Sweaty armpits can be a total confidence killer, especially when you’re heading out for an important event or for a long day at work. It’s no wonder that people are constantly on the lookout for ways to keep their underarms fresh and odor-free.
In the quest for a solution, many have turned to the latest trend – armpit detox. Influencers and beauty gurus alike swear by its benefits, claiming that it helps eliminate toxins, reduce sweat, and even improve the effectiveness of natural deodorants.
But is it all just hype, or does an armpit detox really work? Just like other fads in the wellness industry, the armpit detox trend has gained both enthusiastic supporters and skeptical critics.
In this article we’ll delve into the reasons why people do it, whether it actually works, and how you can try it out for yourself.
Does Detoxing Your Armpits Help?
Armpit detoxification is claimed to achieve a number of things, including the elimination of toxins, reduction of perspiration, enhancing the effectiveness of natural deodorants, and eliminating underarm odor.
Just like we highlighted in our piece on what causes armpit fat; popular doesn’t mean effective. Despite the popularity of armpit detox methods, the science is still out on whether they truly represent a more effective, natural way to manage underarm health.
1. Are Toxins Really Eliminated?
Those advocating for armpit detox claim that using an armpit detox mask draws out impurities from the sweat glands, helping to rid the body of toxins. However, our body, particularly the liver and kidneys, is efficient at eliminating toxins.
Sweating does play a role in this, as it’s a natural process the body uses to regulate temperature, and like other natural processes, it can be beneficial (2). That said, the question: Is Sweating Good For You?, is absolutely relevant.
Sweating is indeed good for you, but there’s no concrete scientific evidence to date proving that an armpit detox is more effective than natural body processes at eliminating toxins.
2. Does It Reduce Perspiration?
Another claim is that an armpit detox with baking soda or other armpit detox recipes can reduce the amount of sweat produced and improve the effectiveness of natural deodorants. Users may indeed notice less perspiration after a natural armpit detox, but it’s worth being skeptical.
Sweat production is an active process that is regulated by the hypothalamus in the brain (3).
While there are certain lifestyle modifications someone can do to reduce their sweating, like drinking enough water and avoiding triggers like spicy food, a detox mask applied directly on the armpit isn’t likely to have any significant effect on underarm perspiration levels.
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3. Does It Enhance The Effectiveness of Natural Deodorants?
Another armpit detox skeptical claim is that they enhance the effectiveness of natural deodorants (these are deodorants made with natural ingredients, such as baking soda, coconut oil, and essential oils).
The idea here is that by purging the underarms of toxins and buildup from conventional antiperspirants, natural deodorants can better perform their intended function.
While many people who have tried an armpit detox report a noticeable improvement in the performance of their natural deodorants, the evidence supporting this claim is primarily anecdotal.
Scientifically there’s no direct evidence to support the notion that detoxing the armpits will improve the effectiveness of a natural deodorant. The transition from antiperspirants (which block sweat glands) to natural deodorants (which allow for sweating but control odor) can indeed cause a temporary increase in sweat and odor as the body adjusts. This is often misinterpreted as a detox phase.
The observed improvement in the performance of natural deodorants after a perceived detox phase could be more accurately attributed to how the body adapts to the change in products, rather than the effect of the detox itself.
4. Will It Eliminate Underarm Odour?
The final and perhaps most appealing claim associated with armpit detoxes is that they eliminate underarm odor. It is well-established in scientific literature that sweat itself is not what causes body odor. Instead, it’s the bacteria on our skin breaking down the sweat into acids that cause the unpleasant smell.
Theoretically, if an armpit detox is able to somehow reduce the number of these bacteria, it could potentially help with body odor.
However, there’s currently no scientific evidence supporting the effectiveness of armpit detoxes in significantly reducing underarm bacteria.
In fact, many ingredients commonly used in these detoxes, such as baking soda, can disrupt the skin’s pH balance and potentially cause irritation, and irritation in the underarm area could potentially worsen body odor.
How to Do an Armpit Detox?
If you’re still tempted to try out an armpit detox, there are many recipes available online. Many of these include ingredients like baking soda, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice and other natural astringents.
The most important thing to remember when doing an armpit detox is to patch test the ingredients first before applying them to your underarms. To do this, mix a small amount of one or more of the ingredients together and apply it to a small area on your forearm.
Wait for 24 hours to gauge any potential reactions. If your skin does not react negatively, you can proceed with the full detox.
When applying the mask to your armpits, make sure to leave it on for no more than 10-15 minutes and wash it off with lukewarm water after that. Pat dry and apply a natural moisturizer afterwards if needed.
Watch out for the following armpit detox side effects (6 effects):
- Skin irritation
- Burning sensation
Be mindful that if any of the above should occur, you should discontinue use immediately.
Read more: 6 Cold Water Therapy Benefits Worth Noting.
How Long Does It Take To Fully Detox Your Armpits?
Well, given that there’s no scientific evidence to support the claims associated with armpit detoxes, there is no definitive answer to this question. However, most people who have tried an armpit detox report a noticeable difference in underarm odor and perspiration levels after 3-4 weeks of regular use.
What Kills Armpit Bacteria?
Maintaining good hygiene is the most effective way to kill armpit bacteria. Regular washing with soap and water can significantly reduce the number of bacteria living in the armpit area.
Additionally, the use of antiperspirants, which contain antimicrobial agents, can decrease bacteria (4). Antiperspirants work by reducing sweat, the very substance that armpit bacteria feed on to survive and multiply .
Natural deodorants are also an option. Though they won’t reduce sweat, natural deodorants contain antimicrobial agents that can help reduce the bacteria in your armpits.
Some studies have also suggested that certain natural ingredients, such as tea tree oil and coconut oil, have antibacterial properties and may help in controlling armpit bacteria (1). However, more research is needed to fully ascertain the effectiveness of these natural alternatives.
Note that completely eradicating armpit bacteria is not desirable, as some bacteria are beneficial and play a role in maintaining skin health.
How Do You Unclog Your Armpit Pores?
The most effective way to unclog your armpit pores is by regularly washing your underarms with mild soap and warm water. This will help remove the dirt, oil, and sweat that can accumulate in the pores.
You can also use a gentle scrub or exfoliant to physically remove any dirt or buildup from the skin. Some natural ingredients such as baking soda, ground oats, or sugar can act as gentle exfoliants.
Maintain a healthy skincare routine, including using an appropriate moisturizer and ensuring you’re getting enough hydration. This will help keep the underarm area well-nourished and reduce the chance of clogged pores. Eating foods for clear skin such as tomatoes, leafy greens
Finally, if you use antiperspirants, be sure to look for an aluminum-free alternative as this can clog pores.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Do Armpits Smell When Detoxing?
While the term “detoxing” in this context is largely anecdotal, transitioning from antiperspirants to natural deodorants can lead to a temporary increase in sweat and body odor. This is due to the body’s adjustment of its sweat glands being no longer blocked by the aluminum compounds in antiperspirants. However, this increase in odor is not a sign of detoxification but rather a normal response to the change in products.
How Do You Reset Armpit Bacteria?
Resetting armpit bacteria involves cultivating a healthy balance of bacteria in your underarms. Good hygiene practices, such as regular washing with soap and water, can help maintain this balance.
Avoiding products with harsh chemicals and using natural deodorants with antimicrobial agents can also support the growth of healthy skin bacteria. Some natural ingredients, such as tea tree oil and coconut oil, can potentially help control armpit bacteria.
Why Do My Armpits Smell Even With Deodorant?
Deodorants work by masking the smell produced by bacteria breaking down sweat into acids. If your armpits still smell despite using deodorant, it could be due to several reasons.
You might be sweating excessively, giving the bacteria more material to break down and thus causing an increase in body odor.
The deodorant you’re using might not be effective for your body chemistry. Or, your body could have developed resistance to your current deodorant, a common occurrence with prolonged use of the same product.
If the smell persists, you may want to consider trying a different product or consulting with a healthcare provider for a potential underlying condition.
The Bottom Line
Overall, armpit detoxes are controversial and may not necessarily have any tangible benefits. The best way to maintain healthy underarms is through good hygiene practices such as regular washing with soap and water and using appropriate antiperspirants or natural deodorants.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Antimicrobial Activity of Some Essential Oils—Present Status and Future Perspectives (2017, mdpi.com)
- Organs of Excretion (n.d., pressbooks.tru.ca)
- Physiology of sweat gland function: The roles of sweating and sweat composition in human health (2019,tandofonline.com)
- The effect of habitual and experimental antiperspirant and deodorant product use on the armpit microbiome (2016, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)