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Detoxing Your Armpits: The How and Why

A while back, I wrote an article about why you should make the switch to all-natural deodorant. If you’re like me, you understand the risks of anti-perspirants as well as the benefits of natural deodorants. But another issue I ran into was creating an all-natural deodorant that worked.

My first recipe included baking soda, and it worked great for me. For some, including a friend of mine and my husband, though, the baking soda was just too irritating for the skin. Although the odor control was great, they both struggled with red, itchy (almost painful!) skin. Believe me when I say it wasn’t pleasant for either of them!

That led me to more experimenting to get rid of the baking soda altogether. Let me just say that next recipe stunk–pun intended. My husband and I both used the new recipe, which included NO baking soda, and we both found it essentially worthless. Within just an hour or two of applying, we were both pretty stinky to say the least.

My next attempt was a “meet in the middle” recipe. I used about half the baking soda of the original recipe. For both me and my husband, we found the odor control to be “meh” at best. It did okay for a few hours but didn’t last the day. Oddly enough, I also started to get some irritation with this recipe. It wasn’t terrible, but it was noticeable.

Next I tried a roll-on deodorant that used milk of magnesia, baking soda, arrowroot flour, and essential oils. This one was a disaster. Not only did it fail at odor control (despite people claiming they got 48 hours of zero odor!), but it irritated my skin terribly, and I felt like it never fully dried. I tried a similar roll-on with just milk of magnesia and essential oils as well. That one didn’t irritate my skin, but it also didn’t deodorize, and it again never felt dry.

Then, I started reading more and more about detoxing our armpits. At first, I thought it was useful just for folks that were getting the irritation, but I later learned it also helped for people using natural deodorants that found them to be less than effective. Luckily, I had all the necessary ingredients on hand, so I mixed up a small batch.

Ultimately, I switched back to my third recipe (the “meet in the middle” recipe) and incorporated a regular detox. I am happy to report I am now stink-free and irritation-free! For the first week, I used the detox paste daily before showering. Now, I use it once or twice a week. Before we get to that, though, let’s talk a bit more about why we detox our armpits.

Why You Should Detox Your Pits

If you find natural deodorants irritating or ineffective, a regular detox will help to balance you out and fix those problems. Even if you’re not having irritation and your natural deodorant is effective, though, a regular detox has LOTS of great benefits!

You’ll remember if you read my article on why you should switch to natural deodorant in the first place that conventional deodorants and anti-perspirants include a number of chemicals and artificial ingredients. For anti-perspirants especially, the ingredients literally block your sweat ducts, stopping your body from doing a very natural and necessary thing–sweating.

All of these different ingredients mess with the productivity of your lymph nodes, which can also inhibit your immune system. Additionally, many of the ingredients have been linked to various diseases and other medical concerns like Alzheimer’s, infertility, allergies, breast cancer, and (again) a weakened immune system.

A regular armpit detox can not only help your body adapt to natural deodorant more quickly, but it may also pull some of these toxins out of your body that have been stored up after years of anti-perspirant and conventional deodorant use. It’s a win-win.

How often should you do it? Great question! When first making the switch to natural deodorant, I recommend a daily detox for at least 7-10 days. Beyond that, it totally depends on you! For some, a weekly detox is a great way to keep the natural deodorants working well. Others find a monthly detox to be sufficient.

How to Do It

The “pit detox paste,” as I like to call it, calls for just a few ingredients and is easy enough to mix up and store. The primary ingredient is bentonite clay. Personally, I love the Molivera Organics bentonite clay; here’s what they have to say about it:

Bentonite clay produces an electrical charge that attracts and absorbs the toxins, impurities, chemicals, and heavy metals that can build up in and on our skin. It detoxifies the skin, leaving it clear, with smaller pores, and feeling better than ever. It also heals and regenerates skin tissue, improving scars and wrinkles. Bentonite clay improves blood circulation and replenishes minerals in the skin, giving you a youthful, radiant glow. It also clarifies and softens hair, giving you that manageable and touchably soft hair.

As you can tell, it’s of course great for far more things than just your armpits! I have some mild eczema, and I like to use it for that as well. You can also use the same recipe below as all-natural facial mask, skin healer (great for eczema, rashes, and more), or hair mask. For dry to normal skin, let sit 5-10 minutes before rinsing. For oily skin, let sit 10-20 minutes before rinsing. For your hair, let it sit for 15-30 minutes before rinsing.

The only other ingredients you’ll need for the recipe are apple cider vinegar and filtered water. *Note: bentonite clay can react with metals, so be sure to mix and store your paste using a glass or ceramic container and wooden or silicone utensils.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp bentonite clay
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2+ tsp filtered water

Make It:

  1. Mix bentonite clay and apple cider vinegar together in your jar or bowl.
  2. Add water and continue mixing until you reach a creamy yogurt-like consistency. I never actually measured the water; I simply kept adding little bits and stirring until I reached a good consistency.
  3. Store in a cool, dark place.

Use It:

  1. Apply marble-size amount to your underarms using your fingertips.
  2. Allow to sit for 5-15 minutes.
  3. Wash and rinse with a mild soap and warm water.

*I recently discovered some tips on incorporating bentonite clay right into your homemade deodorant to get a daily detox along with the deodorant. I’ll be trying this with my next batch, so stay tuned for results!

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