Why Your Underarms Deserve Some TLC (And How to Do it)
Main image – Anna/Adobe
Right from the start I’ll admit it: The topic of underarms isn’t the most glamorous is it?
But bear with me. Because whilst I’ve never given my underarms a second thought past their daily dose of deodorant, since it can get hot and sticky under there (and often exposed to skin-unfriendly hair removal), it can be a pretty delicate area of the skin.
That’s why I’ve spoken to the experts to find out how I can combat the pesky ingrown hairs, breakouts and product buildup that loads of us seem to be dealing with under our arms.
I spoke to Amber Shal, an aesthetician and founder of day spa Floral Spa and Aethetic Bar and Ian Michael Crumm, who is a celebrity aesthetican and beauty expert as well as co-host of the BeautyCurious podcast with Dr. Elyse Love.
Here, you’ll find their tips on everything from underarm exfoliation to giving yours an underarm facial.
How to exfoliate your underarms
You may or may not know it but exfoliating your skin keeps it smooth and helps to buff away dead skin cells. This de-clogs pores, therefore lowering the chance of spots appearing, as well as ingrown hairs and irritation.
But it turns out that exfoliating our underarms two to three times a week can also help to get rid of odour-causing bacteria build-up too. Exfoliating before waxing can also improve your fuzz-free results. Genius!
Exfoliating your armpits can be done in a few different ways, according to the experts.
- Body Scrub
First up is the physical exfoliator. This is the grainy kind meaning it’s slightly more abrasive as the grains dig deeper into pores.
- Chemical exfoliator
Physical exfoliator not your thing? Crumm says you can try a chemical exfoliator instead which uses acids to buff the skin. Don’t worry, it’s much more gentle than it sounds. “Try an AHA body peel pad,” he says.
Alternatively, you can use the same AHA toner on your armpits that you’d use on your face by applying it with a cotton pad.
- A loofah
And finally, if you’d rather give scrubs and AHAs a miss altogether, “I would suggest a gentle loofah exfoliation in the shower,” says Shal.
So, if you love that just-scrubbed feeling of softer, brighter arms or smoother, glowy legs, it begs the question. Why not extend that feeling and all those benefits to your underarms too? When you weigh it all up, it’s a no brainer.
How to do an armpit facial
An armpit facial is just how it sounds. A facial for your armpits, and a way of giving your underarms a little extra TLC, according to the experts.
Granted, my underarms aren’t the first thing people notice when I walk into a room, (unless I’m waving frantically).
But as we’ve already established, looking after those two little nooks can help prevent ingrown hairs and breakouts, which should make baring my arms on warmer evenings a little less intimidating.
So the experts recommend taking the reasons for treating our faces to a soothing facial and apply them to your underarms occasionally too.
Ingrown hairs, clogged pores and general irritation and dryness can all be combated by a good underarm regime. And it all begins with a warm cleanse.
“Start by moistening the armpit area with warm water,” says Crumm. Next, take a hot towel or flannel and hold it under your arms for one minute. This is your steam.
Then comes your exfoliation. “It’s essential to be gentle as the skin in that area can be sensitive,” says Crumm. “Apply a mild exfoliating scrub, gently massaging it in circular motions for about 1-2 minutes, then rinse off the scrub with warm water and pat the armpits dry.”
To finish, “dab on a gentle moisturiser to soothe the skin,” Crumm says. Hello new and improved armpits!
At the start of this article, you, like me, may have been sceptical. Well, who could blame you? But if you’re anything like me, you’ve now done a complete 180 on the armpit skincare front.
The experts have established that actually, an armpit facial is a brilliant idea. Softer skin? Yes please. Unclogged pores? Definitely. And ingrown hairs and uncomfortable chaffing – visibly improved!
Meet the experts
Amber Shal is an aesthetician and founder of day spa Floral Spa and Aethetic Bar, specialising in everything from facials to massages and injectables.
Ian Michael Crumm is a celebrity aesthetican and beauty expert as well as co-host of the BeautyCurious podcast with Dr. Elyse Love. He is known for his passion for skincare and sun safety, is actively involved in philanthropic efforts to promote skin cancer awareness and believes that #ProtectedSkinWins.