Conventional beauty standards might say otherwise, but darkened underarms are more common than you think. According to this study, around 74% of people have experienced some form of armpit discoloration, which can stem from a number of internal factors (race, family history) to external (improper exfoliation and hair removal techniques).

Whatever the reason, they’re nothing out of the ordinary. And while ultimately it’s all a matter of personal preference, it’s also understandable if you’d want to dig deeper and figure out what the main cause could be. So ahead, we’ve gathered some of the major reasons you can look into as a starting point—complete with solutions to match each one.

REASON #1: YOUR UNDERARMS ARE CHEMICALLY IRRITATED.

The most common cause for dark underarms could be the products you apply directly onto the area, like your deodorant or antiperspirant. Certain chemical substances, like aluminium, can easily irritate the delicate skin, and even worse—dry and thicken the dermis. This reaction, referred to as post-inflammatory pigment alteration, is generally the case for most, but more so for people with darker skin types. It’s known to leave discolouration, rashes, and inflammation in its wake.
THE SOLUTION: Avoid harsh chemicals that could potentially strip your skin dry, like alcohol and fragrance. Instead, opt for more gentle and natural ingredients when shopping for a deodorant and make sure you give your underarms room to breathe. It also helps to moisturise with a skin-soothing cream like Pro Beauty’s Shiro White Underarm Whitening Cream which hydrates, softens, and lightens to keep your pits in tip top shape.

REASON #2: YOU’RE OVER-EXFOLIATING. (OR NOT DOING IT ENOUGH.)

A recurring advice we often hear is to go after the dark pigmentation by sloughing away dead skin cells. And really, there is truth to that—dead skin buildup can darken the appearance of your underarms. But the trouble here is finding a good balance when exfoliating. As you’ve probably figured out, it’s a pretty sensitive area. And when you’re constantly aggravating the skin by intensely rubbing it day in and out, exfoliating can actually back fire. This causes the skin to react by thickening to brace itself, and eventually makes it easier for the skin to take on an ashy tone.
THE SOLUTION: It might take some trial and error, but be on the look out for mild soaps like Pro Beauty’s WhitePlus Whitening & Anti-Aging Soap. It targets patchy, uneven skin tone by gently exfoliating the skin without the need for a loofah. Doing so helps decrease the chances of inflammation and irritation, and works best when topped with aloe vera afterwards.

REASON #3: YOU’RE SHAVING TOO OFTEN.

You guessed it—your razor is another source of irritation, especially if you’re shaving frequently. Similar to exfoliating, the constant, repeating action of going over your skin can rub and scratch your underarms to the point that it darkens and thickens over time. What’s more, shaving only removes surface level hair, so if your natural hair color is darker than your skin tone, it’s possible that the hair itself is making your skin appear darker.
THE SOLUTION: For those who want to remove their underarm hair, try exploring other alternatives. Switching to laser treatments, using an epilator, or even waxing are much better options because they target the hair at the root instead of just the surface level.

REASON #4: YOU HAVE AN UNDERLYING MEDICAL CONDITION.

News flash: there’s a possibility that genetics and other health conditions could be the cause here. For one, acanthosis nigricans is a common skin condition where the affected area starts to appear as discolored folds and creases in the skin. In most cases, this is usually associated with obesity.

Aside from that, hormonal balance could also be a likely cause. Often referred to as melanoma, you can tell by the sudden discolouration after taking a hormonal birth control pill or while going through pregnancy. This is thanks to the amped up levels of progesterone and estrogen which effect the melanocytes, or cells that generate skin pigmentation.
THE SOLUTION: In this case, the best practice is to always consult with a professional to get to the bottom of the problem. If you notice any sudden changes but aren’t sure about whether to have it checked, you can continually track changes your body may be experiencing so you can be sure to catch anything suspicious. If all else fails, take that trip to the doctor to be sure it’s nothing serious. Better to be safe than sorry!

If you would like to give these a try, the WhitePlus Whitening & Anti-aging Soap is available on BeautyMNL for only P250. You can also try the Shiro White Underarm Whitening Cream for only P795, and discover more Pro Beauty essentials right here.

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