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When's The Last Time You Detoxed Your Armpits?

Isn't it high time your pits got a little TLC too?

Wellness

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?

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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?

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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?

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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

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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?

Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

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