From toxin-flushing teas to pore-opening face masks, we’re constantly hearing about different kinds of detoxes for your stomach and skin. But there’s one particularly congested part of the body that often gets left out of the conversation: the armpits. Not only do armpits collect sweat and bacteria on a daily basis, but add in deodorants — especially the ones that contain aluminum and parabens — and you’ve got yourself a perpetual pit of pollution.
Purging your armpits of toxins can have major benefits, like eliminating odor-causing bacteria and making your deodorant more effective by removing years of invisible product buildup. Ahead, five ways to detox your armpits at home.
The underarm area contains as many as 40 lymph nodes, which work to drain excess toxins. Although they’re are hard at work keeping your body healthy, you can speed up the natural detoxification process by running a dry brush over the skin.
Dry brushing gets all that aluminum residue out of your pores; to do it, just move in downward strokes from the armpit toward the breast.
Treat your armpits to a mask
All a DIY armpit mask requires is two natural ingredients — bentonite clay and raw apple cider vinegar — mixed together at a 1:1 ratio to create a paste-like consistency. Apply a thin layer on each armpit and let it sit for 15 minutes. Use a washcloth and rub your underarms in a circular motion; that’ll exfoliate the skin, and rinse away dead cells and product buildup.
If you’re not much of a do-it-yourself type, there are plenty of products that focus on resetting your underarm area that you can buy online. This Lavanila Healthy Underarm Detox Mask is packed with charcoal, citric acid, and silica to draw impurities from your pits. It comes with it a built-in brush, making application easy.
Another is the Zanuba Essentials Coconut, Charcoal, and Clay Detox Bar, which is made of natural minerals, shea butter, charcoal, and coconut oil. This vegan cleanser detoxifies and exfoliates your skin right in the shower, all while unclogging your pores.
For a comprehensive overhaul to your underarm routine, consider this Kaia Naturals Charcoal Underarm Detox Kit, which includes a bath soak, cleansing bar, and natural deodorant.
Apply coconut oil before bed
Make it a nightly routine: shower in the evening, scrub your pits, slather them in coconut oil, and hit the sheets. Between the shaving, chafing, and sweating they go through on a regular basis, your underarms are begging for moisture replenishment.
Moisturizing as you sleep will make your armpits look better and feel smoother, and using coconut oil — which is packed with natural antibacterial properties — keeps your skin healthy from the outside-in (huge bonus: it also controls odor).
Stop shaving your armpits
If you prefer your underarms hairless, you might want to think about making the switch to regular wax appointments instead of shaving. Shaving only removes hair on the surface of the skin, but waxing gets it at the root, while exfoliating the skin and opening up the hair follicles. This allows detoxifying masks and coconut oil to penetrate deeper. (Plus, waxing lasts much longer than shaving.) And if you’d prefer not to bother with either, that’s cool too — there are no rules when it comes to whether or not your armpits should be hairless.
Keep an eye on what you put in your body
You can exfoliate and mask, change your deodorant, and introduce new cleansers, but what you put inside your body is just as important as what you put on it. Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables, introduce a good probiotic into your routine to support a healthy microbiome, and be sure to drink plenty of water.