Do you find yourself staying away from clothes with small sleeves? Is your worst fear being apprehended by the cops and being asked to put up your hands? Would you rather get up and go to the waiter than wave him over? Do you shy away from giving high-fives? All because of dark underarms? Look no farther, your salvation is near.
Before we jump into the solutions to the shadow that follows you around, lets shed some light on the causes. Asides medical conditions likeAcanthosis Nigricans, Melasma, Addison’s Disease and Bacterial Infection which would require an appointment with a dermatologist, other causes of darkened armpits can be prevented and treated at home.
If you naturally have dry skin, or wear a lot of antiperspirant deodorants, or just don’t sweat much, it is possible for the skin under your arms to suffer extreme dryness. Said dryness depending on the amount of melanocytes a person has, can result in darkness or lightness of the area.
- Shaving With Razors
If your armpit hair is darker than the color of your skin, then shaving can cause dark underarms, especially when done dry (dry shaving). Already, it is common knowledge that shaving only cuts the hair off at the surface of your skin. This darkness is due to the hair follicles that are just below the surface of your skin. Dry shaving with a razor may also cause itching and dryness. Shaving with a razor too much with will lead to skin hardening and skin darkening because of the irritation and abrasions caused. It could also lead to ingrown hairs, which would leave dark bumps on your armpit.
Deodorants that are also antiperspirants contain chemicals that prevent the pores in the underarm area from excreting sweat and secreting sebum. Thereby keeping the area artificially dry. Asides the dryness that they induce, which can encourage darkness of the armpits, they can also clog the pores in that area if the area isn’t exfoliated often. In addition those chemicals can be harmful for the skin if used daily, causing the affected area to be dark.
- Accumulated Dead Skin Cells
Dead cells are formed all over our body and accumulates on the surface of our skin. The underarms are no exception to this. Accumulation of dead skin cells around the underarms may be another reason for darkness in the area. This happens when one neglects the good practice of exfoliating the underarms.
- Tight Clothes
Wearing clothes that are tight around the underarm area can cause friction between the cloth and your skin. This can cause discoloration, owing to the fact that the underarms are sensitive areas.
Hyper-pigmentation is a common, often harmless, condition where certain spots on the skin appear darker than the surrounding skin. This is due to the excess melanin – the pigment that gives color to the skin – that forms deposits on the skin.
So now that we have identified some of the causes of dark underarm areas, here are some things you can do to prevent and/or treat them.
- Moisturize your armpits deliberately everyday. Just like you do for your face and the rest of your body. This will prevent dryness.
- Wax or use mild hair removal creams. The former pulls the hair right from the root. The later doesn’t, but will take away the hair on the surface smoothly, and not cause ingrown hairs. If you must use razors, do not shave dry. Always use a shaving cream or lather up your body wash in that area first before going in with your razor.
- Apply an aftershave after every shave/wax/hair removal. This will prevent any irritation that may result in bumps or discoloration.
- Stay away from antiperspirants as much as is possible. Only use them when the occasion calls for it, i.e when you know you will be engaging in an activity that may work up quite a sweat. Use regular deodorants on a more regular basis. Then for days being spent at home, skip deodorants completely. Use, instead, a body mist and mild cologne to stay fresh.
- Exfoliate your underarms mildly but daily, especially if you use deodorant. This can be done in the shower with a mild washcloth or an exfoliating sponge.
- Stay away from clothes that are too tight in the underarm area. Wear clothes that have loose cuts or no sleeves often (especially at home) to give your underarms some air. Do not wear tight clothes to sleep. Invest in tank tops and loose pants pajamas.
- If you suffer from hyperpigmentation on your face(or any other area) as well as your underarms, and a dermatologist or skin care expert has already prescribed some products or a regimen for you, the same products or regimen can be used to treat the underarms as well. So you can use that particular cleanser, or toner, or serum that was prescribed for your face on your armpits.
- Faster treatments like organic lightening methods can be resorted to in desperate situations. For instance, DIY recipes containing lemon, baking soda, potato juice, greek yogurt and papaya can be used as short term curative remedies.
- Visit a dermatologist or skin care expert to find out if your dark underarms are caused by a medical condition. If so, they will take it from there.
You can implement all these tips at a time as they are not mutually exclusive. It is important to understand that patience is key. You may not see a difference in a day, but over a couple of weeks (depending on your skin type) you would see a big improvement, and before long, you would be able to throw your hands in the air and wave them like you just don’t care!