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underarm care

Source: Secret / Procter & Gamble

If the most thinking you’ve had to do concerning your armpits is keeping your hair to a minimum and trying to remember to apply some deodorant every day, count yourself lucky. But for many others, 40 percent of women actually, things are a bit more involved. For those who deal with irritation after shaving, discoloration in the armpit, dry skin, and bumps, taking things a step further and practicing good underarm care regularly is important. Yes, there’s a beauty routine even for your ‘pits.

To not only provide longer sweat protection but also tackle the aforementioned underarm issues, Secret has recently launched a new product line called the DERMA+ antiperspirant. It’s the first-ever clinical level sweat and odor protection (48 hours) that also is crafted with skin conditioners to aid in obtaining optimal skin health. If you deal with discoloration, the Even Tone DERMA+ antiperspirant is equipped with vitamin C to help. Often find your underarms irritated after shaving? The line has a Cooling option with aloe to provide relief. Feeling parched after “cleaning house”? There’s a Nourishing option with coconut oil for that.

To learn more about the new offerings as well as how to avoid some of the underarm issues mentioned, we spoke with renowned dermatologist Dr. Michelle Henry, a Mount Sinai and Harvard Trained Dermatologic and skin cancer surgeon. Here are the tips necessary to give your underarms true TLC and to avoid prickly, painful and parched ‘pits.

MadameNoire: If you often get underarm irritation after shaving, is it because you’re going about it wrong, or is there a possibility you may just have skin sensitivities that make you more prone to the burning sensation and/or itch?

Dr. Michelle Henry: There are a few things that could be going on. Certainly, some people can have sensitivities to various ingredients, and some medical conditions and medications can also cause the skin to darken on some parts of the body. Check in with your dermatologist if you have a specific concern.

Other causes include shaving too closely (pressing too hard or having too many blades on your razor) or shaving too frequently. Each time you pass a razor across your skin, a very thin surface layer of skin can be removed with the hair. If you shave too often, you’re potentially removing the top layer over and over again before it has a chance to heal. This can lead to irritation and that burning or itching sensation.

How can we best go about shaving that won’t leave us with irritated armpits?

Be gentle when you are shaving and don’t press too hard; let the razor do the work. Use shaving cream and try a razor with less blades. You might find that the shave is still close enough while leaving your armpits less irritated. Finally, use an antiperspirant that conditions the skin so that subsequent shaves are more comfortable.

What causes the uneven tone some have in their underarms?

The uneven tone some women develop in their underarms is called hyperpigmentation. When the skin is injured, like can happen during shaving, an inflammatory response turns on. As the inflammation resolves and the skin heals, melanin can be overproduced and that is the darkening we see.

“Visibly healthier, smoother underarm skin is at the heart of Secret DERMA+ Antiperspirant’s innovation,” is something that was shared in the press release for the new line. What would you say are the visual traits of “healthy” underarms?

The underarm skin doesn’t get as much attention as other parts of the body, but it’s an important area to take care of! It should be about the same color as the skin on the rest of your body, smooth and even in tone, and there shouldn’t be any lumps, bumps, or signs of irritation.

Two of the four variations include a nourishing and even tone product. What are the benefits of the coconut oil in the former for armpits, and of the vitamin C in the latter?

DERMA+ was designed with female dermatologists who helped identify what ingredients should be included in the collection. Dermatologists sometimes recommend coconut oil as a moisturizer and vitamin C for hyperpigmentation. DERMA+ Nourishing with Coconut Oil moisturizes to nourish skin, and DERMA+ Even Tone with Vitamin C helps promote visibly even skin tone.

The tube is an innovative look for antiperspirant. Why was that the design choice for this DERMA+ line?

You’re right. The package is unlike anything Secret has ever launched before. You can tell they thought about the shopping and application experience as much as the formula. The squeeze tube reflects something you would normally find in the skincare aisle, which helps to cue skin conditioning benefits. Once you twist off the cap, you can feel the rounded, soft-touch applicator. This was designed to minimize potential points of friction in contact with your skin making the applicator as smooth as the formula itself.

Follow Dr. Henry at @drmichellehenry on Instagram. The DERMA+ line is now available at mass retailers nationwide for $7.99 in four variants, including: Nourishing + Coconut Oil, Even Tone + Vitamin C, Cooling + Aloe, and Fragrance Free.

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