More often than not, our underarms are neglected as we perceive them to be quite well-behaved, apart from its sporadic sweating. And so, the only care assigned to them is the daily squirt of deodorant and the occasional quick shave in the shower.

However, dark underarms are not as rare as you think. It is an especially common issue faced by women who have darker skin tones. Having dark underarms can prove to be a source of embarrassment for women and may prevent them from wearing strappy tops or participating in sports where the raising of the arms is necessary.

In addition, dark underarms are more visible on fair-skinned people and similar to skin discolouration and blemishes on other parts of the body, they can lead to a lack of confidence and self-esteem.


What Causes Your Underarms to Darken?

Like most beauty problems such as acne and skin pigmentation, darkening of the underarms can be attributed to a genetic cause or hormonal disorders. However, the main causes of dark underarms typically involve poor armpit hygiene, accumulation of dead skin and obesity. Your body tends to be more resistant to the effects of insulin when you are overweight. High levels of insulin in the bloodstream can lead to increased production of skin pigment cells.

In addition, regular shaving, waxing, use of deodorants and harsh products such as antiperspirants can irritate the skin, and in turn, stimulate the melanin that causes hyperpigmentation (darkened skin).

It is important to note that having dark underarms and hyperpigmentation around your neck could be a symptom of Type 2 diabetes, and it could be well worth getting it checked out by means of a blood sugar test.


Remedies for Dark Underarms

For those of you who went frantic upon realising your underarms are slowly turning darker, fret not! We happen to have a couple of tricks up our sleeves for a whiter underarm.

1. Exfoliate

For one, a foolproof way to get rid of accumulated dead skin wherever they are is to simply exfoliate. Use a gentle body scrub and exfoliate your underarms with a sponge at least twice a week when you are in the shower for a more radiant and lighter underarm.

2. Moisturise Your Underarms

Frequently shaving or plucking underarm hair may cause your armpits to darken. One way to minimise the irritation is to use soap or shaving foam that caters for sensitive skin before you shave. Thereafter, apply a natural and unscented lotion to the shaving area to further reduce irritation and prevent colour changes in your underarms.

3. Whitening Deodorant

You can now purchase deodorants that are designed to reduce skin darkening under your arms. They are available at most beauty stores and are effective at keeping your underarms as pale as snow. It has also been suggested that a common ingredient in many deodorants is aluminium chloralhydrate — a compound that reacts with your sweat to stain both your clothes and skin. So if you decide not to make the switch to a whitening deodorant, opt for one that does not contain aluminium chloralhydrate. The current beauty market is saturated with natural and organic deodorants that do not contain any chemicals detrimental to your skin.

4. Lemons

When life gives you lemons, use it! There is a reason why lemons are the base of most cleaning products. Apart from its antibacterial properties, lemons act as a natural cleansing and bleaching agent that helps lighten the skin. Simply rub a slice of lemon under your arms 15 to 20 minutes prior to your shower and rinse it afterwards.

5. Cucumbers

Known for its cooling properties, cucumber is another agent for treating dark armpits, thanks to its natural bleaching agents. Rub a slice of cucumber over the dark areas of your underarm and leave it on for about an hour before washing it off. Repeat the steps until you see visible results.

6. Potatoes

Similar to lemons, potatoes contain natural bleaching agents and is regarded as one of the best kitchen staples to deal with dark underarms naturally. Simply rub a potato slice over the dark underarm areas and leave it on for about 20 minutes before rinsing it off with cold water.

7. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar has mild acidic properties that can help lighten dark armpits. It also helps exfoliate dead skin cells when used in combination with baking soda. Mix apple cider vinegar and baking soda in a bowl. Let it bubble. When the fizzing stops, apply the mixture on the underarm area with a cotton pad or a clean cloth. Leave it on for 15 minutes before rinsing it off with warm water.


The Takeaway

With all these remedies and natural ingredients for you to choose from, there is no need to suffer the embarrassment of dark underarms any longer. Now you can slip into that skimpy evening dress with confidence, play tennis in a vest and wave your arms in the air with abandon!