Have you ever felt self-conscious about the color of your underarms? You are not alone. As Filipinos, our skin color leans towards the darker side and we create more melanin on certain parts of our body. Hence, as reflected in the number of whitening variants in the market, uneven toned underarms is a rather prevalent skin trait.
Each underarm is different, though. Aside from biology, it also doesn't help that some of our grooming practices are actually quite damaging. Thus, in order for us to address dark underarms effectively, we have to figure out what caused it in the first place. Luckily, we have board-certified dermatologist, Lovelyn Daet, MD FPDS list down five common causes for dark underarms. Read on!
5 Reasons Why Your Underarms Are Dark, According to a Dermatologist
One common factor why many Filipinos have dark underarms is because we naturally have darker skin. “There is plenty of melanin on the skin, and this is a common factor to having a darker underarm,” said Dr. Lovelyn. She added that when going to the beach, your underarms can get darker too, so applying a gentle sunscreen will be essential.
Kids Sunscreen Lotion SPF 60, P390, SUNPLAY, Lazada
2. Friction and Pressure
Another reason why your underarm may be dark is due to repeated friction and pressure. Waxing, shaving, plucking, and wearing tight clothing all irritate your skin and contribute to the darkening of your underarms. For hair removal, a laser hair treatment will be your best option.
3. Skin Infections
Since we live in a humid country, bacterial and fungal infections are a common underarm problem because of sweat. She explained that, “This can lead to hyperpigmentation or PIH. It's a skin condition where after the skin becomes red due to inflammation, when it's healed, the skin produces more melanin and may result in a dark underarm.” Since this part of our skin is thin and sensitive, a gentle cleanser is what the derma recommended. You may also opt for an anti-bacterial soap to avoid body odor.
Gentle Cleansing Antibacterial Bar, P640, CETAPHIL, Watsons
Finding the right underarm product can be tricky, but one tip is to stay away from harsh deodorants that contain fragrance and alcohol. These can be culprits for hyperpigmentation. Dr. Lovelyn suggested that you look for a mild deodorant that is hypo-allergenic, fragrance-free, and with no whitening ingredient.
Instead of sticks and roll-ons, a deodorant spray will be your best option. “Repeated application of roll-on deodorants causes friction and pressure to the skin,” she explained. The derma also emphasized to never apply DIY remedies to your underarms because they can have potent concentration of steroids and mercury.
Unscented Mineral Spray Deodorant, P365, CRYSTAL, Healthy Options
5. Underlying Medical Conditions
According to Dr. Lovelyn, “Medical conditions like obesity, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, and hormonal imbalance contribute to having a dark underarm.” It can get difficult to whiten your underarms with these concerns so it's best to consult your dermatologist to check.
Visiting a skin specialist should always be the first step. They will tell you the most effective way to have your underarms lightened based on your diagnosis. Treatments such as skin peeling and whitening lasers were suggested for a speedy underarm makeover. But, Dr. Lovelyn was also quick to remind us that these treatments require regular maintenance for you to see long-term effects.
Thus, when scouting for everyday underarm lightening products, the derma suggested looking for ingredients with licorice, arbutin, ascorbic acid, and glycolic acid. Don't forget to do a patch test first! She recommended twice a day for a week to see if the product is truly compatible with our skin.