Sometimes your pits get scared. It’s a fact of life. “It is the combination of sweat with bacteria that are usually present on the skin and causes the odor,” says Maral Skelsey, MD, a dermatologist from Maryland. But when your usual soap and rinse routine forces you to reapply your lunch stick again, it might be time to show your armpits a little extra care. Simple underarm skin care can help maintain a feeling of freshness, according to Dr. Skelsey.
First, the words of our friendly doctor: “If you sweat a lot, you should see a board-certified dermatologist to see if there is a cure for your sweating, or, if there is a cause, there may be an underlying medical condition,” advises Dr. Skelsey.
But, if it’s nothing out of the ordinary and you just want to do a little bit of bone maintenance, refresh your skin every few weeks or once a month to keep bacteria free, leaving your skin healthy and happy. Below, Dr. Skelsey talks about a four-step underarm skin care program that you can personalize according to your skin sensitivities and your preferred product types to avoid irritation (because an inflamed armpit is an irritated armpit).
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1. Physically exfoliate in the shower.
Exfoliating your underarms will help remove dead skin and soften the pits. However, it is very easy to overdo it. Since your armpits are not exposed to the elements, the skin is very vulnerable and sensitive, explains Dr. Skelsey.
Cleanlogic exfoliating body scrubber
Dr. Skelsey recommends using a gentle physical exfoliation scrubber with regular shower gel. “A word of caution is to use a new washcloth and not let it stay in the shower for too long,” she says.
Drunk Elephant Sugared Koffi Almond Milk Body Scrub
If your pits can handle this and you are not sensitive to fragrances, try using a body scrub. This scrub from Drunk Elephant uses coffee bean oil, raw sugar and almond milk blend to exfoliate and nourish your skin.
Alternatively, try baking soda on a warm washcloth as a stand-alone solution. “There is some physical exfoliation, but it also helps reduce odor,” says Dr. Skelsey.
2. Shave (if you like).
If you’re shaving your armpits, it’s time to do so. Dr. Skelsey says pre-shave exfoliation can help prepare your skin, but it’s not a necessary step to take every time you shave.
Shaving cream for sensitive skin EOS
Start with a moisturizing shaving cream. This one from EOS is super sleek to give you a close shave and is fragrance free to avoid irritation.
Safety razor Maapilim
Dr. Skelsey recommends using a single-blade safety razor. “It seems that shaving not too close is better for people who [experience] a lot of annoyance. And especially if you have curly hair, ”she says.
3. Dry and apply lotion.
Dr. Skelsey says that if the first thing to do with your pits after a shower, applying deodorant, you are missing an important step. “It’s great to apply a moisturizer right after a shower, especially if you have dry or sensitive skin, especially in winter. [and] after exfoliation, ”says Dr. Skelsey.
Lubriderm Moisturizing Lotion Fragrance Free
Dr. Skelsey says the best is the odorless. This lotion from Lubriderm is enriched with vitamin B5 to help rebuild the skin barrier. Be sure to let it dry before applying deodorant.
4. Maintenance with antiperspirants, deodorants and antibacterial agents.
While the steps above are great for upgrading, you need to maintain what you were doing to avoid bad smell. This can be done in three ways: antiperspirant, deodorant, or antibacterial. Antiperspirants inhibit perspiration by blocking pores and signaling the body to produce less sweat. Deodorants do not work on sweat, but they do protect against odor. Antibacterial products go a step further by killing bacteria that stink when mixed with sweat.
Secret Clinical Strength Invisible Antiperspirant Deodorant Solid
“The antiperspirant is best applied at night,” says Dr. Skelsey. It takes your sweat glands a while to realize that they are blocked and slow down the production of sweat, so applying it at night gives it time for it to work. Derma says you only need to apply it a couple of times a week, even if you shower daily. “The antiperspirant effect will remain … especially if you are using the clinical strength versions.”
Deodorant Malin + Goetz Bergamot
The deodorant can be used daily. Dr. Skelsey loves this Malin + Goetz deodorant, which is free of aluminum and baking soda, which can irritate some.
Surface deep anti-odor pads
These glycolic acid pads work wonders to instantly get rid of underarm stench and prevent it from reoccurring. “Very lightweight glycolic acid refreshing wipes are great if you don’t do it too often,” says Dr. Skelsey. She advises avoiding using these pads on shaved skin and not wearing antiperspirant or scented deodorant. “It’s a light exfoliation when you apply these glycolic acids,” she says. “An antiperspirant or scented deodorant is more likely to irritate your skin because your pores are open.” Plus, you probably won’t need it.
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