If your Instagram feed has been full of armpit selfies lately, don’t be surprised. Armpit detoxing has become the latest wellness trend to gain traction on social media in the last year or so. You may have noticed people slathering black clay on their pits online (and if not, you’re following the wrong people). Armpit detoxes are about ridding the body of the toxins that build up in the sweat glands after a period of using traditional antiperspirants. Conventional deodorant is known for masking odor and alleviating sweat, but what it really does is clog our sweat ducts, therefore not giving sweat (or odor) a form of release. Read on to learn all about armpit detoxing and why it might be worth giving a try.
This is how deodorant works: it corks up the sweat, therefore stopping the pits from sweating and smelling.
Without anywhere to go, the sweat glands clog. To make matters worse, conventional antiperspirants often contain nasty ingredients like aluminum, fragrance, and phthalates. The thought behind armpit detoxing is to use a clay-based mask to detox the area of impurities and toxins left behind by deodorant and to unclog the blocked pores.
The Deal with Aluminum
The jury is still out on aluminum components in deodorant. While the National Cancer Institute maintains that there is no link between antiperspirants and breast cancer, some studies suggest aluminum is a hormone disruptor. Chemicals or components that classify as hormone disruptors usually connote altered estrogen levels in women, which is thought to potentially promote the growth of cancerous cells. Some studies also suggest a link between aluminum absorption and Alzheimer’s.
The Other Unsavory Things in Deodorant
Aluminum isn’t the only deodorant toxin that a detoxes flush out. Some conventional deodorants contain phthalates, known as endocrine disruptors that cause hormone imbalance and even infertility; propylene glycol, a controversial additive also known as antifreeze that is classified as a moderate risk of immunotoxicity and allergies; formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, AKA substance linked to cancer; parabens, more hormone disruptors that are linked to the development of breast cancer; and other antibacterial substances that are also endocrine disruptors that weaken the immune system.
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The Point of Armpit Detoxing
Detoxing any area of the body with bentonite clay draws out impurities and other toxins. Because society normalizes using traditional, aluminum-based deodorant daily, our pits often need a break. Detoxing rids the area of build-up, allowing deodorant to work more effectively.
The other reason for armpit detoxing is to transition the body to an all-natural deodorant. Botanical-based deodorants are not made of synthetic ingredients but have a somewhat negative reputation when it comes to effectiveness. While it’s true all-natural deodorants may not be the most potent odor- or sweat-blockers, the organic ingredients generally make them healthier. Plus, all-natural deodorants don’t clog the ducts the way conventional antiperspirants do. Because they’re not as strong, armpit detoxing prepares the body for all-natural products.
How Armpit Detoxing Works
Armpit detoxing calls for two main ingredients: calcium bentonite clay and apple cider vinegar. Bentonite clay forms when volcanic ash ages over time. It absorbs negatively charged ions, which makes it so effective at removing toxins. Bentonite clay also improves digestion, boosts immunity, and clears acne and other skin issues. As the clay dries, it pulls out debris from the skin.
Apple cider vinegar works to draw out toxins, too. It has anti-fungal properties that kill the odor-causing bacteria and other pathogens that reside in your pits.
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How to Make an Armpit Detoxing Mask
Mix one tablespoon of bentonite clay with one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and one teaspoon of water in a glass bowl. You cannot use a metal bowl for this DIY mask, nor a metal spoon. Spread evenly across the armpit area. Allow it to sit for 5 to 20 minutes. If it is your first time, keep it on the lower end to make sure the mixture does not irritate your skin. Some redness is normal after the mask, as it increases blood flow to the area. Wash off with a warm, wet cloth. For best results, detox once or twice a week.