by Callie Sleper

Armpit detox. Is that like some sort of holding cell for misbehaving armpits that got too rowdy during their night on the town?

That’s an interesting thought that first crossed my mind. But an “armpit detox” is actually a wellness trend centered around removing a buildup of toxins– namely, aluminum– left by traditional antiperspirants in underarm sweat glands.

Most often, people try pit detoxing when making the switch to natural deodorants. Before many natural deodorants begin to work, which can take up to a few weeks, it’s become popular to repetitively apply homemade deodorant pastes during that time that fend off top-of-the-charts odor while they sweat out toxins.

Pit detoxes are believed to be necessary for keeping you healthy and increasing the delayed odor-controlling ability of natural deodorants.

But are we really getting the full story? We’re going to bust yet another myth for you now, folks, so no need to get that homemade underarm paste ready just yet...

WHY ALL THIS HYPE ABOUT ARMPIT DETOX?

To begin with, many people choose to go aluminum-free for a number of reasons.

Aluminum salts and other chemical compounds in traditional deodorants make it so you can’t sweat out toxins like you’re naturally supposed to. Not only does it plug your pores, but aluminum also stains clothes yellow and makes you even smellier by increasing the number of odor-causing bacteria on your skin.

While the medical data does not support claims that aluminum causes breast cancer, many avoid it for that concern. We do know that aluminum should be avoided by those with kidney disease and the very fact that aluminum is deposited more abundantly in the brains of those with Alzheimer's disease is enough for many to avoid it altogether. Read more info about aluminum here.

Advocates of the underarm detox also consider it a small price to pay to make your body less smelly and healthier in the long run. They claim that sweat glands will wind up producing less sweat and odor as a result of removing harmful buildup accumulated with years of antiperspirant use. And, since your pits are the home of over 20 lymph nodes that aid your immune defense, detoxing is suspected by some to be an important way of ensuring better overall immunity.

It’s a widely-held belief that, if you abstain from deodorizing entirely before switching to natural, natural deodorants will work far better. During this transition period, it’s common to smell like cat pee and sweat like they’re under an interrogation lamp.

And depending on what you read, natural deodorant brands describe this period as lasting anywhere from no time at all to up to six weeks.

In case you missed it, that’s SIX WEEKS of going out in public smelling like a teenage boys’ gym locker! (No offense, fellas–although you know it’s true!)

WHAT DOES A THOROUGH PIT DETOXING LOOK LIKE?

Many brands (not Lume) say to ease this excruciating process, you should apply a homemade paste to your underarms to unclog your sweat glands of toxic buildup. Pastes typically include a mixture of bentonite clay and apple cider vinegar or bentonite clay with coconut oil. That’s because bentonite clay, formed from volcanic ash, is thought to be able to draw out toxins, while coconut oil and apple cider vinegar can neutralize odor-causing bacteria.

There are videos online of people detoxing and holding their arms up high for up to 20 minutes, letting the mixture sit while life passes them by and the blood slowly leaves their extremities. It’s said you may repeat the process until there’s no more odor or irritation. Is it just me, or do we have better things to do? Like ear candling?

While it can be an interesting lesson in empathy to re-enact the plight of our forebears who might have done time in medieval dungeons with their arms manacled above their heads, this truly isn’t necessary.

YOUR TIME IS BETTER SPENT DOING ANYTHING ELSE  INSTEAD OF PIT DETOXING

There’s just no evidence that pit detoxing can reduce your stank or make any deodorant more effective. Nothing has proven that clay products or anything else besides sweat can physically pull toxins out of your skin. While a clay paste may stave off smell temporarily, you’d likely have to repeat this process many times throughout the day to not offend passing strangers.

Just the logistics alone are enough to make my head spin...

It’s not harmful to go through such a pit detox, but rubbing straight vinegar on your pits can cause irritation. And when you’re already going through a period of transitioning away from aluminum and experiencing more sweating, sweat and raw pits do not mix...

Here’s the deal. Whether you go through a pit detox or not, it will likely take your skin up to three or four weeks to fully renew anyway and get rid of chemicals effects and aluminum plugs from past antiperspirants, so a pit detox is one more thing to keep off your list of to-dos.

WHAT NATURAL DEODORANT BRANDS LEAVE OUT ABOUT THEIR “DETOX” PERIOD

If you’re looking to minimize potential negative effects, just switching to a natural deodorant without any concerning chemicals is a great start. Giving your body a break from constant exposure to heavy metal is detoxing right there.

On the other hand, switching to a natural deodorant containing irritants like baking soda requires an inconvenient adjustment period all on its own.

While many natural deodorants with baking soda are perceived as more harmful than the traditional ones with aluminum, your body needs time to adjust to the high pH (AKA alkalinity) in baking soda. It may still never get used to it. So instead of advocating for a detox period from traditional antiperspirants, they may as well call it a period of time needed for your pits to adapt to the caustic pH of baking soda.

The normal pH, or “acid mantle,” of your skin is between 4.5-6.5. When baking soda with a pH of 9 is put on skin, this acid mantle gets thrown off balance and sets off a flurry of changes in bacterial flora and enzyme activity near your skin’s surface. Just one application of something alkaline like baking soda on your skin can dry it out and damage the protective barrier.

This scientific data also backs up common complaints of many customers experiencing underarm irritation with products containing baking soda. Find out more about why baking soda is considered the #1 irritant in natural deodorant today.

To sum it up, baking soda is the main culprit for the flaming red rash most people experience when transitioning to an aluminum-free deodorant. Save the baking soda for your kitty litter box or your refrigerator and leave long-lasting odor control to something that protects the pH balance of your skin, like Lume!

LUME’S NATURAL, BAKING-SODA FREE ODOR SHIELD MEANS NO ROUGH TRANSITION

The transition period with Lume looks far different.

As soon as Lume touches your skin, it blocks odor before it even has the chance to begin. As you use it, you will see that it’s efficacy increases as you get close to the two week mark. Once you’ve used it for about two weeks, you’ll begin to notice you need less, less often. So, no need to slather yourself in volcanic apple paste or walk around with pits that stink as much as they hurt.

With Lume, no pit detox of any sort is required.

Lume is a natural deodorant that does not contain baking soda, so your skin will have nothing unhealthy or damaging to “get used to.”

In fact, Lume is acidic and maintains the acid mantle, as well as your skin’s protective bacterial flora.

What a relief it is to know there’s finally a product out there that protects you from skin damage over time as well as offensive body odor.

Before using Lume, you do want to get rid of waxes, oils, and the aluminum plugs from past deodorants so it can have direct contact with your skin. That said, all you need before applying it the first time is a quick shower with soap and water. Then, once you’ve dried off, you are ready to use Lume to ward off body odor for 72 hours!

There have been numerous times in my life when I tried switching from clinical strength deodorant with aluminum to others, looking for more natural, but– most importantly– effective odor control. Let me tell you, as someone with pits that “reek to high heavens” (a description bestowed to me by my own loving mother), I know the struggle.

I kept the growing club of disappointing deodorants and antiperspirants stored under my bed to justify money gone to waste, or maybe hoping that my body would change and they’d work for me another day.


I really think the only thing that needs changing is the way deodorant is approached. With Lume, you don’t have to be concerned that it’s any less powerful than the antiperspirant you switched from, or that it will still cause you issues. You may find, like me, that it addresses odor unlike any other product you’ve tried before with no catch.

Lume approaches body odor differently. With a unique, patented formula that simultaneously works safely with your body’s pH and prevents odor-causing bacteria from bringing the funk, there is no detox or waiting period necessary.

Just try Lume and soon, you’ll be flaunting those pits with pride in no time.
Callie Sleper
Callie Sleper