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Acids for Your Underarms – Another Fad?

Acids for Your Underarms – Another Fad?

At KEM, we champion body positivity and showing up as our best selves every day. Our slogan, “a bit better every day”, we feel gives everyone the room to realise this however looks and feels authentically them. A lot of people, particularly people of colour, deal with body hyperpigmentation and recently newfound remedies have gone viral on social media as to how to combat this. We want to explore this and separate the facts from the myths for our Kemmunity regarding acids that are readily available for you to use as body exfoliants.

Before we dive deep into the world of body exfoliants, let’s first talk about what exfoliating does. In short, exfoliating removes dead skin cells to improve the appearance of your skin, revealing a smoother and clearer complexion. It also increases the effectiveness of your skincare products as it improves how well they absorb into your skin. There are two main types of exfoliators: chemical and physical. As explained by Alicia Lartey, ‘‘chemical exfoliants are made from a blend of exfoliating acids that help to boost your skin’s shedding process.’’ One category of chemical exfoliants you are probably familiar with is alpha-hydroxy acids, better known as AHAs. You may have heard of glycolic acid, lactic acid, kojic acid or mandelic acid, these are some of the most common and popular AHAs readily available for face and body exfoliation. Fruit enzymes are a type of chemical exfoliant, they are molecules within fruits like blueberries, pumpkins and papayas that break down keratin – the protein in dead skin cells. On the other hand, physical exfoliants such as scrubs, sugars and salts involve physically removing dead skin cells from the outer layers of the skin.

Now that the sun is shining and summer is here, a lot of us will be wearing less and going out more. Understandably, hyperpigmentation can leave some people feeling embarrassed or uncomfortable with their skin even though so many others experience the same thing. With this is mind, we wanted to help you understand and tackle hyperpigmentation in your underarm and pubic areas so you can become more comfortable and confident in your own skin. Aesthetician Dija Ayodele explains that body parts like your inner thighs and underarms are ‘‘high-friction areas that are subject to rubbing and chaffing.’’ This is also a reality for your pubic area since it’s near your inner thighs and your underwear tends to rub along your skin as well. Studies show that shaving is the number one cause of hyperpigmentation in these two areas. The scrapping of razor blades against your skin can cause irritation and make you prone to ingrown hairs. Ingrown hairs come in different forms, for example, small bumps that look like blisters, bumps filled with pus or hair that curves at the tip because it’s growing into your skin instead of through the surface of your skin as it should. The inflammation from the growth of an ingrown hair triggers an overproduction of melanin which makes the area darker, subsequently causing hyperpigmentation.

Fortunately, incorporating exfoliants into your body care regime is one of the best ways to improve and diminish hyperpigmentation in your underarms and pubic areas.

Here are some body exfoliants containing AHAs that we recommend:

1. The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution – If you haven’t already heard about this new beauty hack from TikTok then let us put you on. The Ordinary glycolic solution is already well-known for the results it produces for facial exfoliation but now it’s been repurposed as an exfoliant for your underarms and has produced some incredible results. This toning solution not only contains 7% glycolic acid, but it also contains amino acids, aloe vera, ginseng and Tasmanian pepperberry. Whilst the acids are formulated for mild exfoliation and visible clarity, aloe vera is added for its effective soothing properties. Did we mention it is also highly affordable, it retails for £8 online and in stores so you tackle hyperpigmentation on a budget!

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2. Ren Clean Skincare Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA Tonic – This popular leave-on exfoliant is another gem that has been repurposed with underarm hyperpigmentation in mind. It features AHAs and BHAs, making it a gentle but powerful formula that aims to resurface and exfoliate your skin. The AHA in this tonic is lactic acid which is one of the milder AHAs making it more suitable for sensitive skin, whilst the presence of salicin – the BHA – derives from willow bark extract which is responsible for minimising the appearance of pores and smoothing skin. Oh, and did we mention these are all cruelty-free and vegan ingredients?

3. Faded Brightening & Clearing Mist – If you’re looking for a product that not only targets hyperpigmentation but buttne, backne and chestne too – look no further! Topicals brightening and clearing mist claims to promote balanced skin, smooth skin texture and brighten and revive tired skin. This product comprises of powerhouse ingredients such as kojic acid, alpha arbutin, glycolic acid, niacinamide, tranexamic acid and liquorice root. The alpha arbutin, niacinamide and liquorice root have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which are formulated to protect your skin from any damage and irritation. This is perfect for people who are looking for a multi-faceted product that gets the job done.

4. High Roller Ingrown Tonic – Another worthy mention from Topicals is their Ingrown Tonic. It is designed to soothe shaving irritation and prevent bumps from ingrown hairs and to top it off, it is formulated for the underarm and bikini area. This product is a dream for those who suffer from razor burn or develop discomfort after shaving as it contains zinc PCA which is anti-inflammatory and is responsible for reducing redness and excess oil.

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