Having dark underarms is a problem that Filipinas don’t want to deal with. Although it’s not a serious condition, having dark underarms can greatly affect your confidence. It can discourage you from wearing sleeveless tops and bathing suits in public, ultimately affecting your choice of clothes and the kinds of sports you play.
If you have been dealing with this skin problem for a long time, you might have searched for different ways how to lighten the skin in your underarms. You might have even tried listening to your friends and family members’ advice and tested the tips you’ve read on the internet to no avail.
But don’t lose hope! There are still many things that you can try to address your dark underarms, and the first step you should take is to determine what caused your problem.
What Causes Dark Underarms?
Ideally, your underarms should be about the same shade as the rest of your body. But sometimes, there are certain factors that cause your underarms to become darker. Here are some of the culprits that may be causing your dark underarms.
Some deodorants and antiperspirants contain paraben, alcohol, and fragrances. These chemicals can irritate your armpit skin and cause inflammation. Over time, this reaction can make the skin in your underarm thicker and darker.
There are also some antiperspirant products that have aluminum as an active ingredient. This component is effective in preventing you from sweating. However, it does so by clogging up your sweat ducts, causing your armpit to become dry and more pigmented over time.
Shaving is a quick and easy way to get rid of your armpit hair. However, using a razor to get rid of your underarm hair can also damage the skin of your underarms.
Shaving can cause irritation and abrasion on your armpit skin. The irritation caused by the razor can trigger post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, a condition that can make your underarm skin darker.
Additionally, shaving only removes the surface-level hair from your underarms. This means that the root of each hair is still in your skin. If your hair is much darker than your skin tone, the subsurface hair may make your underarms appear darker.
Given the conservative culture here in the Philippines, you might have been discouraged by your parents to wear sleeveless clothes as you were growing up. This means sticking to wearing T-shirts and long-sleeved shirts as much as you can.
Although there is nothing wrong with wearing sleeved shirts, the friction they cause can contribute to the discoloration of your armpits. This is especially true if you like wearing tight clothes.
4. Lack of Exfoliation
Your underarm skin is almost as sensitive as your face’s. This means that your underarm needs the same skin care routine as your face to keep it healthy.
When not cared for properly, your underarms may have an accumulation of dead skin cells. This buildup may cause the skin of your armpit to appear pigmented and feel rough.
To avoid this from happening, make sure to get rid of the dead skin cells from your armpits by learning how to exfoliate your underarms properly. Just be careful not to rub your skin raw. Doing this might cause more damage to your underarms than good.
Smoking is an activity that not only damages your lungs. It also makes your underarms darker.
When you smoke regularly, you can suffer from smoker’s melanosis. This condition causes hyperpigmentation in various areas of your skin, including your underarms.
You will notice dark patches appearing on your skin as long as you continue smoking. Once you stop for good, your complexion will slowly return to normal.
6. Hormonal Imbalance
Aside from external factors, dark underarms can also be caused by internal reasons. One of these internal factors is hormonal imbalance.
When you suffer from hormonal imbalance, you may develop a condition called melasma. This occurs when the generation of melanin-producing cells on your skin is triggered by excess levels of progesterone and estrogen. Because of this, you may experience hyperpigmentation in various parts of your body.
Melasma commonly occurs in pregnant women and those who are taking hormonal birth control pills. If you fall under these categories, make sure to look out for any discoloration on your skin and armpits.
7. Acanthosis Nigricans
This condition causes parts of an individual’s skin to darken and thicken over time. Some of the most common areas affected by acanthosis nigricans are the underarms, necks, elbows, and knees.
Acanthosis nigricans is often connected to other underlying health issues, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. Although this condition is not dangerous on its own, it can serve as an early indication of various types of illnesses.
Heavier people are often more resistant to the effects of insulin, a hormone that regulates the sugar levels in your blood. If you have an excess amount of insulin in your blood, you are more susceptible to the increased production of melanin, which turns your skin a darker color.
Aside from the medical conditions discussed above, dark underarms can be caused by particular drugs and supplements that you are taking. Some of the medications linked to having darker underarms are the following:
- High-dose niacin
- Birth control pills
How to Whiten Your Underarms
While having dark underarms is nothing to be concerned about, trying to lighten them can still improve your confidence. Fortunately, there are several ways of how to lighten dark armpits that you can try.
Natural Underarm Whitening Methods
Growing up, your elders may have provided you with tips on how to lighten your underarms naturally without using any medication or underarm whitening product. They claim that there are several plants, vegetables, and fruits that have the power to lighten your skin with regular use.
Calamansi, just like other citrus fruits, has natural bleaching and anti-bacterial properties. To use calamansi to lighten your underarms, slice one and squeeze its juice out.
Apply calamansi juice on your armpits after taking a bath and let it sit for a few hours. Then, pat your underarms dry using a clean cloth or wash the area with cold water. Doing this regularly will help improve the texture and color of your underarms.
2. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is found in almost all Filipino households because of its amazing healing properties. It is often used to treat skin problems, such as rashes, cuts, sunburn, and dryness.
You can also use the gel from an aloe vera plant to treat your dark underarms. This plant can help restore the texture of your skin and soothe any irritation that you might be dealing with due to shaving and harsh products.
If you are looking for a gentler way to lighten your underarms and get rid of chicken skin, you should give Papaya a try. This fruit contains the enzyme papain, which is effective in healing your skin and encouraging collagen production.
To use this on your underarms, crush some papaya fruit and apply it as a mask on your armpits. Let it sit for a few minutes before wiping it off and rinsing your skin. Do this a few times every week to see results immediately.
Note: It’s important to note that these at-home underarm whitening methods may take longer to show results compared to chemical-based products. Also, be sure to patch-test any new natural remedy on a small area of skin first to ensure you’re not allergic or sensitive to it.
Aside from natural treatments, you can opt to buy skin care products that are specially formulated to lighten underarms. Most of the time, these products come as lotions, creams, or gels that you can apply directly to your armpits.
One promising product that you can use is the Gluta-C Intense Whitening Underarm and Bikini Skin Whitening Gel. This item contains Glutathione and Vitamin C, which are powerful antioxidants that can effectively lighten your armpits and stimulate skin cell generation.
Professional Underarm Whitening Treatments
While natural remedies may be effective in whitening your underarms, they might take some time. If you want to see results more quickly, you can invest in professional treatments, such as the following:
- Laser Therapy: Laser treatment is an effective way to whiten underarms. The laser targets the melanin in the skin and breaks it down, which helps lighten the skin.
- Chemical peels: A chemical peel is a procedure in which a chemical solution is applied to the skin to exfoliate and remove the top layer of the skin. This can help reduce dark spots and lighten the skin.
- Microdermabrasion: Microdermabrasion is a procedure in which a special tool is used to exfoliate the skin and remove the top layer of dead skin cells, reducing dark spots and lightening the skin.
- Cryosurgery: Cryosurgery is a procedure in which liquid nitrogen is used to freeze and destroy the top layer of skin. This can reduce dark spots and lighten the skin.
- Skin lightening creams: Some skin lightening creams contain hydroquinone, which can help reduce the production of melanin in the skin and lighten the skin. These creams are available by prescription from a dermatologist.
However, these treatments can become costly. Some of them even require multiple sessions to achieve your desired results, which can rack up your expenses.
Before trying any underarm whitening techniques, you must first address the factors that cause the discoloration on your underarms. Once you accomplish this, you can prevent your underarms from getting more damaged and darker. Here are some things you can do.
1. Change Deodorant
Choose a whitening deodorant that does not contain any harmful chemicals, such as alcohol and paraben. One product that you can use is Gluta-C Intense Whitening Deodorant, a deodorant made with mild ingredients that will not irritate the skin of your underarms.
2. Avoid Shaving
Since shaving can scrape and irritate your armpit, choosing a different method of armpit hair removal is the best thing to do. Instead of taking a razor to get rid of underarm hair, it is better to use wax. You can also undergo laser hair removal treatments for a more permanent solution.
Remove the layer of dead skin cells from your underarms by exfoliating regularly. Make sure to use a mild lightening body scrub, such as the Gluta-C Shower Salt Scrub with Kojic Plus+ Whitening System, to acquire the results you want.
4. Avoid Wearing Tight Clothes
You should aim to reduce the friction you apply to your underarms. Achieve this by wearing loose-fitting clothes as often as possible.
5. Stop Smoking
You have already learned about smoker’s melanosis and how it can darken your underarms. To address this issue, you must quit smoking. After some time, you will notice the dark patches on your skin, especially your underarms, disappearing.
6. Talk to a Medical Professional
If your dark underarms are caused by an underlying health condition or any medications you are taking, you should talk to your doctor. They can help you come up with a way to address the discoloration of your underarms effectively.
Regain Your Confidence
Having lighter underarms can surely boost your self-confidence. Follow the tips we have listed above and use the products recommended to achieve the beautiful armpits you have always wanted. In just a few weeks, you can flaunt your lighter underarms and wear whatever you want without worry!