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Are you looking for a way to improve the look and feel of your underarms? Then exfoliating is the answer! Exfoliating your underarms is an often overlooked part of a healthy skincare routine. Many people are unaware that exfoliation can help to prevent irritation, ingrown hairs, and body odor. In addition to providing numerous benefits, exfoliating your underarms is also relatively simple and straightforward. Keep on reading to learn all the benefits and how to exfoliate your underarms at home without damaging your skin.
What To Know About Armpit Skin
As you probably have noticed, the skin under your arms is different than the skin on your shoulder. Just like the skin under your eyes is different than the skin on your neck. Which means, each area needs to be cared for differently to keep your skin healthy.
Underarms are unique in that the skin is thinner and more sensitive than other areas of your body.
Of course, this area is often subject to different types of hair removal like shaving, waxing and plucking. This mechanism removes the top protective layer of the skin cells called corneocytes. These corneocytes which leaves the skin barrier more susceptible to damage and can lead to irritation, inflammation, dryness and darkening of the skin.
Underarms, also known as axilla, are also unique in that the skin contains lots of sweat glands, hair follicles and sebaceous glands. With all of these structures and combined with frequent hair removal, underarm skin can be prone to issues like skin darkening, body odor and ingrown hairs if not properly taken care of. And that is where exfoliation comes in.
Benefits of Exfoliating Underarms
Exfoliating is an important part of any skincare routine, but it’s especially important when it comes to keeping your underarm area healthy and smooth. Exfoliation helps remove dead skin cells that can accumulate in this area, which can cause irritation or even lead to ingrown hairs. It also helps keep your pores clear, which prevents bacteria from accumulating in them. Additionally, exfoliation helps improve circulation in the area, which can help make it look brighter and more toned. And lastly, regular exfoliation can help reduce the appearance of dark spots or discoloration (including dark armpits).
Exfoliating your underarms can have several benefits, including:
- Improved skin texture: Exfoliating removes dead skin cells from the surface of your skin, revealing the smoother, healthier skin underneath.
- Reduced odor: Dead skin cells can contribute to body odor, so by removing them, you may notice a decrease in odor. Some chemical exfoliants also have anti-bacterial properties, which can help to kill odor causing bacteria.
- Easier hair removal: Exfoliating can help to loosen and remove ingrown hairs, making it easier to shave or wax your underarms.
- Better product absorption: When you exfoliate your underarms, it can help products such as deodorant or moisturizer to be absorbed more effectively into your skin.
- Improved circulation: Exfoliating can stimulate blood flow to the area, which can help to improve the overall health of your skin.
- Less bumps/ingrown hairs: Regular exfoliation can help to treat and prevent razor bumps and ingrown hairs
It’s important to note that exfoliating your underarms should be done gently and not too frequently, as over-exfoliating can cause issues like irritation, inflammation and make bumps and razor burn worse.
Is It Safe To Exfoliate Underarms?
You probably already exfoliate your body and face, so why not your underarms too? Your underarms can benefit from exfoliation just like the rest of your skin can! In fact, exfoliating your armpits can help to keep the skin healthy, soft and smooth. Plus it can help with a ton of issues like body odor, dark armpits, razor bumps and ingrown hairs. So, if you suffer from any of these issues, then exfoliation is your answer!
And it’s totally safe to do. As long as you do it correctly, of course! And we’ll get into that next!
How To Exfoliate Underarms
When it comes to exfoliating your underarms at home, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
Cleanse The Skin With A Gentle Cleanser
Before you start exfoliating, you always want to gently cleanse the skin first to remove any sweat, dirt, bacteria and oil. Be sure to use a gentle cleanser and avoid bar soaps or products with sodium lauryl sulfates if at all possible. Stick to something very gentle, sulfate-free and non-foaming. Remember this is a delicate area of your body!
Pick The Right Exfoliator
There are many different exfoliators out there, but not all of them are good! Trust me here and do NOT under any circumstances use anything with baking soda, lemon juice or potato juice. For the most part, you want to skip the DIY stuff and don’t trust any of those bloggers that say using lemon juice and baking soda on your skin is a good idea.
There are several different types of exfoliants you can use under your arms. Each type of exfoliant has its own unique benefits and can be used alone or in combination with other exfoliants, depending on the needs of the skin. Let’s take a look at each of them.
Physical exfoliants are products that contain abrasive particles or bristles, which physically slough off dead skin cells when applied to the skin. Examples of physical exfoliants include scrubs, brushes, and loofahs. Chemical exfoliants are products that use chemical agents to loosen the bonds between dead skin cells, causing them to shed. These can include alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs). Enzyme exfoliants are products that contain enzymes that break down the proteins that hold dead skin cells together, allowing them to shed. Enzyme exfoliants are often derived from natural sources such as papaya and pineapple.
Physical exfoliants contain abrasive particles to manually remove dead skin cells. This can be anything like sugar scrubs, washcloths, loofahs and more. You want to be sure to choose a scrub with super gentle, round particles so you don’t cause irritation. Avoid using any kind of scrub with seeds (like the St. Ives Apricot Scrub).
Chemical exfoliants are products that use acids to loosen the bonds between dead skin cells, causing them to shed. These can include alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs). Most commonly glycolic acid, lactic acids and salicylic acids are used. These come in many forms including toners, treatments, serums, peels, masks and moisturizers. Chemical exfoliants are ideal for those wanting to tackle body odor as BHA’s and other acids kill odor causing bacteria.
Enzyme exfoliants are products that contain enzymes that break down the proteins that hold dead skin cells together, allowing them to shed. Enzyme exfoliants are often derived from natural sources such as papaya and pineapple. Enzymes are one of the most gentle types of exfoliators, so they’re great for the delicate underarms skin and for those with sensitive skin.
If you do want a home remedy for exfoliating your armpits, your best bet is going to be mixing equal parts sugar to oil. You can use granulated or brown sugar and any oil you have on hand. Olive oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil, sunflower, etc. They’re all great.
If you’re looking for a product, keep reading for recommendations.
How you exfoliate your underarms will depend on what kind of product you are using.
If you’re using a physical scrub…
You’ll want to apply the scrub to wet skin and massage (gently!) in circular motions. Do this for about 30-60 seconds and then rise throughly.
If you’re using a chemical exfoliant or enzyme exfoliant…
You’ll want to pat dry your underarms after cleansing them and apply your exfoliant. Follow the directions on the particular product you are using. Toners and serums can be left on, but if you’re using a peel or a mask, you’ll just need to follow the directions on the product.
After using your exfoliant, you want to make sure to moisturize your underarm area. The exfoliating shed all of those dead skin cells, leaving fresh, new ones behind. They’ll be a little more sensitive so you want to soothe and nourish the skin right after. You can use any kind of moisturizer – face or body. Just try to avoid anything with extra exfoliants, essential oils or fragrance as these can be irritating.
The most important step when it comes to exfoliation is making sure you are using a gentle product. There are many harsh scrubs out there that are way too abrasive for the delicate skin.
How To Exfoliate Underarms Before & After Shaving
Although you may want to exfoliate your armpits before shaving, it’s actually best to exfoliate afterwards. Exfoliating beforehand can cause excess irritation if you immediately shave your armpits after exfoliating.
However, exfoliating after shaving is one of the best things you can do! Not only does it help you avoid pesky ingrown hairs, but it can also help stave off razor burn and irritation. The best way to exfoliate your armpits after shaving is by using a gentle scrub or physical exfoliant made with ingredients like sugar, oatmeal or even ground coffee. Of course, you can also use any kind of physical scrub you have laying around.
To ensure the best results, you should use a light circular motion while exfoliating – this helps to stimulate blood flow and encourages new cell turnover in the area. Additionally, make sure to moisturize immediately afterwards with something nourishing, like shea butter or coconut oil. This will provide hydration as well as form a protective barrier on top of your skin so that it stays soft and healthy looking all day long.
How To Exfoliate Underarms Before & After Waxing
Exfoliating before and after waxing is key for a successful waxing session. Exfoliating your underarms before waxing can help to remove dead skin cells, loosen ingrown hairs and will help the wax work better. After waxing, it’s important to exfoliate again as this helps to prevent ingrown hairs and acne.
Since waxing can be pretty irritating to the skin, you’ll want to make sure to be extremely gentle. You can use any kind of exfoliant (scrub, mitt, serum, etc). Just make sure you’re using something gentle and apply very little pressure.
It’s important to exfoliate 24 hours before waxing and again 24 hours after waxing. You want to give your skin time to heal between exfoliating and waxing to reduce irritation.
After waxing, you can exfoliate your underarms again to help remove any remaining dead skin cells and to prevent ingrown hairs. Be sure to use a gentle exfoliant and to avoid over-exfoliating, as your skin may be more sensitive after waxing.
How To Exfoliate Underarms Before & After Laser
Exfoliating your skin before laser treatment can help to remove dead skin cells and improve the overall texture of your skin, which can make the laser treatment more effective.
To exfoliate before laser treatment, you can use a physical exfoliant such as a scrub or a brush, or a chemical exfoliant such as an alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) or a beta-hydroxy acid (BHA). If using a scrub, simply apply the exfoliant to your skin and massage it in using circular motions. Be sure to be gentle and avoid using too much pressure, as over-exfoliating can cause irritation. After a minute or so, rinse the skin and gently pat dry. The same process can be used after laser.
It’s important to wait at least 24 hours after exfoliating before and after having laser treatment, to give your skin time to recover and to reduce the risk of irritation.
How Often Should I Exfoliate Underarms
If you’re fed up with body odor and dark underarms, you’re probably wondering, can i scrub my underarms everyday? Unfortunately,
This will depend on your skin type and the particular product you’re using. Generally, it’s best to exfoliate your armpits 1-2 times a week and no more. This is especially true if you’re using physical or chemical exfoliants. Enzymes are pretty gentle, so you can likely use those more often if needed.
What To Avoid When Exfoliating Underarms
When exfoliating your underarms, it’s important to be mindful of the ingredients you use, as some ingredients can be irritating or drying to the skin. Here are a few ingredients to avoid when exfoliating your underarms:
- Lemon juice: Lemon juice is highly acidic and will only cause skin irritation and can damage your skin barrier. It can even cause burns if you go out in the sun after applying lemon juice. Lemon juice is for lemon drops, not your skin. In fact, just leave all the citrus juices off your skin.
- Baking soda: Baking soda is a highly alkaline ingredient that can be very harsh on the skin, causing irritation and dryness and damage to your skin barrier. It’s not recommended for use on the underarms or any skin for that matter.
- Potato juice: I mean, come on. There are plenty of well-researched, science backed, natural ingredients to use on your skin and potato juice is not one of them. There’s nothing beneficial here.
- Essential oils: All essential oils, such as tea tree oil and peppermint oil, can be irritating to the skin, especially when used in high concentrations. Keep them for your diffuser.
- Fragrance: Although some find fragrance pleasant, it’s irritating to the skin. Avoid using any products with fragrance under your arms.
What Can You Use To Exfoliate Underarms
You don’t have to use a specific product formulated for the underarms. You can use anything formulated for the face or body. Of course, be sure to avoid any ingredients mentioned above.
If you’re wanting to know how to exfoliate underarms naturally, the homemade route is your best bet. You can certainly make an incredible (and gentle) scrub with just sugar and oil. Mix equal parts and exfoliate away! Any kind of oil will do and you can use brown sugar or regular granulated sugar.
Tree Hut Sugar Scrubs are some of the best scrubs for underarms. They use sugar which will gradually dissolve to avoid over-exfoliation and they’re packed with tons of nourishing oils and plant extracts.
If you’re looking for a chemical exfoliant to help with body odor, there are endless options out there. I’ll list some products recommendations below!
You can also use a simple washcloth, exfoliating mitt or dry brush. It doesn’t have to be fancy.
Does Exfoliating Help Dark Armpits?
Exfoliating your underarms can potentially help to improve the appearance of dark underarms, but it is not a cure-all solution. Dark underarms can be caused by a variety of factors, including hyperpigmentation (darkened skin due to an excess of pigment), irritation, and ingrown hairs and medical conditions. Exfoliating can help to remove dead skin cells and improve skin texture, which may make dark underarms look less noticeable. However, exfoliating alone may not be sufficient to completely eliminate dark underarms, especially if yours are cause by a health issue.
However, if your underarms are dark because of irritation, hyperpigmentation or a buildup of dead skin cells, exfoliating can certainly help lighten dark underarms.
Best Tips For Exfoliating Your Underarms
When it comes to exfoliating your underarms, there are some key tips to follow if you want to get the best results.
Start With Clean Skin
Cleansing the skin before exfoliating is one of the most important things you can do. This will help to remove any dirt and oils that can build-up on the skin, which can prevent your exfoliant from working properly. Proper cleansing is especially important if you’re using a chemical exfoliant.
The skin underneath your arms is much thinner and more delicate than skin on other areas of the body. That’s why it’s important to be gentle when exfoliating this area. Avoid using harsh scrubs and be sure to use very light pressure when using scrubs.
After exfoliating, your skin will be looking for a bit of TLC. Make sure to moisturize your underarms with a light, hydrating cream or lotion after exfoliating to help keep skin healthy and hydrated. You can use anything formulated for your face or body.
Use A Fresh, Clean Razor
If you shave your underarms, it’s important to use a fresh, clean razor every time. Dull razors can cause irritation and ingrown hairs which can lead to dark underarms. If you’re exfoliating to get rid of darkness under your arms, you don’t want to do anything that can worsen the problem.
Use A Good Shaving Cream
Using a good shaving cream can also help to prevent dark underarms. Look for something that is hydrating and free of irritating ingredients like fragrance, alcohol and parabens. You want something that offers a lot of protection to the skin so that the razor glides over.
Don’t Go Overboard
Exfoliating is essential for healthy skin, but it’s important not to go overboard. Too much exfoliation can cause irritation and sensitivity. Try to stick to exfoliating no more than 1-2x per week. And always remember to use a gentle touch!
Best Ingredients For Exfoliating Underarms
- Sugar – Sugar is a great, natural ingredient for exfoliating the delicate skin of your underarms. It’s gentle and effective at removing dead skin cells without being too abrasive.
- Jojoba Beads – Jojoba beads are tiny round particles made from jojoba oil, a natural oil that helps to soften and moisturize the skin. Jojoba beads can help to gently slough away any dead skin cells on your underarms without causing irritation. They’re great for those with sensitive skin.
- Salicylic Acid – Salicylic acid helps to remove dead skin cells, kill odor causing bacteria and reduce ingrown hairs. If you’re wanting to prevent body odor, go for something with salicylic acid.
- Glycolic Acid – Glycolic acid is a type of alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that helps to break down the bonds between dead skin cells so they can be easily sloughed away. Glycolic acid can help to reduce the appearance of dark underarms by reducing pigmentation and brightening the skin
- Lactic Acid – Lactic acid is another type of AHA that helps to gently exfoliate the skin. It’s especially great for those with sensitive skin since it has larger molecules than glycolic acid and won’t penetrate as deeply into the skin.
- Retinol – Retinol is a type of Vitamin A that helps to speed up cell turnover. It can help improve the appearance of dark underarms by encouraging the production new, healthy skin cells and reducing pigmentation.
- Pineapple Enzymes – Pineapple enzymes are derived from pineapple and contain natural AHAs which help to exfoliate the skin. The enzymes break down dead skin cells so they can be easily washed away, leaving you with brighter, smoother underarms.
- Papaya Enzymes – Papaya enzymes are similar to pineapple enzymes, but they’re a bit milder. They help to exfoliate the skin without being too irritating and drying.
How To Exfoliate Armpits Wrap Up
Exfoliating your underarms is an important part of maintaining healthy skin—not just for its aesthetic benefits but for its ability to provide relief from body odor due to sweat buildup and ingrown hairs caused by razor burn or waxing. It’s easy enough to do yourself using gentle products specifically designed for the sensitive underarm area; just remember not to overdo it! With consistency and good post-exfoliation care such as moisturizing after each session, you’ll be able enjoy all the benefits of having smooth and healthy underarm skin! Everyone should make sure they are regularly exfoliating their underarms, not just during warmer months but all year round! Doing so will help keep this sensitive area clean and healthy while reducing sweat, body odor, uneven tones, and pesky ingrown hairs too! These tips on how to exfoliate underarms will ensure that you’re doing it safely and effectively. With the right approach, your underarms will remain healthy and smooth!