Lipstick smudges suck and all, but I’d rather deal with a little red lipstick on my teeth and the minor embarrassment that comes with it than underarm itching or finding out my deodorant doesn’t work right before a date—because that’s happened, too.
Underarm probs are no joke and have less obvious solutions, quite honestly, but if you’re at your wits end with itching, sweating, and irritation, just know you’re not totally in the pits—pun intended.
We chatted with a pro to find out quick fixes and other answers to all those super annoying issues.
Problem: Irritation From Shaving
Solution: According to Dove Dermatologist Dr. Alicia Barba, since the underarm skin is super sensitive and is also home to sweat glands and hair follicles, the area requires the utmost care. First, she says you should never dry shave and you should use a moisturizing body wash or a shaving cream. “Hair grows in different directions, so start by shaving in the direction of hair growth using gentle strokes with minimal pressure using a clean razor,” she says.
Dr. Barba also says to try to shave at night, and you shouldn’t go over the area more than three times. If you feel itchy, she recommends applying an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream. “Apply antiperspirant in the morning after so your skin has a chance to recover overnight,” she adds.
Problem: Your Underarms Are Itchy
Solution: You could always try Dr. Barba’s tip above, but you might consider taking a closer look at the ingredients on your deo bottle. “Look for an antiperspirant that is marked as sensitive or fragrance free, as the added perfumes can be a cause for irritation or sensitivity,” notes our pro. I’ve been dealing with this problem personally and have switched in-between Schmidt’s Natural Fragrance Free Natural Deodorant ($9; target.com) and Dove Advanced Care Sensitive Antiperspirant ($9; target.com).
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Problem: Your Deo Isn’t Masking Odor
Solution: If you’re not already at the gym or in the comfort of your own home, this is an issue, indeed! Interestingly enough, Dr. Barba says that some fragrances in deodorants might not mesh well with your body, so you might consider trying out a new scent. She also say you could try to switch to a product that is both a deodorant and an antiperspirant. “Antiperspirants help stop the wetness under your arms that can lead to a buildup of odor-causing bacteria. Many people actually need both! An antiperspirant to stop the sweat and a deodorant to mask the smell,” she says.
Problem: You’re Sweating Through Your Antiperspirant
Solution: The quickest fix? Make sure you’re applying enough product. “If you’re using a stick antiperspirant, three swipes under both arms should do the trick. For sprays, you should spray for approximately two seconds under each arm from six inches away,” Dr. Barba notes.
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If that doesn’t work, you might need a clinical strength formula. And if the problem keeps up? Dr. Barba says you should have a chat with your derm.