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Choosing to shave your underarms is really a personal decision. In most cases, there aren’t any medical benefits to shaving, but some people just prefer the smooth hair-free look or feel.

Disposable razors are the most popular and inexpensive way the majority of people shave, but there are other methods like:

  • waxing
  • electric razors
  • depilatories

Again, it’s a personal preference depending on your likes and budget. Here are some tips to safely shave underarm hair to prevent some of the most common problems with shaving like:

  • cuts
  • razor burns
  • skin irritation

Just like brushing your teeth or flossing, shaving is a process. For best results, it’s important to know the right and wrong way to shave. Your technique and tools (razor) are key.

  1. Exfoliate your skin with a loofah or body scrubber to clean your armpits before shaving for a closer and cleaner shave. Sweat or deodorant can clog blades or cause infections from bacteria if you cut yourself shaving.
  2. Wet your skin before you start shaving because your underarm hair is sensitive, and moisture helps open pores and soften your skin. Try shaving in the shower. This will help soften your skin to avoid cuts or nicks.
  3. Pull your skin taut and shave using short varying strokes (upward, downward, sideways) to get the smoothest shave. Don’t go over the same area too many times to avoid irritating your skin or getting nicked. Go slowly to get the cleanest shave.
  4. Rinse the blade after each pass to clear it of shaving gel and hair. Don’t use your fingers to clear the blades.
  5. Dry the area and use a moisturizer like aloe vera after you shave to soothe your skin and avoid irritation.
  6. Don’t put deodorant on right away because it might burn or irritate your skin
  7. Clean and dry the blade after every use and store it in a dry location (not in the shower). Moisture can ruin blades and lead to infections if you cut yourself shaving.

When it comes to shaving, there are plenty of myths about regular shaving causing hair to grow in:

  • faster
  • thicker
  • coarser

Shaving doesn’t do any of those things. There are a few other things to know to ensure a smooth and trouble-free shaving experience.

  • Make sure to use a razor with a sharp blade and a flexible razor head to help prevent nicks. This allows the razor to glide more easily over the curves and angles in your underarm area.
  • If you’ve never shaved, or it’s been a while, it might be easier to trim your hair first before using a razor.
  • Using a dull blade could lead to infections, ingrown hair, or razor burns.
  • Shaving dry skin can cause irritation.
  • Change razor blades often to ensure that you get a closer shave. This depends on how often you shave, but if you’re using more pressure to shave, it’s time to ditch the blade for a new one.

There might be some advantages to shaving. For example, sweat can make underarm hair itchy and lead to odor.

According to a small 2015 study, underarm hair can also hold bacteria. Shaving can help reduce odor caused by the combination of sweat and bacteria.

Some athletes shave their body hair to improve their performance. According to an old 1988 research review, studies of competitive swimmers who shaved body hair showed improvement in performance times.

The most important thing to keep in mind is not to share razors. Bacteria on the blade can cause infections and using someone else’s razor increases that risk. Remember not to shave these areas of skin until they’re healed:

  • cuts
  • rashes
  • other skin irritations

Razor blades can worsen irritation or wounds and lead to infections. If you have sensitive skin you could be prone to these concerns after shaving:

  • rash
  • irritation
  • redness or discoloration
  • other skin concerns

Be sure to follow the tips on softening skin and using a lubricant. If you have repeated skin concerns, you can try an alternative to shaving.


  • If you shave regularly, you can expect to have short blunt hair when it starts to grow back, which can be itchy. Using a moisturizer after shaving can help.
  • Shaving can also cause skin irritation because your underarm area is sensitive.
  • Razor burns can be caused by dull blades or shaving on dry skin.
  • You may get ingrown hairs, which are painful bumps that happen when hair grows into your skin.
  • Other side effects include razor bumps (pseudofolliculitis and folliculitis), which are skin bumps caused by inflammation of your skin from ingrown hair growth, according to a 2019 research review.

Does shaving your armpits cause hyperpigmentation?

Underarm hyperpigmentation can be caused by:

  • deodorants
  • dead skin cells
  • hormonal changes
  • infections
  • irritations or inflammation from shaving

A 2010 research review indicated that post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation occurs more often among People of Color.

In some cases, trauma or skin wounds can increase melanin production, which leads to skin darkening more than usual.

If you’ve experienced hyperpigmentation, there are over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription treatments that may help.

It’s important to speak with a dermatologist about what’s causing your hyperpigmentation to treat it and avoid further inflammation.

Since your skin under your arms is sensitive, shaving dry skin can:

  • irritate the area
  • cause nicks
  • lead to ingrown hairs

If you don’t happen to have any shaving gel or cream on hand, there are a few other products you can use in a pinch. But use a shaving gel or cream for best results and to avoid skin irritation.

Be sure to moisturize your skin with warm water before shaving and follow the same instructions.

Alternatives to shaving gel include:

  • soap (if you have sensitive skin, use unscented soap)
  • shampoo or conditioner
  • body wash
  • moisturizer
  • body oil (coconut, olive, etc.)
  • aloe vera

There are several hair removal tools and products on the market today other than razors. If shaving causes irritation or ingrown hairs, you might consider trying some other ways to remove hair.

  • Electric razors pose less risk of razor bumps and ingrown hair.
  • Waxing lasts from 3 to 6 weeks, exfoliates your skin and leaves the area softer and smoother.
  • According to the FDA, epilators (including electrolysis) remove hair from the roots through radio frequency waves at your hair follicle.
  • Depilatories are creams, gels, or lotions that remove hair by weakening hair structure and allowing hair to dissolve.
  • Threading removes hair at the root and lasts longer than shaving, up to 4 weeks, but it’s not meant for large areas.
  • Laser hair removal is a long-term solution. You may need several treatments and results can vary depending on your skin tone and hair color.

Razors are a common and easy way for people to shave. They’re safe when used properly. Make sure to use a clean and sharp blade. Also, moisturize before and after shaving.

Following the steps above will lower your risks of developing these on your underarm areas:

  • ingrown hairs
  • infection
  • razor burn