4 Reasons Why Your Underarms Look Dark
Do your underarms look darker than usual? The good news is it’s likely nothing serious. The bad news is the discoloration in your armpits can be embarrassing and quite frustrating to deal with, especially if it’s caused you to abandon sleeveless tops and dresses, and lifting your arms in the air. Since no plan of dealing with this issue can be effective without knowing the root cause, we tapped an expert for information on the subject. Read on to discover the most common causes of dark underarms.
When you think about common skin concerns, acne, dullness, and signs of aging rank high on the list. But so too does discoloration. Beyond dark spots and discolored marks on your face, discoloration could appear in less obvious places like under your armpits. If you’re dealing with dark underarms, especially if they appeared seemingly overnight, chances are you’re curious what may have caused them to get that way in the first place. We asked board-certified dermatologist, and Skincare.com consultant, Dr. Joshua Zeichner to share common causes of dark underarms.
If you have dark underarm hair, it’s rightful to assume that shaving thick, coarse hair could help make your underarms appear less dark. But if you’re shaving too frequently or improperly, it could be causing the skin under your armpits to look darker. “You may have more pigment under the arms than in other areas because of chronic, low-grade inflammation caused by rubbing or shaving,” says Dr. Zeichner. What’s more, since shaving doesn’t remove the entire hair follicle, it could leave behind what appears to be a darker cast on the skin due to the hair sitting right below the surface.
What can you do? If you shave often, consider another means for hair removal. However, if you absolutely must shave, be sure to add water to your armpits before gliding your blade across your skin. Utilizing shaving cream may also help reduce abrasions.
2. Excessive Rubbing or Friction
Shaving can cause excessive friction to your underarms, but so too can your clothing and lifestyle habits. This friction and irritation can cause your skin to become discolored over time.
The skin under the arms is extremely sensitive,” Dr. Zeichner says. While it’s difficult to avoid the friction that results from day-to-day tasks, you can help to minimize it. Avoid clothing that feels rough or uncomfortable. Where possible, opt for looser-fitting clothing that won’t stick to your armpits.
3. Dead Skin Cell Buildup
You exfoliate your face and body skin often, but are you extending that attention to the skin under your arms as well? If the answer is no, it could be leading to the discoloration you’re seeing.
To help kick dead cells to the curb, be sure to exfoliate the skin under your arms regularly. “Moisturizers that contain ingredients like lactic acid can both hydrate and help exfoliate the surface skin cells that give a dark appearance,” Dr. Zeichner advises. If you prefer mechanical exfoliation, reach for a gentle body scrub and apply it to your underarms in gentle circular motions.
4. Certain Deodorants/Antiperspirants
The underarms are prone to sweat, which can leave behind a bad odor. As a result, we rely on deodorants and antiperspirants for help. And while these products can do a great job of keeping sweat odors in check, some could be formulated with ingredients that could be irritating to your skin. If any of the ingredients in your deodorant or antiperspirant are responsible for such irritation, discoloration could often result as well. Talk to your dermatologist about the current product you’re using and follow their recommendation on which ingredients to avoid.
If discoloration is a growing concern of yours, chances are you have quite a few questions you’d like answered. Lucky for you, we tapped into multiple experts to answer some of the most common questions about discoloration, here.