4 Reasons Why You’ve Suddenly Developed Dark Spots Under Your Arms

by | Aug 14, 2023 | Physical Health

Finding dark spots under your arms can be a bit alarming, like finding your first grey hair. They’re a different colour and often feel alarming, just because you’re not used to your skin being a different colour. It’s important to note that skin discolouration is normal and doesn’t detract from your beauty.

If, however, you’d love for it to revert to its former glory, your armpits could be darker than they should be for at least four different reasons.

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1. Shaving

When you shave, you cut your hair off at, or just below, the surface of the skin. If the hair is darker than your skin colour, your skin can appear to have a dark stain, but it’s really just subsurface hair. Instead of shaving, try waxing — it gets rid of hair from a deeper level. Frequent hair removal can also trigger hyperpigmentation (velvety, dark patches) in dark-skinned women, so laser hair removal may be a solution to consider instead. Moisturise your pits often to soothe irritation from shaving and waxing and exfoliate the skin often.

Sugar Co Sugaring Waxing Kit
Sugar Co Sugaring Waxing Kit

Sugar Co’s all-natural, chemical-free sugaring kit can be used at home.

Be.Organical Out-Grown After Wax Applicator
Be.Organical Out-Grown After Wax Applicator

This plant-based oil soothes the skin and can help to reduce bumps and ingrown hairs.

2. Build-up of dead skin cells

Dark spots under your arms can be the result of dead skin cells that are trapped in the microscopic “hills and valleys” on your skin. Try exfoliating at least once a week with a product that contains lactic acid. In skincare, lactic acid increases cell turnover and helps eliminate dead skin cells, making it a great exfoliant.

READ MORE: Skin And Workouts: 6 Gross Things That Happen To Your Skin While Exercising

3. Antiperspirant and deodorant usage

In theory, some ingredients in these products (perhaps fragrance) could inflame your skin and cause discolouration. Dark-skinned women are at most risk of this form of hyperpigmentation, which can also be triggered by friction from your arm motion. Look for deodorants that are fragrance-free or contain Pro-Vitamin B5 to reduce inflammation.

READ MORE: Why Are Body Oils So Good For Your Skin?

4. Acanthosis nigricans

This medical condition causes light-brown to black markings on the neck, under the arms or in the groin. It can be related to insulin production or to a glandular disorder and it typically occurs in people who are overweight — if this applies to you, see a doctor and try to limit sugar and simple carbs to control insulin production. It can also be caused by hormones, be triggered by medication or be a condition you inherit. You can lighten your underarms with a retinol cream or one that contains alpha-hydroxy acids or salicylic acid.

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