Friday, 27 April 2018 04:55

Underarm Detox: Healing or Hoax?

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Flu season may have come to an end, but detox fever is alive and well. From juice fasts to colon cleanses, detoxes have been a colossal craze in holistic approaches to health for some time now. Mixed into the craze is underarm detoxing – a popular trend in natural underarm care.


There is no denying that many traditional deodorants and antiperspirants are loaded with harsh chemicals such as aluminum, parabens, and propylene glycol – a common ingredient in antifreeze. But, in conjunction with making a switch to natural underarm products, is there a way to rid the body and skin of all of those toxins? That is the idea behind underarm detoxing.


The typical underarm detox method of choice is a DIY mask made of bentonite clay and apple cider vinegar. In some recipes, coconut oil is also used for its antibacterial and skin-smoothing properties. Most underarm masks are recommended to be applied and left on for no more than 20 minutes and then washed off with a washcloth or in the shower. Believed benefits of underarm detoxing include removal of toxin buildup; elimination of actinobacteria – odor-causing bacteria; and aiding in natural deodorant effectiveness. Many DIY blogs and articles claim that a proper underarm detox mask will rebalance the bacterial microbiome that has been thrown off by the harmful chemicals in traditional deodorants and antiperspirants. The thought is that the masks draw the toxins out of the skin. Underarm detox masks are also believed to reduce irritation experienced when switching to natural deodorants.


With claims like these, it may be easy to see the draw to such treatments. However, the reality is, there is not adequate research to support these claims. Some articles suggest that there is little research that indicates that toxins can be pulled from the body through the skin. On the other hand, research does confirm that the liver and kidneys support healthy toxin removal from the body. Additionally, while traditional deodorants and antiperspirants do alter underarm bacteria levels and increase the presence of actinobacteria, any products placed on the underarms, including natural deodorants and DIY underarm masks, can alter bacteria balance. Actually, restoring underarm bacteria balance takes time without any products on the underarms.


Finally, if irritation is caused by switching to a natural deodorant, an underarm detox is unlikely to be the solution. Rather, the reaction is likely caused by ingredients in the natural deodorant, and a consumer should discontinue use of a product, if such irritation is experienced.


While avoiding harmful chemicals found in traditional deodorants and antiperspirants may be a good idea, adding in an underarm mask, though harmless, may not be as beneficial as it is advertised to be. Real, tested, effective methods for ridding the body of toxins include discontinuing use of products that introduce them and implementing a healthy diet to support healthy liver and kidney function.

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