Sometimes, a good detox is just what you need—and armpits are the next detox trend. If you want to learn how to detox your armpits, we tell you everything you need to know.
You’ve relaxed with a detox bath, tried red algae ionithermie, and even detoxified your face using the ancient Chinese practice of Gua Sha. Now, you may be wondering where to turn your attention for your next detox fix. Well, all trends point to your armpits! Yep—you read that right. Armpit detoxes are the next frontier in the quest to rid our bodies of harmful toxins.
Specifically, armpit detoxes are said to make it quicker and easier to transition from conventional to chemical-free deodorant. But before we get into the details of how to detox armpits, we cover why you should use natural deodorant in the first place.
Making the Switch: Natural vs. Conventional Deodorant
If you’re reading this article, you likely made (or are thinking about making) the switch to natural deodorant. Maybe you want to rid your armpits from toxins used in conventional deodorants and antiperspirants—and you’re ready to make the necessary changes to protect your body. That’s fantastic! But if you’re still on the fence, here’s why natural deodorant is the right choice for many health-conscious perspirers.
Chemicals and Carcinogens, Oh My!
Conventional deodorants and antiperspirants commonly include a synthetic smorgasbord of chemicals that are associated with sore throats, cancer, and more, depending on exposure levels and individual sensitivities. Antiperspirants, which block sweat rather than masking odor, also contain aluminum and other additives to clog pores and freeze your body’s natural capability to sweat.
Below are some of the most common chemicals in conventional deodorants and their associated health risks.
- Aluminum. This is used in antiperspirants to cork your pores and prevent sweating (a natural and important function of your skin!). While the aluminum levels in antiperspirant products are often quite small, high exposure to the metal is linked to neurotoxicity, breast cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease.
- Parabens. This group of preservatives has been widely used in cosmetics and hygiene products for about a century. With a track record like that, you’d think they are completely harmless, but the Environmental Working Group has reviewed studies showing that parabens can cause endocrine disruption and reproductive harm in certain circumstances.
- Formaldehyde. This is a volatile organic compound and known carcinogen that can cause irritation of the skin, eyes, nose, and throat, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
- Phthalates. Like parabens, phthalates may be capable of disrupting hormones such as testosterone and thyroid hormones.
- Propylene glycol. This chemical can irritate skin and, when used in very high doses, potentially cause damage to your central nervous system.
While the scientific community doesn’t yet agree how or to what degree these chemicals affect human health when used in deodorant or antiperspirant specifically, the potential risks associated with them make an excellent case for switching to an alternative option like our natural spray deodorant. It contains no harsh chemicals, fragrances, or parabens for your peace of mind.
If you aren’t convinced yet, there’s more.
Hey, That’s My Microbiome!
Conventional antiperspirant or deodorant can alter the bacterial makeup of your armpits, making them naturally stinkier if you stop using the product. When you do, your natural microbiome reconstitutes itself over time and is likely why you’re more pungent as your body adjusts to the absence of conventional deodorant.
According to Healthline, one study showed that people who wore deodorant without antiperspirant ingredients like aluminum had more Staphylococci bacteria, and those who wore nothing at all had more Corynebacterium. On the contrary, when those who wore nothing started using deodorants with sweat-blocking ingredients, Staphylococci numbers decreased on the surface of their armpits.
Between risking harm from synthetic ingredients and changing your skin’s natural microbiome, canceling conventional deodorant is starting to sound like a pretty good idea. There’s only one catch—the particularly smelly adjustment period we mentioned above.
What Is an Armpit Detox?
An armpit detox mask is a clay mask for your armpits that is used to quicken the smelly transition period to natural deodorant. It features all sorts of natural goodies like bentonite clay, apple cider vinegar, and any accouterments you fancy. Purported benefits include purging chemicals from your body, restoring your bacterial balance to your armpits, and recovering proper use of your sweat glands (if the outgoing product is an antiperspirant).
It’s natural to want this transition to be over as quickly and pleasantly as possible. Your friends, family, coworkers—maybe even your neighbors—want that, too. But does it really help?
Is It Effective to Detox Your Armpits?
Yes and no. While an armpit detox clay mask won’t do serious harm, there isn’t anything you can do to release toxins through your armpits (or any other part of your skin). If any deodorant chemicals found their way into your bloodstream (the scientific community isn’t sure this is possible), you can trust your internal organs to take care of them for you. Specifically, the liver, kidneys, intestines, and lymph system are experts at filtering out toxins that enter the body. Your body will adjust to your natural deodorant on its own terms.
While some say the period of increased odor is from toxins leaving your body through sweat, it is more likely caused by the imbalance of bacteria in your skin microbiome and will normalize over time.
How Long Will It Take
The good news is that proactive intervention isn’t necessary to find equilibrium with a natural deodorant, because your body will detoxify itself as needed. Everyone’s body is different and will detox in due time at their own pace. But If we had to put a number on it, you might experience increased sweat and smell lasting from several weeks to a couple of months.
Be patient and give your body credit—the extra smell means your body is working hard to restore its natural microbiome and level out sweat output. This is all part of the natural process your body undergoes when adjusting to a new skincare product.
Armpit Detox Benefits
That’s not to say that armpit detox masks have no place in your skincare routine. While they can’t pull toxins out through your pores, they do proffer benefits on the surface of your underarm skin.
One main ingredient in armpit detox masks, apple cider vinegar can help shift the skin microbiome by neutralizing odor-causing bacteria. Bentonite clay, another key ingredient in armpit detoxing, has amazing metal-binding properties that help to dispose of aluminum that is sitting on top of your skin.
Other ingredients are often added for extra benefits, like soothing coconut oil to moisturize parched pits that have seen too much conventional deodorant and activated charcoal, which is no stranger to all types of detoxes thanks to its ability to attract gunk from pores.
When it comes to detoxifying your body, nature has your back—and in this case—your armpits. But an armpit detox mask can make the process more bearable for you and your loved ones. If you want to dry one for yourself (and there is plenty of anecdotal evidence to say that it works), we show you how to detox armpits below.
Clay Mask Recipe to Detox Your Armpits
Some people praise armpit masks for reducing chemical buildup, neutralizing bad bacteria, and curbing foul odor. If you’d like to find out first hand, here’s how to make a DIY armpit detox mask at home using only common household ingredients.
What You’ll Need
- 1 Tablespoon bentonite clay
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 to 2 teaspoons water (depending on desired consistency)
- A medium-sized nonmetal bowl and nonmetal spoon for mixing
One purported benefit of an armpit detox mask is to soothe dry skin caused by antiperspirant use. However, the acidity that grants apple cider vinegar its bacteria-neutralizing powers can irritate some skin. Test in a small area before applying fully, and if you experience redness, irritation, or pain, wash off the mask immediately and cease use.
Additionally, bentonite clay is thought to have negative ions with metal-absorbing properties. You want this, as the school of thought is that the clay will absorb dirt and toxins (like aluminum) from your body by sticking to their molecules or ions. However, make sure to avoid any metal surfaces during preparation. Use a wooden or plastic spoon and bowl to handle it.
Mix all ingredients, forming a creamy paste. Start with one teaspoon of water and add more if the consistency is too thick or difficult to spread. Then, simply apply the paste to your underarms and allow it to sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Truly, the hardest part is holding your arms over your head while it dries! Finally, rinse it off thoroughly in the shower.
Tips and Tricks for Your Armpit Detox
If you’re determined to transition to natural deodorant no matter the olfactory cost—and you should be—there are more ways to make the process easier on your nose. None of them will shorten the timeframe or draw toxins out through your pits, but they may reduce the smell for yourself and those around you.
Drink More Water
This should go without saying for a wide variety of reasons, but make sure you drink enough water. It is the key to carrying nutrients to cells, excreting toxins, and replenishing your body’s moisture after a good sweat. In short, water is critical to every organ in your body, including the ones that are working hard to detoxify it!
Consider Your Diet
Some foods can actually alter your body odor. To make sure you’re not sabotaging your own armpit detox period, try eating a vegetarian diet and avoid onions and garlic by all means! What these common veggies do to your breath, they can do to your sweat. Yikes.
Dry Off Completely After a Bath or Shower
Harking back to grade-school biology, we know that bacteria love dark, damp places. It stands to reason, then, that you can minimize the odor-causing bacteria in your armpits by making it a less habitable environment for them! Eliminate moisture by drying off extra carefully after each bath or shower.
The choice is clear if you are concerned about the synthetic irritants that abound in conventional deodorants and antiperspirants. Switching to a natural deodorant can restore your skin’s unique and delicate microbiome while reducing exposure to potentially harmful ingredients.
We can’t recommend natural deodorant enough, but ultimately, an armpit detox mask won’t do much more than temporarily resolve foul body odors. And it certainly won’t draw out toxins through your dermal barrier or drain your lymph nodes. It’s best to leave those important jobs up to the experts—your liver, kidneys, and other detoxifying organs.
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