Summer is the time for slinky tops, iced drinks and dark underarms on full display. The underarm area gets dark because of a number of reasons. The most predominant of these are:
Harsh chemicals: Chemicals present in our deodorant act by blocking the sweat glands. Some of these can be harsh to the skin and while these won’t cause any upfront irritation or reaction, they can cause darkening. Epilatory creams are notorious for causing darkening of the underarm area. It’s worth noting that in some cases, the chemical might not cause direct darkening but in fact might just be causing skin irritation. The skin’s hyper response to counter the irritation can cause darkening over a period of time. Since there isn’t one single chemical that is notorious for causing darkening, it’s a good practice to observe if a new product is causing any irritation or burning. Waxing is a better choice for keeping the area clean and it also helps in removing dead skin build-up. Shaving is convenient and perhaps our first choice on occasions (the dirty secret is out!), limiting it to the last resort might help too. For a few skin types, the friction of metal against the skin can cause darkening.
Hormones: A woman’s hormones are in a state of constant ebb and flow. While that proffers the perfect explanation for going from meek to monstrous in a matter of hours if not minutes, it’s also what plays havoc with our bodies. Unhealthy shift in hormones is known to aggravate acne, hair fall, weight gain, appetite… and if that weren’t enough it also aggravates pigmentation. This is most apparent in the facial region, armpits and in some cases around the nape. What helps is getting a GP/gynaecologist’s opinion on the state of your hormones and thyroid. With correct medication, pigmentation can be reversed.
Heredity: If your mommy had it, her mommy had it, mommy’s mommy had it, then hey sister, you just shored up enough arsenal to fight with the unfair universe. But you are a woman of today, smart and oh so things-gotta-change-around-here boss. And they should. Get on your investigative hat, notepad (no drop the smoke pipe, only Sherlock could carry it well) and get going.