Like other parts of the body, the skin of the underarms can darken or become discolored. Underarm skin that’s darker than the rest of the skin can keep some people from dressing in sleeveless shirts, wearing bathing suits in public, or participating in sports.
There are many reasons why your underarms may darken, including:
- chemical irritants in deodorants and antiperspirants
- irritation and abrasion caused by shaving
- the accumulation of dead skin cells due to infrequent exfoliation
- friction caused by tight clothes
- hyperpigmentation, such as an increase in melanin
- melasma, or dark patches on the skin
- acanthosis nigricans, a skin pigmentation disorder that’s associated with diabetes, obesity, and abnormal hormone levels
- other skin disorders that can cause darkening, like Fox-Fordyce disease
- erythrasma, a bacterial skin infection
- Addison’s disease, which can occur when you have a damaged adrenal gland
- smoking, which increases hyperpigmentation
A topical application of lightening creams containing ingredients such as arbutin, kojic acid, niacinamide, vitamin C, hydroquinone, azelaic acid, retinoids, or glycolic acid can reduce discolouration of the underarms, Because the skin under your arms is sensitive, you don’t want to use harsh ingredients.
Even peels enriched with retinol, lactic acid, glycolic acid, and ingredients similar to these can exfoliate, rejuvenate, and repair the skin, slough off the build-up of dead cells on the surface to reveal brighter, healthier skin, and promote the appearance of soft, smooth skin.
Microneedling is a process that involves the insertion of tiny needles to puncture the skin in an attempt to treat various conditions like wrinkles, scarring, acne, and loose skin. It’s known to counter hyperpigmentation as well – and it does this by stimulating collagen production and promoting an even skin tone. And it’s the perfect middle ground between topical treatments and laser therapy.
“Laser hair removal with triple wavelength diode technology can not only get rid of underarm hair permanently, but it can also reduce pigmentation associated with shaving and waxing. This treatment may also reduce underarm pore size and sweating, allowing you to use milder deodorants. As the hair thins out, it also reduces the shadow cast by the under-skin part of the hair shaft.”