Hi everyone! The rains are finally gone and I’m loving the warmth, the chirping insects, the dry streets. The heat from the sun, warm breeze has me ducking for cover and reaching for a chilled drink and the ultimate cool off hack- sleeveless tops.
Suddenly cooling off becomes the norm and what better way to do it than to reach for spaghetti strap tops, C Cut sleeve tops, boob tops, see -thru blouses, the list is endless! Hey it’s an opportunity to flash beautiful arms but are you plagued by itchy, bumpy underarm with blotches that are shades darker than your arms? Do you often cover up in the heat due to unsightly bumps and roughened underarm skin? Not to despair. Here are ten tips to beautiful underarms to boost your confidence and have rocking what you really want to wear!
Watch what you apply to your pits as you may be reacting to your antiperspirants, deodorants or shaving cream. Check the labels and be sure your favourite deodorant is not your undoing and giving you rashes. Theses rashes may react with your deodorant and sweat getting itchy, red and sore. If this happens stop whatever you are using and allow your pits to heal. Check with your dermatologist or pharmacist for products that are hypoallergenic and have nourishing ingredients. Remember; do not use products on broken skin or skin that is irritated in any way. Check the use by dates (best before or expiry date) as you go
2. SHAVING SESSIONS
When you shave, how you shave and what you shave with are essential considerations when dealing with underarm issues. Shaving in the morning, when you are sweaty or shaving irritated skin is asking for trouble. When you shave dirty skin or use dirty razors the bacteria get into raw and exposed hair follicles taking up residence and creating bumps. These bumps are usually unsightly and itchy. Or if you shave in the morning, use your deo and head straight off to the warmth of the outdoors, the combination of the heat, deodorant, sweat and skin made irritable by shaving will have you scratching in no time. To avoid this ugly scenario shave at night. This will give your skin the much needed rest from shaving stress. If you have sensitive skin, consider using shaving creams or gels. These are often formulated with Glycerine, vitamins A and E to condition skin and soften hair
3. HYGIENE CONSIDERATIONS
Revamping your personal hygiene ensures that dead skin cells, dust and grime of the day are cleansed off your skin allowing it to breathe. This will help keep your pore clear and inflammation at bay. Check your shaving kits and replace worn out or old razors. As a guide, razors that have faded moisture strips or have become dull (or has been used up to 5 times) should be thrown into the trash! Discard shaving creams that are more than a year old
And remember, take a warm bath or shower prior to shaving taking care to gently wash the underarm. This will help soften hair and makes shaving a breeze. Harsh soaps or scrubbing the armpit roughly is not right
4. UNDERARM STUBBLE AND IN GROWN HAIR
Just like the jaw stubble (the guys sure know it!) underarm stubble is all too common. Underarm hair grows in different directions. Stubble arises from uneven shaving and leaves your underarm feeling rough.
Ingrown hair is caused by hair curling and re-entering the skin and creating razor bumps. To counter this problem, allow the underarm hair to grow, exfoliate with gentle scrubs to loosen the hair and shave in the direction of hair growth. Products with salicylic acid and/ or glycolic acid work best.
Another option is waxing. Waxing is recommended as it pulls the hair from the roots. Caution though as waxing can be painful and should be done by a professional. DIY waxing kits are available online and do read instructions carefully before use. Alternatively check out online videos on waxing before proceeding
If the problem persists, consult your dermatologist . Several options the doctor may give include laser hair removal or something as simple as removing the hair using a scissors
5. PIT PIGMENTATION
Armpit colour (the skin that is) varies from individual to individual. There are people with skin that produce excessive melanin and as such darkens at the slightest scratch. Hyperpigmentation can be caused by a variety of factors including over exposure to UV Rays (and we are in the tropics) wearing of tight clothing and certain fabrics, reaction to product chemicals, hormonal changes, excessive weight (this comes as a result of friction on skin) diabetes, acanthosis nigricans, excessive use of depilatories and build-up of dead cells of the skin
The idea here is to identify what causes your underarm shadow and work on eliminating it. There are products that are exclusively targeted at lightening the underarms. Such products have hydroquinone, retinoid, corticosteroids (must be prescribed by a doctor) as active ingredients. Your underarm shadow can also be treated by the doctor via chemical peels example Salicylic peels
Natural remedies abound for treating this condition. Recipes that use turmeric, cucumber, baking soda, lemon, gram flour, plain yoghurt are available online. But making better and informed product choices, wearing of breathable fabrics, avoiding fabric chafing and losing weight will go a long way to eliminating this problem. Also avoiding undue exposure to the sun, managing insulin levels and getting professional help (especially for acanthosis nigricans) is recommended.
Sounds odd huh? but yes its recommended! According to Dr Ellen Marmur a dermatologist based in New York, regular exfoliation of the armpits loosens dead skin cells helping to minimize discolouration and inflammation
Facial exfoliants (face scrubs) are usually gentle enough for the delicate and thin skin of the underarm and can be used twice a week. Do rub in gently as harsh works always leaves the skin in a bad shape!
7. STRANGE SIGHTS IN YOUR ARMPITS
Our bodies change every day, from skin discolorations, bumps, wrinkles, hair issues a lot goes on that we need to be looking out for. And for the armpits vigilance is key. Have your dermatologists check out any strange sights you observe in your underarm or that you cannot explain.
Bumps, blotches, textures, hair loss or discolouration on the underarm skin have a lot to say about your health. Learn to check your self and if in doubt please see your doctor for expert advice.
8. DRY OFF
I know this sounds….well obvious but have you had ‘them days’ when in a hurry you practically dressed up your damp skin, praying your moisturizer will dry and leave no stains on your clothing?
Such habit is a pitfall especially for sensitive skin and for the underarm too. Remember to dry the pits thoroughly after showering to reduce chances of skin infections and inflammation occasioned by favourable moist environment of improperly dried off skin
9. CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR
As a last resort, see your GP if all these fail to work on your underarm issues. Be prepared for tests and visits to specialists if required. Good luck!
This post was medically reviewed by
DR BOLA OTIKE ODIBI
UNIVERSITY OF PORT HARCOURT TEACHING HOSPITAL