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3 ways to look after your underarms

We asked the experts how best to care for your armpits to keep sweat at bay, stay odour free, banish pigmentation and ensure skin is well hydrated

Aside from a cursory swipe or spritz of deodorant, our underarms tend not to get much attention aside from some daily cleansing (we hope). However, you’d be wise to prioritise some pit care warns our EV experts.

“Our underarm skin is thinner than other parts of the body, its barrier is also thinner, and it has less oil glands, more sweat glands, and a lower pH level than the skin in other areas, making it susceptible to the growth of bacteria. It is generally a pretty humid, damp environment, and friction is a 24/7 occurrence too,” shares founder of Thames Skin Clinic, and EV expert Dr Anna Hemming.

These differences can lead to a host of skin conditions. So, from balancing bacteria to avoid unpleasant odours, to employing the use of exfoliating acids to lessen pigmentation, our EV experts share how best to get the job done.

Sweat reduction

“The under arms are a focus for sweat production as the area contains a larger density of sweat glands within the skin. These function to cool the skin down when we get hot. Hence sweating typically occurs with exercise. Sometimes sweating can become excessive and therefore bothersome,” explains Hemming.

There are a few methods for treating unwanted excessive sweating, but one of the most popular in clinic treatments has to be botulinum toxin injections. “Injecting botulinum toxin into the underarms, stops the sweat glands from producing sweat and therefore reducing the problem,” shares Hemming.

For more permanent options, thermal energy treatment Miradry is a great option. It’s FDA-approved and is proven to significantly reduce sweating by around 82 percent after two sessions.

Target pigmentation

“Hyperpigmentation in the underarm area can occur due to various factors, including friction, hormonal changes, and shaving,” explains EV expert, and Adonia Medical Clinic founder, Dr Ifeoma Ejikeme. She recommends the use of AHAs such as low dose glycolic acid and lactic acid, to fade dark spots over time, as well as applying a cysteamine-based cream, as this active prevents the production of melanin.

Skin peels can help speed up the process when using daily topicals, but those of you with Black or brown skin need to ensure that your chosen clinician has experience treating melanin rich skin, as it’s important not to use acids that are too harsh, as this will trigger more pigmentation.

For light skin types laser treatments can also be effective, “the wavelength of light is absorbed into the pigmentation where the body then responds and breaks the pigmentation down,” explains Hemming.

Upgrade your cleanser

When it comes to your pits there’s actually quite a few factors to consider when picking a cleanser. Skin here can easily become irritated, if you shave ingrown hairs can be an issues, and you might be surprised to discover that while it’s a damp spot, there are less oil glands so dry skin can become an issue too. This means a run of the mill shower gel won’t cut it.

“Pay attention to any irritation or allergic reactions caused by your products. If you experience redness, itching, or rashes, discontinue use and seek alternative products,” agree Ejikeme. So, you might want to ditch shower gels that are high in alcohol, SLS, and fragrances as these can be highly drying and can irritate the skin too.

And you should look for a cleanser that contains exfoliating acids to prevent the build-up of dead skin, probiotics to balance bacteria for a healthy microbiome and repairing actives like vitamin E to keep the skin barrier strong and the skin soft, and supple.

Anna Hemming, Aesthetic Doctor

Dr Anna Hemming MBChB BSc DFFP MRCGP is a highly respected and skilled aesthetic doctor working in London. Conference...

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