If you're like most Americans, the subject of underarm care might be something of a taboo. From a young age, we're taught that underarm odor is something to be avoided, ashamed of, and even teased for. You might have noticed that the antiperspirant industry often exploits this social phobia in their advertising--funny how that works! That's why we put together the Official Underarm Skincare Guide. Let's get started.
#1: Our underarms need some extra TLC
This might come as a surprise, but the underarms are actually one of the very most sensitive areas of the body. While they’re often put in a corner for being a “stinky” part of our anatomy, the truth is our armpits need more care than we tend to assume! They’re packed with a high concentration of nerves and lymph nodes that absorb substances directly into our capillaries. Not only that, but the underarm skin is actually thinner than the rest of our skin, and it rarely takes in sunlight, leaving it extra prone to sensitivity.
PRO TIP: Keep the skin hydrated and exfoliated, just like any other part of your body. Since our underarms are so vulnerable, stick to using facial products since they are less aggressively formulated. If you really want to go the extra mile, give your underarms a gentle massage to stimulate the lymphatic tissue, boosting your immune response and allowing the body to process up to ten times the amount of fluid!
#2: Let Your Body Sweat
Second only to “Will it keep me odor-free?” one of the most common questions we get at Schmidt’s is, “Will it keep me dry?” Our bodies are intended to sweat—the sweat actually transports toxins out of the body, leaving us internally refreshed and clean. Not only that, it helps cool the body and maintain its core temperature. Conventional antiperspirants use aluminum to block our sweat ducts, preventing its exit. These should be avoided if at all possible.
PRO TIP: Go natural and stay dry at the same time. While Schmidt’s isn’t an antiperspirant, our formula contains natural plant-based powders to help absorb sweat. This allows the sweat to exit the body, but helps stop the sweat before it can spread across your skin and into the fabric of your clothing.
#3: Avoid Underarm Stains
Ever notice a stain on your clothing in the underarm area and wonder how it got there? Many people attribute these as “sweat stains,” but they’re often the result of an interaction between your sweat and the active ingredients in your deodorant. The biggest culprit here are antiperspirants, which contain aluminum-based compounds that are especially likely to stain once bonding with the body's urea found in your sweat.
PRO TIP: On top of avoiding antiperspirants, you can avoid tight-fitting and synthetic clothing fabrics that might irritate the underarms and exacerbate the sweating process. Also make sure that your underarms are dry before applying deodorant—mixing your deo with water makes staining more likely.
#4: Eliminate Sensitivity
Although we don’t think of our armpits as a “dry” area, the thin skin of our underarms is actually prone to dryness, particularly because the antibacterial properties of many deodorants can lead to dried out skin. Keep them moisturized!
PRO TIP: Only apply deodorant to dry skin, waiting until after your moisturizer has dried post-shave. Make sure you’re using a fresh, clean razor, and a moisturizing shaving cream. As stated in the tip above, avoid tight-fitting and synthetic clothing fabrics that can irritate the underarms.
#5: Give Your Underarms a Break
By now you know that the underarms are a very sensitive area of the body. Recognizing this, it’s important that your delicate skin is given opportunities to “recover” in its natural state.
PRO TIP: Applying deodorant or some clothing fabrics directly after shaving can be irritating. Try waiting 10 minutes before putting on deodorant, or shave before bed and let the skin recover overnight. As a general rule of thumb, it’s wise to avoid wearing deodorant while you sleep so that the skin has time to breathe.
Note: Much of the content from this guide can also be found in our article 5 Pro Tips for Your Armpits.