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Jewish Journal

Itchy Pits

by  Merissa Nathan Gerson

June 17, 2010 | 8:33 pm

Letting your armpit hair grow might liberate your itchy pores, and challenge the dominant order. Kill two birds with one trashed razor.

Dear Yenta,

My armpits are sometimes itchy, particularly in the evenings. What can
I do about this? Is it my deodorant? Should I be using some sort of
salve? Should you moisturize your pits?

-Itchy Pits

Dear Itchy Pits,

Just think about life as an armpit. It is a repressed and miserable body part, always being shut down. It wants to sweat, we stuff it with chemicals. It wants to be hairy, we strip away its livelihood with live razors and hot wax. If your armpit itches it is speaking to you, crying out for help. Pay close attention and give it a few days off. Let it be itself, hairy and sweaty and smelly.

Once again, as with any health problem, the first step is evaluating the contributing factors to the dilemma. This is often a skipped step en route to medicating, salving, and generally ignoring the causality of the crisis. By failing to address the root cause of a health problem, we run the risk of repeat infections, itches, etc.

First, a list of possible causes. Second, a list of possible cures.

Possible Causes

1) What kind of deodorant do you use? Does it have aluminum in it? Is it a natural brand or is it chemical? Read this BBC article on dangerous deodorants. Antiperspirant can cause itching because it acts by blocking the pores to keep them from secreting moisture. Ick, water shoved back inside your pit might make you itch, just as punishment.
2) Do you shave your armpits? How often? Shaving your armpits not only removes the hair, but it also removes a fine layer of skin. This can, obviously, be irritating. Also, ingrown hairs can cause itching, as well as general razorburn. Sometimes, before the hairs break the surface of the skin, that poking towards the light can cause severe itching.
3) Have you changed products recently? If you switched soaps, deodorants, and/or bath products, shaving cream, etc. you may be allergic. Is there a rash, or just an itch? Bumps or no bumps? Bumps can be razor burn or ingrown hairs, rash can be allergy or razor burn. Oye!
5) Are you wearing tank tops on a hot day? Playing tennis or rowing a boat in that tank top? Chafing of the pits can cause an itch. Put on a T-Shirt already, it’s January.
6) A girl in middle school broke out in a full body rash and had to be sent home because she rubbed marijuana all over her body. Have you been rubbing your pits with poison ivy, poison oak, or marijuana? If so, stop.

Possible Cures

1) Aluminum-Free Deodorant, eg, Crystal Deodorant, Tom’s of Maine, etc. Go to a health food store for this. Click here for an article on the dangers of Aluminum.
3) Ditch the anti-perspirant. Unblock those pores and deal with the humanity of sweat sweating. Buy a deodorant, plain and simple, or pat your pits with baby powder throughout the day. You may need to purify that area after a near lifetime of applying chemicals to conceal your natural musk.
4) Ditch all products. Some people develop stank pits as a double sweat and smell response to the chemical deodorants they use. If you wash your armpits regularly you may find you don’t need deodorant at all. This should kill the itch.
5) Stop shaving for a little while, let those pores and hair follicles do their thing.
6) If you keep shaving, drink more water and prep your pores. Take a bath and then shave. Be sure to change your razor regularly and to use a protective thick cream while shaving. Also, after you shave DO NOT PUT ON DEODORANT. Apply an aftershave salve, either Aloe Vera, an oil like vitamin E, or else some sort of perfume-free bland lotion like basic Cetaphil. Pat, don’t rub those pits dry and treat that newly shaven skin with extra tenderness and care.
7) Exfoliate regularly to keep the skin renewing itself and the hairs beneath it breathing.
8/ Change products again if you have been using new ones. Check your revenue of beauty supplies to be sure you aren’t allergic. Keep your products mild, the less chemicals the more the skin can be skin. If you do think you have an allergy, keep using a mild soap and ditch the other suggestions. Keep that armpit dry and clean until the skin goes back to normal.

For more on reducing sweat naturally, and winning yourself a blonde beau, click here. StopArmPitSweating.net!


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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With more than 10 years of talk therapy under her belt, Merissa has waded through life’s dilemmas with a constant reflective therapeutic bird on her shoulder. Add a few...

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