For many people, shaving isn't the ideal method for underarm hair management. During the process of shaving, you effectively scrape away layers of healthy skin cells. This constant abrasion often leaves skin feeling raw and irritated.
What's more, shaving is also a temporary fix. Depending on the color of your body hair and its growth rate, you may have to shave a couple times a week to stay smooth and soft.
Depilatory creams like Nair can be very harsh for sensitive underarm skin. The active ingredients in Nair -- potassium thioglycolate and calcium hydroxide -- attack the proteins in skin and hair [source: Di Justo]. So even if the hair falls out, the skin still might take a beating.
Waxing provides a slightly more permanent hair removal solution, but it can be extremely painful when used on the skin underneath the arms. The skin of the underarm is looser and softer than other skin, meaning it stretches more when the wax is pulled free. Plus, since the effects of waxing don't last forever, you'll have to endure this particular brand of agony every couple of months.
Electrolysis and laser hair removal are two of the most popular long-term hair removal solutions available today. Electrolysis is a time-consuming, but effective process where individual hairs are zapped directly at the follicle and tweezed out. Laser hair removal uses beams of targeted light to "destroy" the hair follicle [source: Mayo Clinic]. In reality, laser hair removal isn't permanent, but hair grows back much softer and lighter [source: Heppt].
Despite the disadvantages associated with some shaving alternatives, the biggest potential benefit is smoother, softer underarm skin for longer periods of time.