Aigen also recommends incorporating a gentle exfoliating body wash, like Best of Beauty-Winning Seaweed Bath Co. Exfoliating Detox Scrub, into your routine once or twice a week.
You might experience fewer body breakouts
Experts seem to agree that your skin will benefit from not having a razor glide across it regularly. “Generally, when patients stop shaving on areas that are normally shaven…the skin experiences significantly less irritation,” says Yagerman. “Causes of razor irritation include allergic contact dermatitis due to topical shaving creams and gels. Additionally, shaving in these areas can cause ingrown hairs, which result in more acneiform lesions [like] breakouts.”
Nazarian explains that dragging a blade across your skin can cause microscopic cracks in the skin tissue, which can increase the likelihood of the aforementioned risks. While shaving does not affect oil-gland output, she says it can lead to acne-like bumps, so no longer using a razor will prevent those.
Aigen adds that those with darker skin who commonly have thicker and curlier hair are more prone to experiencing shaving bumps because of increased inflammation. She says one of the best ways to prevent bumps is to avoid close shaves. She also says that those who are prone to irritations like redness, ingrown hairs, or infections after shaving will benefit from abstaining and may experience a smoother and less sensitive fit to tight clothing.
Hair growth has nothing to do with body odor
Shaving your underarms or letting that hair growth has no impact on whether you smell or not. Aigen explains that sweat is released from sweat glands regardless of if there is hair there or not, and is odorless until it comes into contact with bacteria. That naturally occurring bacteria found on the skin breaks down protein in the sweat and causes body odor.
In fact, Nazarian says that keeping hair in your underarms can have benefits, including a decrease in irritation from skin chafing. She also notes that your regular body soap doesn’t have to change if you choose to not shave that area anymore — just remember to always keep your underarms clean.
As for using deodorants and antiperspirants, she says having hair in the underarm area doesn’t make your skin any less or more respondent to them. The hair just acts as a physical blocker, and those who have a lot of hair may find it difficult to apply any product to their skin, which is needed in the first place to work. “Hair just gets in the way,” she says.
For that reason, she suggests considering a gel or roll-on formulas over aerosol versions because sprays might have difficulty targeting the skin under the hair. For antiperspirants, she says it’s best to apply at night to dry skin because we are less likely to perspire at night, giving the aluminum chloride to form a plug-in those sweat glands. She says spray options like the Jason Dry Spray or Secret Invisible Spray are great effective options.
In the end, the most important thing to remember is to continue cleansing and moisturizing. “The skin still requires the same ingredients to be healthy and hydrated,” Nazarian says, “whether you shave or not.”
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