Summer calls for some of the best fashion trends of the season; think short skirts, backless dresses, sleeveless tank tops and all things stylish. However with summer comes a whole host of skin problems that aren't as pleasant as the styles of the season. Dark underarms can be a source of embarrassment for so many people around the world that can easily prevent them from wearing their favourite sleeveless tops, dresses or even swimsuits. Some deodorants/antiperspirants may contribute to dark skin in the underarms, as do some other external factors such as shaving, use of harsh scrubs and depilatories. This summer we help you say goodbye to dark underarms caused by deodorants with the help of our skin experts so that you are free to wear what you like and how you like it.
How Do Deodorants Cause Dark Underarms?
"Deodorants have paraben, alcohol, fragrances etc. that can irritate the skin and cause inflammation leading to thickening and darkening of the skin over time. Many antiperspirants also use aluminum as an active ingredient, which clogs up the sweat ducts causing dryness and pigmentation" says Dr. Simal Soin, Founder of Aayna Clinic. She further adds that since the skin, is the largest organ of the body, it tends to absorb everything applied on it leading to allergies, rash and contact dermatitis especially with sensitive areas like the underarms.
Alternatives For Your Traditional Deodorants
Body odour is a common problem in the summer and many deodorants contain aluminum salts that dry out the sweat but in turn clog the pores, often leading to darkening of the underarms. So how do you banish sweat without the odour and the pigmentation? Dr Mikki Singh, Head of Bodycraft Clinic suggests using gel deodorants and perfume sticks as compared to the usual spray deodorants. The gel deodorants are clear and cool that have a drying effect at times but can be used post a little moisturisation. Sticks, on the other hand, contain Dimethicone, which soothes the skin and is suitable for sensitive skin. Dr Soin suggests looking out for natural ingredients when picking your deodorants such as apple cider vinegar, glycerin, zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, clay, charcoal, essential oils, shea and cocoa butter, coconut oil, baking soda, arrowroot powder, and vitamin E. She further adds that a blend of natural ingredients in a deodorant might not help reduce sweating but help get rid of body odour by eliminating bacteria.
Clinical Treatments To Reduce Underarm Pigmentation
Many a times, topical ingredients can irritate the skin and a permanent procedural approach may seem like a good option for those who are deeply concerned with their underarms. Skin experts suggest a few clinical procedures that can help you achieve soft and brighter underarms. "Professional laser treatment, micro-dermabrasion, micro-needling and laser-hair reduction are some popular treatments that can reduce skin darkening. Chemical peels azelaic acid, salicylic acid, glycolic acid, vitamin C, lactic acid and trichloroacetic acid are an easy and cost-effective way compared to the other procedures but is best left for your dermatologist to perform," says Dr. Soin. Though costs differ with each treatment, one needs to keep in mind that multiple procedures or sessions give best results. Another thing to note is that even though chemical peels and topical creams are a simple way to lighten the underarms, they're more effective on a lesser degree of pigmentation.
Home Remedies To Treat Underarm Darkening
Underarm darkening can have many causes and even though home remedies can help in reducing the pigmentation, it is not a permanent solution. Skin lightening of a lesser degree however can easily be done by the help of natural home remedies that are cost effective and prone to less skin allergies. Dr. Mikki Singh suggests using potato juice for its bleaching properties on the underarms. Cucumber juice can also be used that soothes the skin as well. A natural ubtan with turmeric, besan and curd can work wonders too for the skin.
Dr. Soin further adds that using natural scrubs made of brown sugar and olive oil can gently exfoliate the skin and further lighten it. Fuller's earth or multani mitti can work like magic to reduce the pigmentation too and natural bleaching moisturisers like aloe vera gel.
The skin of the underarm is delicate and must be handled with care. There is no quick way to achieve your desired outcome and rushing things will only expose your skin to more harm. It is best to reset your expectations and wait patiently for your desired goals. Consult your dermatologist for best results that suit your skin type.