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How to avoid armpit irritation

Bunny’s bushy question: I’ve tried different ways of shaving my armpits and always it results in the same thing – sore, and little red spots. What else can I do?


The Right Brain’s reply:

Why is shaving irritating?

One of the reasons that shaving can irritate your pits is that you’re not just removing hair you’re also shredding your skin. In a study published in the Journal of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists (Vol 58 No 3 May/June 2007), researchers measured the amount of Underarm Shaving Debris generated during shaving. (Underarm Shaving Debris I love that term!) They found that 36% of the stuff you’re scraping off your armpit is skin, not hair! No wonder shaving is so irritating! They also measured the skin underneath the arms and found that it actually grows thicker to compensate for all this scraping. That’s right, shaving your armpits gives you thicker skin! (I’m not sure why, but that creeps me out just a little bit.)

How can you soothe your pits?

Even though your skin grows thicker, it’s not enough prevent all the symptoms of irritation. But the researchers did discover that using a special roll-on anti-perspirant formulation with glycerol and sunflower seed oil after shaving can further reduce the irritation.

The notion of using a lubricating anti-perspirant as a post-shaving aid is intriguing but this research is so new we don’t know if this type of formula is actually on the market yet or not. We’re looking forward to trying it AND to find out if this new technology reduces the irritation properties of the anti-perspirant itself. (The aluminum salts used in APs can be irritating even if you don’t shave!)

In the meantime, make sure you’re using a good razor like Schick, Gillette, or Body Bare.

Favorite underarm shaving quote:

“Shall I warn you to keep the rank goat out of your armpits?” (From Ovid’s Art of Love, a poem written over 2000 years ago and the inspiration for the photo that accompanies today’s post.)