“It was a splendid summer morning and it seemed as if nothing could go wrong.” John Cheever.
The American novelist hit the nail on the head. Summers are the best part of your life and if you have been slaving away in the gym in the winter, it’s time to flaunt your physique. Summer suits, spaghetti straps and sleeveless blouses. One loves to dress up in the skimpiest clothes to beat the summer heat.
There is one thing that can rain on your parade and that is dark underarms. The underarm area rarely gives us any trouble apart from sweat and we very sweetly forget all about it. Unfortunately, the underarm skin is very sensitive and is susceptible to a variety of problems.
- Ingrown hair
- Hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating)
- Swollen lymph nodes
Gosh! There’s a lot that can happen in such a small area. However, pigmentation or discoloration is one of the most common complaints by both men and women. Dark underarm areas make us feel under confident about wearing sleeveless dresses. We all envy the smooth and light underarms of celebrities. Let’s look at how we can also get smooth underarms.
Darkened Underarms: Why, Oh, Why!
Darkened underarms are mainly caused by extended use of harsh chemicals (bleach, hair-removing creams, deodorants, antiperspirants, etc.). Excessive and long term shaving can also lead to skin pigmentation and darkening of this very sensitive skin. Pregnancy also leads to pigmentation (clears up in a couple of months).
- People with dark skin are more susceptible to auxiliary darkening or underarm darkening because of the extra amounts of melanin in the body.
- Melanin is a protective pigment that shields the skin against UV rays.
- Pregnancy, and the hormonal cocktail it brings with itself, is another reason why you may see pigmentation in the underarms.
- Another possible reason could be diabetes! Elevated Insulin levels can cause skin darkening.
- Erythrasma, a chronic bacterial infection is another little known cause of pigmentation of the underarms.
- Ingrown hair due to too much shaving can also make the underarms appear darker.
Home Remedies for Dark Underarms:
Imagine, a wedding coming up that you must attend and that gorgeous dress you wish to wear! Never fear. Here are some remedies for smoother and lighter underarm skin. These are home remedies hence they have no side effects. Always conduct a patch test to rule out any irritation
Potato is a natural bleach and anti-irritant.
- Slice it, grate it or whisk it in the blender. Apply it to those dark armpits and see your skin lightened and soothed from the very first application!
- Your underarm skin also tends to get very itchy and sweaty due to pigmentation. The potato-trick will be your saving grace here .If the potato paste is applied anywhere else on the body you will experience instant relief from patchiness and itchiness.
2. Baking Soda:
Baking soda does work. Apply it directly as you would a talcum powder, to your darkened underarms. Apart from lightening the skin, it is a natural, odorless, non-irritating way of bidding goodbye to excess sweat, odour and itchiness.
The miracle beauty product, sandalwood, is synonymous with beautiful, fragrant skin. So why deprive the underarms of their benign magic?
- Apply a paste of sandalwood and rose water for about 10 to 15 minutes to lighten and freshens your darkened underarm skin.
- Besides lightening the skin, the sandalwood also takes care of body odour and soothes the itching almost instantly.
4. Lightning Masks:
A quick way to brighten up your underarms is to mask them with a paste of yogurt, a pinch of turmeric and lemon juice. Wash it off just before it completely dries out. Commercially available lightening masks also work much the same way.
5. Vitamin E:
The direct application of the beauty vitamin or in the form of oil or creams with high Vitamin E content might prove to be highly useful in scaring away those dark marks. Vitamin E is a well known and a much studied component that works wonders in maintaining youthfulness and gentleness of the skin.
Honey is a natural toner and skin lightening agent. Apply a mixture of honey, lemon juice and sugar to the affected area. It will also combat underarm odour.
These fruits have a high concentration of citric acid, which is also a natural exfoliant and bleach. Dried and powdered orange peels, mixed with rose water also go a great distance in lightening dark skin. Scrub the underarms with either of these citrus babies. Don’t expect miraculous, instant results. It takes time to undo the damage. So, rub away.
This natural exfoliant has been used for centuries.
- Try rubbing it gently on your darkened underarm skin. It will help in removing the darkened layer of skin.
- Don’t be too zealous while scrubbing as it might cause further abrasions and you certainly don’t want to walk around like a scarecrow for the next few days.
Opt for the following treatments for semi permanent or permanent brightening of the underarm area.
9. Epilators and Waxing:
I know many women who swear by their epilators. Like waxing, epilators pull hair out from the roots (Okay, major OUCH!).They prevent skin darkening in two ways.
- They don’t cause any ingrown hair
- They effectively remove dead skin cells, giving a nice clear appearance to the skin.
10. Cosmetic Surgery:
Letting the doc work his magic? Many of us are apprehensive of approaching cosmetologists.
- Laser treatment is constantly evolving and just might prove to be the right solution for you (if you can afford it, though!).
- Although surgery is individualized and it might not beget the same results for everyone, it is still worth a try if your condition is beyond home remedies.
So go ahead, bowl people over by flaunting that strappy dress, sexy bikini or sleeveless top you’ve been hiding in the closet, and be underarm shy no more!