Don’t Sweat It! Top Treatments for Dark Underarms and What’s Causing it Anyway?
Dark underarms? It’s a REAL thing and it is REALLY common, but just because it’s so common doesn’t mean you have to deal with it, there are treatments that work, but before you dive deep into self-diagnosis, here are some potential causes for dark underarms and general discoloration in certain areas!
1. Skin Rubbing Against Itself
Body parts that rub together too closely can cause chaffing and darkening because of friction AND lack of air circulation. Wear loose and lightweight clothing, or clothing that is good for sensitive skin (cotton generally) to let the specific area breathe and air out. When air is trapped and skin touches too closely, perspiration/sweat is formed and is locked in. Give your pits some air and wear products and clothing that are best for that sensitive area!
2. Excess Stimulation
Examples: hair removal creams, waxing, shaving, bleaching; to name a few! Some people are sensitive to this level of stimulation and their skin responds with hyperpigmentation – a completely opposite result than expected! Less is more sometimes!
3. Allergy to Products
It is important to test products before you commit to them in order to avoid any irritation or allergy. Believe it or not, but there are TONS of unnecessary and potentially harmful ingredients in the most common skin products! The only way to know what works for you is to test it out.
For underarm health, go organic! Remember, there are sweat glands, lymph nodes, AND breast tissue that ALL NEED to be healthy. However, organic and natural deodorants are not always less reactive. If you have tried multiple organic and natural deodorants, and have had a specific reaction to them all – check for a common denominator; which ingredient(s) is found in all of them? This may solve your problem. If you’re adamant about antiperspirants and deodorants, then please use with caution. Aluminum compounds in most deodorants are potentially cancer causing and because it’s a metal, it can cause irritation and frankly, sweat is sweat – it happens. If you have excessive perspiration, we offer Botox® to relieve the sweat glands from overproducing sweat (which yes, also causes discoloration). This has proven to be a very effective and easy way to cure this condition if you are able and ready to try it!
4. Dermatitis, Eczema, or other Skin Rashes/Conditions
These particular skin conditions are SO common, and there are certain key causes and treatments. Generally it’s:
- An immunity issue
- An allergy
Some people will wake up with a sudden dry patch or relentless itchiness. These patches of itchy and dry skin can bleed, be a bit sore or sting, and can also cause pigmentation issues. If you are experiencing any of the above rashes/skin conditions, please:
- Use a hydrocortisone cream (creams are generally more soothing)
- Do not use anything acidic like vitamin C or lemon
- Do not use Hydroquinone YET until the rash is not open
- Do not scratch the area! This makes it worse and causes scarring!
- Do not overstimulate the area; just let it BREATHE, wear non-itchy fabric, and gentle cleansers, deodorants, etc.
- Do not wear scents/perfumes in the area! If your product says “parfum or fragrance” just completely avoid it! Unless you know the source and its scent ingredients, avoid it at all costs!
- Eat a balanced diet and whole foods.
- Get an allergy test! This is really helpful for overall health.
What are Treatments That Work FAST for Underarm Lightening?
A Vitamin C serum is a multipurpose and very effective treatment because it targets pigmentation directly and provides other long lasting benefits such as keeping the area smooth, soft, stronger and of course, even-toned. We suggest using RenewMD SKIN’s Botanical Restore Serum which is packed with Vitamin C and other essential ingredients specifically combined and designed to. A combo of algae and undarine marine extracts protect the skin, and powers the Vitamin C even more to brighten in addition to detoxifying the skin, decrease breakouts, and strengthen the barrier of the skin.
Lilac Stem Cells is another active ingredient in the Botanical Restore Serum because it treats inflammation and keeps it at bay, in addition to promoting skin brightening.
We love this serum for the face and neck, but it is totally great to use for other body parts*!
*For topical and external use only
Targeted Skin Lightening
For targeted areas such as dark underarms and dark spots on the face, Hydroquinone is SUPER effective, however, for topical and external use ONLY! Hydroquinone is a medically prescribed treatment only with a suggested usage of 2-3 times a week, and on the off days, alternating with a vitamin C serum to keep a healthy balance. Hydroquinone can be a bit drying and can leave a bit of white residue on the skin, so please be mindful of this.
Laser Hair removal
one of the main reasons our underarms darken is because the products we’re using is latching onto our skin, and with underarm hair growth, we are unable to exfoliate and clean the area well, therefore, it’s harder to remove dead skin from the surface (which a lot of times IS the reason for dark underarms). This is purely your choice, but if you have consistent issues with dark underarms, try shaving and/or laser hair removal to keep the area smooth, clean, and easy to exfoliate.
Not kidding – it really does help with perspiration, which in excess, can cause dark underarms and even discolored clothing. If excessive perspiration, also known as hyperhidrosis, is a concern for you and the odor resulting from it – Botox® can really help. Botox® for excessive sweating is generally a treatment people seek after they have found no other effective alternatives, such as the treatments and options listed above.
Why limit beautiful and smooth skin to just your face?! Microdermabrasions are great for treating areas with discoloration, bumps, ingrown hair, enlarged or clogged pores/blackheads and sucking up dead skin and collected dirt! Just take a moment to think about it – we generally forget to scrub or exfoliate our underarms, and we reapply on deodorant on a daily basis that produces excessive residue and debris build-up – all of these things a LOOFAH can’t treat and fix!
We love suggesting treatments that can have MULTIPLE purposes, all equally effective and long lasting!
All the treatments above, aside from hydroquinone, treat underarm odor as well as skin darkening. We often forget that hair can be a direct culprit of odor and discoloration. If we can’t see, then we don’t know what’s beneath it!
We have found that people with darker skin tones generally have recurring and consistent issues with skin darkening and overall pigmentation issues. A LOT of our patients just give up and don’t think about the safe treatment options available! We hope this helps you, and remember, even your underarms are important and deserve some love!
Clearly, treating acne is a multi-modal approach, but it is important to start as early as possible in order to minimize excessive scarring and skin unevenness.