If you’re reading this, it means that you’re either thinking of making the switch to natural deodorant, or you’ve already made the switch and you’re confused why you’re a little stinky. Either way, we’re here to answer your questions.
Why Detox Your Armpits?
One of the things they don’t tell you about conventional deodorants and antiperspirants is that the ingredients they contain interfere with your body’s natural processes. The longer you use products that contain these ingredients, the more likely your body is to become dependent on those chemicals to keep stink at bay. What's more, there are some pretty questionable ingredients contained in these products that are wholly unnecessary.
Here are a few of the biggest offenders and why we're fairly grossed out thinking about putting them on our body:
Common deodorant ingredients
- Aluminum: An antiperspirant agent. Some studies have shown a connection between aluminum absorption and certain diseases. Although more research is needed to confirm this link, medical professionals do caution people with weak kidney function against using deodorant with aluminum1.
- Parabens: A preservative. Parabens mimic estrogen. An excess of estrogen can increase your breast cancer risk1. At this time, the FDA does not specifically regulate parabens, though they are continuing to research possible effects on human health2.
- Formaldehyde: A preservative. Listed on the FDA website as an allergen3. Research is limited, but there is some concern that formaldehyde may be a carcinogen4.
- Phthalates: A plasticizer, i.e. chemicals that make plastics more durable. Studies show that while phthalates affect the reproductive systems of animals, more research is required to understand their effects on humans5.
- Propylene glycol: A skin conditioning agent. It is not considered toxic6, but it is a classified as a skin irritant7.
On average, consumers use between six-12 personal care products daily. Repeated use of the mentioned common ingredients across multiple personal care products may be harmful.
Skin is our largest organ of absorption and elimination. Have you ever noticed that the skin on your armpits feels different than, say, the skin on your arms? The thin skin in your armpits is especially susceptible to absorption. When considering daily use of a product that is applied to this area, it’s important to consider what ingredients are in the product.
The In-between Stink
Switching to natural deodorant is a process, but not a big deal and completely worthwhile. For many people, it may at first seem like their natural deodorant isn't working all that well. After years of using products with ingredients that throw your systems out of wack, your body has forgotten how to manage bacteria (and by extension, odor) on its own.
Antiperspirant and conventional deodorant mess with the natural microbiome of your underarms9, causing bacteria to overproduce and make you smell even worse when your body stops depending on chemicals to control odor. Think of it like going back to school and natural deodorant is the teacher. As your body begins to no longer rely on those chemicals, it will naturally correct the bacterial imbalance in your armpits, and your sweat won’t smell nearly as bad.
Give your body a week or two to regulate. Stick it out through the detox period and you will be rewarded with the peace of mind that you know exactly what's going on and in your body.
Friendly side note: If you've been using antiperspirant, then you will begin to notice perspiration under your arms. Remember sweating is natural, normal, and a good thing.
How to Detox Your Armpits
The first step in a thorough detox is finding a natural deodorant that you like. Which is probably why you’re here. While your sweat could be extra smelly for the first few days, we've got your back. Aside from our incredible smelling deodorant options scented with essential oils and botanical extracts, we have some pointers for minimizing the stink during your detox process.
4 tips for getting through the detox period
- Detoxing is a process.
- You may feel extra smelly for a few days, but it will pass.
- Drink extra water and enjoy a clean diet.
- A little sweat is good for you.
- Keep your underarms dry to prevent bacteria growth.
Bonus! DIY Armpit Detox Mask Recipe
The key ingredient in this toxin removing mask is bentonite clay. What makes this special ingredient so cool is the fact that it’s made of aged volcanic ash. Its unique composition literally absorbs toxins10. Apple cider vinegar, otherwise known as ACV, is the second productive component of the mask. ACV contains tons of enzymes, protein, and probiotic bacteria that give ACV anti-fungal and antibacterial properties11. As a team, ACV and bentonite clay kill bacteria while also removing impurities from your pores!
Bentonite Clay Mask Recipe
- 1 T healing bentonite clay
- 1 t apple cider vinegar
- 1-2 t water
- Mix all of the ingredients in a small, non-metal bowl. Use a non-metal spoon.
- Stir until the mixture is nice and creamy.
- Apply an even layer to clean armpits and let dry for 5-20 minutes. You may experience some redness from an increase of blood flow to the area, but that should quickly go away. Discontinue use if irritation occurs.
- Take a shower and rinse off the mixture, or use a damp, warm cloth.
- Repeat 1-3 times a week until you see results!
Keep using this mask every day until you see an improvement in your scent. For the best results, try the mask for a week.
Going "natural" doesn't have to be a smelly ordeal, and take it from us, it's a worthwhile step toward a healthier you. Our poor armpits, which rarely see the light of day, deserve a little attention. The result will make a lasting difference for them and your overall health.
1 pennmedicine.org 2 fda.org 3 fda.gov 4 ewg.org 5 cdc.gov 6 pubmed.gov 7ewg.org 8 clevelandclinic.org 9 ncbi.gov 10 ncbi.gov 11 ncbi.gov