Should men shave their armpits? Guys ask this question a lot, so let’s address it once and for all!
Men trim their body hair and have been doing so for centuries. They shave their chests, shoulders, and backs, with an increasing number even shaving their arms and legs.
And we mustn’t forget about the armpits and pubic area, the parts of the body most prone to smelling “bad”.
Speaking of armpits, is it manly to have a full mane under there? I mean, half the population (women, that is) already shave their armpits, so there has to be something to it, right?
The thing is, despite the benefits of having smoother armpits, the concept of shaving your armpits remains alien to most men.
Proud? Ashamed? Nonchalant? Whatever their reason might be, taking an objective look at the giant tufts of hair under their arms might make them reconsider their viewpoint.
In this article, we explore the advantages of shaving your armpits.
Should Men Shave Their Armpits? 5 Reasons Why You Should
A survey of 4,044 men carried out by Men’s Health found that 68% of the respondents said they shave their armpit hair. Of the various reasons cited, shaving for aesthetics was the most popular.
That’s a good start, but let’s have a look at all the reasons why men should consider shaving their underarms.
1. Shave To Reduce Sweat Stains
To see how armpit hair affects sweat, it helps to have a basic understanding of sweat glands, namely the eccrine and apocrine glands.
The eccrine glands are located pretty much everywhere in your body and they produce the exertion-based sweat that keeps your body temperature regulated. The apocrine glands, on the other hand, are located in the armpits and are associated with stress-induced sweating.
Does shaving armpits reduce sweat? No! Both glands exist beneath the skin, so removing your armpit hair won’t cause them to suddenly stop producing sweat.
However, your skin is better able to absorb deodorant and antiperspirants when there is no hair acting as a buffer, and this can reduce the appearance of sweat.
Should men shave their armpits? If you detest sweat stains, trimming your underarms can minimize it.
2. Shave To Reduce Body Odor
Your armpit is a triple threat. It’s dark, moist, and warm — you know, the type of environment odor-causing bacteria love.
Put another way, hair is porous (it easily absorbs odors) and traps moisture. Growing it on the part of the body where the sun don’t shine and the air doesn’t blow results in a swampy environment for bacteria to multiply.
The dreaded body odor ensues, and it can sometimes be too much for even deodorant and antiperspirants to handle.
Should men shave their armpits? If smelling good is important for you, then it helps to be barren under there.
Reducing unpleasant body odor is one of the top benefits of shaving your armpits. Not only do you deny odor-causing bacteria a home to breed, but you also increase the effectiveness of deodorant and antiperspirants.
3. Shave For Better Athletics
Have you ever wondered why athletes shave their body hair? It’s because having a hairless body has several benefits when it comes to athletic performance.
Although shaving body hair slightly reduces drag at best, a study by the American College of Sports Medicine found that swimmers who shaved their body hair experienced an increase in stroke length and other cardiovascular benefits.
According to a study published in the Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, marathon runners who shaved improved their running times by as much as 5.7 seconds.
Wrestlers commonly shave their bodies to reduce skin irritations like chafing resulting from close contact with their opponents, while bodybuilders go hairless to show off their muscle definition in the best light possible.
Should men shave their armpits? A resounding YES if you’re an athlete who wants a competitive edge. Depending on the sport, having or not having body hair can be the difference between winning and losing.
4. Shave To Feel More Comfortable
Feeling comfortable is another compelling reason why men manscape. While itchy armpits may not be as aggravating as, say, itchy pubes, it’s still something no man wants to deal with.
And, just like how itching your crotch in public can make you look like a savage, digging away at your armpits can be just as undignified.
Long, dense armpit hair can also easily become tangled, pulled, and snagged, not to mention trap moisture like towel. It’s not good to look at, nor is it good to touch.
Should men shave their armpits? If you don’t like itchy armpits or the feeling of soggy hair on your skin, heck yeah!
5. Shave To Look Better
It’s necessary for bodybuilders to shave their armpits and other body hair to look their best for the judges, while other athletes like runners, cyclists and swimmers likewise shave to maximize their performance.
There isn’t such an imperative for most guys to shave their body hair, but many do anyways just for the look of it. I mean, does back hair or a patch of hair under your arms really look appealing?
As for what women prefer — that is, whether they find men who shave their underarms more attractive than those who don’t — research hasn’t arrived at a definitive answer. But don’t let that stop you from choosing what makes you feel good in your own skin
Should men shave their armpits? If you think it makes you look good and, more importantly, makes you feel good about yourself, then have at it, sir.
5 Reasons Why Guys Shouldn’t Shave Their Armpits
There are pros and cons of shaving your armpits. Now that you know the benefits, let’s look at several reasons why you probably shouldn’t shave your underarm hair.
These reasons are discussed in more detail in our piece 5 Reason Why Men Shouldn’t Shave Their Armpits (read it, and let us know what you think), but here’s a quick rundown of the main points.
1. Shaved armpits are a pain to maintain: Shaving the armpits is a complicated business. Its uneven surface makes maneuvering a razor or trimmer difficult, increasing the risk of cuts. Moreover, the skin under your arms is very sensitive and, therefore, very susceptible to nicks, depigmentation, and irritations.
2. Shaved armpits make you smell less manly: Scientists believe hair exists to help trap and transmit pheromones, subtle scents that tell women (or men) that you have what it takes to provide for her and sire healthy, strong kids. Shaving your armpits greatly mutes your alluring manly smell.
3. Shaved armpits can cause infections: Because the skin under your arms is so sensitive, shaving it can cause rashes, irritation, ingrown hairs, and razor burn. It may even cause folliculitis, a skin disorder that sometimes results in scarring and permanent hair loss.
4. Shaved armpits don’t reduce sweat: It’s your sweat glands that produce sweat, not your armpit hair. Shaving doesn’t remove those glands, so you’re not going to sweat any less than you already do.
5. Shaved armpits aren’t sexy: Some women and men like body hair, from beards to puffs of armpit hair. If having underarm hair makes you feel good about yourself and doesn’t get in the way of your life, then by all means, have at it.
Should Men Shave Their Armpits? Why Not?
Nature, in all its intelligence, must have given us armpit hair for a reason. Fortunately, it doesn’t seem like any of those reasons are necessary for our survival or overall well being.
Now, you may not think it’s manly to trim your armpits, and that’s all good, but there is no denying that having a good shave has its benefits.
Shaved armpits reduce odor, as well as the appearance of sweat; can give you a competitive edge in certain sports; and, some would say, look and feel better than unshaven armpits.
Your reasons for wanting to shave your armpits may differ from another man’s reasons, but know that there’s no right or wrong answer.
Should men shave their armpits? It depends on the man’s motivations. Do you shave your underarms? If so, why?
Share your reasons in the comments below, and make sure to check out Too Manly Grooming for more articles like this one.