Here's What You Need To Know About The Underarm Detox Trend

Social platforms have been peppered with pits recently — armpits, that is. Although the underarm area has long gone mostly ignored, pits are having their 15-minutes of fame. Armpit detoxing is a trend that's inspiring folks to slather their armpits with masks and skin treatments, but why?

The trend centers around the idea that pores in the armpit get clogged with regular antiperspirant use, according to The Zoe Report. At the same time, people have expressed concern regarding the use of aluminum in underarm products, which has prompted informative deodorant explainers from experts at Penn Medicine, and others. These factors have led people to wonder if they should stop using deodorant and launched a movement toward all-natural underarm products and elevated skincare for the delicate area.

On top of clogged pore and aluminum questions, there is often confusion about the difference between deodorant and antiperspirant, according to Healthline. So, with armpits taking center stage with lingering questions about ingredients, armpit detoxing, and underarm skincare, it's time to dive into the mish-mosh pit of rumors and facts. In other words, here's what you need to know about the underarm detox trend.

The difference between deoderant and antiperspirant -- and why it's important

Often, people use the words "deodorant" and "antiperspirant" interchangeably, but there is a significant difference, according to Healthline. In short, deodorants work to make your sweat less stinky, but antiperspirants actually reduce or prevent sweat altogether by blocking the pores. Unlike deodorants, most antiperspirants achieve their goal with the help of aluminum salts, which settle into the openings of the pores and ultimately slow the release of sweat.

At a quick glance, that seems great — no sweat sounds appealing, right? 

Well, part of the armpit detox debate centers around the idea that sweat is one of the body's mechanisms to expel excess bacteria, heavy metals, and other bio-debris, states Healthline and PubMed. So preventing underarm sweat by intentionally clogging the pores, has caused debate about whether or not that's detrimental — especially if blocked by the heavy metal aluminum, which has been studied concerning potential breast cancer associations, according to Healthline.

The good news is that cancer-related toxins are processed by the liver and kidneys and expelled through feces and urine — and not the underarm area. Therefore, experts like Benjamin Chan, DO, a physician at Penn Family Medicine Phoenixville, feel that "...if you have normal kidney function, your kidneys can usually process the amount of aluminum from antiperspirants and cosmetics that is absorbed through your skin" he told Penn Medicine.

But breast cancer aside, there are still potential benefits from the armpit detox trend.

Here's how -- and why -- you should give your pits more TLC

As consumers learn more about how antiperspirants use aluminum to clog the pores of the underarm area, there's been increased interest in all-natural products and the use of the hashtag #armpitdetox is trending, according to The Zoe Report. Industry expert Melissa Hago at Fashion Snoops, confirms the trend. "The main shift that we're seeing in the armpit category is that consumers are demanding cleaner, less toxic ingredients alongside more sustainable products that are better for the environment," she said.

Armpit detoxing unclogs pores, soften skin, and help with discoloration. Dermatologist Sejal Shah, MD, founder of NY-based SmarterSkin Dermatology, suggests a gentle cleanser, exfoliation, and an occasional skincare mask. Similarly, in an interview with Health, she explains that dead skin and traces of underarm products can linger and "... armpits usually don't get the TLC they need."

With all this in mind, the skincare industry — and social media users — are raising their hands to join the armpit TLC trend. Of course, the first step is often to switch to non-aluminum underarm products such as Tom's of Maine or Dove's 0% Aluminum Deodorant. Although Dr. Shah is quick to point out that the medical word "detox" is used loosely, she does support the idea of using products such as Lavanila's Healthy Underarm Detox Mask as part of your underarm skincare routine.

All things considered, it's a great time to celebrate and beautify the pit!