Know Your Sweat: We have 2 types of sweat glands, eccrine and apocrine glands, that produce odorless sweat. Your body odor (B.O.) occurs when microorganisms interact with sweat – particularly that of the apocrine glands.
- Remember, underarm hair can contribute to the intensity of the odor. However, odor is mainly caused by interaction of sweat and with surface bacteria, which increases with hair as there is more surface area for bacteria and sweat to interact.
Underarm Hair Removal: 3 out of 4 women chose to remove their underarm hair. 97% of women who remove their underarm hair choose to shave, while 11% wax and 1% use laser hair removal.1 Since shaving is most popular, keep in mind that your hair grows in a swirl pattern so use these tips from Dr. Benjamin’s tips for an effective shave with minimum skin irritation.
- Lather Up: Use a moisturizing body wash like Dove or shave cream to lather up the area and gently exfoliate the skin and soften the hair.
- Simple is Better: Opt for a simple razor – one or two blades – and change after 3 or 4 uses. Razors with more blades can cause irritation depending on skin sensitivity.
- More Than One Direction: Shave in an X pattern to get the closest shave possible and reduce the amount of swipes across the skin.
- Aftercare is Key: 36% of what you remove when shaving is skin, it’s important to moisturize afterwards with a hydrating deodorant/antiperspirant.
Underarm Issues: Did you know shaving and waxing can cause hyperpigmentation? The constant ripping and pulling coarse hair from the skin, makes your underarms susceptible to inflammation, ingrown hairs and darker skin. The skin can have an inflammatory reaction, which stimulates pigment-making cells to generate more pigment and make the skin darker. While some issues may go away on their own with appropriate care and attention, others may still linger around or worsen over time. If the problem you’re dealing with hasn’t gone away or is getting worse, you should see your dermatologist to seek the appropriate treatment you may need.
The Role of Antiperspirant: I always recommend Dove Antiperspirants to my patients because they not only provide odor and wetness protection, but also care for the delicate skin. The Cleartone variant in both the Dove Advanced Care stick and Dry Spray, are formulated with calendula to help restore skin to its natural tone, offsetting some of those hyperpigmentation issues, common among women of color.