Switching to more natural body care products is one of the first steps in many people’s health journeys, but have you ever tried switching to natural deodorant only to discover it isn’t working? Does it leave a rash, cause excessive sweating, or leave you smelling funkier than when you started? It could be that you need to detox your underarms!
This may sound like an unusual solution, but just like the liver and kidneys, the underarms are major points of detoxification that need support to release toxins optimally.
Prolonged use of conventional deodorants that contain aluminum greatly inhibit this essential detox pathway because they actually plug up sweat glands and prevent sweating.
When we switch to a natural alternative and allow the sweat glands to do what they’re supposed to do (i.e. SWEAT), the underarms react by pushing out all of the built-up toxins that have been trapped for years. This causes a detox reaction as this sudden “unplugging” allows the body to release an onslaught of nasty chemicals. The resulting funky odor, red bumps, tender lymph nodes, irritation, and excessive sweat is what makes it seem like your natural deodorant isn’t working.
Quite the contrary actually, it’s just not the way you were expecting.
Why Ditch The Antiperspirant and Detox Your Underarms?
So many of us are unaware of the dangers of using conventional deodorants and antiperspirants on a daily basis.
Not only do they contain a slurry of harmful ingredients, they also block one of the most concentrated sweat gland sites on the body. This essentially causes you to sweat internally rather than externally, causing a build-up not only of toxic chemicals, but also your body’s natural waste and impurities.
Here are some of the ingredients found on conventional deodorants you need to watch out for:
• Aluminum – has been linked in the formation of Alzheimer’s Disease and cancer
• Antibacterial agents – known to disrupt the endocrine system and impair immune function
• Formaldehyde – carcinogenic
• Parabens – known to disrupt hormones, especially estrogen
• Phthalates – known to disrupt the endocrine system, hormones, and cause infertility
• Propylene glycol – also known as antifreeze. Seriously.
Applying these chemicals directly over the lymph nodes in our underarms is a sure-fire way to disrupt the delicate balance of our hormones and cause all sorts of illnesses – including breast cancer. There is nothing good about using antiperspirants. Period.
Aside from shortening the duration of the adjustment period when switching to a natural deodorant, an underarm detox mask like the one I describe below can also help remove these harmful chemicals from the body.
How to Detox Your Underarms and Why You Should
I can’t tell you how many natural deodorants I’ve tried only to have them stop working mere hours after application. Forget going to the gym or mingling at a work function, all I could think about was “do these people smell me?”.
Then the solution hit me one night while applying a bentonite clay face mask. I had heard about people using clay to detox in the bath, and I use the clay to detox my skin and pull out impurities, so why not also use it on my underarms to do the same?
Underarm Detox Mask Recipe
Making your own underarm detox mask is as simple as mixing one for your face. All that’s needed are a few natural ingredients!
Here’s what you need to make it:
• 1TB bentonite clay
• Enough raw apple cider vinegar to make a spreadable consistency that won’t run (about 2-3 tsp) swap out a teaspoon or two with water if you have sensitive skin
• 1 capsule of activated charcoal
• 1 drop of tea tree essential oil (optional) – works well for killing odor causing bacteria
Simply mix the ingredients in glass bowl (do not use any metal) and apply it in an even layer to clean dry underarms.
You may want to wear a tank top so that you can lay back and relax with your arms raised until the mask is completely dry, which take about 10-20 minutes.
Also keep in mind that bentonite clay is the strongest clay for sucking out impurities and increases blood flow. It is not uncommon to feel your heartbeat in your underarms while using this mask.
Once the mask is dry, you can then use a wet cloth to wipe it away. You can then apply your natural deodorant as usual.
I recommend using this mask twice a week for sensitive skin types, and up to once daily for those with hardier skin types for 1-2 weeks to help pull out and remove overabundant toxins. Find out what works best for your body for best results.
You will quickly notice that your natural deodorant will be less likely to cause a rash (unless you’re sensitive to baking soda based deodorants) and is better able to control odor and excessive sweating.
A Few Other Helpful Tips
Aside from using the detox mask, you can also incorporate a few other tricks into your daily routine to help speed up your transition period.
Apply Raw Apple Cider Vinegar, Fresh Lemon, or Witch Hazel
Changing the PH of your underarms is one way to inhibit the growth of odor causing bacteria. Apple cider vinegar, fresh lemon juice, and witch hazel are great to swipe under the arms after a shower to neutralize bad bacteria and keep your armpits fresh all day long.
Simply apply on clean dry underarms using a cotton ball or pad. Allow to dry completely before applying your natural deodorant.
Lemon juice will make your skin more susceptible to sunburn if you use it during the day. I recommend using it only at night for this reason.
Also, these methods can sting a bit if you have just shaved.
Stimulating your lymphatic system is one of the best ways to speed up the removal of toxins. The lymphatic system is also known as the body’s sewage system, yet it lacks a pump to move it along.
In order to gets things flowing so waste can be removed, you need to either have an active lifestyle or you need to stimulate toxin release yourself by dry brushing your skin.
Brush your skin in small stokes toward the heart in order to get toxins processed by the liver so they can be excreted. You can read more about dry skin brushing and other methods for stimulating the lymphatic system here.
You can get my favorite dry brush here.
Drink Enough Water
Dehydration can lead to more concentrated odors and an overabundance of toxins. Be sure to drink enough water to help support your elimination pathways and keep your body’s PH balanced.
Dry Your Underarms Thoroughly
Bacteria love wet environments and will thrive where there is water present. Be sure to dry your underarms thoroughly before applying any type natural deodorant to keep odor under control.
If you are sweaty, consider dabbing your underarms to remove excess moisture.
Consider getting your blood pumping and sweat flowing to help your body naturally release more stuck toxicity. Go for hike, a run, or challenge yourself by upping your exercise intensity. Whatever you choose, plan on getting good and sweaty. Oh, and don’t forget to hydrate!
Take Probiotics and Chlorophyll
Favorite Natural Deodorants
Homemade Deodorant with Tangerine and Geranium
Homemade Probiotic Deodorant Cream
How to Make Your Own Herbal Deodorant
Four Thieves Coconut Oil Deodorant
Homemade Mineral Salt Deodorant Spray
DIY Non-Toxic Anti-Sweat Deodorant
Black Spruce and Lavender Deodorant
What have been your favorite ways to detox your underarms? Please share in the comments below!