The underarm can be defined as the hollow portion between the joint of the arm and the body. Darkened skin within this region is not necessarily caused by a medical condition or illness but it can occur and, for most, is an embarrassing and confidence destroying complaint.
Causes for the darkening of this skin are varied but can include:
- Regular shaving
- The use of hair removal creams
- Excessive sweating
- Alcohol based deodorant
- An accumulation of dead skin cells
There are some medical conditions which can cause the darkening of the underarm and these can be cancer, insulin resistance, hormonal disorders and obesity. Certain medications can also cause or worsen the tone of the underarm skin, and therefore this should be discussed with your doctor if you think you are suffering this sort of side effect.
The medical term used for darkening of the armpit is acanthosis and the good news is that if you are one of the afflicted, then there are a number of home remedies you can use to help.
Home treatments are a great option as they are effective, affordable, natural and also safe.
Potato contains natural bleaching properties which are very potent and effective but without damaging or causing irritation to the skin. Grate a potato or use a large slice, and apply to the underarm skin, rinsing clean after 15 minutes.
Whilst also being antibacterial and an antiseptic, lemon also is a natural bleaching agent and it can be used for a variety of tonal issues involving the skin, however it can result in some dryness. You can either apply the juice of a fresh lemon or use a slice to rub on the skin, and then leave for 10-15 minutes, at which point the skin should have dried. Rinse clean and then moisturize to prevent dehydration.
For a better exfoliator try sprinkling a wedge of lemon with sugar before scrubbing under the arms on the dark patches. This act should be repeated a few times a week.
Cucumber also acts as a natural bleaching agent for the skin and aids with lightening the pigment. Extract the juice from a cucumber by squeezing or grating before applying to the skin of the underarm and leave until dried. This should be repeated once or twice daily for the best results.
Another option is to mix the cucumber juice with an equal amount of lemon juice and turmeric. Apply this to the affected areas and leave for 30 minutes before washing. This should be repeated once a day until a noticeable improvement occurs.
Orange peel is a great natural method to lighten the skin of the underarm. Peel and orange and leave the peel dry naturally in a warm sunny spot for a few days. Crush the dried peel and blend with a few drops of rosewater and 1 tablespoon of milk. Use this scrub to exfoliate the underarm gently and then leave to absorb into the skin for around 15 minutes before rinsing.
The high quantity of vitamin E in coconut oil helps to lighten the skin tone. By simply applying the oil to the problem area and massaging in, before washing clean after 30 minutes, you will gradually see a difference in skin tone.
Another potent and natural exfoliator, baking soda is a skin care staple for many. Make a paste from baking soda and water before applying to the underarm and leaving for 15 minutes before washing.
Treatment For Medical Conditions
There are some medical conditions which need a more potent treatment than using natural or herbal remedies. High insulin levels, obesity, diabetes and hyperpigmentation are a few of the well-known illnesses that can have an impact on underarm skin color. In addition, a buildup of deodorant or excessive sweating can also result in dark patches under the arm.
These more severe conditions can be treated using chemical creams or ointments which are devised specifically for combating this ailment. The creams contain chemical bleaching agents used to lighten skin tone as well as other active ingredients such as retinoid, hydroquinone and mercury.
These creams generally work on the premise of stunting melanin production and should not be used for more than 6 months continuously.
Other Options For Lightening Underarm Skin
Waxing / electrolysis
The use of shaving or depilatory creams is one of the more common causes of dark underarm skin. You could opt for waxing which removes the hair from the root and therefore ensures that you need to shave less frequently, or a more permanent measure would be to try electrolysis.
Sandalwood With Rose Water
By using a paste made from sandalwood and rose water on the underarm skin you will see a natural and aromatic alteration in the tone of the skin. The lightening properties in both rose water and sandalwood are very potent but also don’t need to be rinsed away either!
The accumulation of dead skin cells can darken the underarm skin so the most efficient way to cure or prevent this is to exfoliate. Ensure that you are very gentle and use a sensitive scrub as the underarm skin is quite delicate.
Over use of deodorant, especially alcohol-based ones, can create dark patches. If you are prone to the darkening of underarm skin, try a more natural deodorant remedy such as alum or anti-fungal powders.