Even though you probably read the title of this and thought to yourself, "Why would I waste even five minutes of my precious time reading about freakin' armpits?", the fact that you clicked on this at all means that you must be, at least, a little bit intrigued. The thing about our armpits is they are more than merely the underbelly of our shoulders. Within each of them, there is two clumps of 20 lymph nodes; this is important to know because lymph nodes are what help our bodies to flush out toxins so that our immune system can stay healthy and strong. If you've ever wondered why you sweat more under there or even why the sweat smells different than the kind that comes from the rest of your body, it's basically because 1) armpits contain apocrine glands which are prevalent wherever hair grows and 2) armpits are loaded with bacteria (some good, some not-so-good); when the bacteria meets up with our sweat, it creates something known as thioalcohols. Believe it or not, it's the thioalcohols that can make some of our armpits smell like onions (or in men, old cheese).
Since our armpits house nodes that remove poisons from our system, that's already enough of a reason to want to detox your pits every now and then. But if you'd still like a few more deets on what you are removing from your armpits, along with how to go about getting rid of all of the gunk, sit tight for just a few more minutes. Something tells me that you'll be hyped to do a little detoxing as soon as you get home tonight.
What Should You Detox Your Armpits From?
You've probably heard or read somewhere that, while deodorant can keep the "onion stank" at bay, it's still not really a good look because it can block the very sweat (sweat that has bacteria in it) from coming out of your armpits; that leads to a build-up of toxins over time. Not only that, but some studies cite that the kind of deodorant that contains aluminum can increase your chances of getting breast cancer and Alzheimer's disease (Teen Vogue recently did an article on this. You can read it here.) Some health experts also believe that using deodorant can actually increase the amount of bacteria that your armpits tend to produce too. But, even if you know all of this and choose to glide deodorant on every day, the residue that it can leave behind is enough of a reason to strongly consider doing a little detoxing. There are a few reasons why.
The plastic that deodorant comes in typically contains phthalates; those can create hormonal imbalances in both men and women. Some other chemicals that deodorant often has in it includes propylene glycol (which is basically antifreeze), formaldehyde (it kills germs, but it also is a known carcinogen) and parabens (which is a hormone disruptor). A pile of these things can ultimately lead to health issues, if not straight-up health problems, if you're not careful.
What Are the Benefits of Detoxing Them?
As far as the specific benefits that come with detoxing your armpits, getting rid of all of those toxins and chemicals are already a pretty big incentive. Still, there are some other perks that come from doing it. Thanks to the ingredients that are in an armpit detox mask (which we'll get to in just a sec), detoxing your armpits can reduce odor (even when you don't have any deodorant on), help to prevent rashes from occurring (especially if you plan on transitioning over to a more natural kind of deodorant), and it can make natural deodorant more effective. All of these are good enough reasons to at least give armpit detoxing a try, don't you think?
What’s a Healthy, Cheap and Effective Way to Detox Your Armpits?
So, here's the really cool thing about armpit detoxing—it's cheap and easy to do. All you need is some bentonite clay (that you can easily find at a health store or on Amazon) and some apple cider vinegar (make sure that the "mother" is in it; Bragg is a great brand).
Basically, combine a tablespoon of bentonite clay with a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and 1 ½ teaspoon of distilled water. Mix all of the ingredients together in a glass bowl with the help of a non-metal spoon (metal makes the clay less potent). After getting out of the shower and drying off, apply the mask directly to your armpits and allow the mask to sit for 15-20 minutes. Then rinse thoroughly with warm water and apply a little coconut oil or sweet almond oil to your armpits in order to soothe them. If you do this once a week, you should notice significantly less odor after the second or third application.
Natural Ways to Care for Your Armpits
When it comes to actually detoxing your armpits, that's pretty much it in a nutshell. But if you'd like a few upkeep recommendations in order to keep your pits nice and healthy, they are as follows:
- Dry brush them at least once a week. This will help to keep itching and irritation down while also keeping the blood flowing smoothly to your armpit region.
- Use fresh razors. If you've got a razor in your tub that's been there since, Lord knows when, that is far too long. It's important to always remember that shaving creates microtears which means that dirty or dull razors can cause infection. And just how often should you toss your old razor and use a new one? Word on the street is if you've used a razor on your pits more than five times, it's time to get rid of that one and start anew.
- Stay hydrated. The more water that's flowing through your system, the less toxins your body—and armpits—will have.
- Let your armpits "breathe". The same way any other part of our body doesn't need to feel constantly "trapped" in our clothing, armpits are no exception. Breathable fabrics like organic cotton, bamboo and linen are always beneficial. So is coming home and walking around in nothing but a tank and some boy shorts or leggings.
- Make your own deodorant. You might be surprised by how effective DIY deodorant is. Plus, it's better for your body (you can get a few recipes here, here and here). So, how about doing a little armpit pampering now?
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