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Does Armpit Detox Work?

Deodorants, antiperspirants, waxing, shaving, depilatory creams, ingrown hairs - our armpits go through a lot! An armpit detox sounds like it wouldn't be such a bad idea to consider.

Since we do cleanses and detoxes for our skin, colon, liver, and kidneys, wouldn't it make sense to do one for our body odor causing culprit? After all, they do have lots of pores, sweat glands, and lymph nodes that deserve some TLC.   

Now, considering the fact that there are loads of different detox teas, diets, masks, and creams, what would you use for an armpit detox? Our time is valuable! Is it worth my time? Does it really work? 

Questions, questions, and more questions! 

With new trends coming out almost daily, it's hard to keep up with what is actually helpful for our health and what isn't. 

So, let's take a few minutes to tackle one of the most popular trends out right now and see if it genuinely works - the armpit detox. 

How Do You Detox Your Armpits?

You detox your armpits using a basic recipe similar to what you would use as a DIY face mask. You mix, lather, let it sit, and then wipe off. 

Since the armpit "mask" contains common ingredients you probably already have at home, or they are ones you can quickly get if you don't have them, an armpit detox is as easy as one, two, three. 

Literally, only three ingredients. 

Armpit Detox Products

The most common products used for an armpit detox are bentonite clay, apple cider vinegar, and water. 

Simple Armpit Detox Recipe

Here is a simple recipe: 

  • 1 Tablespoon of Bentonite Clay
  • 1 Teaspoon of Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1-2 Teaspoons of Water

Yes, that's all.

How To Make The Mask

Use a wooden or plastic spoon to mix the ingredients until the underarm mask is the consistency of sour cream. Leave the water for last and pour it in slowly. Once you reach this consistency, you will not need to add any more water. 

Lather it on your underarms for no longer than 20 minutes at a time. It is best to start with only a few minutes the first time or two to figure out how your skin and your body will react to the apple cider vinegar. Sometimes, the vinegar can cause excessive burning, redness, or irritation. If this occurs, remove the mask immediately. 

Keep your arms above your head so the mask can dry, and then wipe off with a warm washcloth or in a warm shower. 

What Happens When You Detox Your Armpits?

Detoxing your armpits may help make the transition to natural deodorant easier by helping adjust the number of bacteria on the skin and aiding in odor and sweat control. 

Armpits are breeding grounds for bacteria. Your arms are down most of the day, creating a warm and generally pretty moist environment because of the sweat your body produces. Warm and damp areas are prime places for bacteria to make their home, and what do bacteria cause? An odor we all hate. 


Woman covering her nose from the smell of her armpits as she raises her arm

Some studies have shown that using antiperspirants can reduce the number of bacteria living in your underarm. Fewer bacteria means less odor-causing bacteria, in turn keeping you smelling fresher and sweating less. 

Since antiperspirants use aluminum to temporarily "clog" the pores by the sweat glands, you have a less moist environment and potentially less bacterial growth, which means less odor is left behind. 

However, because of the knowledge and understanding of how harsh chemicals in all beauty products can affect our bodies and our health, more and more people are shying away from deodorant and antiperspirants that contain chemicals like aluminum, parabens, phthalates, formaldehyde, and others. 

Once one stops using antiperspirants to prevent sweat and odor, your body's microbiome changes, and it creates a more difficult time managing the growing bacteria. The extra bacterial growth at first makes it hard for anyone trying to switch to a natural deodorant. 

With the desire to move towards natural deodorants, most people quickly notice that the transition leaves them sweating more and being extra stinky, needing to reapply throughout the day quite often.

Sometimes the transition to a natural alternative can even create some slight irritation, itchiness, or redness. 

Bear in mind, it takes time for your body to balance the number of bacteria naturally. Because of a long transition process, many people at this point turn to an armpit detox to help clear some of the bacteria and pull out excess moisture, all leading to less odor. 

This is where the armpit detox falls into place - less to pull any chemicals out of your system and more to help you transition to natural products. 

Since vinegar is an antibacterial, the apple cider vinegar in the armpit detox can help to eliminate some of the odor-causing bacteria and temporarily help balance out the microbiome in your underarms. 

If a detox focus' on removing toxins from your body, does an armpit detox help eliminate toxins?

Does An Armpit Detox Remove Toxins?

In short, no, it does not. No studies have proven that an armpit detox removes toxins. 

Our bodies naturally remove toxins through our kidneys and liver, which creates waste when using the restroom. A simple bentonite clay mask is not strong enough to remove toxins and impurities like heavy metals and chemicals from products and processed foods from deep inside your body. 

Doctors have stated that armpit detoxes are not proven to clear out anything from the lymph nodes in your armpits or remove any cancer-causing toxins through the skin. Your body will use its own natural processes and organs to filter these toxins and remove them. 

Does an Armpit Detox Work?

If your purpose is to remove toxins or help cleanse your lymphatic system through an armpit detox, it will not work.

If your purpose is to help the transition from regular over-the-counter deodorant and antiperspirant to an all-natural one, then yes. In that case, an armpit detox MAY work—emphasis on the MAY. 

Every person is different. Everyone's body is different. Reactions to a natural deodorant can be non-existent for one person and feel horrible for the next person. If you want to try an armpit detox to help regulate the overproduction of bacteria and help rid yourself of your natural odor, this detox could help.

Some people who have used an armpit detox for this reason saw no results; others feel it was beneficial to their transition. All in all, it depends upon you and how your body reacts to the clay and apple cider vinegar mask. 

Keep in mind after you do the detox, you may smell strongly of apple cider vinegar, and while you may see results later on of less odor and less sweat, this is a temporary fix. Your natural sweat and odor will come back, and this is entirely normal. Patience is key here. 

Armpit detoxes can help remove residue from other deodorants and antiperspirants to help prevent clogged pores, but soap and water can do this just as well. Our bodies naturally rid these ingredients within 24 hours of application, so a detox isn't, per se, necessary. 

How Often Should You Detox Your Armpits?

To help with the smell and excess sweat from eliminating conventional deodorants and antiperspirants, you can do an armpit detox two to three times a week up to daily if your skin can tolerate it.

It is ok to do it every day if it is helping and you get no irritation. Considering that apple cider vinegar can smell pretty intense and create a lot of redness, it is best to start off doing a detox sparingly until you know how your body reacts to prevent excess irritation. 

In Summary

Does an armpit detox really work? 

It does not work to remove toxins from your body or cleanse your lymph nodes. Leave that to the pros (a.k.a your liver, kidneys, and intestines). 

An underarm detox mask is only helpful if you want to help your body regulate the bacterial growth and eliminate some of the odors and large quantities of sweat that your body may overcompensate for, ever since you stopped using deodorants and antiperspirants with aluminum or other chemicals. 

While a bentonite clay and apple cider vinegar mask can potentially help with the troublesome transition period, it isn't a guarantee. There are no proven facts that the mask works better than regular soap and water in the shower to remove bacteria. 

Be patient! Your body needs time to regulate its microbiome, and a little more sweat and smell comes with the process. If the armpit detox works for you during this time, fantastic! If not, or you'd rather let your body do what it will naturally in its own time, that is fine too.  

For now, studies have no proven results that armpit detoxes are necessarily helpful or do much long term for skin, sweat, or odors. Always keep an eye on your skin for any reactions from the detox, and never forget that good ol' soap and water is an excellent alternative. 

In the meantime, while we are already on the subject, maybe it’s time to give waxing your armpits at home a try!


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