THIS IS THE MOST OVERLOOKED FACTOR TO AVOID UNDERARM ODOR

March 2022 | 5 Minute Read 

the best armpit hair removal methods

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There are many factors that contribute to how much armpit odor you produce. Armpits are a complicated, dark, and moist environment with a high concentration of sweat glands and hair follicles. Most people overlook the presence of hair when it comes to managing odor. Read on to learn the role of armpit hair in relation to body odor and the best armpit hair removal methods.

WHY ARMPIT HAIR CONTRIBUTES TO ODOR

Apocrine sweat glands are located in the areas where you have hair like your armpits and groin. These glands release an odorless milky fluid that turns into body odor when armpit bacteria feeds off the protein from this secretion.

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, “The sweat gland ducts open into the hair follicles, and the sweat is released through the hair opening in the skin.” Since the sweat is released through the surface of the skin, moisture gets trapped in the hair. Armpits with hair are more prone to trapping and breeding odor-causing bacteria so if you skip a week of shaving or don’t remove armpit hair, you are giving bacteria the perfect environment to thrive. 

WHICH ARMPIT HAIR REMOVAL METHOD IS PROVEN TO HELP REDUCE ODOR

waxing armpit hair

SHAVING AND WAXING

In 2015,  The Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology  conducted a study comparing how different methods of armpit hair removal can reduce axillary odor. The study was conducted with 30 participants. Three methods of armpit hair removal were tested, shaving, waxing, and clipping with scissors.    

After the study was completed, it was discovered that shaving or waxing for armpit hair removal, “significantly improved the immediate effectiveness of soap washing in reducing axillary odor up to 3 days post‐treatment compared to not shaving at all.” The study suggests that, “shaving and waxing was more effective in reducing armpit odor because these methods allow for the soap to have better access to the skin and follicular openings than clipping with scissors.”  

TRIMMING

For those who wonder why sometimes men may have a more pungent odor coming from their armpits even though they trim their armpit hair it is because trimming the hair does not help decrease odor. The study further found that, “clipping your hair with scissors followed by soap washing offered no significant improvement in immediate odor control.” When you are simply trimming the hair shorter, you aren’t completely removing the hair from the surface of the skin. The hair is still sitting on the skin in a moist environment in which the bacteria can further cause odor while sweat continues to cling onto the hair follicles.

LASER

A study conducted by the Journal of Lasers in Medical Science on whether laser armpit hair removal will affect one’s underarm odor found, “the sense of odor improved by about 63% after the last laser session. The frequency of all bacterial strains decreased in the intervention group except for Staphylococcus epidermidis which was significant.” Staphylococcus epidermidis is type of bacteria that lives on the skin and can be found in the areas we sweat in. Once this bacteria encounters moisture it can produce odor.  

Thus, the journal found that lasers can, “alter the microbial flora in the axillary region, and it can be accompanied by the improvement of odor.” However, just because laser hair removal can help reduce armpit odor doesn’t mean it will work for you. How effective it is in decreasing armpit odor depends on the individual and what kind of laser is being used.  

SO WHICH ARMPIT HAIR REMOVAL METHOD IS BEST?

After looking at the research, shaving is proven to not only be the best method of armpit hair removal to reduce odor but it’s also the most cost-efficient. Although, waxing is also effective in decreasing odor it can be more costly or have the potential for increased skin irritation.  

Since enduring stress, participating in physical activity, and being in hot environments are known to increase apocrine gland secretion, shaving your armpits during these times might be ideal to help reduce odor.  

IF YOU DON'T WANT TO REMOVE YOUR ARMPIT HAIR, TRY THIS METHOD INSTEAD

Simply running a highly fragranced soap or body wash over your armpits will not get rid of all the odor-causing bacteria and will be even less effective if you have hair. Whether you have armpit or not, using an antibacterial soap each morning before applying deodorant will help you eliminate that bacteria. Always remember, the less bacteria in that area the less odor breakthrough you’ll having during the day.

I created an all-natural antibacterial bar called the takesumi detox® underarm bar to help natural deodorant users effectively remove the underarm bacteria and get through the day without smelling. The bar is made with apple cider vinegar and sea salt which creates an inhospitable environment for bacteria. It leaves a barrier on the skin to protect you from producing odor throughout the day.

How to use the underarm bar:

Lather and massage the underarm for 30 seconds or more depending on how much armpit hair you have. Ensure you use your fingers to get to the surface of the skin and massage well into the hair where the follicles reside.

Remember that your armpits are incredibly delicate and should be treated as such during your body care routine. Following these tips will help minimize the skin issues that can oftentimes occur and lead to odor-free, comfortable armpits. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me via Instagram or TikTok!

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All content found on this website is created for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Website. 

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The Little Book of
Human Discomforts

BY MADAME SWEAT

Clean beauty industry maven Madame Sweat (Mary Futher) founded kaia naturals® after spending 20 years working for global beauty companies. After seeing the complexities of underarm problems, she set out on a mission to educate and eliminate the stigma associated with these “unsexy” hygiene issues, providing practical solutions and advice.

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