So, in case the title didn’t give it away, today’s post is on an interesting topic, but hear me out before judging!
I get a lot of questions from people who try my homemade deodorant and have issues with rashes or odor or excessive sweat. I’ve found that magnesium spray deodorant can be a good alternative, but wanted to find a way to help those who were still having trouble.
After much experimentation, research, and help from a few brave friends, I found an unusual solution that works really well!
Detoxifying Armpits: Yes, It’s a Thing
It occurred to me as I sat researching the sebaceous glands one night with a bentonite clay face mask on that perhaps my face mask was the answer to the armpit question as well.
After all, I’d used bentonite clay to detox my hair before (and use it in my shampoo now) and in natural detox baths and it worked incredibly well… perhaps it would speed up the adjustment period to natural deodorant as well.
Why detox your armpits at all? Why not just keep using regular deodorant and avoid the whole problem? Glad you asked…
Conventional deodorants and antiperspirants contain a variety of chemicals and additives. It takes something unnatural to block the body’s natural ability to sweat, and the chemical list in some deodorants is impressive:
- Aluminum– Some evidence links aluminum to cancer and Alzheimer’s Disease
- Phthalates– Endocrine disruptors often also found in plastic that can cause hormone imbalance and even infertility (especially in men)
- Propylene glycol– Common name: antifreeze. It is a hotly debated additive in personal care products but the Environmental Working Group reports that it carries a moderate risk of immunotoxicity and allergies
- Formaldehyde- A known carcinogen… guess it kills the germs though
- Parabens- Another hormone disruptor and parabens have been found in biopsied tissue with breast cancer
- Antibacterial Substances- I talked about these before but they are endocrine disruptors and can negatively affect the immune system
Why is this a big deal? Ever gotten sick and had a lump in your neck or armpit? That is a lymph node and they are a major part of your immune system. Putting endocrine disruption chemicals directly on top of them is a great way to screw up your hormones and suppress immune function.
The skin is the body’s largest organ and what touches our skin can easily enter our bloodstream. With skyrocketing rates of breast cancer, it would seem prudent to avoid these chemicals until further research is done.
A great advantage to doing an armpit detox, besides that it helps speed up the natural deodorant adjustment period, is that it might help pull some of these chemicals out of the skin and tissue of the armpits. This can be especially helpful after years of conventional deodorant use.
Does Armpit Detoxification Work?
I tried it personally and had several friends who hadn’t yet made the switch to natural deodorant try it as well and then switch. Here are the results:
- We all noticed less odor, even without wearing any deodorant afterward
- Nobody who tried the detox noticed a rash when using the natural deodorant
- All but one person said they noticed less sweat
- Everyone said they would recommend it to a friend
Completely un-scientific trial but practically applicable and the results seem promising!
How to Detox Your Arm Pits
Don’t you love when something is so easy that it almost doesn’t need instructions?
You might already have the ingredients on hand. You’ll just need bentonite clay, apple cider vinegar, and water.
Detoxifying Armpit Clay Mask Recipe
- Mix all of the ingredients in a glass bowl (do not use metal!) with a wooden or non-metal spoon until about the consistency of sour cream.
- Spread in an even layer over the armpits and allow to sit for 5-20 minutes. I suggest starting slowly and working up to a longer period of time once you see how your body adjust. If it hurts at all, remove immediately.
- This may cause some redness as it will increase blood flow to the area, but it will go away quickly.
- Wash off in the shower or with a warm, wet washcloth.
- Repeat daily or as needed until underarm odor goes away and natural deodorant is non-irritating.
Additional Armpit Tricks to Try
If you are still struggling with odor or have itching or lumps in your armpits, consider dry brushing, which is said to help improve lymph circulation.
Also, make sure to drink a lot of water any time you stimulate lymph flow (dry brushing, massage, detox, etc) to help flush the body and avoid getting dehydrated.
Transitioning to Natural Deodorant
After detoxifying, keep armpits functioning properly by letting them sweat! I know this isn’t the most socially acceptable (or the most pleasant at times), but I find that I experience less sweat the longer I use a natural approach.
DIY Armpit Care
If you have some coconut oil, shea butter, and a few essential oils on hand, you can probably make your own natural deodorant! It costs a lot less than natural deodorant in the store and works just as well. I’ve been experimenting with recipes for years and perfected a few different kinds:
- How to Make Natural Deodorant (your basic recipe, customize the scent)
- Natural Deodorant for Men: Best Kinds and How to Make Your Own
- Spray Deodorant Recipe (just a preference thing as to how it’s applied)
- How to Make a Probiotic Deodorant Bar (Easy Recipe)
I make up several jars (or bars) at a time since they keep for up to a year or more. That way I always have some on hand. These are great too for teens who are just starting out on the journey!
Where to Buy Deodorant
I’ve also found my favorite brands to buy over the years (because life gets busy!). Here are our favorites:
- Crunchy Betty’s Kokomo Cream – This deodorant has been my standby for years. It smells lightly tropical and reminds me of vacation and the beach!
- Schmidt’s (any scent, but this one is great) – goes on smooth, and slightly more affordable than other natural options
- Real Purity – One of our staff who is sensitive to baking soda swears by this (non-baking soda) brand off Amazon (or often their site is cheaper here.)
That’s it! Enjoy your new stink-free armpits!
This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Ann Shippy, who is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and a certified Functional Medicine physician with a thriving practice in Austin, Texas. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.
Your turn. Ready to try an armpit detox? Think it’s too weird? Share below!