Does Shaving Your Armpits Help Reduce Smell?

Everyone has different preferences about shaving or preserving their armpit hair. Some people love going all natural and leaving their armpits untouched, and others prefer a cleanly shaven look and feel. 

According to Healthline, the axillary hair that we have on our armpits is a physical change that occurs after the onset of puberty. No matter who you ask about the matter, many people could agree that a small patch of hair on your armpit seems like it'd be pretty useless at first glance.

Although potentially surprising, there are actually some benefits to armpit hair. As explained by Insider, armpit hair can act as a wingman by helping you attract a potential mate while your armpits secrete pheromones. Individuals who leave their armpit hair unshaven may also be less prone to infection and other health conditions, such as razor burn, skin tags, and irritated skin (per Healthline).

Our early ancestors likely saw no reason to shave the hair off their armpits, but worries about the potential health risks of keeping body hair and cultural shifts surrounding beauty standards started to motivate the practice of removing one's body hair, according to the Smithsonian Institution. Nowadays, many people shave their armpits as an act of self-care and practicing personal hygiene, and it would be particularly helpful to know whether shaving your armpit hair will help you smell better or if it's better to leave your armpit hair the way it is naturally.

Can shaving your armpits help you smell better?

No one enjoys having their armpits smell bad around other people, which is why so many of us keep antiperspirants and perfumes handy at all times. Do our armpits end up smelling better when we leave them unshaven or when we shave them? 

Apparently, we may be more likely to notice body odor when we haven't shaved our armpit hair, according to Cincinnati Business Courier. This is because the bacteria collected from our armpit hair and our skin mix with our sweat to create that unpleasant smell that we all scrunch up our noses at. As explained by MedicalNewsToday, sweat evaporates more slowly when hair is present in the armpit area, allowing bacteria additional time to break down proteins and produce odors.

This leads to the question of whether shaving our underarm hair can help to reduce the risk of smelly armpits. A 2015 study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology discovered that the male participants who removed their armpit hair by shaving or waxing methods appeared to experience significantly less body odor after washing the area with soap. 

Along with armpit hair, there are other factors that can contribute to body odor, such as levels of stress, hormones, medications, and what you eat in your diet (per Cleveland Clinic). Therefore, reducing one's levels of stress, improving one's hygiene techniques, and cutting smelly foods out of one's diet may also be effective ways to combat body odor in addition to shaving.