I’m not really sure what it is about armpits, but they’ve been getting the Internet up in a real tizzy over the past few months. It seems that the most unnoticeable body part that, SURPRISE, we all have, is becoming more and more controversial with every passing minute. The newest sensation? Underarm microwaving. And since you asked, no, it has nothing to do with sticking your pits inside a microwave and hitting the “time defrost” button. I’m pretty sure that nine out of 10 dermatologists and 10 out of 10 human beings would tell you that that’s a bad idea.
The goal of underarm microwaving is simple: To remove unwanted hair and reduce sweat. But if you thought this was as simple as shaving your pits regularly and applying a reasonably strong antiperspirant like the rest of us, you’d be wrong. A company called MiraSmooth is pioneering the underarm microwaving procedure (seriously—it only received FDA approval a few weeks ago) with a process not too dissimilar to laser hair removal or electrolysis. However, where laser hair removal uses targeted light and electrolysis uses an electric pulse, underarm microwaving favors microwave currents.
Here’s how to all goes down: Temporary black lines and markings (as seen in the above photo) are used on the armpit to help guide the treatment, and a local anesthetic is applied to minimize the pain. The whole process doesn’t take much more than an hour, and side effects can include pain and post-procedure redness, which is to be expected if you’re effectively shooting the hair and sweat out of your pits. And, according to Women’s Health, MiraSmooth “can be used on hair of all colors, regardless of a person’s skin tone (lasers typically work best on people with light skin and dark hair).”
The procedure, of course, does not come without its flaws and cautions. According to women’s health expert Jennifer Wider, M.D.,
“The use of microwave technology has been established for sweating, and the safety and efficiency have been well-established. But despite the FDA approval, there’s not much long-term information and data on safety and efficacy for hair removal.”
She went further, stating that, “microwaves can heat the water and fat in the area, so you can experience redness, swelling, and even burns in your armpits.”
And, on a more personal note, I’m wary of any hair removal procedure that requires the use of local anesthesia. As someone who gets semi-regular Brazilian bikini waxes, regularly waxes her eyebrows, and has undergone laser hair removal before, all of which were done without having to anesthetize any part of my body, I don’t know that I’d be willing to do something (or tell someone to do something) that requires any kind of anesthesia. No hair removal procedure should be that painful, IMHO.
But, then again, everyone has the right to deal with his or her own body hair and sweat in whatever manner he or she chooses. If you want to microwave your underarms, go for it. Just don’t do it in your kitchen. That’s still not what underarm microwaving is.