Underarm pigmentation is a common skin concern today, especially in people of color. Different people approach it in different ways. Some embrace it, while some are simply looking for a way to get back their natural tone. Both approaches are completely rational.
There are plenty of ways to improve the skin tone on your underarms naturally. But in order to match the best remedies, it is important to figure out the real cause behind your underarm pigmentation. Let’s have a look at some common causes that lead to pigmentation in underarms.
CAUSES OF UNDERARM PIGMENTATION
Increased melanin production
People who have naturally dusky complexions usually have a higher melanin content in their skin. This increases their chances of getting hyperpigmentation when compared to the rest of the population.
Plucking hair out of your underarms can damage the surface of your skin, and lead to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. According to a study, this kind of hyperpigmentation is most common in Southeast Asian women. It is simply your skin’s reaction to the trauma caused by the tweezer.
The skin on your underarms is delicate compared to the skin on the rest of your body. Using a razor on this delicate skin can cause irritation, redness, razor burns, and cuts that can convert into hyperpigmentation and scarring in the future.
Pouring hot wax on your underarm skin can be damaging in the long run. Additionally, pulling off wax strips forcefully from your skin may look like it’s a good way to remove dead skin, but it can cause unnecessary skin trauma and darkening after a while.
Excess stimulation on the underarm region caused by using scrubs that may not be the best match for your skin, or exfoliating too much and too often can also damage the protective outer layer of your skin. When this barrier is weakened, it fails to protect your underarm area against environmental stressors. This compromises the overall health of your underarms and leads to skin darkening.
When your underarms sweat a lot, dead skin and dirt get accumulated on your skin faster than usual. This might appear as pigmentation after a while.
Using cleansers or deodorants that do not suit your skin type or do not match your skin concern might end up dehydrating the skin on your underarms. This may lead to itchiness, irritation and inflammation which can cause underarm pigmentation.
An increase in body weight can cause your underarms to rub and create friction. This can also turn into a possible cause of ingrown hair and hyperpigmentation.
Fluctuating hormones during puberty, pregnancy or menopause can lead to underarm darkening. This is usually temporary, and it can be reversed with timely care.
Hyperpigmentation can be inherited from previous generations. According to a study, this holds true for individuals residing in places with intense UV radiation like Latin America, Asia, and Africa.
HOW TO LIGHTEN UNDERARMS?
Use a non-greasy and water-resistant sunscreen on your underarm skin as well as on the surrounding areas. Wear clothes with sleeves, and prevent sun exposure during peak daylight hours as much as possible.
Hair removal aftercare
All kinds of hair removal methods whether it is shaving, waxing or plucking can lead to some form of irritation and inflammation. This is why pre and post-hair removal care is important. Refrain from shaving on dry skin. Use a gentle and moisturizing soap to soften underarm hair while shaving. After the hair removal process, massage the area with an ice cube to soothe razor burns and redness.
Apply oil on the affected areas of your skin every night for at least a week after shaving or waxing. Pick an oil with essential fatty acids and anti-inflammatory properties to repair and soothe your underarm skin. During the daytime, prefer using a deodorant that is rich and nourishing, instead of drying and stripping.
The skin on your underarms is delicate and sensitive. You should care for it the same way you would care for your facial skin. Prefer using gentle soaps to clean the area. And only go for hair removal once in 30-45 days.
Choosing the right clothes
Wear clothes made out of a soft and breathable fabric like cotton. Avoid wearing clothes with tight sleeves. Wearing synthetic or rough fabrics or wearing tight clothes can create tugging and friction which may lead to ingrown hair and pigmentation.
Eat balanced and nutritious food. Include your favorite workout in your daily routine and be consistent with it. Having a healthy body weight will help to reduce hyperpigmentation caused by a sedentary lifestyle and improper eating habits. If you are gaining weight because of hormonal changes, do seek guidance from your doctor.
Choose to stay in pleasant surroundings. Bathe regularly, and follow good hygiene practices. Use a talc-free dusting powder on your underarms after a bath to control excess sweating. You may also add a layer of cotton lining inside your sleeves or use underarm sweat pads. These are similar to sanitary cotton pads, but for your underarms. They absorb sweat throughout the day and prevent dirt and dead skin from accumulating on your underarms to a great extent.
According to research, licorice root is a gentle herb that reduces post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and regulates the synthesis of melanin in your skin to a great extent. Here is a quick DIY in which you can experience the benefits of licorice root.
DIY UNDERARM LIGHTENING MASK
- Grind some oats into a fine powder. Take one teaspoon of this oat flour in a bowl.
- Add ¼ teaspoon of licorice root powder to the oat flour.
- Add rose water to the dry ingredients and make a paste.
- Leave the mixture for a minute or two and allow the oats to swell and get soft.
- Apply this paste on clean underarms and lie down with your arms spread wide.
- Once the mask dries, wipe it gently with a soft and damp cloth.
- Apply a few drops of sweet almond oil or rosehip oil for moisturizing.
This mask can be used once or twice a week. The oat flour creates a gentle and soothing base for the mask, and rose water helps to cool your underarms. The licorice root helps to fade underarm pigmentation with consistent use. If you deal with the problem of excessive sweating, add some clay to the mixture. It will help to gently exfoliate your skin, and control underarm odor.
PRODUCTS FROM JUICY CHEMISTRY THAT HELP TO LIGHTEN UNDERARMS OR PREVENT FURTHER DARKENING
Natural sun care
Camellia and red raspberry natural sunscreen is non-greasy and water-resistant which means that its efficacy does not get affected by sweat. Bulgarian rose water restores the natural pH of your skin and promotes even skin tone. It also soothes inflammation and hydrates dry skin. Aloe Vera water cools sensitive skin. Both of these hydrosols are beneficial remedies for aftercare when it comes to hair removal and sun exposure.
Organic dusting powders
Damask rose and jasmine dusting powder improves skin tone in the long run. Tea tree and peppermint dusting powder keeps your skin fresh, dry and cool.
Cold processed soaps are gentle, and they restore your skin’s moisture balance instead of stripping it dry. Carrot, rosehip and neroli cold processed soap lighten pigmentation and scars. Lime, ginger and rice cold processed soap works on skin discoloration and also improves skin tone. Natural alpha-hydroxy acids in the sugarcane and grapefruit cold processed soap provide mild exfoliation by breaking down dead skin cells gently.
Moisturizing carrier oils
Rosehip seed oil reduces the appearance of hyperpigmentation and scars. Sweet almond oil repairs the outer layer of your skin and moisturizes it deeply. You can use either of these or preferably a blend of both.
The damask rose, seabuckthorn and jasmine deodorant as well as the blood orange and geranium deodorant help to improve skin tone and soothe inflammation.
Gentle scrubs and masks
Hazelnut, coffee and chocolate face and body scrub provides gentle exfoliation and works to improve skin tone and texture. Kakadu plum, matcha and blood orange face mask draws out impurities and reduces pigmentation.
SOME THINGS TO CONSIDER
- Every ingredient performs differently on different skin types. So remember to patch test every new product or remedy on a small portion of your inner arm before using it on any other body part. If you see redness or signs of irritation, discontinue using that product.
- Pigmentation takes time to become noticeable on your skin. Your skin goes through consistent wear and tear or trauma before manifesting initial signs of the pigmentation for you to see. Similarly, once you have noticed the pigmentation and begun working on it, it will take time to get lighter in appearance too.
Consistency and patience are important factors when it comes to using natural ingredients to improve skin tone or texture.