The Perfect Armpit
A brief history on the American axilla
Smelly, sweaty and hairy, that is the natural state of the armpit. I am sure that all that nastiness served a purpose at one time, but for decades we have been trying to thwart our ancestral tendencies. Let’s tackle this one step at a time:
Smell: It seems that way back in prehistoric times our ghastly unwashed selves were so smelly that wild animals turned up their noses and ran. This was invaluable when said animal has come to make you his dinner. It’s been a long time since most of us have been at risk for being eaten so what do we want to smell bad for? Unless you are trying to discourage unwanted attention from an unfortunate online dating encounter, you probably don’t want to “offend”.
The first true deodorant, Mumm, was invented in 1888 and was pretty gross. Today just go to the drug store and wander down the aisle and count the options. We spend over $20 billion dollars on products to improve our smelly pits. We have come a long way baby!
Sweat: Or the politically correct term, wetness, is actually a different problem caused by a different gland than smelliness. Sweat serves a good purpose, to help us cool off by evaporation.
Shortly after Mumm was invented, aluminum chloride was discovered to reduce the actual wetness and it is still the main ingredient in antiperspirants. Since only 3 % of your sweaty glands are in your armpits we have not seen any problem with the daily use of this sweat stopping chemical (except maybe irritation, stained clothing and the general panic you experience when you forget to apply it). It works by causing swelling at the mouth of the gland to make it difficult for sweat to emerge onto the skin. We haven’t come so far after all.
Hair: Nobody really knows what purpose armpit hair serves. Some hypothesize that it may reduce friction from rubbing. Others think it may wick away sweat and bacteria therefore aiding evaporation (cooling) and reduce risk of infections.
American women didn’t care about hairy pits until the sleeveless dress came into fashion just prior to the roaring 20’s. Harper’s Bazaar is credited with driving the clean-shaven trend with an ad about removing “objectionable hair” before donning the latest fashion, especially while modern dancing! In recent years guys, especially the under 40 set, are removing much if not all their body hair, armpits included.
Shaving, waxing and laser are the popular methods. They all work but of course you must shave daily or wax every month of two or undergo numerous (6-10) laser treatments (lasers only work on hair that is darker than the skin).
If you want to be done with smelly, sweaty, hairy pits you are in luck. FDA approved miraDry for the permanent reduction of underarm hair of all colors, for permanent underarm sweat reduction no sweat, no smell). miraDry utilizes unique miraWave technology (precisely controlled microwave energy) to vanquish all 3 issues. One treatment usually does it.
You can love your pits forever, I know I do (I had it done 5 years ago).