Are your sleeveless dresses, and off-shoulder tops are sleeping in the wardrobe? Are you always frightened that someone might catch a glimpse of your underarm? Do you want to showcase your dance skills, but afraid to lift your arms in front of people? Do you like winter, because you can cover your underarms beneath the sweaters? Do you love water, but embarrassed to go in, because your swimsuits would show off your dark underarms? It is high time that you get rid of the fears that affect your self-esteem and confidence and focus on the treatments and remedies to lighten those dark underarms.
The darkening of the armpits alone is just a simple cosmetic issue and you would be able to address this issue on your own. But along with discoloration if you are finding any other symptoms like the thick or velvety texture of the skin, then this might indicate some serious trouble and you have to consult a dermatologist for some help.
Causes of the Dark Underarms
Before proceeding to the treatments and remedies we might want to know the factors which are causing the dark underarms. There are some surprising things that you never imagined, are responsible for the darkening of your underarms.
The Harmful Deodorants – The skin of your underarms is delicate. Some deodorants can irritate this area developing darker skin. People with dark complexions are more prone to this issue.
The Naughty Hormones – An imbalance in the hormone secretion can cause skin discoloration, this condition is called “melasma”. This condition is most common among pregnant women or those who are under hormonal birth control.
The Side-Effects of Medicines – Some medications like nicotinic acid, insulin, corticosteroids, and diethylstilbesterol are known to cause darker underarms. But the discoloration caused by these drugs isn’t dangerous and does not denote any underlying medical problem.
The Dead Skin Cells – When the dead cells accumulate in the armpits, they increase the pigmentation process. If you do not exfoliate your underarms regularly, then it will result in dark patches because of hyperpigmentation.
The Bad Shaving – Shaving only removes the top layer of your hair. So, if your hair color is darker than your skin tone, your skin might also appear dark. Another reason is the irritation caused by the razor which leads to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, causing dark underarms.
The Acanthosis Nigricans – Acanthosis Nigricans (AN) is a skin condition where one or more areas of your skin darken and thicken, sometimes the damaged skin will have a velvety touch. It can happen in the underarms and other areas of the body like the back of the neck, your elbows, and knees, or even beneath your breasts. AN can also be a potential indicator of life-threatening diseases like diabetes or cancer.
The Insulin Resistance – The Acanthosis Nigricans (AN) is an early sign of Type 2 Diabetes, in which the body does not produce the required amount of insulin. In this case, your neck will be the first area to darken before your underarms. If the discoloration happens quickly along with the other symptoms of insulin resistance, contact your doctor as soon as possible.
Cancer – In rare conditions, the darker armpits symbolize cancer in the stomach, liver, or other internal organs of your body. This condition is called malignant acanthosis nigricans. The discoloration disappears once the malignant tumors are removed from the body.
Following are some of the risk factors which are likely to increase the chances of darker underarms. Knowing some of these might help in preventing its recurrence in the future.
• The dark complexion of skin
• Diabetes or Insulin Resistance
• Shaving and plucking too often
• A blood relative with this condition
• Tight fit clothes
• Birth Control Pills
Treatments to Remove Dark Underarms
Our underarms are analogous to eyelid skin, they get irritated easily and the irritation produces excess pigmentation. In addition to this, the underarms skin folds onto itself, increasing the absorption of any product applied in that area. In order to achieve some improvement without further irritation, a delicate balance is required.
Minimizing the irritation should be the priority in lightening your underarms, which can result in reduced pigmentation and the following are some of the treatments which focus on the same.
Treat your Underarm Rashes First
The treatments for lightening your dark armpits are not effective until the rashes are taken care of. A rash is the inflammation of your skin with redness, itching, local roughness, or flakiness. The possible causes of the inflammation are,
- Fungal infections
- Allergy contact dermatitis like nickel from deodorant
Once the issue is controlled, the whitening treatments can be started.
Use Gentle Exfoliants
The physical pressure of scrubbing is more likely to cause irritation and worsen the problem. Instead of that, use a gentle combination of chemical and physical exfoliators into your routine a few times a week. The effective ingredients of this treatment are lactic, glycolic, and salicylic acid.
Optimized Shaving Routine
Shaving without a shaving cream can cause irritation, itching, and rashes. To prevent this, use moisturizing shaving cream, and also replace your razor blades frequently to avoid the dull blades rubbing along the skin.
If you are allergic to razor blades, you can opt for waxing or laser hair removal.
Switch to Hypoallergenic Deodorants
The number of people with dark underarms is on the rise recently due to the increase in the popularity of natural deodorants. These deodorants are highly fragranced and some people develop allergies to plant-based fragrances. The Symptoms of these allergies are redness and itching. Some people experience irritation and rash from excessive sweat.
The natural deodorants consist of sodium bicarbonate which causes hyperpigmentation without any rashes. So, if you notice the darkening of your underarms after trying a new deodorant, consider replacing it with a hypoallergenic antiperspirant or a deodorant without sodium bicarbonate.
Consider Laser and Micro-needling Treatments
If the above treatments are not effective, the procedural-based approach is a better option. You can choose micro-needling or chemical peels, or laser therapy to brighten your dark underarms. But remember these procedures will require multiple visits to see significant improvement.
Also, dermatologists do not recommend home chemical peels, because the underarms’ skin is a very sensitive area and it is best if you leave it in the hands of a professional.
Try Hyperpigmentation Serums with Caution
The regular hyperpigmentation serums which you use for your face can also be used to whiten the dark underarms. But you should be very cautious as the absorption will be greater in your armpits because of the skin folds. You can start it slowly by applying twice a week and gradually increasing its frequency every week. Apply a very thin layer to your underarms and allow it to dry before lowering your hand.
Tips to get rid of Dark Underarms:
There are some natural, safe, and cost-effective home remedies or tips to remove the dark underarms.
Baking soda scrapes off dead skin cells and gives way for clear skin.
Mix baking soda with water or rose water to make a grainy paste and apply it to your underarms in smooth circular motions. Repeat this thrice a week.
Slice of Lemon
Lemons are highly acidic which lightens the dark underarms.
Slice a lemon in half and rub the slices on your underarms for 2 minutes. Leave it for few minutes and wash it off with cool water.
Potatoes are not acidic. Hence it is the best remedy for people with sensitive skin. This treatment might be slow but gives the desired results.
You can cut the potatoes into slices rub them onto the skin of your underarms. Leave it for ten minutes, wash it with lukewarm water, and dry it. You can do this remedy twice a day.
Cucumber is a cooling agent that also has bleaching properties.
Pick a slice of a cucumber and scrub it on your skin. After 10 minutes of waiting time, wash it and pat dry. Repeat twice a day.
Orange peels are not only a bleaching agent but can also act as a natural deodorant and remove strong odor.
Leave the peels of some oranges to dry for a day under the sun and grind them to powder. Mix this powder with rose water and milk and apply this paste to the skin. You can scrub it for about 15 minutes before washing it off with cold water. Do this thrice a week.
Milk is a universally accepted beauty product that can also fight the dark underarms.
Mix 3 tablespoons of milk with a little gram of flour, and a pinch of turmeric in a bowl to make a paste out of it. Scrub this paste on your underarm skin for ten minutes and leave it to dry. Then rinse it with cold water and pat dry your skin. Repeat this thrice a week.
You can also use yogurt to lighten your underarms. It also kills the odorous bacteria and neutralizes body scent.
Mix curd with a few drops of honey to form a paste. Gently apply it to your underarms and scrub it. After a few minutes wash, pat dry, and repeat thrice a week.
We are not kidding! But make sure you use only white toothpaste since the colored ones have chemicals that can cause itching to your delicate underarm skin. Toothpaste, known for its bleaching properties along with Matcha Green Tea, an antioxidant to remove the dead skin cells and unclog the pores, are used for whitening the dark underarms.
Combine white toothpaste and green tea powder well and apply the mixture to the armpits. After 10 minutes wipe it off.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has bleaching properties that brighten the skin and also prevent infections caused by bacteria by killing the germs that feed on the dead skin cells.
Take a half cup of rice flour and add apple cider vinegar to make a thick paste. Scrub it for 15 minutes and then wash and pat dry. Repeat thrice a week.
How to Prevent My Underarms from darkening?
Following are some of the ways to prevent your armpits from becoming darker than usual.
- If some medication is causing the issue, then you can ask your doctor to replace his prescription.
- Shaving makes the area harder and darker. You should think of some other hair removal options or use moisturizing shaving creams before shaving and a moisturizing lotion after shaving.
- Obesity is an indirect cause of darker underarms. So, try to maintain a healthy weight.
- Avoid using deodorants containing harsh chemicals.
Message from Bliss Naturals
The underarms are the most sensitive and delicate skin of your body. Hence there is no faster way to solve this problem and rushing the treatments will only deteriorate the issue by causing irritation and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. So, breathe, chill and remember that the key to lightening your dark underarms is to keep the area clean and healthy.