you’re staying hydrated.

Rather than mortification at your sweat, try reminding yourself that sweat is a sign your body is monitoring itself, ensuring all systems are go, and flushing harmful substances.

Awesome.

Everything in moderation

Allow us to restate our position: sweating is awesome, in moderation.

About 3% of the population of North America suffers from a condition called Hyperhydrosis, or excessive sweating.

We’re not talking about the occasional embarrassing sweat stain, either: people with severe hyperhydrosis can have trouble doing everyday things like gripping a steering wheel or writing with a pen, if the condition is localized to their palms (for instance).

If you think your sweating has gone well beyond what’s healthy, talk to a healthcare professional.

If you contend with the occasional sweat stain, rejoice! Your body is functioning beautifully.