What Are the Treatments for Underarm Discoloration?

Updated February 21, 2017

Unsightly underarm discolouration is a huge problem for many people. Although quite common, the skin condition in which underarms become darkly pigmented can be very embarrassing and uncomfortable. Underarm discolouration can also restrict your ability to wear certain sleeveless tops and dresses. Common causes of underarm discolouration may include shaving, chemical-based deodorants, improper hygiene, tight clothing, excessive sweating, hormonal changes and genetics. Many safe, effective home remedies can reduce or eliminate underarm discolouration in a matter of weeks.

Natural Treatments And Prevention

Whether you're trying to get rid of underarm discolouration or prevent it from occurring, there are some changes that you can make to help the problem. First off, change the way you shave. Shaving with a razor causes friction and often leaves behind subsurface hair. This can cause the skin under your arms to appear to be stained, says the cosmetic scientists at The Beauty Brains. Wax or pluck the hair under your arms instead of shaving with a razor. Waxing and plucking does a better job at completely removing underarm hair than shaving does and won't create the appearance of discoloured skin.

Consider changing your antiperspirant/deodorant. Many antiperspirants and deodorants contain harsh chemicals that can irritate your skin. Try using natural deodorants instead. Natural deodorants are typically pure and certified organic. They also contain plant-based materials and are aluminium and alcohol free. You can buy natural deodorants online and at most drug and health food stores.

Alternatively, try applying baking soda or organic talcum powders to your underarms instead of antiperspirants and deodorants. These products can lighten your dark underarms and protect you from sweat and odours.

Avoid wearing tight, ill-fitting clothing. Wearing tight clothes often causes friction between your skin and the fabric of the clothing. This can cause your underarms to become discoloured over time. A build-up of dead skin cells under your arms may also contribute to underarm discolouration, according to the home remedy resource Granny Med. Exfoliate (scrub) the skin under your arms with a gentle exfoliating cleanser and loofah several times per week. This will remove the layer of dead skin cells under your arms and make your underarms lighter.

Use lemon to treat underarm discolouration. Fresh lemon is one of the most effective ways to lighten underarms. Cut a lemon in half and thoroughly rub the lemon into your armpits. Limes can also lighten your skin naturally. Try alternating between the lemons and limes. Another way to treat underarm discolouration is by combining a teaspoon each of lemon and lime, 1 tsp of distilled white vinegar, and about 4 tbls. of baking soda. Mix these ingredients together to create a paste for your underarms. Apply the paste to your underarms for about 30 minutes. Repeat this process several times per week.

Finally, massage your underarms with vitamin E oil, potato oil, or coconut oil daily. These oils contain natural bleaching properties that can help to lighten your discoloured underarms over time.

Other Treatments And Considerations

If you're looking for more immediate results you may want to talk to your physician or dermatologist about skin bleaching and lightening treatments. Your doctor may prescribe a bleaching agent or recommend an over-the-counter one. Skin bleaching can cause a drastic effect on some people. It's best to speak to a dermatologist before using bleaching products. If you have skin discolouration on parts of your body other than your underarms, you may want to talk to your doctor about a skin disorder called acanthosis nigricans. Acanthosis nigricans typically causes dark, velvety skin to develop on your armpits, neck and groin, according to the Mayo Clinic. This skin disorder usually affects people who are obese or have diabetes.

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About the Author

Sarai Jeremiah is a freelance writer and graphic designer living on the East Coast, where she is currently pursuing an education in both fields. She has been writing articles and content on a variety of topics since 2006 and has contributed articles to Web sites such as Spark People.