Some of the home remedies for dark underarms include the application of lemon, yogurt, sandalwood paste, turmeric, coconut oil, rice flour, and vinegar. Other home remedies include the use of skin scrub, waxing, exfoliation, and talcum powder, while avoiding the use of alcohol-based deodorants and antiperspirants.
Dark underarms are often found in people with type II diabetes because of the insulin reacting with the skin to produce more melanin, thus darkening the skin. Underarm darkening is a problem that many people face today. Most people are embarrassed by talking about their underarms. Underarms, as we know, are also one of the prominent places from where body odor emanates. Dark underarms can be defined as the dark coloration of skin in the underarm region compared to the rest of the body.
In general, underarm darkening is not a disease or a medical condition. It is simply a darkening of the skin, similar to sun tans that people get when exposed to ultraviolet rays for a considerable period of time. However, in certain cases, dark underarms can point to conditions such as Addison’s disease, hormonal changes during pregnancy, diabetes, high insulin content in the body, hyper-pigmentation, and allergies or irritations caused by deodorants or antiperspirants. Heavy underarm rubbing can also cause hyperkeratosis. Hyperkeratosis is the scientific name for the condition where the skin around the underarm becomes hard to counter irritation, inflammation due to rubbing, or because of pressure application.
Causes of Dark Underarms
Darkened underarms can also occur because of other conditions such as:
Shaving: Shaving your underarms is considered to be one of the major reasons for underarm darkening. Shaving leads to skin hardening and darkening over time because of the irritation and abrasion that naturally occurs.
Hair-Removing Creams: Hair removing creams tend to remove unwanted hair in a smooth fashion, but these hair removers contain chemicals which can irritate the skin and cause darkening of the underarms.
Perspiration: Excessive sweating and poor ventilation of underarms, is also one of the major reasons for underarm darkening. Underarms are the least ventilated areas in the upper body. Wearing tight clothes can prevent the skin from breathing, which eventually makes the underarms dark.
Accumulation of Dead Cells: Dead cells form or accumulate all over our body and it is not a surprise that they form around our underarms as well. As the cells inside our body and our skin cells die, they accumulate on the outer layers of skin, giving it a darker color.
Use of Alcohol-Based Deodorants and Antiperspirants: Not all antiperspirants and deodorants available in the market are suitable for everyone. Some people can develop inflammatory reactions on the exposed areas of their skins causing discoloration due to natural reactions to the alcohol and chemicals in the deodorant.
Acanthosis Nigricans: People suffering from obesity or diabetes may experience a condition called acanthosis nigricans. This condition can occur when there is excess insulin flowing in the blood stream. Excess insulin can cause the skin cells to become overstimulated which leads to abnormal skin growth, and subsequent darkening.
Smoker’s Melanosis: Smoker’s melanosis is a condition which results from tobacco smoking. In this condition, hyper-pigmentation is caused by smoking. Dark patches appear as long as smoking continues. When you stop smoking, these dark patches disappear.
Melasma: Melasma is often observed in pregnant women. When suffering from this condition, skin discoloration occurs at sun-exposed areas, including underarms. Melasma is also found in women who use oral contraceptives and those undergoing any hormone replacement therapies.
Addison’s Disease: Addison’s disease is a medical condition in which the adrenal glands do not produce the required amount of hormones such as glucocorticoids and mineralocorticoids. Addison’s disease causes hyper-pigmentation which results in darkening of skin that hasn’t been exposed to the sun.
Home Remedies for Dark Underarms
Home remedies for dark underarms include the following:
Lemon: Lemon is used as a cure for a number of skin-related medical conditions, including dark underarms. Rubbing a piece of lemon on the underarms after a shower can have good results for this condition.
Yogurt: Yogurt is a good remedy for underarm darkening. The vitamins and fatty acids found in yogurt are good for the skin, as they minimize the dark patterns and the skin damage. Apply 2 tablespoons of yoghurt on each armpit and wait for 15 to 20 minutes before cleaning it off (Deshpandey, 2008).
Skin Scrub: A natural skin scrub can be made at home that can be applied on the underarms. This is a good and safe remedy to remove dead skin which has accumulated in the underarm area to cause darkening of the skin. Baking soda and chickpea flour mixed with small quantities of water can be used as a scrub. Chickpea flour mixed either with yogurt or milk is also a good scrub.
Sandalwood Paste: Sandalwood paste is another good remedy for dark underarms. Application of sandalwood paste on the darkened underarms can ease any burning sensations that are associated with the area and gradually reduce the darkening . The fragrance of sandalwood also eliminates bad odors.
Turmeric & Lemon Juice Preparation: Add 5 ml of lemon juice and a small quantity of turmeric. This mixture can be applied to underarms and must be kept on for about 15 to 20 minutes before being washed off. It offers a good remedy for underarm darkening.
Rice Flour & Vinegar: Mix a few tablespoons of rice flour with strong vinegar. Apply this paste on the dark underarms after a hot shower. Let the paste stay on for 15 minutes and then rinse it off with warm water. Acidic vinegar will destroy the bacteria which feed on the dead skin cells and will remove the darkened area over time.
Honey and Lemon: Make a mixture of lemon juice and honey in small quantities, no more than a tablespoon each. Apply this mixture on the underarms and let it remain for about 20 minutes and then rinse it off with warm water. This procedure can be done before taking shower.
Cucumber and Turmeric: Extract juice from a cucumber and mix it with turmeric. Apply this mixture on the affected area. This treatment also effectively treats dark underarms.
Potatoes: Potatoes are considered a natural bleaching agent and hence can offer help against underarm darkening. Apply potato juice on the underarms for gradual and progressive results. Leave the juice on for about 20 minutes to more than a half an hour for effects to occur. This process can be repeated every day for better results.
Talcum Powder: Deodorants and antiperspirants contain alcohol that can irritate the skin. This irritation can be eliminated by the use of talcum powder. Talcum powder absorbs much of the moisture and helps in keeping the underarm skin dry, thereby preventing the growth of bacteria and keeping the skin from darkening.
Exfoliation: Exfoliation of the skin needs to be done regularly to avoid dark underarms. As skin cells accumulate on the outer layers of the skin, they make the underarms look darker. Underarms are dark and moist places, which are ideal for bacteria to thrive and cause body odor. Regular showers and exfoliation help to get rid of bacteria, odor, and dark underarms.
Coconut oil: Coconut oil is a good home remedy for underarm darkening. Application of coconut oil will reduce darkening of the underarm area over time.
Waxing: Waxing can be good for underarm darkening because waxing removes the hair from its roots rather than shaving the hair. Removal of hair from the roots is preferable, as it allows new and thinner hair to grow, thereby helping to maintain light-colored skin.
These are some of the simple home remedies for dark underarms that can help in effectively removing the dark coloring without any side-effects.
There are certain things to avoid in case of underarm darkening. Some of these things include the following:
Diabetes: If you are suffering from Type II diabetes, then you should also look for Acanthosis nigricans. With this condition, an excess of insulin can trigger the skin cells to produce melanin, which can darken the skin on the underarms, as well as the neck.
Alcohol-Based Deodorants: Alcohol-based deodorants and antiperspirants can affect the skin by causing irritation. Avoid these alcohol-based deodorants and opt for alcohol-free deodorants for better results.
Avoid Shaving of the Armpits: Shaving of the armpits has also been associated with underarm darkening. Shaving causes skin irritation, which results in underarm darkening. Instead of shaving, one can opt for waxing, which is much more effective.
Wear Cotton Clothes: Cotton clothes are very good at absorbing sweat. Try to wear cotton clothes most of the time to avoid sweat accumulation, bacteria growth, and subsequent dark underarms that result from those two things.
Loosely-Fitting Clothes: If cotton clothes are not an option, try to wear those types of clothes that fit loosely around the arms. Wearing loose clothes will provide proper air circulation around the underarms and help in avoiding skin irritation.