For the past 35 years, my armpits never met a white shirt they didn’t stain yellow, then brown. What a conundrum for a guy who loves the look of a casual, white t-shirt. I spent years looking for a remedy. I purchased bleach, Oxy-clean, and white vinegar, hoping to reclaim some of my favorite tops. I even read a blog entry that recommended lining my pits with…MAXI-PADS. (No joke.) Nothing worked. Yellow pit stains are stubborn and strong, like most of the Russian women who live in my West Hollywood apartment building. Turns out, when looking for a solution to my problem, I had been asking the wrong question. The mystery isn’t in how to LIFT a pit stain. Once the rust-colored stains hit your pits, your shirt is a goner. The question I SHOULD have asked is, “How do I PREVENT the blemishes?”
I had wrongfully assumed I had armpit stains because I was inherently disgusting. Now I know my brown-spitting pits had nothing to do with a genetic flaw. Note the past tense: HAD. I say “had” because I have won the war. I know longer suffer from those awful tea-stained eyesores.
Here’s what caused them: antiperspirant. I remember reading something years ago about the aluminum in antiperspirant being the culprit but I never paid the explanation much mind. See, I never really understood the difference between deodorant and antiperspirant. I just assumed they were synonyms. But they aren’t! Deodorants mask the ripe smell you get as the day progresses and you sweat. Antiperspirants significantly inhibit sweat, which, in turn, reduces the smell of underarm funk. Many companies sell 2-in-1 deodorants AND antiperspirants; but you can also purchase straight-up deodorant without an antiperspirant.
Six months ago, I stopped using the same iteration of Right Guard antiperspirant that I had been swathing onto my skin for decades; and I started using Old Spice: Swagger. The day I stopped using antiperspirant is the same day I never saw another yellow or brown pit stain. I can buy white shirts again! And I have! Tons of them! And I don’t have to throw them away after a month. Best of all, I don’t have to pretend like my pits are menstruating just because I used Right Guard.