Darkening of the skin at the underarms could be caused by a skin condition known as ‘ acanthosis nigricans’. This is common for people with obesity and diabetes. However, darkening of underarms is also common for people living in humid and hot regions. Excessive sweating and folding of skin may also lead to darkening of skin at the underarms.

Various cosmetics and home remedies are available to treat this condition. For a more lasting and effective solution, dermatologists have some remedies to target dark skin of the underarms. Dermatological treatments are safe, effective and long lasting.

1. What are the different treatments available?

Topical medication containing kojic acid, azelaic acid, tretinoin, corticosteroids and hydroquinone are proven to reduce the impact of darkening of skin at the armpit region. Doctors also recommend chemical peels with AHA and BHA to improve skin-darkening conditions. Microdermabrasion and laser therapy are other methods used by dermatologists to better skin darkening of the underarms.

2. What causes dark underarms?

Using deodorants and antiperspirants, shaving of underarm hair, lack of exfoliation, friction caused by tight clothes, hyperpigmentation, bacterial infections, melasma and hormonal changes in the body can lead to darkening of underarms. This is a fairly common skin problem, and affects a lot of people residing in hot and humid countries.

3. How does underarm whitening laser treatment work?

Laser therapies are useful for patients with deep-set dermal pigmentation at the underarm region. This could be because of hormonal changes in the body, or due to external reasons like sweating, use of antiperspirants and bacterial infections. Laser beams target the melanin in the skin cells and help in subsequent lightening of the epidermis (outer layer of the skin).

4. When are any visible results seen after laser therapy for underarm whitening?

Results are dependent on many factors like skin type, level of darkening, sensitivity level of skin, etc. Patients can expect to see visible results in about 6 weeks after the treatment. The broken down melanin gets reabsorbed into the skin to make the skin appear lighter with the passage of time.

5. Are there any side effects associated with dermatological treatments for underarm lightening?

Sensitive skin is prone to itchiness, redness and irritability in laser treatments. Doctors usually recommend skin tests to determine the probability of possible skin damage post treatment. During the treatment, patients can experience mild tingling, which is normal. Topical medicines help to alleviate any pain or discomfort after the procedure. Exposure to the sun is also not advisable for a few days after treatment.


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