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There's a real movement happening right now in the natural beauty community -
A R M P I T S D E T O X. Think about it: this is an actual pit on your body that collects sweat and bacteria. And unless you're fist pumping in a SoulCycle class or dancing, the pit remains closed. Add in deodorants, which have often been criticized for containing aluminum and parabens, and you've got one gritty gulf. Because sleeveless weather is approaching and earth month is upon us, we consulted the experts to find out how you can detoxify your underarms ASAP.
Try Skin Brushing
While deodorant helps to block those foul scents, the aluminum and parabens found in it can clog the pores. "Using it without detoxing under your arms can suppress your natural immune system," noted Sharla Martin, the spa director at the Windsor Court Hotel in New Orleans.
Don't worry, because according to Margo Marrone, the founder of The Organic Pharmacy, "the armpit contains an army of lymph nodes that work to drain excess toxins."
She recommends dry brushing to speed up that process. "Skin brushing really helps detox the armpits by draining the lymph nodes there and de-clogging the pores from aluminum residue, which can collect there," she said. "Gently move the brush from the outer part of the armpit down towards the breast to help drain the lymphs effectively."
Clean Up Your Diet
You are what you eat is so true when it comes to your pits! Marrone recommends sticking to a primarily plant-based diet of vegetables and fruits, since those foods have have natural, detoxifying elements. Getting the toxins out will lead to the reduction of body odor.
She gets specific: "Vegetables like cucumber will help keep the body hydrated and flush out toxins. Citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, or grapefruits add fiber to your diet, which helps you maintain a regular digestive system. This rids your body of the toxic compounds that can contribute to the lingering smell. The acid in citrus fruits helps flush water through your body."
Create a DIY Clay and Coconut Oil Mask
A great way to detox your armpits is making your own mask at home with bentonite clay and coconut oil. Try this recipe created by Martin. Mix one tablespoon of bentonite clay with once tablespoon of coconut oil. Let the mask sit on the skin for at least 15 minutes, and rinse it off with warm water.
"Bentonite clay can produce an 'electrical charge' when it's hydrated," Martin explained. "I mix it with coconut oil because of the oil's ability to fully hydrate the skin, giving the clay the ability to absorb the under arm toxins."
Waxing and Shaving
Put your razor down and book a spa appointment. As it turns out, waxing — which lasts longer than shaving — has extra benefits for your armpits.
"If you shave, you should try waxing instead, as it removes the dead skin cells that sit on the top of the skin," said Martin. "Waxing in any area opens up the hair follicles, which will allow detoxifying masks to penetrate deeper to remove toxins."
She brings up another point: waxing can reduce the amount of underarm hair over time. "The more you wax, the more damage is done to hair follicles over time, reducing hair growth," she noted.
Use an Organic Oil Overnight Mask
Grab that trusty ole tub of coconut oil from your DIY detox mask and give it another use — slather it on your pits before you got to sleep. "Nightly, moisturize with coconut oil to soothe dry skin," Martin advised. "Coconut oil has natural antibacterial properties and is incredibly soothing to the skin in those delicate places while reducing water loss."
And if you're in really bad shape? "For severely dry skin, use argon oil instead of coconut oil," she added. "Argan oil will not clog up pores."
Invest in a Natural Deodorant
Once you've thoroughly cleaned up your underarms, buy a natural deodorant to keep them in pristine shape. Martin explained what to look for in an organic one: it's aluminum-free; contains an absorbent powder, such as baking soda or corn starch; and it's formulated with an antibacterial ingredient like essential oils.