DARK UNDERARMS, ELBOWS, KNEES…
There is no greater feeling than waving your hands up in the air like you just don’t care. For most woman this carefree feeling is far and few between their dehairing regiment. The reality is, we ladies do care and we do worry, constantly. Yes, there are woman out there who are happy to have hairy underarms and some are even proud and dye their underarm hair cool shades of colours. Check out Miley Cyrus and Lady Gaga! We respect and salute you! The reality is that most women still want to achieve smooth, even-toned and shadow free underarms. We have tackled and won the war against embarrassing unwanted hair and today we can have pain-free, safe, and NOW MORE AFFORDABLE permanent laser hair removal. Can you believe, having your underarm laser hair removal is not that much more expensive than an underarm wax! At The Laser Beautique, teens pay R300, ladies pay R350 and men pay R400.
Let’s understand and find solutions to darkening skin conditions:
Your underarms should naturally be about the same shade as the rest of your skin. But sometimes, the skin in the armpit area and other areas, can turn a darker shade. Dark underarms usually aren’t a sign of anything serious, but some find it embarrassing, especially during summer when everyone is sleeveless and waving. Darkening is often due to a skin condition called acanthosis nigricans (AN). It causes skin to thicken and darken in folds around the body. The most common reason why one may have darkening of the skin in certain areas is, wait for it: WAXING AND SHAVING!
WAXING AND SHAVING CAUSES DARK UNDERARMS
You read right. Although AN can be genetic, when we wax and shave our skin, we can cause dark underarms, or hyperpigmentation which as we have said, can put a dent in your confidence. Although shaving is the most likely contributor to dark underarms, waxing and plucking has also known to stimulate excess melanocyte production. Shaving cuts the hair at the surface, so it won’t be long before it begins to grow back. Hair coming from just below the surface emerges in just a few days, contributing to the impression that your underarms are darker than the surrounding skin. Shaving often or aggressively could lead to skin hardening and darkening. Your skin colour is determined by pigment cells called melanocytes. Melanocytes are responsible for your skin colour and they either under or over produce melanin when our skin is irritated.
Common areas of darkening include the:
- back of the neck
SOLUTIONS TO DARK UNEVEN SKIN TONE
It has been discovered that people who have darker skin are more likely to have darkening under their arms than people with lighter skin. Over the years at The Laser Beautique, we have noticed that clients who suffered from dark armpits and made the decision to invest in laser hair removal enjoyed a pain free and permanent solution to unwanted hair, and also benefited from a synergetic side-effect of lightening or even-toning of the area. Win win!
We highly recommend switching from waxing and shaving to laser. Prevention is easier and more cost effective than a cure. It will save you in the long run: Save you on razors, painful waxes and save you from stimulating melanocytes and darkening areas. Having laser even helps you save the environment as disposable razors aren’t recycled in SA.
We can also recommend products or treatments to help lighten and even-tone the skin that has darkened. Popular treatment options to reverse or even-tone:
- Retinoid creams: When used regularly, it can help thin and lighten the skin in affected areas. We at TLB can recommend some great products with lightening ingredients that are over the counter
- Chemical peels: Peels containing trichloroacetic acid (TCA) can help exfoliate the skin. This process helps remove the thicker, damaged skin to reveal new, smooth skin. We can assist with Nimue or Optiphi peels.
- Vitamin D based creams: Help reduces skin pigment cells. We can recommend products and treatments
Opt for laser hair removal! Between your laser treatments, lubricate the skin with a gentle soap or shaving cream before shaving to avoid irritating your underarms. Apply an unscented moisturizing cream or post laser gel afterwards to soothe the skin.
WHEN TO SEE YOUR DOCTOR?
Please note one may develop AN because of many other underlying issues. For example: Obesity, type 2 diabetes, hormone syndromes, some medication and even cancer. When AN is caused by cancer, it’s called malignant acanthosis nigricans. Often, treating the medical condition that caused your dark underarms will fix the issue. Lifestyle changes but as mentioned above, a combination of medicines and even some home remedies could help lighten the colour.
Although dark underarms are usually harmless, they’re worth getting checked out by a dermatologist, especially if you think you might have a condition like diabetes or an underactive thyroid gland. Treating the condition that caused it will usually make the dark skin fade. If you suddenly see dark patches under your arms and on other areas of your skin, see your dermatologist or general practitioner right away. This could be a sign of more serious condition.