How to Lighten Armpits: 12 Best Ways

Learn how to brighten your armpits directly from dermatologists.

Having glowing skin extends to your armpits, too. In the past, the beauty industry often overlooked underarms, except for the occasional deodorant or razor advertisement. But things have changed. Whether it’s a shift in how we care for our bodies or the growing trend of showcasing once-neglected body parts on social media, armpits are now getting attention. The big question: How can I lighten my underarms?

The skin in your underarms is sensitive and prone to irritation, which can lead to darkening. Because this area folds onto itself, it absorbs products more readily. This is important because ingredients that help with dark spots can also cause irritation.

So, when trying to lighten your armpits, it’s crucial to strike a delicate balance to see improvement without causing more irritation. Patience and restraint are key to seeing results.

Achieving this balance isn’t easy, especially in a culture that expects instant results.

Dealing with Skin Rashes

If you have red, itchy, flaky, or rough skin, you might have a rash, which is a sign of skin inflammation. It’s best to see a dermatologist for proper treatment, especially if you notice any of these symptoms. They can prescribe anti-inflammatory medications to address the inflammation before trying any brightening treatments.

Rashes can be caused by various things like eczema, psoriasis, fungal infections, or allergic reactions to certain substances like nickel or fragrances found in products like deodorants.

Once the cause of the rash is identified and managed, you can start using brightening treatments.

Adding Chemical Exfoliation to Your Routine

To help lighten dark areas under your arms, exfoliation is key. Instead of rough scrubs, opt for chemical exfoliants, which are gentler on the skin.

You can use products that contain acids like glycolic, salicylic, and lactic acids. Apply them gently to your underarms a few times a week for best results.

Avoid Harsh Scrubbing

Even though you might feel like scrubbing hard, it’s best to avoid it. Scrubbing your underarms too vigorously won’t help with dark spots—it can actually make things worse by irritating your skin.

If you do use a scrub, choose one that’s gentle. And remember, don’t press too hard, just glide it lightly over your skin.

Improve Your Shaving Routine

If you shave your underarms, it’s important to do it right. Shaving without cream can irritate your skin, which can lead to dark spots. Use a shaving cream to reduce friction and irritation. Let the cream sit on your skin for a bit before shaving.

Also, make sure to change your razor blades regularly to avoid dull blades irritating your skin. After shaving, apply a moisturizer to soothe your skin.

If you have a nickel allergy, it could be making your underarms darker. If you notice rashes in places like where your belt buckle touches your skin, you might be allergic to nickel. In that case, consider waxing or laser hair removal instead of shaving.

Switch to a Gentle Deodorant

To avoid dark spots caused by irritation, it’s a good idea to switch to a deodorant that’s gentle on your skin. Natural deodorants, while they smell nice, can sometimes cause allergies or irritation because of the strong fragrances they contain.

Some people even develop dark spots without any visible rash because of ingredients like sodium bicarbonate commonly found in natural deodorants.

If you’ve noticed your underarms getting darker after using a new deodorant, consider switching to a hypoallergenic antiperspirant or a natural deodorant without ingredients like sodium bicarbonate. Lume is one option to try.

Using Products for Dark Spots—Be Careful

You can use the same serums you use on your face to lighten dark spots under your arms, but be cautious. The skin under your arms is thinner and absorbs products more quickly than the skin on your face.

To avoid irritation, start by using these products only twice a week. Apply a very thin layer and let it dry before putting your arms down.

Gradually increase the frequency, adding one day a week, until you can use the product daily or twice a day. But remember, it will take several weeks to reach this point, so be patient.

Try Retinol

Retinol isn’t just for your face—it can also help brighten the skin under your arms by speeding up cell turnover. If you’re using an over-the-counter retinol and not seeing results, talk to your dermatologist about getting a prescription retinoid for stronger and more effective treatment.

Make sure to follow your dermatologist’s instructions, as some retinol products can be too harsh for daily use.

Consider Laser or Microneedling Treatments

If topical treatments aren’t giving you the results you want, you might consider procedural treatments like microneedling, chemical peels, or low-fluence laser therapy. Keep in mind that these treatments will require multiple sessions to see significant improvement.

Discuss Prescription Topicals With Your Dermatologist

If you’re not seeing progress with the above tips or want faster results, talk to a dermatologist about prescription-strength topical options.

They can prescribe treatments like hydroquinone, azelaic acid, or tranexamic acid, which can be more effective for lightening dark spots. Your dermatologist will advise you on the best way to use these products for your skin.

Be Cautious with Trendy Home Remedies

Some viral skincare tips might seem tempting, but they’re not always safe or effective. You might have seen suggestions like using lemon juice or baking soda to lighten dark underarms, but experts advise against it.

Lemon juice is very acidic and can irritate sensitive skin, while baking soda is too alkaline and can dry out the skin. Both can lead to inflammation, peeling, and redness, making your underarms look darker instead of lighter.

Apply Sunscreen

Even though they’re often covered, they can still get sun exposure when you move around.

This is especially important if you’re using treatments like chemical exfoliants, retinol, or brightening products, which can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. So, make sure to apply sunscreen with a high SPF to keep your underarms safe.

Adjust Your Expectations

Improving the appearance of dark underarms takes time and patience. There’s no quick fix, and rushing the process can actually make things worse by causing irritation and more darkening.

It typically takes several months of consistent treatment, whether it’s at home or with professional help, to see noticeable results. So, take a step back, reassess your approach, and remember that less can sometimes be more when it comes to skincare.

how to lighten armpits naturally

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