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!

Armpit Detox.png

Easily Make Your Own All-natural Deodorant

Deodorant.pngNatural deodorants can be a turnoff for some folks. Maybe you’re worried it won’t work well. Maybe you’ll sweat a ton. Maybe it just costs a fortune. I’ll admit most store-bought natural deodorants are quite expensive. A quick Amazon search will show you they run anywhere from $8 to 15 a stick. That certainly is a bit steep.

When I decided to make the switch, I knew there had to be a less expensive option. After several trial runs, I’ve finally found a recipe we love, and IT WORKS. The cost per stick is less than $4 (and that includes the container).

If you’re still using an antiperspirant, please check out this post to see why you should switch to natural deodorant today!

If you’ve gotten this far, I’m going to assume you’re ready to try making your own! You don’t have to get the stick containers. Some folks just make this into a muffin tin or similar container and then apply it like a lotion bar. Personally, I think the container is well worth the $1.07 it costs for ease and portability. If you agree, you can get them here. The other ingredients you’ll need are coconut oil, shea butter (mango or cocoa butter can also be used), beeswax, baking soda (optional but highly recommended), arrowroot flour, and pure essential oils.

In the recipe list below, I’ve provided links to Amazon to purchase all necessary ingredients. I use and recommend doTERRA essential oils. If you choose to include essential oils, please just be sure to use only pure, therapeutic grade oils. Do NOT use the oils available at box stores and grocery stores; they generally include synthetic ingredients that are not good for your skin.

A quick note on the baking soda: I have never had trouble with it, but folks with sensitive skin may get some redness. If that happens, a weekly pit detox helps immensely! Or, you can simply eliminate it from the recipe and use more arrowroot instead. I will warn you, though, the deodorant may not be as effective without the baking soda.

Ingredients:

Make It:

  1. In a double boiler or glass measuring pitcher, melt together coconut oil, shea butter, and beeswax. I use a Pyrex glass measuring pitcher and melt it in the microwave in 30-second intervals.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in essential oils.
  3. Stir in baking soda and arrowroot flour.
  4. Pour into deodorant containers or other molds, and allow to cool to harden.
  5. Yield: approx. 3 deodorant stick containers

Note: The pictures above are from making a half-batch, so the volume may seem off.

Don’t want to make it yourself? Buy it now.

why you should switch to natural deodorant

When making the switch to natural products in your home, deodorant is often one we cringe about. No one wants to be smelly or have pit stains. But do you know what antiperspirants do? They stop a natural body process–sweating. While the sweat might be an inconvenience at times, our body needs to do it. Stopping that isn’t a great idea. So how do you make the switch, and why is it so important?

Aluminum

One of the biggest downsides to antiperspirants is its inclusion of aluminum in the ingredient list. How does antiperspirant work? The aluminum essentially clogs up your pores to keep the perspiration in. That sweat then builds up and gets trapped just under the skin. That can cause all sorts of things like bumps and irritated skin and buildup of bacteria. The acidity of the aluminum tends to react with your clothing and ultimately causes those lovely yellow pit stains on your white shirts. Numerous studies have also been conducted suggesting aluminum can be responsible for Alzheimer’s and cancer.

Beyond Aluminum

Aluminum is just the tip of the iceberg. Keep reading those ingredients, and you’ll find a whole lot of other chemicals that have been linked to various ailments and diseases:

  • Parabens (methyl, ethyl, propyl, benzyl, butyl): endocrine disruption, environmental toxin, cancer, reproductive disorders, premature aging, immune toxicant, allergens
  • Phthalates: cancer, birth defects, infertility, allergens
  • Proplyene glycol: skin, eyes, and lungs irritation; reproductive and fetal neurotoxin linked to kidney and liver damage; enhanced skin absorption
  • Silica: possible carcinogen if contaminated with crystalline quartz; skin, eyes and lungs irritation
  • Steareths: endocrine disruption, developmental and reproductive toxicity, skin irritation
  • Talc: non-reproductive organ system toxin, possible carcinogen if contaminated with asbestiform fibers
  • Triclosan: antibacterial agent banned in several countries due to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria; endocrine disruption; muscle weakness; skin, eyes, and lungs irritation

How to Make the Switch to Natural

Making the switch can be tough! When I switched, I was one of the few able to do it without having any trouble. I switched cold turkey and never looked back! For some, though, switching can be a bit tougher. When switching, consider these tips:

  • Give a new deodorant at least two weeks. It can take time for your body to adjust. Some people find they sweat more than usual due to their body detoxing and expelling stored-up sweat.
  • To speed up the detox period, be sure to wash daily (or even 2-3 times daily) with natural soap and water. Additionally, exfoliate your pits twice a week. Apply deodorant after each cleanse.
  • Wear more natural fibers (cotton, hemp, etc.) during the transition period. Polyesters and acrylic fibers have a tendency to trap extra moisture.

I know it can sound a bit daunting (and maybe even a little scary) to switch to natural deodorant, but it is absolutely worth it! Your health will thank you!