There are not may women today who do not remove their underarm hair, and more and more men are starting to do so for different reasons. This was not always the case, and in the Western world the trend of removing underarm hair became prevalent only in the 20th century. In Europe it was not very common until the end of World War II.
Reasons for underarm hair removal
Hygiene is one of the primary reasons why people remove hair in their armpits. Because the armpit area is the part of the body that sweats the most, the hairs in it become wet and do not dry easily. As a result, an unpleasant odor emanates from the area. If the hair is removed, the sweat dries up more quickly and this results in less odor. This makes a person feel cleaner and fresher.
Aesthetic reasons are not less important than hygiene. Ever since the first lifestyle magazines in the USA and UK started showing pictures of women with no hair under their armpits, it has become a trend everyone wanted to follow. It was easy too, because safety razors were widely available and practical to use. Today it is considered unaesthetic for a woman to have underarm hair, even though feminists are trying to end that trend.
There are, of course, the religious reasons. This applies mainly to Muslims, to whom shaving underarm hair makes a part of religious practice.
Some people remove their underarm hair for professional reasons, especially athletes like swimmers and body builders. For swimmers it is very important because having no hairs makes the body more streamlined and faster.
Various techniques for underarm hair removal
Shaving is certainly the fastest, easiest and most used technique for removing underarm hair. The problem is that the hair grows back quickly because it is not pulled but snipped at the surface of the skin.
Waxing is another popular method. It involves pulling the hair from the follicles, so the skin stays smoother for a longer period, usually up to 6 weeks. It can be done with hot or cold wax and other substances.
Epilating is a method similar to waxing, as it pulls the hair along with the follicle. Epilators are electric devices that pull the hair with tweezing action and they can be used for everyday hair removal because they can remove even very small hairs.
Plucking is another option, although it is not very popular because it can be very time-consuming and also painful. Plucking is done with tweezers, just like with eyebrows.
Depilatory creams can be used to remove hair from the underarm region, they are practical and effective, they work by dissolving the hair and the treatment lasts about 15 minutes.
There are also ways to remove the hair permanently. This is usually done by professionals. The procedure is called electrolysis, and it involves electric current directed to the skin follicles. The current destroys follicles so they stop producing hair permanently.