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Smooth underarms all day, ever day

Source: Delmaine Donson / Getty

Because the region is often neglected or unnoticed — unless you’re wondering about whether you put on deodorant this morning — many can experience things like irritation, discoloration, and clogged up underarms. With that in mind, Madame Noire got the chance to hear from Dr. Maiysha Jones, Senior Scientist at Procter & Gamble, on how we can show our underarms a little TLC.

Concerning what types of ingredients we should look for in our deodorants — since they go on our armpits every day — to combat hyperpigmented underarms, Dr. Jones said the to keep your armpits healthy you should, “Look for products that are gentle on skin, designed with dermatologists, and made with skin conditioners — look for ingredients that are cooling and nourishing like aloe and coconut oil. You can also look for ingredients common in facial skincare products like provitamin B5 and Vitamin C. I would recommend Secret’s DERMA+ Even Tone Antiperspirant since it checks all of those boxes!”

In terms of evening out the tone of underarms that are already hyperpigmented, Dr. Jones explained that a great thing to do before you even consider brightening up the region is to determine the root cause of your skin’s discoloration there. She importantly noted, “There are some medical conditions that can cause skin discoloration at different body sites so it’s always good to check in with your doctor. Irritation is also a common cause of skin discoloration in the armpits. Once you determine what is irritating your armpits, you can take action.”

Next, she emphasized that we should try to keep our armpits fairly dry. Obviously, armpits are going to sweat because that’s what they’re made to do, but that being said, Dr. Jones plainly stated, “Armpits are skin folds, and skin folds tend to be more moist compared to other areas. Since moist skin can be more prone to irritation without proper care, keeping the area dry can help minimize irritation so the skin barrier can heal and stop becoming discolored.”

Aptly, the doctor also recommends that we have patience as we try to achieve more even-toned underarms. According to her, “Habits like daily shaving can irritate the skin and when skin is irritated, melanin can be overproduced leading to discoloration. Since the skin’s surface can take 2 to 4 weeks to turn over, once you’ve managed the irritation, expect your armpits to take some time to return to your basal skin tone.”

Lastly, Dr. Jones gave the overall top three tips she recommends for getting and maintaining even-toned underarms. See them down below.

1. Cleanse and exfoliate before you shave — The light exfoliation that happens with daily cleansing stimulates circulation that nourishes the skin’s surface and helps to encourage skin renewal.

2. Consider decreasing your shave frequency — Every time you shave you’re not only removing hair, but you’re also removing the top layers of the skin. Shaving too frequently can lead to irritation, and avoiding irritation can help prevent discoloration.

3. Protect those pits! — Use an antiperspirant that conditions the skin to help prevent visible signs of shave irritation like discoloration.

If you’re interested in the antiperspirant Dr. Jones suggests for achieving more even-toned underarms, find it here.

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