Armpits are the next big thing in the detoxing craze. Instead of drinking teas or doing a cleanse, people are mixing up masks and slathering them under their arms in the name of good health and sweet smells.
Armpit detoxification can help the body rid itself of toxins that have built up on the skin. It may also help to reduce the capacity of sweat glands and the amount of odor they produce.
Moreover, some research indicates armpit detox can boost the immune system and decrease cancer risk. Conventional deodorants and antiperspirants are absorbed through the skin, and after many years of using these products, a lot of chemical residues have built up on a person’s skin.
This is where an armpit detox can help. When someone stops using chemical deodorants and antiperspirants, toxins start to leave the body, resulting in an armpit detox.Fast facts on armpit detox:
- The armpits are the body’s entry and exit points.
- Deodorants are designed to mask the smell of excess bacteria from sweating.
- Antiperspirants are designed to reduce sweating.
- The detox process may cause skin problems, excess sweating, and odor.
How to do an armpit detox
Armpit detox is relatively straightforward and involves 3 ingredients, some of which people may already have in their homes.
A simple armpit detox includes the following, according to research;
- 1 tablespoon bentonite clay
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (unfiltered works best)
- 1-2 tablespoons water
Mix all ingredients in a glass bowl with a non-metal utensil. The thickness should be similar to that of yogurt. Spread the mixture in an even layer under each armpit. Leave the mixture on for a few minutes for the first few times, then slowly increase the time to no longer than 20 minutes. Wash the mixture off the armpits with warm water.
If the armpits turn red, do not worry, as this is quite normal and harmless. However, if anyone experiences any other reactions to the clay, wash the mixture off immediately.
Repeat the detoxification daily until there is no odor in the armpits or until natural deodorants no longer irritate the skin.
People should be aware that natural deodorants may also contain some harmful chemicals. Some people wanting to use a natural product might consider making their own deodorants. Recipes are available on a variety of websites that promote natural remedies.
Does armpit detoxification work?
Whether an armpit detox works is dependant on the reason an individual has decided to try it:
Easier transition to a natural deodorant
People who switch over to natural odor-fighting alternatives tend to experience rashes, excessive sweating and smell while transitioning.
Individuals who have used standard deodorants and antiperspirants for years are likely to have produced excess bad bacteria in the armpit, which increases odor and causes more sweating.
Detox is thought to help get the bacteria back in balance resulting in a more natural smell. However, there is no evidence that an armpit detox would do this any more effectively than soap and water.
Removes sticky buildup in armpits
Antiperspirants and deodorants leave a sticky buildup under the armpits, which is hard to wash even with soap. Aluminum used in these products clogs pores under the arms. An armpit detox may help pull out some of the chemicals that have built up in the armpits.
An armpit detox might help get rid of the build-up; however, a soap and water scrub is likely to be just as good or better.
Minimize frequent illness or enlarged lymph nodes
Some websites claim that an armpit detox can pull “cancer-causing toxins” through the skin and away from the lymph nodes. This is not true. In this regard, an armpit detox will be no help.
A common reason for an armpit detox is to remove or at least minimize armpit odor. Because apple cider vinegar has some antibacterial properties, this claim may have some truth to it.
Sadly, however, this effect is not permanent.
Should we stop using deodorants?
There are plenty of reasons why some people decide to stop using deodorants and antiperspirants and consider an armpit detox; these include:
Breast cancer risk
Research undertaken over the past 15 years has indicated a possible association between the use of deodorants and antiperspirants and breast cancer.
One systematic review reported in the Central European Journal of Public Health recently attempted to estimate the potential risk.
The researchers were unable to find sufficient information to prove a possible link, however, but advocated the need for further study.
The studies that have looked for a connection between antiperspirants and deodorants and breast cancer have produced conflicting results. Because of this, it is probably best for women with an increased risk for breast cancer to stop using these products altogether or use them sparingly.
Deodorants and antiperspirants contain aluminum and chemicals called parabens. Putting these under the arms where they can be easily absorbed into the bloodstream may be harmful to health.
The armpits are also access points to the lymph nodes and the chemicals from odor-fighting products may affect the body’s immune system responses.
Several ingredients found in deodorants can cause skin irritations and allergic reactions. Symptoms of reactions include redness and burning skin. Ingredients that might be responsible for skin irritation include parabens, aluminum, silica, talc, and propylene glycol.
Reports by health experts found that up to 23 percent of women and 13.8 percent of men experience adverse reactions to a personal care product, with deodorants and antiperspirants among the most common.
Sweat is almost odorless. The smell is caused by bacteria that break down sweat on the skin. Deodorants and antiperspirants only contain small amounts of antibacterial compounds to deal with sweat and odor, so any benefit is minimal.
The body naturally detoxes and removes harmful chemicals through the liver, kidneys, and elimination (urination, defecation, and sweating). Applying clay or vinegar to the skin won’t draw toxins out of the body or clear out the lymph nodes.
Instead, a simple wash with a gentle soap and water will remove any of the antiperspirant or deodorant on your skin and help control odor.
If you are worried about the ingredients in conventional deodorants, there are plenty of natural deodorants on the market. Just be careful to spot test on the inside of your arm and keep an eye out for any sensitivity you may have.
Meanwhile, manufacturers of deodorants and antiperspirants insist sweat protection is necessary to rid people of sweat but most people do not smell as bad as they think they do; in fact, some people have a gene which means they do not sweat at all.