Most of us shower, slap on deodorant, and rush out the door without thinking about our armpits… until we catch a whiff of them at the end of the day. Our underarms are rarely visible, so it’s common to overlook them in terms of a daily care routine. But did you know that bacteria, dead skin, and clogged pores all contribute to underarm odor? And unfortunately, a simple shower won’t rinse it all away. So, establishing an underarm care routine ensures you’ve got a clean slate each day.
If your underarms are forcing you to reconsider your summer outfit plans, follow these 7 steps — from exfoliating to clay masking — to take your pit skin care routine to the next level.
1. Cleanse (Daily)
Oh, the mighty holy grail of cleansing.
Underarms are a part of the body that’s considered an intertriginous zone, which means that due to the folding of the skin, it’s prone to being moist due to lack of airflow, and it can often harbor particular bacteria and fungal-yeast organisms. Proper care of the armpit is important to reduce unwanted moisture and keep the natural balance of the microbiome. When caring for armpits, cleaning them should always come first! Sweat, dirt and bacteria are a magnet for body odor. Keep in mind that the way you cleanse should depend on the skin area. Your underarm skin is delicate and vulnerable to irritation, so consider using a mild cleanser. Remember not to rub it too hard. The key is to be as gentle as possible and to clean it regularly.
2. Tone and Moisturize (Daily)
After washing your armpits, it’s important to apply toner. Toner works to gently remove bacteria as well as leftover residue from deodorants and antiperspirants. Some toners are healthier for your skin than others, so make sure to look for one that fits your skin’s needs. One with witch hazel is particularly suitable as it will encourage pore constriction (without completely blocking them — we’ll get to this later!) and lead to less sweating. Once you’ve dried off your armpits from washing, gently massage the toner onto your underarm skin. After the toner has dried, apply a gentle moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated and healthy.
3. Use a Natural deodorant (Daily)
To help neutralize or mask odors, use a natural deodorant. Unlike commercial deodorants and antiperspirants, natural products are chemical-free and won’t plug your pores. If you are new to natural deodorants, be sure to plan for a transition period - or detox phase - of about a month. Some people need the detox period, others don't. Use the product only as directed and apply to damp skin.
4. Remove Underarm Hair The Right Way (2-3 times per week)
Part of your underarm care routine should include removing armpit hair 2 to 3 times a week. Shaving your underarm hair is beneficial for numerous reasons:
Sweat doesn't get trapped in the hair, which prevents it from evaporating.
Soaps can reach the surface of your skin, thereby killing bacteria that hide in the recesses.
The lack of hair allows deodorants or antiperspirants to penetrate your skin, making them more effective.
There are numerous techniques for removing or maintaining underarm hair. Whether you prefer to shave, trim, wax, or use hair removal gels or creams, make sure you pick the method that’s least irritating to your skin.
In this section, we’ll cover appropriate shaving techniques for proper underarm care at home. There are a few considerations to keep in mind if you decide to pick up the razor.
Shaving can irritate the skin, and improper shaving techniques can easily cause razor burn. A proper shaving routine ensures a close shave, extending the time between shaves and allowing your skin to recover.
To reduce irritation, apply the following shaving tips for your underarm care routine.
USE THE RIGHT RAZOR
There are many types of razors on the market: disposable, reusable, electric, single-blade or multi-blade. There is much debate on which razors are best, but the decision boils down to personal preference.
Important: Replace your blades every seven shaves for optimal results. Sharper blades produce the best and cleanest shave. Keep the blade out of the shower so that it can dry thoroughly and avoid rust stains.
First, plan your shave. Antiperspirant, deodorant and chafing can aggravate freshly shaven skin, so shaving at night is best. Your skin will have more time to heal while you sleep.
Apply shaving cream or shaving gel to the underarm area.
Reach your arm overhead, and pull the skin you are shaving taught. Hair grows in different directions, so to ensure a close shave, glide the razor carefully in each direction.
If you have sensitive skin, shave (as best as you can) in the direction the hair grows to minimize irritation. If necessary, reapply shaving cream or gel.
Lastly, pat dry with a towel and apply a gentle moisturizer or ingrown hair cream.
5. Exfoliate ( Weekly)
An important part of underarm care is exfoliating once or twice a week.
Like the face, underarms can be impacted by skin sensitivity and irritation. Too much oil, clogged pores, pimples (known as folliculitis), and a buildup of dead, dull, and sometimes discolored skin cells are all reasons exfoliation should extend below the neck. To this end, there are physical exfoliants, such as masks or scrubs that manually remove dead skin cells and debris. Remember, your underarm skin is sensitive so if using an exfoliating product, be sure to select a natural gentle one( avoid microbeads). You can use the same one you use on your face or even a loofah while using the shower. Gently rub in a circular motion and rinse.
6. Detox Using an Armpit Mask ( Weekly)
Did you know there is such a thing as armpit masks? Just like facial masks, armpit masks detoxify your skin from all the nasty build up. There are several benefits to using an armpit mask:
It helps with body odor by stripping away build up.
It removes any deodorant or antiperspirant residue that doesn’t come off from washing.
It supports the transition to natural deodorants.
For best results, use an armpit mask once a week.
7. Keep Perspiration at Bay
Sweating is a natural process that controls the body’s internal temperature, but excessive perspiration contributes to BO, and not to mention, a low self-esteem. There are ways to handle excessive sweat, such as using antiperspirants. These contain aluminum salts that clog sweat pores. If you are looking for a more natural option try using all-natural deodorants that contain moisture absorbing clays like Kaolin and Bentonite. Natural deodorants won’t stop the perspiration but the clays will absorb moisture, leaving you feeling fresh and dry. If your perspiration level is totally out of control, care for underarms should already mean consulting a doctor. Excessive sweating can be triggered by emotional distress and underlying medical conditions.
TIP : Wear Breathable Fabrics
Fabrics that are breathable allow air to easily flow through them, which speeds up sweat evaporation. In turn, this also helps prevent potential odor. Most natural fibers like cotton, linen, bamboo and hemp will do the trick.
Now that you know how to start an underarm care routine, you are destined to feel fresher at the start of each day. Just a few extra steps will immensely improve the overall health of your underarms!