How To Exfoliate Underarms: Get Glowing Armpits
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Ready to give yourself some extra TLC today? This is exactly how to exfoliate underarms safely at home.
As summer rolls in and the days get warmer, my worst nightmare is not what to wear or how to have fun during the vacation. But how to get rid of my extra smelly and dark underarms?
Oh yes, that’s true. And even though I was super embarrassed about it for the longest time (because I have rarely seen people in this situation), I know I cannot be the only one in this world.
This is why I did everything – I went to a dermat, found a skincare routine for my armpits (yes, that’s a thing, lol), and tried and tested a few tips that actually worked.
And after 4-5 months of taking care of my armpits diligently, I can say very proudly that my armpits may not be the best smelling, but they sure are a lot cleaner and glowing.
And today, I’m going to provide you with a complete guide on how to exfoliate underarms so you can look and feel your best when it’s time for a tanning session or a swimsuit selfie.
How to get clean underarms?
I’ll quickly get over this because the important things are yet to come.
- Make them bacteria-free: Get rid of those dirty beings (and a major cause of smell and darkness) by thoroughly cleaning them every time you shower. You might skip it sometimes, but gently use your hands (and not any harsh loofah or rubbing) to clean that area. Antibacterial body washes or AHA/BHA ones have done me gooood!
- Gentle exfoliation is the KEY: No matter what you do, exfoliating your underarms is the only way that is gonna work to get rid of all the funk. Gently sloughing off the dead skin cells will help keep your skin smooth and clear of build-up that can clog pores or cause irritation. Now, there are quite a few ways, and we’ll talk about this in detail soon, so hold your seat tight!
- Nourish your underarms just a little bit: I know you might not be moisturizing this part of the body every time you bathe, but let me tell you, it is just as important. Maybe not every day, but make a point to hydrate your armpits once or twice a week.
- Shave Smartly: If you choose to shave your underarms, make sure to shave in the same direction as the hair growth (not against it.) This will help prevent ingrown hairs from forming and also minimize any razor burn or bumps that can occur when shaving too quickly or harshly.
Now, as I said, exfoliating your underarms is literally the most important part, so you have to do it right. There are just so many ways you can go wrong here.
What Is Exfoliation?
It is a simple process of getting rid of all the dead skin cells that your skin sheds from time to time. Sometimes and in some parts of your body, your skin tends to shed at a slower rate. Due to this, dead skin cells start accumulating faster than they are being said; hence, exfoliation comes into play!
While there are many different ways to exfoliate your skin, we need to decide what exfoliation is best for your skin and how to do it properly.
Does exfoliating help dark armpits?
Oh yes, dark armpits can sometimes be due to skin sensitivity or an accumulation of dead cells on the surface. In this case, gentle exfoliation can do wonders in restoring a lighter complexion. And I cannot emphasize this enough—don’t overdo it!
Is it safe to exfoliate underarms?
If you’re being gentle enough and using light strokes of motion, it is absolutely safe to exfoliate underarms.
How To exfoliate underarms – the right way!
1. Find the Right Exfoliant for You
Before you start exfoliating your armpits, make sure you have the right product for the job. There are physical scrubs (the ones with microbeads), chemical exfoliants (like The Ordinary AHA/BHA peel), mechanical (with tools and stuff – dermaplaning or spinning brush and natural exfoliators (like lemon, honey or healing oils).
If you’re a sensitive skin type, look for products specifically formulated with natural ingredients like sugar or salt. You may also want to avoid physical scrubbing with tiny abrasive particles as they can cause irritation.
If you have very dry skin, opt for an oil-based scrub or honey-based scrub instead of traditional ones.
Always test a product before applying it to your entire body by doing a patch test on the inside of your arm or behind your ear.
Let’s talk a bit about ‘The scrubs.’
1. Physical Scrubs
These are common exfoliators that contain small, abrasive particles that scrub away dead skin cells when applied to the skin. For instance, loofah, walnut scrubs, or even some brushing tools.
If you want to exfoliate your underarms, these scrubs won’t be my top recommendation, as they are too harsh (most of the time). And you need something milder.
While choosing a scrub, keep in mind that it should be free of microbeads as these are harmful to the environment. Many scrubs contain baking soda as a main ingredient. It is a great choice for exfoliating as it is just enough and has natural anti-acne and anti-inflammatory properties.
You can also try a scrub that has jojoba beads – they are great for exfoliating and hydrating the skin. A gentle loofah would also work in sloughing off the dead skin as long as you’re being gentle.
If you experience any redness or irritation after exfoliating, the scrub is too harsh for your delicate underarm skin.
A good way to check if the scrub you are using is too harsh is to put a little bit of it on the back of your hand and use it for 10 seconds. If you feel tingling or irritation, your underarm skin is too sensitive for this scrub.
I use this amazing, amazing face scrub for my underarms once a week. It’s a facial scrub, so it is bound to be gentle and has brightening and nourishing properties, so it works wonders for the darkness!
2. Chemical Peels
All things are goody-good until the real thing comes along! THIS IS WHAT YOU NEED TO FOCUS ON. This is where things started to change for me.
Chemical exfoliators use chemicals, such as alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) or beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs), to dissolve the bond between dead skin cells and the skin surface.
A chemical peel delivers a concentrated amount of chemicals to the topmost layers of the skin. It is generally used for treating pigmentation and sun damage, but there’s no denying that it has some brilliant exfoliating powers!
Now, there are two types of chemical peels that can be used to exfoliate underarms – single-step and two-step chemical peels.
Single-step chemical peels are where you apply the chemical peel, and the skincare benefits follow immediately (like in the case of lactic acid). A two-step chemical peel is one where the chemical peel is first applied and then washed off with water to reveal the skin underneath (like the ordinary peeling solution).
You can choose whatever suits you. A lactic acid-based chemical peel is a great choice if you are looking to exfoliate underarms. It is very gentle and is also used as a part of chemical peels meant for treating acne, pigmentation and sun damage.
You wash your armpits, pat dry them, and then apply an adequate amount of this lactic acid serum and let it absorb for a minute or two and add the tiniest bit of moisturizer. Voila! Use this one or twice a week. Maybe three times if the situation is severe.
But I personally love and use The Ordinary peeling solution. It’s easy, highly effective and will give you results in 2-3 weeks if used twice per week. So, how to use it on your armpits?
- Make sure you have no or minimum hair in the area. Use the AHA BHA peel only 24-48 hours after shaving, laser or waxing.
- Clean the area thoroughly with a gentle cleanser. Apply a small amount of the exfoliator on dry armpits and leave it on for no more than 10 minutes.
- Rinse it off with lukewarm water and moisturize it with a lightweight body moisturizer.
- You’re all set for cleaner underarms!
But please, patch test it first because it is a chemical peel, after all.
3. Enzymatic exfoliators
These exfoliators use enzymes, such as papain or bromelain, to break down dead skin cells. They are generally gentler than physical or chemical exfoliators and work nicely for people that cannot tolerate extensive ingredients.
This facial exfoliant is SUPERB if you’re looking for out-of-the-world gentleness but it also shows results.
4. Healing Oils
Whhhaaaattt? Harman, are you nuts? How can oils get me radiant armpits? It’s insane!!
It indeed is. But hear me out.
There are some oils that are known to boost collagen products, which basically means getting rid of dead skin (our main goal).
For people with sensitive, acne-prone, and oil-rich skin under the armpits, healing oils are the best option for exfoliating. These oils are often used for hyperpigmentation and acne scars, but they also work great as an exfoliating agent.
Jojoba oil and argan oil are two of the best oils that can be used for underarm exfoliation, as they are very light and are easily absorbed by the skin.
Jojoba oil is an excellent option for sensitive skin types but also for acne-prone skin. Argan oil is a great choice for dry and aging skin as it is a rich source of vitamin E.
While using these oils for exfoliation, make sure to apply them gently, as they can be a bit messy. You can also mix them with other exfoliating ingredients like baking soda or sugar, which are gentler and easier to clean up.
5. Natural ways to exfoliate underarms
Okay, so I have genuinely tried a lot of DIYs all these years, and I am embarrassed to tell you that only a few (really few) are actually legit and work. So I’m not gonna waste your time and hop onto my favorite: Lemon juice for exfoliating armpits.
You can always add honey or baking soda or cucumber or potato juice to dilute it, but I have seen that applying raw lemon juice directly to the clean underarms every day for 1 week REALLY gives you cleaner, brighter underarms.
If you have really black underarms, it might take a week more, but there’s no DIY remedy for underarms that have worked better!
2. Always use warm water
Before exfoliating, make sure to take a warm shower or bath first. This will help open up pores and allow the product to penetrate deeper into the skin so that it can do its job more effectively.
3. Start With Gentle Pressure
Of course, it’s the KEY – Once you’ve found the perfect product and given yourself time in warm water, it’s time to start scrubbing! But don’t go too hard—your armpits are delicate and can easily be irritated by too much friction, so make sure to use gentle circular motions when applying the scrub.
4. Use Short Strokes
Using short strokes when scrubbing will help ensure that every area is reached without causing too much friction on any particular spot. This is beneficial because it helps evenly spread out any product residue while also giving each spot an even amount of pressure when being exfoliated.
Additionally, using short strokes helps make sure that no areas are missed while still preventing over-exposure to any particular part of the body.
5. Rinse Thoroughly
Once you’re done scrubbing, rinse off any excess product by taking another warm shower or bath and patting dry with a clean towel afterward. Make sure all of the product is gone before applying anything else, such as deodorant or lotion!
6. Moisturize Afterward
After exfoliating your underarms, make sure to apply a moisturizer immediately after rinsing off all of the product from your skin. This step is key because it ensures that your newly uncovered layers of skin stay hydrated and protected from outside elements like sun exposure and pollution.
But remember, you don’t have to do it too often – just 2-3 times a week is enough.
7. avoid strong acids
When it comes to chemical exfoliation, stay away from Salicylates. Salicylates are a chemical commonly found in many underarm care products, usually used to treat the ingrown hair problem.
While they do the job well, they also make your skin sensitive to the sun, thereby increasing your chances of sunburn and possible darkness. If you have naturally pale skin without much melanin, you should be extra careful of them.
A better option would be using a milder acid like lactic acid, also used in beauty treatments, as it lacks any harsh side effects like sun sensitivity.
What is the fastest way to whiten underarms?
In my case, chemical peels were the fastest and helped the most. But if you want fast results, you could try directly applying lemon juice for 3-4 days and see visible results if the color is not that dark.
Why are my armpits dark?
There are quite a few reasons that you’re armpits may look darker. Shaving and waxing are one – As they cause irritation when we remove the hair. Excessive bacteria build-up and the use of deodorant or antiperspirant are other common causes of dark armpits.
Wrapping up how to exfoliate underarms
Exfoliating your underarms may seem intimidating at first, but with these easy steps, it doesn’t have to be! With regular care and attention, your pits will thank you—not only will they look smoother and brighter, but they’ll also feel softer than ever before!
So go ahead—give yourself some extra TLC today by giving your armpits some much-needed love and exfoliation! You won’t regret it!
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