A common issue that women have with maintaining that flawless appearance is the discovery of unsightly dark underarms. Even though they do not contribute to any health concerns, it could make or break their outfit of the day. Have you ever had moments of reconsideration when you leave your home with a sleeveless top only to rush back minutes later to retrieve a shawl or put on an outerwear? Or those moments of embarrassment would stay with you when you have to raise your arms in public like when you have to grab onto the handrail on the train or reach out for the top shelf at work. Thankfully, all is not lost since there are plenty of ways you can reverse its discoloured appearance. Ease yourself of these unhealthy ruminations and read on to uncover some changes that you can set in motion towards fairer looking underarms.
Dark Underarms: Explained
1. Darker Shade Compared to the Rest of Your Body
It might not happen to everyone but dark armpits do affect a sizeable part of the population. This is when the skin tone of your underarms are found to be in a much darker shade as compared to the rest of the body.
2. Darker Skin Tones are Not Exempted
In a side-by-side comparison, individuals with fair complexion would find this condition much more visible as the contrast would be stark, however, those with darker complexion are not exempt from this issue. Some individuals might even experience itchiness in that region and if they were to scratch in response, the rubbing might cause further discolouration due to the friction generated. When that happens, the contrast in colour might give one the appearance of being dirty and unkempt, causing self-esteem and confidence issues.
3. About Acanthosis Nigricans
You might notice several names in this article like dark pits, dark armpits, discoloured armpits and discoloured underarms; rest assured, they all refer to the same condition. This discolouration is also scientifically known as acanthosis nigricans (AN).
6 Factors That Cause Dark Underarms?
To set the record straight, it is the pigment cells called melanocytes that give our skin its colour and when those pigment cells multiply at such a quick rate, the skin would then thicken and darken in that area. Read on about these common contributing factors that would cause discolouration at your underarms.
Aside from certain lifestyle habits that would be explained in the following points, hyperpigmentation could be the reason behind your discoloured pits. As mentioned above, this happens when there is an excess in melanin production caused by certain issues like acne scars or being in the sun for extended periods of time without sun protection. These damages might be lasting and could result in long-term discolouration.
While it might seem like a shocking revelation, research has uncovered that those who are at more than double their ideal body weight are more likely to have dark underarms. Being overweight causes the body to be resistant to the effects of insulin. This increase in insulin resistance would trigger the elevated production of pigmentation cells, hence causing your armpits to darken.
3. Excessive Sweating
As unlikely as it might seem, excessive sweating could actually cause discolouration as well. This could be because of how impurities like dirt and dead cells could exist in a moist environment like your pits. When left to be without frequent cleansing, the dip in hygiene levels could let the bacteria and dirt run amok and block the pores, causing darkening in that area. Do not rule out the probability of infections in that area, which would lead to the worsening of discoloured and uneven skin.
Shaving of the pits is a common ritual for most ladies, but not many know that certain bad habits during shaving could actually result in darkening in that delicate area. A few instances would be the use of a blunt or extremely sharp razor that might hurt the thin layers of the skin and cause it to darken. Similarly, frequent shaving could also cause irritation and that might cause redness and bruise when scratched.
5. Application of Deodorant
A slick of deodorant is essential just before leaving the home, but they have a history of being particularly hard to get rid of in the shower. For those who enjoy quick showers, the cakey remains might find themselves lodged within the creases of the underarm. Some deodorant brands might include chlorine within its list of ingredients and that would contribute to the discolouration.
6. Poor Choice of Clothing
The clothing that we put on can actually play a part in the discolouration of our underarms. This would be the case if you were to wear tight clothing that restricts the movement of your arms or if you were to put on clothing made of synthetic material as the fabric would not absorb sweat as well and cause bacteria to fester and ultimately lead to darkening of the armpits.
How to Prevent the Appearance of Dark Underarms
Prevention is always better than cure and here are a few ways in which you can stop underarm discolouration in its tracks before it evolves into a headache.
1. Avoid Using Razors
Razors are an effective way to rid your armpits from any unsightly hair growth, but they might actually worsen any discolouration. Thus, it would be better to use alternatives like tweezers to remove those stray strands of hairs. If it is far too much of a hassle, you can consider going through with a hair removal treatment to turn your armpits silky smooth.
2. Deep Rinse Your Pits
Deodorants are extremely helpful at keeping body odours at bay but some of them might contain harmful chemicals that might make its way to the pores of your armpits and damage your tissues. Thus, it is always good to use a strong organic body wash to rid your pits of those damaging chemicals and to reduce the risk of bacterial infection in that area, which might worsen the situation.
3. Change Up Your Wardrobe
While some women are celebrating the idea of more shopping, hold that thought! What you should only be replacing would be those tight-fitting clothing made of synthetic materials. Since friction would be created with any minute movements from your body, the constant rubbing would contribute to the blackening of your pits. Before you go wild at the departmental store, make sure your shopping cart is only filled with loose-fitting clothes that do not restrict any of your body movements and cause unnecessary friction.
4 Ways to Remove Dark Underarm
Dark underarms are not the end of the world in your quest towards looking impeccably flawless. There are many ways in which you can lighten the skin at that area, read on to find out more.
1. Moisturise the Underarms
This would stand as one of the simpler ways in which you can combat discolouration. Because of how shaving of your armpits could cause irritation from the friction generated, you could consider this method, especially for those with sensitive skin. Before shaving, you could utilise shaving foam or the use of organic soap to pamper your skin before removing the unwanted hair. Following the shave, you can apply a thick coat of natural and unscented moisturiser to reduce irritation of the thin skin and keep you from scratching and rubbing.
2. Use of a Medical Cream
Aside from a moisturiser, you could consider the use of hydroquinone cream to combat the problem of discoloured underarms. This is because of how hydroquinone interferes with the tyrosinase enzyme that helps with the natural production of melanin in our body. Soon you will find your melanin production slowing down or stopping altogether, ensuring the skin tone at your underarms is even throughout. In Singapore, hydroquinone is not something that is available over the counter — you can only obtain it with a prescription and use under medical supervision since your skin might react differently with rashes, redness, tingling or burning. Otherwise, the use of a retinoid cream would work just the same. When used regularly, it could help brighten the skin at those targeted areas.
3. Laser Underarm Whitening Treatment
This option remains one of the most popular ones simply because it targets the dark pigmentation areas at your underarms without affecting the surrounding tissues. When this procedure is done by experienced specialists, it would be able to break down all the pigments into smaller particles that would leave your body quickly. Not only is it a risk-free way of whitening your armpits, but you do not affect or thin your skin in any way while ensuring its smoothness and clear tone.
4. Home Remedies
Do a search online and you would find plenty of home remedies for your discoloured underarms. Typically, active ingredients like folic acids, milk thistle extract, blueberry extract, curcumin and azelaic acid are notable for brightening the skin. However, you would have to consider the fact that the skin at the armpits is extremely sensitive and those products that would normally work on your face and other parts of your body might not be friendly with those areas. Also, a test patch should be done to determine if you are allergic to any ingredients. Alternatively, it will be best to speak to a specialist before you apply the concoction to find out if it will actually cause you more harm than good.
4 Reasons You Should Opt for Laser Underarm Whitening Treatment
Our armpits are often ignored since it can be hidden away with sleeved shirts, but what happens when you plan a beach vacation or have an upcoming yoga session to attend? These situations might cause you to turn red as a tomato and you should pay due attention before you are at the receiving end of this unfortunate scenario. Laser whitening is often the first line of defence when considering how it effectively and efficiently rid your skin of pigmentation.
1. Easy & Straightforward
You can be assured that the laser underarm whitening treatment would be one that is comfortable and safe. Before the procedure begins, the specialists would ensure that you are comfortable and fit to go through the procedure — this would mean checking for any signs that might complicate the treatment like dry skin or if you are on your period. If all is good to go, your skin would be cleansed (and shaved if there is any appearance of hair) and you would have to wear a pair of goggles to protect your eyes from the light emitted. As mentioned earlier, acanthosis nigricans occurs when there is an excess of pigmentation in your skin and this causes the blackening. During the procedure, the specialists would direct a focused light from a laser onto those problematic areas to remove the pigmentation without hurting the surrounding skin.
2. No Pain Involved
If you are fearful of painful beauty procedures — rest assured that this procedure would be painless aside from a slight sensation during the treatment that might feel like a rubber band snapping on your wrist. Because of how the treatment can be targeted to a precise area, you wouldn’t run the risk of hurting the surrounding skin.
3. No Unnecessary Downtime
The best thing about the laser underarm whitening treatment is that there isn’t a significant downtime for clients who undergo the procedure. At times, you might encounter a little redness at the targeted area, but that would subside in a few hours. This would mean that you can be up and running right after you step out of the treatment room. Some clients even drop in for their treatment sessions during their lunch hour on their workdays and they have no qualms about resuming their work after.
4. Observe Improvements Fast
The improvement to your discolouration issue following the suggested treatment sessions would be dependent on several factors like the depth of the pigmentation, the severity of your pigmentation and your skin type as well. As a general guide, you would start seeing visible results in about six to 10 treatment sessions and to maintain your flawless look, subsequent maintenance sessions each month are highly suggested.
Ask most women (and men) and they would all agree that dark underarms are the bane of their existence simply because their self-esteem and confidence levels might take a hit when they have to raise their armpits to the world. Thankfully there are steps that women can take to remedy this issue. As of now, the final option remains one of the most popular simply because it is an effective, efficient and easy method of removing the discolouration without the fuss and trouble associated.
If you are interested in giving laser underarm whitening treatment a try or wish to uncover more information about the procedure, speak to the knowledgeable professionals at Geo Aesthetics today.