Dark underarms prevent one from wearing clothes that can show the armpits, such as tank tops or bikinis. We tend to ignore our underarms through improper care, which can make the pigmentation worse over time.
It’s never too late to start working on bringing back your underarm’s flawless and white skin tone. However, getting rid of dark armpits is not as easy as you think it is.
To whiten armpits effectively, you first need to address the cause and learn what treatment is suitable for you.
What Causes Dark Underarms?
Getting rid of underarm pigmentation can be challenging, especially when you don’t know the underlying cause. Here are various potential causes of dark underarms.
High levels of insulin can lead to overproduction of melanin (skin pigment cells). The extra weight carried by the body makes it more resistant to the effects of insulin. Being overweight can also cause a lot of friction in your body, just like in your underarm area. The excess pound can cause hormonal imbalance, which in turn leads to excess production of melanin and pigmentation.
Type 2 Diabetes
One of the visible signs of type 2 diabetes is skin pigmentation in some areas. People with this condition usually have patches of dark skin in the folds of the body, which includes the armpits – this condition is called acanthosis nigricans.
Imbalance in hormones can stimulate melanocytes through the abnormal levels of progesterone and estrogen. Melanocytes then produce excess melanin, leading to pigmentation, including in the underarms. This is common for pregnant women and those taking hormonal birth control pills. People with PCOS, crushing syndrome, hypothyroidism, and acromegaly are prone to having skin pigmentation.
Some medications have a side effect causing skin discolouration. Some medicines are known to cause skin pigmentation are insulin, nicotinic acid, corticosteroids, and pituitary extract. While this side effect from a medication isn’t harmful, skin pigmentation may be dangerous if caused by an underlying condition.
Cancer patients may experience hyperpigmentation such as darkening of underarms, due to side effects from some chemotherapy agents. A disease called acanthosis nigricans may be a symptom of many severe conditions such as cancer. Skin pigmentation can happen to people with several types of stomach cancer.
Lifestyle Habits (e.g., shaving, waxing, deodorants)
Shaving excessively can lead to underarm discolouration. This causes friction and inflammation on the skin, which results in pigmentation. Shaving the skin stimulates regeneration of melanin resulting in dark armpits.
Deodorants with harsh ingredients can leave your armpits looking dreadful. The chemicals can damage the skin and cause discolouration. It is recommended to use a mild deodorant.
Wearing tight clothes can cause friction and may darken your underarms.
Unhealthy eating habits such as frequently gorging on greasy and sugary foods can lead to skin pigmentation, too.
How to Whiten Underarms? Fast and Effective Ways in Singapore
There are various ways to whiten underarms – it can range from home remedies to medical treatments. Specialists can recommend procedures, such as lasers and chemical peels, that are backed by science and can show visible results in no time. Below are effective solutions for your underarm problem.
- Topical Whitening Creams
There is a variety of topical cream that helps lighten underarm pigmentation. However, most of the products only target the epidermal layer of the skin. One of the most commonly used ingredients when it comes to lightening products is Hydroquinone. This can penetrate deep into the skin and help slow down melanin production or stop it. Other widely used ingredients for topical lightening creams are kojic acid, azelaic acid, and tretinoin.
- Laser Treatments
For cases that haven’t responded well with topical creams and chemical peels, laser treatments effectively target deeper pigmentation within the skin. This is a non-invasive treatment and requires minimal to no downtime. The device can emit laser energy and penetrate deep into the skin to break down melanin into smaller fragments.
One of the most effective laser technology is Pico Laser that’s designed to address stubborn skin darkening or pigmentation.
The price/cost of Pico Laser treatment starts from $150
- Chemical Peels
This treatment uses a solution containing beta hydroxy acids and alpha hydroxy acids to exfoliate the skin. It is applied to the underarm skin area to remove dead skin cells and encourage the production of new skin cells.
- Natural Ways to Lighten Dark Underarms
The underarm skin is delicate and sensitive, which makes it prone to pigmentation and infections. An easy way to start your underarm lightening journey is to try some natural home remedies:
Just like how cucumber reduces dark eye circle, it can brighten armpits, too. Cucumbers contain bleaching properties, vitamins, and minerals that help with pigmentation. Rub some cucumber slices on your underarms for a minute or two. Leave the cucumber juice on for about 10 minutes for the skin to absorb, then rinse with water.
- Orange Peel
Orange peel contains bleaching and skin lightening properties. However, this can make the skin dry because of its acidic properties. Milk and rose water can help retain the moisture of your skin and make it softer. Make a thick paste by combining powdered orange peel, 1 tbsp milk, and a tablespoon of rosewater. Apply this on your armpit and leave it on for 15 minutes before rinsing it with water. Do this twice or thrice a week.
- Tea Tree Oil
This is a natural astringent that also contains antibacterial properties that help purify body areas. Since tea tree oil is a powerful and potent essential oil, it is recommended to mix it with some water to dilute it. Put the mixture in a spray bottle for more comfortable use.
Potatoes are rich in many vitamins and minerals including Vitamin C and Malic Acids – both substances are effective bleaching agent. Additionally, potato contains starch, which helps smoothen the skin. Run a thin slice of potato on the underarms and leave its juice on for 20 to 25 minutes before washing it off with warm water. Do this once a day for optimal results.
- Baking Soda
This home remedy can be used as an exfoliating scrub to remove pigmented cells in your underarms. Mix some water and baking soda to make a thick paste to apply and scrub on your underarms. Leave this on for 25 minutes and rinse with lukewarm water. Do this 3 or 4 times a week until satisfied with results.
Lemon is known to be a natural bleaching agent with its high concentration of citric acid. It contains Vitamin C, which helps in the reduction of melanin, while the acidic properties keep the underarm clean. It can help slough away dead skin cells and lighten underarms. Rub a slice of lemon directly on your underarms and leave the juice on for 10 minutes to dry. Rinse with warm water.
- Coconut Oil
Coconut is rich in Vitamin E, which helps lighten the underarms. It also acts as an exfoliant to get rid of dead cells on the skin’s surface. Massage some coconut oil on your armpits and leave on for 15 to 20 minutes before rinsing it off with warm water. Do this 3 or 4 time a week to reach desired results.
How to Prevent Dark Underarms?
Plucking and shaving your underarms frequently can cause irritation and pigmentation. Be sure to use a mild and unscented moisturizing lotion, preferably containing aloe vera or lecithin, to prevent darkening of this area.
Dark underarm causing habits mentioned earlier should be avoided. Look for alternatives – instead of shaving, opt for laser hair removal treatment. Obesity also requires changes in your lifestyle, such as exercising more and eating a balanced diet. Some of your medications may be causing underarm pigmentation, consult a doctor and ask for alternative medicines that don’t have this side effect.
See A Doctor
It is best to consult a dermatologist to make sure your dark armpits are not caused by underlying conditions such as diabetes or hypothyroidism. Asking help from a specialist early on can allow early treatment of your condition and prevent your skin pigmentation from getting worse.