I wouldn’t go as far as to call hyperpigmentation as the bane of our time, but I don’t think that I go too far when I say that it is a nuisance. Obviously, some areas are more delicate than others and that’s why the negative effects of hyperpigmentation are more visible in these parts.
I love wearing sleeveless shirts and bikinis during summertime but I’m always worried that the darkened skin in these areas will ruin the otherwise visually appealing effect.
Annoying as it is, I wouldn’t give in to despair because there are ways of lightning armpits and the bikini area easily and without any side effects whatsoever.
What are the Causes
Before coming up with a solution, it is essential to understand the causes of problems and there are couple of reasons for why skin tends to darken in these sensitive areas.
Shaving – Shaving results in unsightly stubble, which gives the illusion that you have darker underarms.
The fact that shaving results in ingrown hair also further contributes to the problem. Instead, try waxing as it removes the hair from the root itself.
Hereditary – Besides hyperpigmentation which is something we might be born with, we make an undesired contribution by shaving the armpits and bikini area frequently.
It goes without saying that the effects are more visible during summer when shaving is more or less a daily activity, but this is not the only cause.
Hormone imbalance is responsible for much more than darkened skin so it is worth looking deeper into this problem to find out whether we are suffering from other, less visible issues.
Deodorants and antiperspirants are also to be blamed for darkened skin so refrain from using ones rich in chemicals.
Diabetes – What many people don’t realize is that diabetes also causes pigmentation, resulting in darker underarms.
The best way to deal with this is to maintain optimum insulin levels and try natural remedies.
① Opt for Natural Deodorant
Store-bought deodorants are loaded with nasty chemicals that are harmful to our body however, some are being labelled “all-natural” but make sure to double check the fine lines (ingredients).
That being said, stay clear with deodorants and antiperspirants that contain aluminum – a skin-darkening culprit and a skin irritator.
Here’s the homemade natural deodorant recipe that works if you feel a little crafty:
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1/4 cup baking soda (just go easy if you have sensitive skin
- 1/4 cup corn starch or arrowroot powder
- Essential oil drops (optional)
What To Do:
Blend the first three ingredients in a bowl until smooth. For fragrance, you can mix in a few drops of your favorite essential oil.
Add about 1/4 teaspoon under each arm and rub in well. Store the extra deodorant in an air-tight container.
② Ditch Shaving and Try Waxing
It will hurt more, but at least the hair will be removed from the root and your underarms will appear fairer immediately. Waxing also works as an exfoliating method.
For those who want to get rid of underarm hair for good, electrolysis is another permanent option. In time, the darkened patches under the arm will lighten.
Dead skin cells don’t just build up on your elbows and knees. They can accumulate in the underarm and bikini areas, irritating the skin and making it appear duller and darker.
What To Do:
Before shaving, you should exfoliate using a scrub, loofah or exfoliating brush.
This will help remove the dry skin and has the added benefit of helping to prevent ingrown hairs and skin irritation in the bikini area.
③ Natural Bleaching – Lemon Juice or Hydrogen Peroxide
If you’ve tried it all and are still grappling, you can try gently bleaching the area to lighten the skin. Peroxide is known for its bleaching abilities, so is lemon juice.
What To Do:
To treat the area, apply a small amount of peroxide or lemon juice to a cotton ball and apply to the underarm area a few times a day. Wash off the substance after about 15 minutes.
Be mindful that these ingredients are both highly acidic, so you may want to apply a thin layer of coconut or almond oil after washing off the peroxide or lemon juice to help soothe the skin.
If your skin begins to show signs of irritation, stop the treatment.
④ Potato and cucumber
Potato also works as a natural bleaching agent.
What To Do:
You can either rub underarm skin with thinly sliced potatoes or grate the potato and apply the juice to the affected area.
Leave it on for 15 minutes and wash. You will notice that soon the underarm skin appears to be lighter in color.
Similarly, you can grate a cucumber and apply the juice under your arms.
⑤ Saffron Mixture
What To Do:
An effective home remedy that works in two ways is mixing a pinch of saffron in two spoonfuls of milk or cream and applying to the underarms before bed.
Keep this for the whole night, and wash off the next morning. Not only does this lightens the underarms, but also kills all germs and bacteria that cause underarm odor.
⑥ Bleaching – OTC & Prescription Creams
Chemical skin bleaching creams can be very successful at lightening darkened areas of skin, but you should be careful as to the product you are applying and how often you are treating the area.
There are much different skin lightening or bleaching agents out there so it is important to consider which you are applying.
You’ll most commonly find the ingredient hydroquinone in bleaching creams, which works by preventing the skin pigment protein melanin from being made.
This agent is very effective, however, if used too long or possibly too high a concentration, it could cause a reverse effect and worsen the discoloration, a condition called exogenous ochronosis.
If you’re not willing to risk the side effects of hydroquinone — kojic acid is an alternative. This ingredient is less effective but also less toxic.
Before committing to a bleaching cream, consult your dermatologist or doctor to ensure that you aren’t pursuing a treatment that could worsen your condition or lead to further problems, like skin thinning and severe irritation.
Your doctor may also prefer to prescribe you a bleaching cream, rather than recommend an over-the-counter cream.
⑦ Laser Hair Removal
If you properly do laser hair removal, you will no longer need to shave or wax the treated areas. So if your dark armpit or bikini area skin is being caused by shaving or waxing irritation, and/or the fact that you can see the bit of dark hair stubble just under the surface of the skin as it’s growing back, laser hair removal may be a great solution for you.
Laser hair removal is semi-permanent, but hair won’t grow back if you complete the necessary number of treatments (including infrequent, but ongoing, touchups).
Many experts swear by it, but if you’re considering the procedure, check out these important tips you need to know about laser hair removal.