“Dang, my armpits itch so bad! I hate shaving!” -someone right now, probably. Every person who has ever shaved their armpits has probably felt this way at one point or another. There’s nothing quite like red, itchy underarms to make a day uncomfortable, especially during tank top season. For those with sensitive skin, however, it can sometimes seem like an inevitable predicament. Fortunately, once you discover the causes of this problem, you can understand a few easy solutions to help curb its onset while also figuring out ways to combat it when it happens again (because it will probably happen again).
Red, bumpy, scratchy armpits are usually caused by one of two things: shaving too often or shaving with a dull razor. “Razor burn” is actually not a burn at all. It is actually caused by small bumps on the skin from small cuts as a result of improper shaving. By shaving too often or using a dull razor, you create tiny nicks across the surface of the skin which, due to the constant rubbing in that area, become agitated quickly. These minuscule cuts inflame, leading to the itching and heat. The skin of your underarms, while resilient, is also very thin and sensitive. Unlike shaving the legs, which have much tougher skin, shaving the armpit is similar to shaving the neck and should be treated just as delicately.
The two easiest and most effective ways to reduce underarm irritation are shaving less and switching out razors more. By shaving less, the skin has time to build up new layers to protect itself from the razor and heal any existing wounds. Using a sharper razor means you go over the same areas fewer times; shaving the same area once instead of two or three times means you are far less likely to cut yourself, leading to less irritation.
Other ways to combat irritation are numerous and very easy. By implementing a few extra steps in your shaving routine, you are must less likely to spend your precious time scratching your pits. Firstly, try to exfoliate before shaving. Make a DIY scrub with sugar and olive oil or pick one up from your favorite beauty boutique and scrub the area vigorously a few minutes, being sure to rinse the scrub completely before shaving. This will help smooth the underarm so there are fewer areas where the razor will catch and cause discomfort. Once you’re out of the shower and dry off, try not to put on deodorant immediately. Give the area time to air out and heal; even if you don’t see any bumps right away, those tiny gashes are still there. Putting deodorant on will get into the cuts and aggravate the skin more. Finally, you do it for the rest of your body, why not your underarms? Moisturize! All skin can benefit from a good moisturizer. Unscented, natural lotions are the best bet for bump-free pitties!
Unfortunately, no matter how hard we try, sometimes razor burn happens. However, there are a few different at-home remedies to reduce the swelling, itchiness, and redness to make yourself a little more comfortable throughout your day. Hydrocortisone cream will help reduce redness and sensitivity if applied to razor burn quickly. You can also use an aspirin crushed up in warm water and made into a paste. The antihistamines in the aspirin will help soothe sad armpits.
For a more natural solution, try apple cider vinegar or witch hazel. Apple cider vinegar is a natural anti-inflammatory and will reduce burning and itching almost immediately. Dilute it with a bit of water and dab it on with a cotton ball a few times per day, rinsing with cool water after it dries. Repeat this process for a few days until healed. Witch hazel is a natural antiseptic which will help keep the cuts clean so they can heal quickly and properly. It also has cooling properties to help alleviate the discomfort. Apply it directly with a cotton ball and leave it on all day to do its work, but let it dry completely before putting on deodorant.
Follow these steps and razor burn can once and for all be a thing of the past. You’ll not have to worry about your razor burn when you’re out having some summer fun. Free the pits!