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My underarms look very dark, as well my thighs. What can I do to remove the darker skin coloration?
By Gayathri from India
The only thing I can suggest is scrubbing with a soapy washcloth and some sugar or cornmeal, or lentil flour, something grainy. I wouldn't use any chemicals of any kind because there are lymph nodes under the arm and you don't want that skin to absorb a foreign substance, as the lymph nodes filter out toxins. In fact it is suggested that women massage under their arms as a possible preventative of breast cancer because it stimulates the lymph glands to do their job better.
The reason I suggest the corn meal, etc. is that my daughter has a brown complexion and years ago I had made my own facial scrub with a wash off cream and corn meal. My daughter was a teen and she scrubbed valiantly every day so she would never have pimples. She literally scrubbed away so many skin cells she got down to 'the pink' under the ordinary brown shade of her skin. The only reason one has dark coloring under arms, or anywhere, like on elbows etc. is the skin is thicker there, therefore more pigment and scrubbing nicely but not too harshly should take off a layer, as well as leave skin smooth.
However, as with my daughter, do not get carried away or you could cause scar tissue to form and make the matter worse. Probably just 2 times a week would do it for the first week or two, and then once a week.
Darker skin on the neck, armpits or thighs is also a possible indication of diabetes. I heard somewhere that it is a strong indicator. It might be a good idea to read this list of symptoms & see if you need to get checked out.
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How do you get rid of brownish spots on your skin under your armpits and on your arms? Thanks for your help.
By Jamneu from Lethbridge, AB
Go to the doctor first. They can eliminate some possible diagnoses, such acanthoses nigricans, which is one of the more rare symptoms of diabetes. (05/02/2009)
A lot of people have darker skin in the arm pits, at the knees, elbows, and ankles. This is not uncommon, but the degree of darkness is only something that your doctor can decide is normal or not. (05/05/2009)
Does anyone have the problem I have? My underarms are dark. It looks like I haven't shaved, but I shave every day. I tried professional waxing, but it's kind of expensive for me. Any ideas out there would really be appreciated.
Smoochie from Houston, TX
You might consider laser. It takes a few times, but then you'll never have underarm hair again. (01/30/2008)
Are you a brunette? Some brunettes just have darker color there. There used to be a bath powder (Shower to Shower?) in beige that was supposed to lighten the underarm area. If they still make it, I haven't seen it in years, give it a try. (01/30/2008)
Before you try anything, consider that it could be dye from your clothes. Rubbing your under arms with alcohol on a paper towel wouldn't hurt you, I'd try that first. (02/02/2008)
By no name today
I've found that a body brush helps keep ingrown hairs away and keeps my underarms smooth. You might also try that. (02/03/2008)
It may be a deodorant problem. My underarms looked dark and a little bumpy, but after having to give up scented things while undergoing chemotherapy, I noticed my underarms slowly getting lighter and smoother. Now I use one of those 'mineral stones' that health food places often sell, and skip the deodorants. Try it, might take a few months but your underarms should be looking good by summer. (02/04/2008)
It is definitely from shaving. I think its time to say goodbye to the razor and hello wax. But, if you find getting your underarms professionally waxed a little pricey, there is always the home waxing kits that you can pick up from any place where you can buy razors. (02/05/2008)
It could be just dead skin build up. Try using an exfoliate, it helped me! (03/03/2008)
"Dark Armpits" comes from tiny crevices in your skin that trap dead skin cells and antiperspirants/deodorants. Usually there are many components to the problem, hair, dead skin cells build up, product build up, and bacteria. Start with waxing your underarm hair at home where you can be sure of the hygiene and don't catch skin infections. This will take out a thin layer of dead skin too, so your pits will look cleaner. You can try laser too. It's expensive, but well worth it.
Wait a day after waxing for the next steps. Stop using antiperspirant and deodorants, try to remove some of the product build up by rubbing baby oil or petroleum jelly and then washing. Next use baking soda to scrub the pit area and other surrounding areas (under the breast, etc.), rinse, wipe with alcohol, apply alcohol in the surrounding areas, too. Let dry. Next wipe with vinegar and let dry. Use crystal deodorants containing alum under your pits. They can be found in health stores, or dust with baking soda. At the end of day, repeat the process, moisturize with tea tree oil. Wear all cotton next to your skin and change daily (including bras).
Sometimes dermatologists can recommend retinol, so that the skin peels off and that can probably give you quicker results, but ask for something that can peel the skin and is antibacterial, too. (12/15/2008)
By Net Comment
Do you sometimes use sunless tanning lotions? I remember when I used to use them that if you happened to rub your underarms, knees, elbows, or if you didn't wash your hands thoroughly afterward, you would be very dark in those areas.
If you aren't allergic or sensitive, you could try a product like Nair. Also, try soaking a couple of folded paper towels soaked with hydrogen peroxide on the area. It might take doing this more than once, but it might help.
Do you use a deodorant that uses an aluminum component? It takes a lot of scrubbing to remove that stuff! I know!
I hope you can figure it out. You could bring it up at your next visit to your family doctor visit. It might be something like the dark patches that are caused by a benign fungus called (I think!) Tinea versicolor. I have a small patch on my leg and a larger one on my back. You should talk to your Dr. if it is really bothering you or you're worried about it. Good luck, sweetie. (12/15/2008)
Hydroquinone -4%, it was what my dermatologists had recommended.
It helps! (02/27/2009)