A big difference between shaving your underarms and shaving other parts of your body is sweat. The glands in your underarms are major manufacturers of perspiration, so make sure you wash well before you shave to avoid infection if you get cut.
Speaking of sweat, antiperspirants and deodorants can wreak havoc on newly shaved skin, so switch your schedule and start shaving at night. That'll give your pits a break before you slather on any potentially irritating creams, sprays or lotions. Shaving at night also allows your body fluids to redistribute instead of being swelled up around hair follicles. If you must shave in the morning, wait 20 minutes after you get out of bed to do it and then another 20 minutes before applying deodorant [source: Lawrence].
Next, choose the right tools. Using a specially designed contoured razor can help you maneuver around the curves of your underarm with fewer nicks. Also, pick a good quality shaving cream or soap to thoroughly lubricate the skin so that the razor will glide over it easily.
When you are ready to shave, wet your skin well with warm water, and massage your shaving cream or gel into the skin to stimulate your hairs into standing up. For best results, take a warm shower directly before shaving, or try shaving in the shower. Warm water helps the razor glide over your skin so you avoid the drag of the blade that causes irritation and those red shave bumps. Warm water also softens hair and opens the pores, making it smoother and easier to shave [source: Greenberg].
Finally, there is no truth to the old tale that shaving causes your hair to grow back coarser or thicker. The more you practice shaving while taking proper care of your skin, the better you should become at it. For more information on shaving your underarms, be sure to visit the links below.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- Clark, Christine, PhD, FRPharmS. "Sweating and hyperhidrosis." The Pharmaceutical Journal, Vol. 276. June 24, 2006. (Accessed Nov. 4, 2009)http://www.pharmj.com/pdf/cpd/pj_20060624_sweating.pdf
- Greenberg, Corey. "How to Get That Perfect Shave." MSNBC Weekend Today. Jan. 30, 2005 (Accessed Sept. 29, 2009)http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6886845/
- Lawrence, Star. "Getting a Close Shave." WebMD feature from MedicineNet. Oct. 4, 2005. (Accessed Sept. 29, 2009)http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=53571
- Seethaler, Sherry. "Lies, Damned Lies and Science: How to Sort Through the Noise Around Global Warming, the Latest Health Claims and Other Scientific Controversies." Pearson Education, New Jersey: 2009. (Accessed Sept. 29, 2009)http://books.google.com/books?id=NYdiqDdot4kC&pg=PA165&dq=underarm+shaving&ei=scDCSriZI5GEyQTr5aWRBA&client=firefox-a#v=onepage&q=underarm%20shaving&f=false
- Subramaniam, Suganthi. "A Guide to Beauty and Skin Care." Lotus Press, New Delhi: 2006 (Accessed Sept. 29, 2009)http://books.google.com/books?id=WdEW5XoFAy8C&pg=PA102&dq=underarm+shaving&lr=&ei=LcLCSpibKpGEyQTr5aWRBA&client=firefox-a#v=onepage&q=underarm%20shaving&f=false