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How to Avoid and Prevent Underarm/Armpit Razor Burn

The Unfortunate Effects of Shaving

Women's armpits, or the more delicate term, underarms, are one of the most abused parts of their bodies. The skin is very sensitive, yet we continuously run a razor over it in an effort to preserve femininity and hygiene. The red bumps that often follow are unsightly and painful, but there are ways to prevent the razor burn without painful waxing or expensive laser removal.

Shaving your underarms can be painful! (image source:

Shaving your underarms can be painful! (image source:

What NOT to do

If you can avoid it, try not to shave your underarms every day. Even every other day allows your skin some time to heal.

Don't "dry shave" your arm pits. In other words, don't shave without any water or soap. Underarm hairs are sharp and thicker than other hairs on your body, so you should allow them to soak for a few minutes in warm water. Warm water softens the hair so that it's easier for the razor to remove.

Pre-Shaving Tips

Did you know that when you shave with a razor, you're actually scraping off a thin layer of skin along with the hair? The skin is even more sensitive on your armpits than on other areas you shave, which makes the potential for razor burn even higher. To minimize the amount of skin you scrape off, soap up your armpits before you shave. Use a loofah, a bath sponge, or a washcloth with soap or body wash to clean and exfoliate, which gets rid of excess skin cells before you shave.

Lather up your arm pits with a loofah or bath sponge before you shave. (image source:

Lather up your arm pits with a loofah or bath sponge before you shave. (image source:

The Shaving Itself

When you shave your arm pits, make sure you use at least soap, and preferably shaving cream. Use a sharp razor, which means it should be relatively new. Dull razors can actually make razor burn worse because you have to press harder on the skin to remove the hair. Do not press hard when you shave your underarms! This causes more friction and is more likely to nick or cut you.

If you know your skin is extra-sensitive, use a gentle, fragrance-free soap to avoid further irritation. Many brands of body wash come in "sensitive skin" varieties.

Products to Help Prevent Underarm Razor Burn

The Most Important Part: Post-Shave

When you get out of the shower, I recommend using a particular brand of lotion that has salicylic acid in it: Clean & Clear Dual Action Moisturizer. I'm not getting paid by them, I swear; this product has really helped me in an unusual way. The lotion in it is oil-free and soothes sensitive, possibly dry skin. Why I recommend this lotion is because of the salicylic acid, which is acne medication. The lotion is intended for use on the face to prevent and/or treat pimples. Razor bumps are caused by the same skin reaction as pimples, and in my experience this lotion prevents the rash that forms from the sharp hairs trying to poke through underarm skin.

If your skin is very sensitive, be careful about what deodorant you use. Dove is generally gentle. Secret and Suave have never given me problems, for example, but Degree was not kind to me. Talk to your dermatologist for advice.

If you are concerned about having an allergic reaction to any product you want to use on your skin, talk to a dermatologist first. These tips are not a substitute for talking to a doctor about possible allergic reactions or infections.

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SanDeeD on December 05, 2010:

I use to get terrible razor burn.Tried everything different razors, creams,soaps to just plain ole H2O. Camping onetime and I needed to shave and had no shaving cream. My 13 year old daughter said "Mom just use the razor its new I don't use anything". I was mortified thinking of the pain I may incure doing this.....well to this day I shave WITHOUT ANYTHING the trick is TO shave daily !! with a good razor !! and always on the new side !! and DON'T push hard on the skin !! and DON'T go over the same spot more than two times !! I have two razors at all times one for legs and one for my armpits.I was 33 at the time and am 45 now.I have fair skin and am a strawberryblonde.Don't know if that's the diff but my daughter is a burnette with olive color skin ,this is how we both shave and to date I have not suffered a rash.Don't add deoderant till arm pits have dried this too is important for we need the folicles to close before applying or it will sting and may cause a rash !!... Thanks and goodluck.

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