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    Laser Hair Removal Changed My Armpits And Got Rid Of My B.O.

    Lasers? Under my arms? Let's do this.

    If you're anything like me, summer + armpits = noticeable body odor. Even with regular showers, deodorant doesn't totally cut it when it's 90 degrees with 70% humidity. This summer, I decided instead of just dealing with my B.O., I'd take a more serious approach: Laser hair removal.

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    To handle my situation, I made an appointment with Christian Karavolas, the owner of Romeo & Juliette Laser Hair Removal in NYC.

    You may be thinking "What does laser hair removal have to do with B.O.?" Glad you asked! Basically, hair leads to more odor because the sweat from your glands sinks into your hair instead of evaporating, say, the way it would if you had no hair. The hair then holds onto the sweat, which then begins to smell, and that odor has no where to go.

    "Once the hair isn't there, initially you may think that you are sweating more, as the sweat has no place to accumulate, so you may feel more of a wetness," Karavolas says. "However, eventually, there's a decrease in body odor due to hair follicle destruction."

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    In other words, less hair means less body odor.

    Without further ado, I got in the laser hair removal chair.

    Rebecca Norris

    At my appointment, I learned that laser hair removal works by safely and selectively targeting pigment inside the hair follicle, generating energy in the form of heat at the root of the hair to destroy the hair without damaging the skin. Because of this, laser hair removal is said to work best for those with darker hair and/or fairer skin tones because the lasers have a better time picking up the pigment. However with the right laser level (almost) anything is possible. I say "almost" because throughout my three sessions so far, my technicians have reminded me that blondish red body hair is one of the trickiest hair colors to target with this technique.

    Apart from the straight logistics, it's worth noting that:

    1. The lasers create a bit of a jolt every time they target a section of skin. Those jolts become less and less alarming (not painful, because it feels more like a sudden rubber band snap that quickly goes away, as opposed to IDK, being pinched continuously) with every treatment because there's less and less hair to target.

    2. Laser hair removal isn't a one and done process. Instead it takes 4-8 treatments spaced 6-8 weeks apart. So, it's by no means a sudden fix to removing all your hair at once — especially since they recommend not shaving between sessions so that you know what you're really working with. Though, that's not entirely required.

    But let's talk B.O. Despite not shaving between sessions, my underarm hair turned nearly translucent (it was strawberry blondish to begin with) and didn't grow in even a quarter as much as it did pre-laser. Besides that, the smell associated with the hair follicles left was nearly undetectable. To be fair, I do wear deodorant — I switch between Type A's aluminum-free sweat-activated deodorant and Secret's Clinical Strength Clear Gel. But now, I can rely on my natural deodorant to get everything done. BOOM.

    Rebecca Norris

    Before getting laser, any time I would opt for a natural deodorant option, it simply didn't match my needs as I would notice B.O. during the day. Now, three sessions in with laser and my natural scent has chilled enough that I can happily choose non-chemical deodorant confidently knowing that I'll be good to go all day long. Honestly, it's been so good that I don't use deodorant with chemicals at all anymore.

    In other words...

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    Now, if you're not into lasers (by interest or by cost), but are still looking for ways to reduce your B.O., you're in luck. According to Jeanette Haylock, Education Manager of Go To Brazils Waxing Center, waxing can work wonders for B.O. control, too. It's just less permanent than lasers.

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    "When you perspire, the hair around the sweat glands absorb the sweat," Haylock says. "When this happens any odor in the sweat will also be absorbed. Shaving only removes the hair on the outside of the skin. All the hair underneath the skin will still absorb the sweat and odor which will secrete the smell. When you remove all the hair from the bulb, the sweat cannot absorb into the hair therefore aiding in the reduction of odor." Oh, but that's not all. When you wax to the core, you can also get excited for a reduction in ingrown hairs and skin tags.

    So you have options if you're looking for ways to deal with body odor beyond your regular deodorant! Laser hair removal will ring you up anywhere from $150-$500 on average per treatment, and waxing your underarms ranges from $20-$50 on average depending on where you live. One is permanent and the other is short-term, but both provide excellent options at helping to manage any odor you want to live without.

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