An armpit detox is a method of attempting to treat the underarm skin of “toxins” and product buildup. The belief of those that support this concept is that it may help treat the bacteria under the arms to help your deodorants or antiperspirants work more effectively. Read more...
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What is an armpit detox?
An armpit detox is a method of attempting to treat the underarm skin of “toxins” and product buildup. The belief of those that support this concept is that it may help treat the bacteria under the arms to help your deodorants or antiperspirants work more effectively.
Do armpit detoxes work?
The concept of an “armpit detox” is not that far off base, however, the reasons given to consider one by those that support this concept may not be the right ones. I have had patients tell me that they hear that an armpit detox “rids the body of toxins” or “helps lymphatic drainage”. First off, I cannot find any studies that support this type of reasoning. I have also heard from patients that they feel that they should treat the bacteria under the arms to help with the deodorant efficacy. This is also a challenging concept to support without studies to verify.
That being said, it is true that part of the mechanism of action of traditional aluminum-based antiperspirants is the plugging of sweat ducts through precipitates created. The use of aluminum-based antiperspirants does result in a reduction in the number of bacteria under the arms which likely contributes to less odor.
Deodorants used in isolation without antiperspirants, according to studies, do not have a significant impact on the number of bacteria. These bacteria can impact the ability of deodorant to work effectively simply because the scent of the deodorant may interact with the odor from the bacteria to alter the odor released.
Aside from bacteria, there is also hair growth, the possible impact of shaving or other forms of hair removal, and the potential for ingrown hairs. The consideration of gently exfoliating the axillae once weekly can help smooth out areas of keratin and sebum buildup, product removal, and an attempt to reduce bacterial overgrowth. This process could potentially help antiperspirants and/or deodorants be more effective.
What is a recipe for a DIY armpit detox?
Most DIY recipes call for one part bentonite clay to one part apple cider vinegar.
Clay in a detox mask is usually added to help draw excess oil or sebum away from the skin.
At full concentrations, ACV is effective topically against bacteria, yeast, and fungus. By diluting the ACV, it does lose some effectiveness. However, at the one-to-one ratio, it appears to retain activity against yeast. ACV is slightly acidic. Our hair is also naturally acidic from the oils and sebum from our scalp. Antiperspirants and deodorants often disrupt the pH balance of our hair. By using ACV, the theory is that the normal acidity of our hair is restored, and the product buildup resolves.
Another method to detox the axillae would be to consider mechanical exfoliation with the use of a sugar scrub. Physical exfoliants are products that work by manually removing buildup through the abrasive or gritty quality. This can be through the addition of granules, sugar, seeds, or nutshells to a cleanser or devices such as loofahs or brushes. I personally am a big fan of sugar scrubs for multiple reasons. I will put them in the physical exfoliant category simply because the gritty texture of sugar before it dissolves allows us to manually remove dead skin cells and oil. What is nice about sugar scrubs is that they do not tend to be too harsh or abrasive in their quality and dissolve nicely. I find some of my patients get aggressive with scrubs! I have seen dyspigmentation in the pattern of a scrubbing technique when scrubs are too harsh! It's hard to go overboard with sugar because it naturally dissolves and the abrasive quality goes with it. The added bonus that most people do not realize is that glycolic acid, an alpha-hydroxy acid or chemical exfoliant, is also derived from sugar. This means there is an added bonus of a little chemical exfoliation in this process. Lastly, sugar does tend to hold onto moisture and hydrate as it exfoliates.
Are there any ways to make deodorant last longer?
The most important way to make deodorants last longer or work more effectively is to apply them at night. They actually take time to take effect and will be far more effective the following day by having the opportunity to form the precipitates needed to physically block the sweat ducts.