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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?

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Before she was Amira Unplugged, rapper, singer, and a Becoming a Popstar contestant on MTV, she was Amira Daughtery, a twenty-five year-old Georgian, with aspirations of becoming a lawyer. “I thought my career path was going to lead me to law because that’s the way I thought I would help people,” Amira tells xoNecole. “[But] I always came back to music.”

A music lover since childhood, Amira grew up in an artistic household where passion for music was emphasized. “My dad has always been my huge inspiration for music because he’s a musician himself and is so passionate about the history of music.” Amira’s also dealt with deafness in one ear since she was a toddler, a condition which she says only makes her more “intentional” about the music she makes, to ensure that what she hears inside her head can translate the way she wants it to for audiences.

“The loss of hearing means a person can’t experience music in the conventional way,” she says. “I’ve always responded to bigger, bolder anthemic songs because I can feel them [the vibrations] in my body, and I want to be sure my music does this for deaf/HOH people and everyone.”

A Black woman wearing a black hijab and black and gold dress stands in between two men who are both wearing black pants and colorful jackets and necklaces

Amira Unplugged and other contestants on Becoming a Popstar

Amira Unplugged / MTV

In order to lift people’s spirits at the beginning of the pandemic, Amira began posting videos on TikTok of herself singing and using sign language so her music could reach her deaf fans as well. She was surprised by how quickly she was able to amass a large audience. It was through her videos that she caught the attention of a talent scout for MTV’s new music competition show for rising TikTok singers, Becoming a Popstar. After a three-month process, Amira was one of those picked to be a contestant on the show.

Becoming a Popstar, as Amira describes, is different from other music competition shows we’ve all come to know over the years. “Well, first of all, it’s all original music. There’s not a single cover,” she says. “We have to write these songs in like a day or two and then meet with our producers, meet with our directors. Every week, we are producing a full project for people to vote on and decide if they’d listen to it on the radio.”

To make sure her deaf/HOH audiences can feel her songs, she makes sure to “add more bass, guitar, and violin in unique patterns.” She also incorporates “higher pitch sounds with like chimes, bells, and piccolo,” because, she says, they’re easier to feel. “But it’s less about the kind of instrument and more about how I arrange the pattern of the song. Everything I do is to create an atmosphere, a sensation, to make my music a multi-sensory experience.”

She says that working alongside the judges–pop stars Joe Jonas and Becky G, and choreographer Sean Bankhead – has helped expand her artistry. “Joe was really more about the vocal quality and the timber and Becky was really about the passion of [the song] and being convinced this was something you believed in,” she says. “And what was really great about [our choreographer] Sean is that obviously he’s a choreographer to the stars – Lil Nas X, Normani – but he didn’t only focus on choreo, he focused on stage presence, he focused on the overall message of the song. And I think all those critiques week to week helped us hone in on what we wanted to be saying with our next song.”

As her star rises, it’s been both her Muslim faith and her friends, whom she calls “The Glasses Gang” (“because none of us can see!”), that continue to ground her. “The Muslim and the Muslima community have really gone hard [supporting me] and all these people have come together and I truly appreciate them,” Amira says. “I have just been flooded with DMs and emails and texts from [young muslim kids] people who have just been so inspired,” she says. “People who have said they have never seen anything like this, that I embody a lot of the style that they wanted to see and that the message hit them, which is really the most important thing to me.”

A Black woman wears a long, salmon pink hijab, black outfit and pink boots, smiling down at the camera with her arm outstretched to it.

Amira Unplugged

Amira Unplugged / MTV

Throughout the show’s production, she was able to continue to uphold her faith practices with the help of the crew, such as making sure her food was halal, having time to pray, dressing modestly, and working with female choreographers. “If people can accept this, can learn, and can grow, and bring more people into the fold of this industry, then I’m making a real difference,” she says.

Though she didn’t win the competition, this is only the beginning for Amira. Whether it’s on Becoming a Popstar or her videos online, Amira has made it clear she has no plans on going anywhere but up. “I’m so excited that I’ve gotten this opportunity because this is really, truly what I think I’m meant to do.”

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