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How To Care for Your Armpit Skin

By Kiehl’s Education Team

Just like how dry skin can occur on other parts of your body, dry skin, irritation and redness in the armpit area can be a common skin concern and require extra care and management.

The skin in your armpit area is different from the skin you would find on other parts of your body. In the armpit, the skin is often thicker, with more sweat glands, and hair that’s often coarser, which can all lead to a distinctive texture of skin in the area. For those with dry or sensitive skin types, any patch of skin can become dry — including your armpits. Especially in cooler, drier months, the strength of your skin barrier can be compromised, which can lead to dryness. Besides being uncomfortable, dry armpits can be challenging to manage, and even more so if you regularly shave your underarms.

With that said, there are minor tweaks you can make to your regular body care routine to help improve the feel of dry armpit skin. 
We spoke to our Global Scientific Director, Dr. Nancy Ilaya, and she shared her expert tips and knowledge on the topic.

Underarm Skin: The Basics

Your underarm skin is quite different from, say, the skin on your shoulders. “The skin in your armpit is actually quite complex compared to other areas on your body,” shares Dr. Ilaya. “The skin is often thicker and more elastic there than most skin on the body, with a higher concentration of sweat glands that can lead the area to get damper than the skin on the rest of your body.” The skin's natural moisture barrier in the underarm area is also unique because of the specific microbiome makeup and mechanical stress and hair removal techniques which can lead to discoloration and rough skin.

What Causes Irritated Armpits?

Irritation to under the arm pits is caused by sweat and the trapped moisture of the environment and clothes that don’t breathe. Certain deodorant products may also worsen irritation, particularly in people with sensitive skin. Common self-care practices, like shaving the armpits, can strip the natural moisture barrier in this area and lead to irritation. Without proper care, continued exposure to stressors can worsen underarm irritation, itching, and discomfort.


Finding the right routine to help treat the skin in your armpit can be easier than you think — find our three recommendations for how to best care for your armpit skin below.

Tip #1: Lather Up with a Gentle Body Wash

It is natural to want to thoroughly scrub your armpits while showering to ward off body odor — but doing so might be the reason your underarm skin is dry. Harsh cleansers can damage the armpit's delicate moisture barrier, which can leave the skin vulnerable to irritation and dryness.

We recommend using a gentle wash or mild body formula, like our Bath & Shower Liquid Body Cleanser. This gentle foaming cleanser with Aloe Vera washes away dirt and sweat to leave skin feeling comfortable and hydrated. It is suitable for all skin types and is available in three refreshing fragrances: Coriander, Grapefruit, and Lavender.

For a more restorative and indulgent shower ritual, try our Creme de Corps Smoothing Oil-to-Foam Body Cleanser. The lightly foaming body wash, infused with Grapeseed Oil and Castor Seed Oil, leaves skin feeling nourished. The silky oil cleanser is suitable for all skin types and can be used daily for soft, supple skin.

Tip #2: Shave Carefully and Replace Your Razor

Dr. Ilaya states that you should be careful if you choose to shave your underarms. “It’s important to remember that shaving your armpit hair also causes some exfoliation, and over exfoliation can lead to redness and irritation.” 

When shaving your underarms, do so after cleansing. To minimize the risk of razor burn, be sure to prep the area with shaving cream and shave in the direction of hair growth. We recommend incorporating Ultimate Brushless Shave Cream White Eagle, our superb formula with Menthol and Camphor that prepares skin for an ultra-smooth experience. After your shave, be sure not leave your razor in the shower. It may seem convenient, but the damp, wet environment is not good for it or your skin— it's best to store it in a dry area instead.

Tip #3: Try a Mild Deodorant

For deodorant, an armpit essential, we recommend reaching for gentle formulas, especially if your dry underarm skin is irritated or prone to sensitivity. For those with dry skin, we recommend avoiding products containing Baking Soda or Tea Tree Oil, both of which can be drying.

Try Superbly Efficient Antiperspirant & Deodorant Cream, an unscented cream deodorant suitable for both men and women. The ultra-gentle formula absorbs moisture and reduces perspiration while leaving underarm skin feeling soft and smooth. Apply a small amount to clean, dry skin after showering for up to 24 hours of protection against sweat and body odor.

Body Fuel Antiperspirant & Deodorant also provides efficacious protection against odor and sweat, particularly if you prefer a scented deodorant. The mild men's formula with Zinc and Caffeine has a subtle, energizing fragrance and provides up to 48 hours of protection against sweat and odor. It is suitable for all skin types and dries quickly for a non-sticky finish.


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