Sheet masks, dry masks, glitter masks…the list of all the new ways to mask seems never-ending, but the latest one on our radar is a mask that isn’t meant for your face. “Armpit masking” is new trend that keeps popping up in the skin care lexicon and inquiring minds want to know: Will putting a face mask on your under arms reduce odor, soften skin and curb excessive sweating?
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As reported on by Well + Good, Lee Tilghman of the blog Lee from America recently broke down her process for armpit masking. The wellness and food blogger posted her own recipe for softer, smoother, odorless under-arms along with a PSA about the oft neglected part of our bodies that needs just as much TLC as our faces.
“Armpits are often the very last thing we consider once we assume skin care, however they shouldn’t be,” says Tilghman. “Defending this treasured space—and doing issues like switching to unhazardous deodorant and dry brushing—can soften pores and skin, cut back odor, quantity of sweat, and clear up rashes that may generally come from pure deodorants/hair elimination.”
In her post, Tilghman recommends using a bentonite clay face mask and leaving it on your armpits for 10 minutes. We reached out to a top dermatologist to find out if armpit masking really can leave you with sweat-free, odor-less skin. According to Paradise Valley, AZ dermatologist Susan Van Dyke, MD, while the practice is harmless, you’re probably not going to solve all of your under-arm woes with a clay mask.
“The skin of the armpit is very different from that of the face,” says Dr. Van Dyke. “Faces have active sebaceous glands that produce oil, and when in excess, can cause acne. Armpits have an abundance of sweat glands that come in two types: the sweat-producing eccrine glands and the odor-producing apocrine glands. Although bentonite clay has several medicinal uses, including absorbing oil, there are no studies that prove it reduces sweat or odor in the underarms.”
But that doesn’t mean you can’t mask your underarms with confidence, it might still help keep those razor bumps and rashes at bay. “It might be helpful due to its antibacterial properties, and it is used in calamine lotion, so it could be beneficial to avoid itching,” adds Dr. Van Dyke.
So ultimately there’s no harm in extending your beauty routine below the neck, but just don’t expect to be able to forgo the deodorant and avoid the sweat and smells that come from the often-neglected armpit region.