Underarm: Lightening, Darkening, Itching, Redness. What causes these problems? And what are some things I can do to prevent and help clear them?
Underarm Itching and Redness
Underarm itching, redness and discomfort are sometimes allergic or irritant reactions to certain substances in things that come into contact with the underarms.
What is underarm darkening?
Underarm darkening, or axillary darkening, is primarily a post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). PIH is the darkening of the skin from a previous trauma such as an allergic or irritant reaction. In other words, underarm skin can darken after an allergic or irritant reaction to ingredients or substances that come in contact with the underarm.
What Can Cause These Underarm Reactions?
Some things that are known to cause these reactions:
• Aluminum Zirconium (which causes Granulomas, or bumps but that can become PIH if they lead to irritations).
If you are experiencing darkening or other reactions in underarm skin, you may want to review your deodorant, antiperspirant, soap, and laundry detergent for any of these ingredients.
How Do I Lighten Underarm Skin or Prevent Redness, Itching and Other Reactions?
As with so many health concerns, prevention alone can already go a long way. Some preventive measures we can recommend are:
1.) Often, simply switching to products that do not contain the substances listed above can already notably lighten underarm skin.
2.) As an alternative to antiperspirants or deodorants with allergens and irritants, try Essence Skin-Saving Antiperspirant if you’d like to prevent underarm darkening, or have mild underarm darkening, or are pregnant or lactating.
3.) All Around Prevention is Key. Think about it this way: people with asthma or bronchial allergies get rid of carpets, plants, and even pets that cause flare-ups. Similarly, to prevent underarm reactions, it would be wise to reduce contact with as many products as possible that can cause darkening or irritations.
• Wash your shirts with perfume-and-dye-free laundry detergent like Fawn and Launder (also preservative free and with anti-inflammatory ingredients). If you can’t find one, wash your shirts in hot tea (herbal tea that is clear as possible), or get them dry-cleaned.
• Clean underarm skin with products that contain no allergens or comedogens. Try Essence Clear and Natural Glycerin Soap or Superwash Skin-Saving Hair and Body Milk Shampoo, Grandma Minnie’s Coo & Clean Baby Wash, or Id Buff-Buff Apricot and Salicylic Clarifying Soap.
Active Lightening of More Hyperpigmented Underarm Skin: For active lightening of more hyperpigmented skin, we recommend Illuminants+ Axillight Treatment Antiperspirant. Please note that this is an active treatment. If you decide to use the Illuminants+ Antiperspirant, please remember:
• To increase application frequency very slowly. Start only once a week.
• By around week 3 or 4, increase applications to 2x-a-week.
• By around week 5, increase applications to 4x-a-week (once every other day).
• By week 6, increase applications to 5x-a-week.
• You should not achieve 1x-a-day applications until week 8 of therapy.
• On days when you’re not using the Illuminants Antiperspirant, we recommend using the Essence Skin-Saving Antiperspirant which helps ensure you’re not exposing the skin to ingredients (like fragrances, aluminum zirconium, dyes, etc.) that can cause darkening.
Both Essence Skin-Saving Antiperspirant and Illuminants+ Axillight Treatment Antiperspirant are:
• 100% free of all types of fragrances, including extracts, perfumes and masking fragranc.
• 100% free of dyes, and use aluminum chlorhydrate instead of aluminum zirconium to minimize irritations and skin bumps.
• 100% free of phthalates, parabens, preservatives.
If your underarm darkening persists even after you are practicing proper prevention, we can suggest this Skin Lightening Regimen:
STEP 1: CLEANSE
Use Essence Superwash Skin-Saving Hair and Body Milk Shampoo or Grandma Minnie’s Coo & Clean Baby Wash.
STEP 2: ACTIVE LIGHTENING
• After cleansing, apply Illuminants+ Cream: Primary Brilliance Treatment. Apply to underarm skin once a week. Very slowly, as your skin becomes used to therapy, increase applications to twice a week, then three times a week, then once every other day, and finally once or twice-a-day applications (no earlier than week 8 of therapy). Go slow and at your own pace.
• Once you achieve 2x-a-day applications of the Primary Treatment, you could (if you choose and if needed) move up to more advanced lightening therapy with Illuminants+ Cream: Advanced Brilliance Treatment. Again, you would follow the same slow increase in application frequency, and begin with once-a-week applications, very slowly moving up to twice-a-day applications (no earlier than week 8 of therapy).
• Continue using your Illuminants+ Axillight Treatment Antiperspirant. Again, you would follow the same slow increase in application frequency, and begin with once-a-week applications, very slowly increasing.
Protect As Needed
• If you expect to expose your underarm skin to the sun (playing sports with sleeveless shirts, for example, or when at the beach), apply an Armada Full-Spectrum Sun and Light Screen on underarm skin.
Be Good About Prevention
If you follow this regimen but still use deodorants, antiperspirants, laundry detergents, or bath soaps with the allergens specified above, you risk defeating your therapy: your underarm skin may not lighten, or may continue to darken.
Click here for Mythfoliation: Do Antiperspirants Cause Cancer?
Click here for Mythfoliation: Is Aluminum Chlorohydrate Dangerous?
Click here to learn how hypoallergenicity can help with aging concerns.
Click here to learn more about the VH-Rating System.
Click here to learn more about skin lightening.