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What Causes Dark Underarms and Treatments for it

What are dark underarms?

Dark underarms are particularly not harmful, however they do ruin our self confidence. The proper term for the discoloration is called hyperpigmentation. Hyperpigmentation is a common condition in which patches of skin become darker in color than the normal surrounding skin. This darkening occurs when an excess of melanin, the brown pigment that produces normal skin colour, forms deposits in the skin.

What causes dark underarms?

  • Shaving may seem like the quickest technique to get rid of underarm hair. Having said that, razor blades can be abrasive as they remove the top protective layer of the skin, causing irritation.
  • Tight clothing. Wearing very tight clothes generate friction against the skin and frequent rubbing can result in hyperpigmentation.
  • Deodorants or antiperspirants. Deodorants contain paraben, alcohol and fragrances that can irritate the skin and cause inflammation leading to thickening and darkening of the skin over time. Many antiperspirants also use aluminum as an active ingredient, which clogs up the sweat ducts causing pigmentation in your underarms.
  • Dead skin accumulation. Dead skin cells get accumulated in every part of your body and underarms are no different. When you don’t clean the area well or fail to scrub it every few days it can lead to darkening.
  • Hormonal changes. Fluctuations of female hormones such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), pregnancies, even hormonal pills may cause our skin to produce more pigmentations over the folds on our body such as underarms, groins, or under our breasts.

Very often dark underams are long term issues that are probably untreatable with home remedies or over-the-counter lightening creams. You need professional help, which is where we step in.

What are the treatments to combat this problem?

While the problem may seem irreversible, there are actually multiple proven treatments to brighten the underarms such as :

  • Laser treatments done by professionals
  • Chemical peels
  • Skincare (topical creams)
  • Combination treatment of lasers and peels

Laser treatment

We offer a laser treatment known as Q-switched laser. It specifically targets the brown pigment or melanin present in the underarms without affecting the surrounding skin. The pigment absorbs the laser energy and gets fragmented within the skin’s tissues, thereby giving you a more even skin tone. The laser reaches deeper areas of your skin where topical products or peels are not able to reach. The power settings of the laser can be set at different levels and frequencies to accommodate specific conditions and expectations. In other words, this treatment, unlike regular laser services, will be tailored according to your skin and its depth of hyperpigmentation to provide optimum results.

This is a quick, 15 minute service with absolutely no downtime. You can return to your normal routine immediately after the procedure. You may experience slight redness on your underarms for some time but that is completely normal.

This laser treatment usually takes about 6-8 sessions for the service to work effectively. You will be asked to visit the clinic every 3 – 4 weeks for a session. However, the degree of improvement will depend on factors such as depth, severity and skin type.

Chemical peeling

Chemical peels are stronger compared to topical creams. They work by removing the top most layer of your skin to reveal the healthy skin underneath. There are three types of chemical peels :

  • Superficial peels only penetrate the outer layers of the skin
  • Medium peels reach the middle layers
  • Deep peel deeply penetrates the middles layers

 

The level of chemical peel depends on the depth of the hyperpigmentation and skin tolerance.  Peeling usually lasts 3-5 days, depending on the actual peel treatment. Normal activity may resume after the peel, however strenuous exercise and heavy sweating should be avoided for 2-3 days. You will see significant changes in skin texture and tone after getting the first session but please note that you have to get all the recommended number of sessions to achieve a fuller outcome.

Skincare

Topical creams with exfoliating ingredients such as hydroquinone, arbutin, kojic acid, salicylic acid or glycolic acid can be used to lighten the underarms. Since the underarms are very delicate, start by using these creams once or twice a week and work your way up to avoid irritation.

If you have been affected by dark underarms for months or years and not sure what can be done to help yourself, it is time to book an appointment to see which treatment would work best for you.