You plan to wear that pretty armless dress and then you remember your underarms are pretty on the dark side and you change your mind. The day you decide against all odds to put on that dress all hell gets loosed when your arms are raised and then you remember those dark underarms. Simply put, it deflates your ego and totally erases your confidence.
What a headache?!
Not to worry. We’ve curated some tips for you to get rid of that dark underarms problem but first let’s find out why you got dark armpits and then work towards the solution.
Many people develop darkened pigmentation under their armpits similar to the darker skin on the knees, elbows, groin, neck, or underbelly. Dermatologists say that darkened skin in the underarm area is very common and can happen for a number of reasons from genetic due to hyperpigmentation, to diabetes due to insulin interfering with pigmentation in the skin. Medical research also indicates that insulin imbalance can cause darkened skin in people with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a disorder that affects hormones and can ultimately cause an overgrowth of the skin. In both cases, they say your darkened armpits might be something called acanthosis nigricans, and you should see a dermatologist for diagnosis and treatment.
Apart from genetics and underlying health conditions, there are external factors that can cause darkening of the underarms. These offenders range from deodorants and antiperspirants which contain ingredients that can irritate the skin, which can lead to a thickening — and darkening — of the skin over time. According to Dermatologists, many antiperspirants use aluminum as an active ingredient. It clogs up sweat ducts and, in the process irritates the skin. Other ingredients to look out for are fragrance and alcohol, both of which can be harsh on sensitive skin types. Another source of irritation could be your razor. Shaving, especially on a dry skin or with a dull blade, can cause the skin to darken and thicken over time.
Now let’s talk possible solutions.
It’s exciting to know that there is a way out but here’s what you need to know. Dermatologists do recommend natural home remedies to even out the skin under the arms, but they urge patients to be cautious about the ingredients they use. Take note that here is little, if any, scientific research to support these claims.
Let’s break it down with do’s and don’ts;
While scrubbing with raw sugar might seem like a good idea, it’ll only further irritate the area, which will cause more thickening if you do it excessively. Stay away from harsh, in-store scrubs that have sharp-edged particles, which could cause micro-abrasions.
Do use at-home chemical exfoliation twice a week:
Take one tablespoon of lemon juice (which works as lightening agent), one tablespoon of aloe vera, and mix them together. Apply this mixture on the armpits and leave for 10 minutes and wash off normally. Note that, while this recipe includes lemon juice, you should always be careful about using acidic ingredients in DIY skin recipes. That is why you want to mix citrus with gentle ingredients to balance its potency. When used alone, it can aggravate sensitive skin and make the area more sensitive to the sun.
Do use a mask of cucumber and aloe vera:
This will help to nourish the layers of thickened skin. The silica (in cucumber) stimulates the growth and preservation of the connective tissue in our skin. Aloe vera is rich in moisturizing and anti-inflammatory properties, and it contains the de-pigmenting element aloin. The refreshing properties from cucumber and aloe vera — which are both primarily made of water — also work to hydrate the skin.
Do the potato remedy:
Renowned for reducing dark circles, potatoes are also great for pigmentation and discolouration in the underarms. Peel a potato and grate it, squeeze its juice out, apply it directly on the armpits and rinse it off after 10-15 minutes. You can repeat it until the desired results are obtained, as its properties will also help in smoothening and softening the skin.
If you do not notice any changes, no matter how little, within days, we suggest seeing a dermatologist to determine if you need a stronger treatment that can’t be found in your refrigerator.
Can you prevent dark armpits?
It’s a matter of choice. When it comes to preventive measures, skin experts say it’s all about avoiding irritation. It’s important to treat the skin under your arms similar to how you’d treat the skin on your face. So, if you have sensitive skin in the armpit area, look for natural deodorants without fragrances, aluminum, alcohols and other irritating ingredients. Another suggestion to consider would be to get sophisticated products like laser hair removal, which eliminates irritation from excessive shaving. If such is out of your budget and you still want to get rid of the hair under your arms, you can change your shaving method; moisturize the hair and skin with a conditioning shaving cream to reduce pulling and friction. You also want to avoid dull razor blades that require repeated swiping, and make sure to shave in the direction of the hair growth, which is most often upward, so that you aren’t tugging at the follicle.
Dark armpits are nothing new and unusual. If you want to brighten the area, which is your personal choice, it’s important to remember that your skin should be treated with care — including your armpits.
How did you clear off the dark areas of your underarms? Please share with us in the comment section.