15 Questions You Should Ask About Your Underarms

15 Questions You Should Ask About Your Underarms

There are many personal questions when it comes to proper hygiene for underarms, so we're here to help you answer them all

There are many unanswered questions when it comes to proper hygiene for underarms. But the fact is that maintaining a clean underarm is vital to help minimise and prevent armpit odour or dampness, and ease any anxiety you may have for such a condition.

However, its a topic many women find too embarrassing to discuss. That’s why were going to do it for you. We’re answering some of the most pertinent questions about proper hygiene for underarms. 

1. Why Do Your Armpits Have Hair And Need Proper Hygiene?

No one really knows how armpit hair serves a real function. But some scientists believe it helps keep sweat away from the skin, limiting underarm dampness and eliminating bacteria that may thrive in those conditions.

Funnily enough, permanently removing armpit hair may result in body odour. It is thus essential to always ensure proper hygiene in the underarms and prevent any embarrassment.

2. What Are The Basic Ingredients Of Sweat?

Armpits are generally warmer than most of the rest of the skin, due to its location at the folds in the body. In addition to the hair, this also means that more sweating and lingering smell are expected, as it cannot evaporate easily.

Unlike sweat elsewhere on the body, underarm sweat contains sodium (salt), chloride and potassium. It differs in that the sweat glands create thicker sweat, which also contains urea, ammonia and fatty acids.

3. Why Are Your Armpits Smelly?

Most people would like to avoid the dreaded underarm odour, and would be surprised to find out it is not the sweat that causes it. Interestingly, it is the bacteria thriving in the warmth and dampness, mainly the Staphylococcus hominis bacteria that results in a bad odour.

An organosulphur compound called reportedly called thioalcholols is excreted and smells like sulphur, onions, or meat when concentrated, thus causing the odour. Spicy food and medications can also worsen the underarm odour.

Although, we must add that sometimes armpit odour can be a positive thing. 

Sweat contains pheromones that are critical to human attraction. And, they can be a powerful aphrodisiac thereby, helping you determine your level of attraction to a potential partner. 

4. Why Does The Smell Of Sweat Differ Between People?

Armpit sweat differs between people due to several factors, such as gender, diet, medications, and even obesity.

According to Medical News Todaymedical conditions also produce a distinct smell, with diabetes causing a a sweeter smell, and liver and kidney problems influencing sweat to smell like bleach.

5. Where Does The Sweat Bacteria Come From?

Underarm bacteria multiply more rapidly due to the warm, damp conditions. Proper hygiene such as taking regular baths or showers will help prevent the undesired consequence.

Regular use of deodorants and antiperspirants can influence the level of bacteria produced too.

6. What Is The Difference Between Deodorant And Antiperspirant?

There is a slight difference between deodorant and antiperspirant. Deodorants neutralizes the odour produced from sweat and bacteria, but does not halt producing that sweat. On the other hand, antiperspirants actually stops creating sweat by blocking the pores under the arms.  

But they contain harsh chemicals, such as parabens which are potentially linked to breast cancer, aluminum compounds which also have health risks, silica (a skin irritant), and triclosan, which kills both good and bad bacteria and is listed as a possible carcinogen.

proper hygiene

Armpit hair can be removed using several treatments including laser hair removal. | Image courtesy: Shutterstock

7. What Are The Natural Alternatives To Deodorants And Antiperspirants?

You can use several household products in their raw form as an alternative to deodorants and antiperspirants. A good example is baby powder. You can even consider using lemon juice if you want a natural and more fresher option. 

8. Why Do Some People Sweat More Profusely Than Others?

You may not know this, but more than three percent of people suffer from hyperhidrosis, which is a form of excessive sweating that affects their daily functioning. It is usually caused by primary focal hyperhidrosis. This is a form that produces large amounts of sweat either in one or many specific areas.

While most people ignore this condition, if you are keen on proper hygiene, you can take several treatments to remove sweat glands. These include botox (prevents sweat glands from overproducing), prescription antiperspirants, laser treatments or even medication and surgery.  

9. Why Do Armpits Often Itch?

You may know that underarms have folded skin. These folds are loaded with lymph glands, blood vessels and sweat glands and are prone to infection because of the moist conditions. 

This makes for an ideal breeding ground for fungal infections and bacteria. And more often than not it can cause itchy armpits and/or even an armpit rash. It can even accelerate existing skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema. 

The best way to deal with this is to maintain proper hygiene and stay away from products such as laundry detergent or comedogenic cosmetics.   

10. Why Do We Sometimes Have Armpit Pain?

There are many reasons for armpit pain including infected skin rash or even inflammation in the pores or glands that are located under the skin.

Sometimes lymph glands swell due to an infection elsewhere in the body, such as the flu. This can also cause painful armpits. Alternatively, if you’ve suffered a muscle pull or strained your arms, chances are you are feeling the pain in your armpits.

11. Why Do We Have Lumps In Our Armpits?

Infection in the hair follicles or even the sweat glands can cause lumps. Even though they are not as big, they can still be visible and if there are a series of lumps, chances are the infection has spread. However, if they are in their last stages, they may become small and eventually die down.

The best way to deal with it is to use an antiseptic ointment, especially after shaving. 

There are also some rare cases of armpit cancer, and lumps are an early indicator. They may be painless and very small.  

12. How Can You Manage Ingrown Hair In The Armpit?

If you shave regularly, the activity might block your hair follicles, preventing the hair from growing outwards, as they normally do. This eventually results in ingrown hair. 

While most of the time is not painful, it can become if it gets infected. It can even cause a painful rash. Most women often go in to remove the ingrown hair themselves, but if its too pain or has gotten infected, its best to consult with a doctor. 

13. Why Do Armpits Have Skin Tags And How To Treat Them?

Skin tags are actually benign tumors that grow in the folds of the skin. They are vulnerable to rubbing and may cause pain if tugged at.

Ideally they are not a cause for worry. However, if for aesthetic reasons you wish to remove them, you can try cauterizing, ligation or freezing. You can even opt for surgical removal with a scalpel. 

14. Is Armpit Fat A Thing?

Okay, now this may seem like a sensitive topic for some. But honestly, its not. Armpit fat is very real and is on almost everybody, no matter how skinny the may be. It’s just a teeny tiny extra bit of fat that sits between the armpit and chest area.  

While it is perfectly normal, if you want to remove it for aesthetic reasons, you can opt for armpit fat reduction. However, it comes with its fair share of risks, including fluid loss, bruising, numbness, soreness, skin irritation. In addition, it may even change the colour of your skin for a short period. So be careful with these unnecessary treatments. 

15. Should I Lighten The Colour Of My Armpits?

All of us have different coloured armpits. Some have darker armpits, while others have lighter. It could be due to shaving, waxing, or a skin condition, a rash or even electrolysis. 

The hair stubble that remains a permanent fixture can also create the illusion of darker armpits. 

Now, while this doesn’t bother some, it may be a problem for others. If you’re one of the latter, you can opt for bleaching or laser lightening or creams to reduce the dark appearance of your armpits.  

Also, exfoliating or waxing, instead of shaving can also work. In addition, rubbing natural products like lemon and cucumber on your armpits can also lighten them naturally. 

Also read: Is My Vagina’s Smell Normal?

(Source: Reader’s Digest | All images courtesy: Shutterstock)

Written by

Melia Widjaja