Sweat is a wonderful thing. I know, you probably think I am crazy. It is wet, makes stains in the worst places, and can cause a pungent odor. But even though we do a lot to avoid or maintain it, sweat is essential for a healthy body (and a healthy microbiome). The most effective sweat factory can be found in our armpits, hence why many of us apply deodorant daily.
Traditional deodorants contain non-natural ingredients that can mess with the amazing things your body can do for you. That’s why I tell my crunchy mamas to try an armpit detox. If you use traditional deodorant, keep reading, and I’ll tell you all the great reasons why you should try this detox and switch to a natural deodorant.
7 Reasons You Need an Armpit Detox
Clogged Pores – There are so many traditional deodorants that are aluminum-based. And yes, they work. They stop sweat, thus helping stave off the natural body odor that accompanies sweat. The downside is that this can clog your armpit pores over time. Dirt, sweat, and bacteria can accumulate in your no-sweat zone, leading to inflammation and irritation. Nobody, I repeat, nobody wants itchy pits.
Parabens – Some traditional deodorants contain parabens, which can be hormone disruptors. So, while you’re really just trying to smell great and reduce sweat stains, you could be messing with your hormones in the process.
Toxin Buildup – When you use traditional deodorants or antiperspirants, you’re inhibiting sweating in your armpits. This means the toxins released as we sweat must wait and find a new exit strategy. This could lead to toxin buildup. Granted, we sweat all over, including our face, back, legs, and even our feet. So, there are other ways our body can eliminate toxins through perspiration; however, why would you want to close off any of those pathways?
Propylene Glycol – This ingredient can not only irritate your skin, but it can also mess with your central nervous system if it is absorbed into the skin (as most skincare products are). Yikes!
Disrupts the Microbiome – When you forget to apply traditional deodorant or are simply in between brands, you may notice your armpits smell more fragrant than usual. (And not in a good way.) This is because traditional deodorants can alter the bacteria makeup of your armpit, causing an increase of bacteria when you lapse in the application.
You are detoxing other areas of your life – Whether you’re undergoing a sugar detox or encouraging your family to remove processed foods from your diet, an armpit detox can fit right into a natural and healthy lifestyle. This is especially true if you are looking to switch to a natural, chemical-free deodorant.
You want more control over the products you use – Life is chaotic, and sometimes, we’re all just craving a little control. We may not be able to control the number of UV rays the sun emits each day, but we can wear sunblock and proper clothing to reduce our exposure. The same can be true for deodorant. Rather than take the chance on a traditional product, you can make your own deodorant after completing an armpit detox. It’s like making your own baby food. You know exactly what ingredients you’re using.
If you do not want to make your own deodorant, be very careful reading the ingredient list on the deodorant you buy. I personally buy this one because it is clean, it works, and there is no aluminum clogging up my pits (and my brain!) — coconut is my favorite scent! The other bonus to that brand is: you buy the shell once, then all you need to buy is refills moving forward!
How to Do an Armpit Detox
Curious? Want to know how I did it? Ready to kickstart an armpit detox DIY? I’ve got you!
The first thing you’ll need to do is set aside time for the armpit detox to take place. Now, this doesn’t mean you have to lay in bed or choose a timeframe where you are not engaging in an activity. This detox isn’t exhausting. It just may be a bit, uh, fragrant at first. Why is that? Well, you have to chuck your traditional deodorant and go cold turkey…for a few weeks.
Yeah, no deodorant for a few weeks. You will want to pay extra attention to your pits by washing thoroughly and daily to clean out all the bacteria and toxins you are sweating out that are no longer blocked by aluminum. During this detox phase, you will probably sweat more and smell more. But trust me, it is worth it!
While you’re detoxing, it is time to determine what your natural deodorant of choice will be. There are many different options for DIY deodorants out there. Personally, I love how this non-toxic citrus homemade deodorant makes me smell and feel. It is so easy to make! Or grab this one that I mentioned above! Every microbiome is different, so be sure to have a few natural options on hand to see what works best for you.
Armpit Detox Recipe
After the homestretch of no deodorant in your armpit zone, there is another level of detox you can try if you feel up for it. Some women like to use a bentonite clay mask on the armpits to boost the detoxing effects. All you need is a tablespoon of paraben-free bentonite clay, two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar, water, and if you want, you can grab some aloe vera spray for after you clean the mask from your armpit.
- Mix the bentonite clay and apple cider vinegar using a wooden or plastic spoon since metal spoons can affect the properties of the bentonite clay.
- Add water to get your desired consistency.
- Gently apply to your under-arm area.
- Leave on for about five minutes and wash off with warm water.
- You can do this about two to three times a week during your armpit detox.
Don’t have access to bentonite clay? Using a charcoal face mask can also yield similar results, I use this in a pinch and also bring it traveling.
Additional Armpit Hacks
Want to stimulate the natural blood flow of your lymphatic system? Try dry brushing daily! Using a body brush, gently brush your underarms a few times before taking a shower or bath. This stimulates blood flow and keeps things moving along. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water whether you dry brush or not!
If you find your skin isn’t a fan of baking soda in DIY natural deodorant, you can use coconut oil or arrowroot powder, among many other substitutes.
The Fine Print An armpit detox is not something you absolutely need to try. Nor will it stop you from sweating (because we want to sweat, sweat is good). However, if you are ready to switch from traditional deodorant to a natural or DIY natural option, an armpit detox is a great way to make that transition go smoothly.