There was a time when skin care talk just focused on the face and visible parts of the body. Today, what used to be hidden has gained equal attention – the underarm (armpit).
Armpit hair, also known as axillary hair, is the hair in the underarm area.
Underarm hair, as human body hair, normally starts to appear at the beginning of puberty, with growth usually completed by the end of the teen-age years. The evolutionary significance of human underarm hair is still debated. It may naturally wick sweat or other moisture away from the skin, aiding ventilation. Colonization by odor-producing bacteria is thereby transferred away from the skin.
It is more common for women to regularly shave their underarm hair, but this practice is uncommon among men.
When I hit puberty, the only thing my mother told me was to wash my underarm thoroughly and wear a deodorant to always smell fresh. From friends, I learned that that plucking hair out gives you chicken skin. So I religiously used deodorants and shaved for couple of years until I opted to switch to plucking because I noticed that shaving started to irritate my skin.
So I got chicken skin – no big deal! I never really thought there was anything wrong or embarrassing about my underarms until a deodorant commercial claimed to make it whiter and smoother. I rushed to the mirror, closely scrutinized my underarms, and thought, “Hmm… they do look slightly darker.”
From that moment on, I started obsessing about it. I see other women raise their arms and in my mind, I shout. “Wow! Nice underarms!”, “Ok, I’m normal.” or “Put down those arms! Put down those arms!!!”
I have yet to find the perfect solution for flawless underarms without resorting to peels and laser hair removal, but here are a few things that have improved the color and texture of my underarms.
Fair underarm: armpit care tips
1. Apply virgin coconut oil
Before every bath, apply a few drops of virgin coconut oil to your underarms to help remove deodorant residue. Twice a week, add a little brown sugar to that coconut oil and apply to the underarms in a light, circular motion to exfoliate the skin. Yes, you need to exfoliate it just like the rest of your skin.
After 2 weeks of doing this, your underarms will feel softer and smoother. After a month, the appearance of chicken skin will improve.
2. Refrain from using a deodorant
I heard from several dermatologists that deodorants contain chemicals that can irritate and darken the skin. They recommend not to use deodorants, but growing up in a society where body odor is of great concern, it took me a while before I finally tried it.
If you’re just spending the day at home, opt to use a deodorant powder instead. I use Milcu and it keeps me fresh the whole day.
If you’re going out and need to use a deodorant, opt for one with a mild formula. I’ve tried Dove and Nivea whitening deodorants which were both good. But my favorite is Rexona Sensive because aside from giving the best antiperspirant protection, it’s the one that works best on my skin in terms of fragrance at the end of a long, sweaty day, and improvement on the skin color. Note that I used this before I discovered the coconut oil regimen so I can attribute the improvement to this deodorant.
3. Refrain from shaving your underarms
A lot of people say that waxing is the best hair removal method for the underarms. It exfoliates the skin, takes the hair off from the roots, and leaves you hair-free for a longer period of time.
You can use any brand or as I use wax strips that leave me hair-free for about 3 weeks. I don’t know if it’s because my threshold for pain is higher than most, but I think the ouch factor of this method is very tolerable. Of course, it would still be best to have it professionally done if you have the time and can spare a little money.
If you cannot or would not want to wax, plucking would be better than shaving.