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Under Cover

Dark underarms get the boot.
Under Cover Dark underarms get the boot.

Q: Is it true that frequent shaving and tweezing causes the underarm area to become dark and stubby? I need something that will get rid of the grayness—not to mention the embarrassment.

A: Lots of factors contribute to the darkening of underarms. Hormones, genes, and, as mentioned, hair removal can all cause armpits to darken and form a “shadow.” Shaving and tweezing, in particular, can cause irritation and water loss, especially when done frequently (as required by most summery outfits, unfortunately), and can lead to Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH).

The more one shaves or plucks out her underarm hair—and we've all been there—the higher the risk of damaging the skin's cell layer and breaking the tissue surrounding it. And like any Catch-22, it just so happens that these are the easiest and cheapest methods of hair removal, deepening the conundrum for women everywhere.

For serious hair removal, nothing beats the efficiency and effectiveness of waxing. To minimize discomfort, take a pain reliever an hour before and book an appointment at least a week before you get your period, when skin is less sensitive. Those who don't have commitment problems and have a deeper budget can opt for a more permanent solution like laser hair removal, which zaps follicles and prevents future hair growth.

Click on for expert advice on shaving, tweezing and a deodorant that helps lighten those trouble spots.

Let the arm-raising commence.


—Eunice Lucero, Beauty Editor