5 Signs You Need an Armpit Detox + How To Do It

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Are you addicted to deodorant? Try this armpit detox when your armpits stink more than they should or when regular deodorant starts irritating your skin.

Your body needs to sweat to release toxins, but one of the biggest areas that we sweat from – the underarms – can be blocked by the use of chemical-laden deodorants and antiperspirants. (1)

If you find that you can’t use natural deodorants because you really rely on that powerful odor-blocking stick, then your armpits might just need a detox so that they can start doing the job they were made to do.

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What Do Underarms Do Anyway?


Body odor is an embarrassing subject that most of us want to avoid. So, we slather on deodorants that keep smell and sweat away, and this makes us feel cleaner. In reality, underarm sweat is no different from sweat that is anywhere else in the body. So why does it tend to smell so much worse for some people?

Contrary to what most people think, the actual sweat that comes out of the armpits is nearly odorless. The scent of body odor comes from the breakdown of proteins on the skin, and this has a stronger odor in areas of the body that are close to apocrine glands, which includes the armpits, breasts, and groin. These apocrine glands are also known as scent glands, and they produce sweat that is higher in proteins, which is why they’re more easily broken down. Some people don’t have unpleasant smelling body odors while others’ can be very strong and offensive. What makes the difference?

Diet, lifestyle, body weight, body care routine, and genetics can all influence how a person’s underarms smell.

Diet, lifestyle, body weight, body care routine, and genetics can all influence how a person’s underarms smell. Sometimes, after years of antiperspirant use, body odor actually worsens because sweat isn’t routinely released.

Deodorants and antiperspirants use chemicals to prevent the underarms from doing what they naturally would: sweating and, occasionally, stinking. These chemicals don’t just sit on the surface of your skin, they are absorbed into the body. Antiperspirants also purposefully clog the sweat glands, which can become irritated from the lack of ability to release sweat.

The list of chemicals commonly found in deodorants and antiperspirants is long, and the most common ones include:

  • Aluminum
  • Parabens
  • Propylene glycol
  • Talc
  • Triclosan
  • Silica
  • Steareth
Deodorants and antiperspirants use chemicals to prevent the underarms from doing what they naturally would: sweating and, occasionally, stinking. These chemicals don’t just sit on the surface of your skin, they are absorbed into the body.

The problem with these chemicals is that they can cause issues that range from an excess toxic burden in the body to hormone disruption to even the potential for cancer. Not only do we lose out on the release of toxins when we prevent sweating, but we increase the burden when we slather on deodorants and antiperspirants that are loaded with synthetic fragrances, toxic ingredients, and talc.

In our modern lifestyle, sweat has become an enemy. We want to always be dry, clean, and fresh, so we gravitate to products that claim to achieve these things. In reality, we can be sweaty without being stinky, but it might take a little help to get there.

5 Signs You Need an Armpit Detox


While it seems like a fad, armpit detoxes are emerging as a way to address body odor without resorting to chemicals. It allows the body to sweat naturally while decreasing the heavy odor that can be associated with the excess protein breakdown in the armpits.

How do you know if you could benefit from an armpit detox?

  • You rely heavily on antiperspirants and/or deodorants.
  • You have a strong body odor, even when wearing deodorant.
  • Your armpits are itchy, irritated, or bumpy.
  • The lymph nodes in your armpits are swollen or tender.
  • You have tried natural deodorants but they don’t work, or you have itchy reactions to them.

Unlike other forms of detox, an armpit detox doesn’t actually pull toxins from the liver. The purpose of an armpit detox is to help break the skin’s reliance on antiperspirants and to essentially cleanse the surface of the skin to calm irritation and lessen excessive sweating.

Just like we can build a dependence on antacids, which causes digestive upset if we don’t take them, relying on antiperspirants can lead to excessive sweating when we miss a regular application. Our bodies are very easily conditioned to rely on outside sources, but we can reverse the process and allow it to return to a more natural state.

When you do an armpit detox, you’ll break your dependence on deodorants. You might be able to go comfortably deodorant-free, or only need it on very hot days. Check out how to detox your armpits below. It’s easy!

Total time:5 MINS
Prep Time:5 mins
Serves:1 small jar

How to Detox Your Armpits

Recipe by:author Aimee McNew
It will take two to six weeks to do the full armpit detox, depending on how much you sweat. The goal is to remove strong odor and to decrease overall sweating. You’ll need a soft toothbrush to apply the mixture, or you can simply use your fingers. Start by letting the mixture sit for five minutes, and work your way towards 25 minutes, rinsing immediately with warm water if stinging occurs. Ideally, you’ll want to do the detox right before a shower so you can thoroughly cleanse the area.


  •  Glass bowl
  •  Small glass jar with lid
  •  Soft toothbrush
  •  Natural fiber brush (optional)


  •  1 t apple cider vinegar
  •  1 T Bentonite clay (1 tablespoon)
  •  1-2 t water
  •  1-2 t coconut oil, melted (optional)
  •  1-2 drops lavender, sweet orange or other essential oil of choice (optional)


  •  To Make the Detox Paste: In a glass bowl or Pyrex, stir the vinegar and clay together.
  •  Stir in the coconut oil (if using it).
  •  Add water a ¼ tsp at a time until the consistency resembles a thick Greek yogurt.
  •  Add the essential oils (if using them). NOTE: You must include the coconut oil to act as a carrier oil.
  •  Transfer the mixture to a small glass jar with a lid.
  •  How to Detox Your Armpits: Use a natural fiber brush to dry brush your armpits before applying the mix. This step is optional but will help stimulate your glands, improve circulation, and reduce skin sensitivity.
  •  Use your finger or a soft toothbrush to spread the paste in an even, thin layer over each armpit, and let it sit for five minutes. Wash off immediately if stinging occurs.
  •  When sit time is up, thoroughly cleanse the area with warm water.
  •  Repeat once a day for two to six weeks, slowly increasing the sit time up towards 25 minutes before rinsing. Once you have finished the detox phase, you can either stop using the mix altogether and do nothing (because you don’t need it!) or you can transition to a natural deodorant. Keep in mind that if you do this, your armpits will not need much to prevent odor. I recommend that you switch to a natural deodorant that does not have baking soda in it as this can irritate your newly detoxed armpits.

Important: Do NOT apply deodorant or antiperspirant at all during the time.

Looking for Paleo ingredients? Here are a few we’d recommend:
Apple Cider Vinegar (Bragg)
Cold pressed coconut oil (Viva Naturals)


(Read This Next: DIY Charcoal Face Mask with Coconut Oil – Detoxes Skin with Only 3 Ingredients!)

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