Is armpit shaving really necessary especially in today’s society?
Men with hairy armpits are generally seen as more rugged and masculine. However, having a clean-shaven pit isn’t necessarily unpopular and this even gives you a lot of benefits. So, is it better to let your armpit hair grow free?
Should Men Shave Their Armpits?
The real question here is whether or not shaving has any health benefits or consequences for your armpits. Well, here’s the tea: shaving your armpits is something you decide on purely by preference. Though there are benefits that come with each choice, in the end, there’s no necessity factored into the equation.
However, there are a lot of factors you should consider in making the big decision. Shaving your armpit has its benefits and disadvantages outside of medical reasons.
Why Should You Shave Your Armpit?
Besides the most obvious reason being that your armpits will feel lighter and airier without hair, there are also some benefits that come with shaving your armpits.
Sweat Less, Stress Less
We all know how sweat can get annoying especially when you want to look and feel your best throughout your day. It also doesn’t help that our armpits are prone to sweat which also leaves an obvious mark on our shirts.
By shaving your armpits, not only do you allow the heat to escape more easily from your pits, but the now-gone hair won’t trap the sweat and moisture anymore according to Healthline.
However in some cases, specifically those who have hyperhidrosis, this might not be a factor for you. No worries though, there are more.
Body Odor Begone
Well, it's not completely gone but shaving your armpit hair can actually lessen your body odor. See here’s how it works: body odor is a result of sweat breaking down because of bacteria. Now, with no hair to trap the bacteria and the sweat, there’s a lesser chance of it creating the odor.
A scientific study shows that men who shaved off their armpit hair had a lot less body odor the following day than those who did not. Although it’s not a one-size-fits-all situation, it can still reduce your body odor to some degree.
You might also find that applying deodorant with a whole bunch of armpit hair can be difficult and you’re not really sure if it’s enough or not. This is also the advantage of having a shaved armpit.
Why Shouldn’t You Shave Your Armpit?
On the other hand, armpits with hair also have their benefits. Mainly the lack of potential associated issues with hair growth.
Shaving Side Effects
The age-old practice of shaving is still something that has not been perfected in today’s society. Shaving can lead to a lot of unwanted effects like ingrown hairs, razor burns, cuts, and skin irritation.
Although these effects can be avoided with the proper shaving practices, sometimes it can’t be helped when one or two problems arise especially for those with sensitive skin.
Increased Risk of Bacterial Infection
Outside of odor-causing bacteria, losing your hair could make your skin more prone to harmful bacteria and infections like trichomycosis since the barrier formed by your hair is gone. Even more so if you nick yourself.
Razor Burns and Ingrown Hairs
According to Healthline, razor burns are pretty common and they are caused by multiple reasons: old or clogged blades, dry shaving, and hurried shaving. Furthermore, ingrown hairs are caused by hair growing back into the skin which is hard to control.
Finally, irritation can be in the form of folliculitis which is the inflammation of the hair follicle which is also caused by multiple factors: bacteria, tight clothing, and dull blades.
With your skin free from hair, the skin on your armpits can rub together as you go about your day. The friction from this could eventually end up causing chafing according to Medical News Today. This is especially true in hot weather or when you’re sweating really bad.
A scientific study shows that in cases where inflammation happens after shaving, there’s a likely chance of hyperpigmentation occurring. This is because skin wounds or trauma increases melatonin production which leads to the darkening of your skin.
Though there are some over-the-counter treatments that could help, getting it checked by a dermatologist might be the safer option especially since people have varying skin types.
Much like our beards, the hair on your armpits can grow annoyingly fast. You’ll notice this too when you start shaving. As a result, you might have to sacrifice your time of day to keep your armpit clean-shaven.
Though it isn’t really necessary to keep it that way, if that’s the look you want, then it’s going to be a time-consuming commitment.
Knowing all this, you might opt out of shaving entirely but don’t decide just yet. There are ways to prevent these problems so you can enjoy the benefits and possibly even have your armpit feeling clean and smooth.
How To Properly Shave Your Armpits?
Prep your Pits
We all know about having a facial skincare routine but did you know your armpits can also benefit from it? Including your armpits in your basic skincare routine can do wonders in making it feel smooth and preventing unwanted conditions.
Having a proper daily grooming routine can also help prepare your armpits for the moment when you need to shave them. Keeping your armpit hair groomed will help your razor glide better and cleaner while shaving.
Trim the Bush
If this is your first shave in a while or in forever, you might want to give your armpit hair a little trim. This serves both to make your shaving session easier when using your razor and to keep your razor sharp longer. The better condition your razor is in, the cleaner your shave will be.
Shave In The Shower
The best time to shave is when you’re in the shower. This is because the moisture from the water will help soften up your hair and make it easier to shave.
Once a week, you can also choose to exfoliate your skin before shaving to help remove the dead skin which will not only leave your skin feeling smooth but also prevent irritation caused by dead skin cell clogging. Remember, don’t over-exfoliate; do it once a week at most.
Before the actual shaving, get something that’ll help the blade glide smoothly across your skin. The best lubricant for this is shaving gel or cream.
Shave In All Directions
The final step in shaving is to shave your armpit hair in all directions. Since our armpit hair tends to grow in all different directions, to ensure that your armpit and hair-free and smooth, you need to shave upward, downward, and sidewards from both sides.
Just like when shaving your beard, you need to be careful when using the razor on your armpit as this can be more sensitive than other parts of your body. On top of that, the hair in your armpits is generally thick and could be resistant, especially with a dull blade.
Just make sure that when you’re doing this, try to follow the direction of hair growth as much as possible and shave with care.
Pat your Armpit Dry
When you’re done with your shower, you should pat your armpits dry gently. Rubbing the moisture away with a towel could cause irritation and can pull your skin. Sometimes this can cause cuts or worsen existing ones.
Apply Aftershave Cream
Again, similar to how shaving your beard goes, it’s important to also apply aftershave cream after you’re done shaving your armpits. This will soothe your skin and make sure it stays smooth and moisturized after shaving.
Without this, your skin might become prone to irritation and inflammation.
How Often Should You Shave Your Armpits?
Now, this is something that you need to observe for yourself. It all depends on your preference really.
If you want to maintain that smooth underarm, you might end up needing to shave every other day on average. There are varying cases though where your hair growth is faster than average which means you would need to shave more often too.
If you’re fine with a little stubble like me, I usually shave once or twice a week. It saves me a lot of time in the morning and also lessens the chance of overly stressing out my underarm skin.
In the event that you want to stop shaving, that’s fine too. I also sometimes skip out on shaving especially if I won’t be going out much for an extended period of time.
Alternatives to Shaving Your Armpits
If you want your armpit to be hairless, there are other alternatives to shaving. According to Healthline, there are several other choices you can opt for:
- Laser hair removal
- Depilatory creams
Some of these could be more expensive in the short term like laser hair removal but eventually, you won’t need these as these could help reduce hair growth after a while.
Shaving your armpits is up to your discretion. It’s a matter of whether you want your armpits to be smooth and breezy or bushy and thick. Though making the change may come with some lifestyle changes and some different experiences, so you should be prepared for that.
Just remember, if you want your armpits to be smooth and breezy, the best way to achieve this is with the proper tools and preparation. A good shower and some top-tier shaving cream should do the trick.