Guess what made it to the list of “Top 100 things that make us embarrassed?” You guessed it right!
Although this isn’t a concern for some people, it can ruin the confidence of some others, especially when they have to wear tank tops and swimsuits.
Naturally, the color of your underarms should be the same as that of the rest of your skin. However, there are situations when the color of the skin around the armpits changes and darkens.
Underarm hyperpigmentation is usually a sign of Acanthosis Nigricans (AN)
. This skin disorder causes the skin to thicken and darken in folds around the body. Black women are more likely than white women to have this skin problem
There are many causes of underarm hyperpigmentation, all of which are outlined below. Most importantly, we also shared five great ways you can treat underarm hyperpigmentation.
Now, sit back prettily and learn your way to even-toned underarms.
Causes of Underarm Hyperpigmentation
Generally, hyperpigmentation occurs when pigments in your skin (melanin specifically) multiply faster than usual, causing the area to darken. This overproduction of melanin in the underarms can be caused by excessive hair removal and regular shaving.
Remember the culprit often responsible for underarm hyperpigmentation, acanthosis nigricans? Turns out that this condition is influenced by several other factors. These include:
Ever heard of insulin? The hormone that helps regulate your blood sugar. Having a high level of this hormone in your body can lead to overproduction of the skin pigment that causes underarm darkening.
An obese person is usually resistant to the effect of insulin. You can guess the effect of that. Research
shows that over half of adults who weigh more than 200% of their ideal weight have AN.
AN often runs in families. If a parent, sibling, or other close relative has the skin condition, your likelihood of developing it is increased.
Certain medications (like high-dose niacin, insulin, corticosteroids, birth control pills, and human growth hormone) can cause a rise in your body’s insulin level leading to AN.
Insulin resistance is a situation where the body's sensitivity to the effects of insulin decreases. Insulin resistance can progress to type 2 diabetes, and people with type 2 diabetes are more likely to develop AN.
In rare situations, AN might develop as a result of a malignant tumor growing in any internal organ. This type of AN is known as malignant acanthosis nigricans.
Five Ways You Can Treat Your Underarm Hyperpigmentation
Now that we have gotten quite acquainted with the issue, it’s time to tackle it with your preferred treatment option. Choose from one of the following.
Treat Underlying Medical Issues
Treatment for underarm hyperpigmentation usually entails addressing the underlying cause of AN. Depending on the cause, you can get medications to manage diabetes, lose some weight if you’re overweight, avoid medication that causes AN if possible, manage hormonal disorders with medications, or undergo surgery to treat malignant tumors.
Underarm hyperpigmentation is also frequently caused by the accumulation of dead skin cells, sweat, and debris in the skin layers. However, regular exfoliation can help lighten the skin's look and enhance the appearance of your underarm.
Perfec-Tone's Exfoliating Cleanser
is a great product to use for underarm exfoliation. It is a multi-function product—cleanses and exfoliates—containing natural ingredients as well as some chemicals like lactic and salicylic acid to help get rid of the dirt and debris in your underarm that can contribute to hyperpigmentation.
Your dermatologist can recommend some topical prescription medications to help you treat underarm hyperpigmentation. These may include retinoid cream or hydroquinone cream to lighten the area, antibacterial soap to help with irritation and minimize discomfort, and calcipotriene (a vitamin-D-based cream) to reduce pigmentation.
We highly recommend Perfec-Tone's Refining Crème
. It contains retinoic acid that can help treat hyperpigmentation and it is gentle enough for the skin of your underarm.
Try Microneedling and Professional Laser Treatments
Microneedling and laser therapy are procedures that can help treat hyperpigmentation. Laser therapy reduces the thickness usually associated with skin darkening, making the affected area look lighter. Laser therapy is also an alternative to shaving, to reduce the irritation caused by not shaving properly which can eventually lead to underarm darkening.
Consult your dermatologist for advice to know if any of these procedures will be a great idea for your skin.
Avoid Habits or Products That Worsen the Condition
Some habits or products you use may be the cause of your underarm hyperpigmentation. If these are not addressed, you may worsen the condition or have it recurring.
For example, not shaving properly can irritate the skin and cause increased production of melanin in the underarm causing it to look darker. Before shaving, ensure you dampen the area preferably by using shaving cream. Also, avoid using dull blades.
Some kinds of products must go too. Some deodorants and antiperspirants are also among the leading causes of hyperpigmentation. Usually, they contain ingredients that irritate the skin and cause pigmentation.
If you notice unpleasant changes in your underarms when you start using any deodorant, consider switching to another one (preferably one that’s hypoallergenic).
If you suspect you have an underlying medical condition responsible for your underarm hyperpigmentation, do well to see a medical practitioner to have it treated. Otherwise, underarm hyperpigmentation is nothing to be ashamed of.
It is understandable though that you want flawless skin, and that’s awesome. With the information provided in this article, you’ll be closer to achieving your goal in no time. To help you with your skin goals in general, check out our products
which you can safely include in your skincare routine.
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