Read the Ingredients
If you experience persistent skin irritation in your underarms, the problem might not be razor burn at all. It might be the shaving cream, deodorant or antiperspirant you're using. Many of these products contain alcohol, which dries and irritates the skin, fragrances that may cause a contact allergy or irritate the tiny cuts caused by shaving, or other chemicals that just don't agree with your skin.
To combat the problem, stop using whatever shaving creams and deodorants you've been using. Apply a hydrocortisone cream to the area for a few days until the irritation subsides. When you shave, use an alcohol-free shaving cream. The best solution is one that contains aloe, which will soften and soothe the skin. You may have to experiment with different deodorants and anti-perspirants. Some people develop skin irritation due to the aluminum and other chemicals in anti-perspirants, while others have problems with the fragrances in deodorants. Start with a product containing the fewest added fragrances and work up from there to see what your skin will tolerate. It's up to you to balance underarm care with your particular sweat- and odor-fighting needs.
There's one last thing you might be overlooking -- your clothes. Tight shirts made of materials that don't breathe well can trap sweat, promote bacterial growth and lead to irritated underarms. Loose cotton shirts are your best bet.
For more on taking good care of your skin, visit the links below.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- Cosmo staff. "Beauty Q&A." Cosmopolitan, August 2009. Vol. 247, no. 2., p. 88.
- Day, Doris. "Ask Health." Health, Oct. 2008. Vol. 22, no. 8, p. 30.
- Day, Doris. "Q&A." Redbook, Aug. 2007. Vol. 209, no. 2, p. 64.
- Goins, Lisa. "Bare Essentials." In Style, Spring 2009. Vol. 16, no. 4, p. 181.
- Scirrotto, Julia. "Bare Necessities." Marie Claire, July 2009. Vol. 16, no. 7, pp. 140-142.
Humans have tried for centuries to mask the scent emanating from their bodies, so what do deodorants do differently?