Detox your armpits? If you read that title and shook your head, or maybe you even chuckled a bit, stick with me for a moment. Let’s just put it all out there and talk about armpits. You may be surprised to learn the many functions that occur in that damp crevice between your arm and torso.
The armpit, also called the axilla, can be the source of unpleasant odors, embarrassing wetness, and a hairy annoyance. But your armpits form an important juncture that protects important lymph nodes and soft tissue. In fact, more than 20 lymph nodes reside in each armpit, along with a high concentration of sweat glands and hair follicles. That’s about 6% of your body’s lymph nodes in just that small area.
The lymph system consists of a network of lymph vessels and nodes. As part of the body’s immune system, the lymph system collects fluid, waste material, bacteria, viruses, and other toxins from body tissues. These waste materials are then routed to the lymph nodes. They contain immune cells that help fight infection by attacking and destroying germs. Once lymph fluid is concentrated within the lymph nodes, it filters back into the bloodstream where the kidneys take care of the waste material.
So you see the important role of lymph nodes for keeping the body healthy and clean. This underlines the importance of keeping your armpits clean as well. The small pores in our armpits can become clogged from using commercial antiperspirants, which are specifically designed to block sweat glands. For more information about the risks associated with deodorant/antiperspirants, check out this post, Four Toxins Lurking in Your Deodorant.
Signs You Need an Armpit Detox
Have you noticed your deodorant just isn’t working as effectively as it used to? Or maybe you have to reapply during the day or just notice an increase in your personal – ahem – aroma. In reality, sweat doesn’t stink. It’s colorless and odorless. What creates body odor is the bacteria on your skin. Our armpits provide ideal conditions for bacteria to thrive. This region is dark, moist, and warm — the perfect home. An increase in body odor is a sign that your bacterial flora has changed, or maybe it has just accumulated too much. A detox can help draw out bacteria and cleanse the area.
Irritation from Deodorant
Especially if you recently made the switch to a natural deodorant, you may have an itching or burning rash in your armpits. The product you use determines in part the flora under your arms. When you make a switch, the microbiome under your arms will change in response to the ingredients in your deodorant.
Switching to a Natural Deodorant
As mentioned above, when you switch your deodorant, it directly affects the armpit microbiome. If you switch from a commercial antiperspirant to a natural deodorant, you will most definitely experience a period of adjustment. You may notice more wetness and odor at first.
Logic follows that as the armpit flora changes, so will underarm odor. But since most people don’t understand the bacterial battle that occurs in their armpits, they often assume their natural deodorant is not working. Your body needs time to adjust to the change of product. Doing an armpit detox may reduce this adjustment period.
If your new natural deodorant contains baking soda, you may experience an itching or burning rash. This is because human sweat is slightly acidic, while baking soda is alkaline. When combined together, a chemical reaction takes place. The more acidic your sweat, the more noticeable this reaction may be. It can cause redness, irritation, and rash. For some people, the best solution is to find a deodorant that contains less baking soda. Others find that they no longer experience the rash after an armpit detox.
How the Armpit Detox Works
The armpit detox recipe is very simple. I recommend doing this detox whenever you notice any of the signs described above. You may have to repeat the detox for several days before you notice a difference in odor or other issues. You can also do a detox weekly or monthly for maintenance.
Apple Cider Vinegar
ACV contains acetic acid, which penetrates bacterial cell membranes and kills them. This means apple cider vinegar eliminates odor-causing bacteria and creates an inhospitable environment for bacteria to grow. It also helps regulate pH and is a gentle exfoliant.
This natural clay is a unique mineral-rich substance that removes impurities, neutralizes bacteria, and alkalinizes. That is why it is so beneficial in the bacterial haven of the armpit. To learn more about bentonite clay, check out this post.
Ready to Detox?
- Be sure to use plastic or glass bowls and utensils for this recipe, as bentonite clay reacts with metals.
- In a small bowl, combine bentonite clay and apple cider vinegar to form a paste. If the mixture is too thick to spread, add a small amount of water to get the desired consistency.
- Use the back of a plastic spoon or your fingers to spread the mixture on your armpits. Leave it on for about 10 minutes.
- Rinse off in the shower, bath, or with a washcloth.
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