My poor armpit.


If you’ve been keeping abreast with the fascinating developments going in my life, you would know my big 2014 resolution was to shampoo my hair less. Not the most ambitious of resolutions, I’ll admit, but one I’ve managed to stick to, cutting down my shampooing from a hair-splitting 7 times  a week to an impressively minimal twice a week (Monday and Thursday, in case you were interested in meeting up to sniff my hair).

Finding my shower routine thus greatly reduced and having already soaped up and rinsed twice, I stood in the shower this morning with fuck-all to do. It was too soon after yesterday’s shampoo to treat myself to a co-wash, and I’d already used my gently exfoliating face wash on Tuesday and I find overusing an exfoliant somehow makes it less effective.

But I really wanted to stay in the shower a little while longer.

So I thought, what the hell, why not have me a shave?

It would tack on a few good minutes to my shower, and I’d feel all nice and soft. It being winter-time, and having no significant other to lull into the false security of my hairlessness, depilation has really taken a back seat in the routine surrounding my daily ablutions. Weeks would pass with nary a thought given to the state of my thighs, only to wake up one morning to the realisation that my limbs resembled the appendages of some grizzly bear, or more charitably, the hairier bits of scrappy short-haired dog.

imagesSomewhere around mid-winter, many a single woman’s appendages begin to resemble Josie, one of the contenders for the title of World’s Ugliest Dog 2013.

So I stood in my tub and took blade (Gillette Venus, of course — my experiences with other razors have left me with memorable scars) to skin. I decided to begin with my armpits, thinking that today I might wear a tank top under my trendy new sweatshirt.a

Gingerly lifting my right arm above shoulder height, I went “snnnnikt, snnnnikt,”  lazily neglecting to apply any sort of shaving aid to the delicate area.b

Then came the turn of left armpit.

Oh, lefty.

Being right side dominant, one would assume the task of defuzzing the left underarm would be far easier than its counterpart. And so it is.

Such was the ease with which I normally dispatch this task that this time I shaved a little too close to the skin. Probably slicing off a nice big layer of membrane along with the few hairs that have the misfortune of sprouting in that vulnerable zone.c My poor armpit began to sting and I ceased my shaving, turned off the tap, muttering obscenities all the while.

What is this condition even called? It’s not exactly razor burn, which WebMD identifies as  pseudofolliculitis barbae, “[which] develop after shaving, when strands of hair curl back on themselves and grow into the skin.”

Luckily that’s not what I suffer from, because it’s not the prettiest thing to look at, and I’m sorry if you’ve got it.d

I just suffer from shaving hubris, whereby in my haste and confidence I find myself deprived of epidermal protection for a couple of hours.

If you shave your underarms at all, and I know a few of you do, you’ve probably done this to yourself before. So, as a gift from me to you, I noodled around on the internet and found a decent article Discovery Health on preventing underarm razor burn.

The best tip they had for me? Shave at night — sweat and deodorant irritate your underarm’s sensitive skin after you’ve already screwed with it, and at night you hopefully don’t do (or use) much of either. By the time morning rolls around, your poor armpit will have healed.

In fact, as I wrap up this particularly useless article, my left armpit is beginning to feel a lot better.

  1. Sweatshirts are back, in case you didn’t know. No need to splurge on a Kenzo one since the heyday of the fad came along last spring, although you certainly can if you are so inclined.  (back)
  2. Be it shaving foam or shower gel or ideally, some baby oil — that stuff will make for a really smooth shave.  (back)
  3. And few and unfortunate they are, because something like a decade ago I went ahead and burnt off the bastards with a powerful laser beam. An amazing thing. Most of my armpit hair, which had caused me a great deal of inconvenience as a younger woman, was gone, and gone for good. It was incredibly painful, but looking back, the the suffering was worth it. The technician had missed a few spots though, and a few tenacious hair follicles have clung onto dear life therein, which I see fit to save intermittently.  (back)
  4. If you do have it, cease and desist shaving immediately, and, for the love of God look into other forms of hair removal!  (back)