It's time we stopped feeling embarrassed about our armpits

Your underarms are fine, just the way they are.

Armpits are a part of the body women often feel uncomfortable with and, despite us all having them, they’re not exactly seen as ‘feminine’ by society.

From harsh deodorants and products, to whether we chose to shave – or not -we end up changing the skin’s texture and appearance.

But now, it’s time to do away with any shame or bad armpit related feelings, according to Dove.

The beauty brand has launched a photo series showcasing women’s underarms, as their research found 76% of women suffer from underarm skin concerns, such as shaving rash, hyperpigmentation, dry skin or redness.

This results in two thirds feeling conscious about the appearance of their pits.

As the weather warms and clothing shows more skin, this anxiety can heighten – over two thirds of the women surveyed dress to conceal their underarms.

Shaving rash is the most common underarm concern, followed by irritation and bumps.

Insecurities are most prevalent during heatwaves and beach holidays for over a third of women, and a quarter even feel conscious about their pits while having sex with a partner.

Alarmingly, a quarter of women recall first feeling insecure about their underarms when they were as young as 13-14 years old.

Other research by the brand found that in seven to 10 year olds, girls are less likely to raise their hand in class due to feeling self conscious about their underarms. 

Despite how collective this concern seems to be, almost three quarters of women would never speak to their friends or family about their underarm skin issues, mostly due to embarrassment.

To try and change this, Dove’s armpit portraits called ‘Arms Up Series’, produced for the launch of the brand’s Advanced Care deodorant, shows a range of underarm skin – from stubbly or shaved, to marked or hairy.

Megan Crabbe, an author and body-positivity advocate who features in the series, says: ‘I stopped shaving my underarms about a year ago after I realised that I wasn’t really doing it for me in the first place – I was only doing it as I’d been taught by cultural beauty standards to place other people’s comfort around my body above my own.

‘We’re taught that armpits must be shaven and rash-free, but that isn’t the reality for most women. 

‘Dove’s Arms Up Series is a beautiful way of bringing parts of ourselves we’re taught to be ashamed of out into the light, where all of us deserve to be.’

Leading dermatologist, Dr Soma, says this area, because of all its sweat glands and the hair removal options women might choose to use, can look different person to person – there is no ‘ideal’ appearance.

‘Your underarms have unique skin,’ she says, ‘they have lots of sweat glands and hair follicles, which can contribute to a bumpy, textured appearance.

‘It’s also a high friction area where the two aspects of your underarm come into contact and rub together.

‘These combined factors create a humid environment that can be prone to irritation that leads women to feeling uncomfortable and self-conscious.’

She recommends preparing skin properly before waxing or shaving, to minimise skin damage.

‘Armpits come in different shapes, skin tones, hairiness and hairlessness,’ she adds.

‘The number one way to care for your armpits is to embrace them, so you feel confident enough to go about your day without restriction.’

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