Do You Keep Dark Secrets Under Your Arms?

It is a fact that we are so self-conscious about a lot of things. We never seem to be appeased with what we have that is why the beauty industry is flourishing from the consumer demand for mira­cle products. Beauty salon, spas and plastic surgery clinics com­pete with each other by invest­ing on hi-tech machines, which cost a fortune, to provide for the insatiable demand for “miracle treatments”. But do people es­pecially ladies look for treatments just for the face and body? I know from the years I have been in the beauty industry and from casual encounters before then, many ladies are troubled by dark arm­pits (so are their boyfriends and husbands). There is a constant quest for answers why the under­arm areas hyper pigment. This is one problem, which created so­cio-psychological stress among ladies. Many men, I know are particular with this. My husband may not be aware of this but I do observe that he habitually com­ments about armpits! He appre­ciates unblemished underarms as he sees them and you can prob­ably imagine what he says when he sees dark ones.
B-Je TanThere are several reasons for dark underarms. One culprit is the use of deodorants. I remem­ber during my puberty stage, the use of deodorant had been the usual norm to prevent bombastic underarm odor. I did not use the deodorant until I was about sweet 15 or 16. I tweezed the hairs back then and each time I made a gentle sweep, my skin would burn and develop itchy rash in the evening. I would discontinue the use for a little while but will use the product again once the irrita­tion calmed down. This had been the usual on and off routine until I finally stopped using deodorant till this day. If deodorants create burning, what’s in it that causes that sensation to the skin?

The constant trauma, caused by some strong chemical, especially if you have been using the deodorant for years, causes the browning or the staining on the armpits. I ad­vise my daughter against the use of deodorant and instead, pre­pared her a homemade deodor­ant spray from distilled water and some alum crystals (tawas). I have one client with blemished armpits who came for underarm whiten­ing treatment and the blemished area on her underarm exactly in­dicated where the deodorant was regularly wiped. The brown area is as wide as the deodorant head and the strip approximately 3-4inches long indicating exactly where she applied the product each day for so many years. I pointed it out to her and she believed that it must have been her anti perspirant that created the discoloration.. If you have hyperhydrosis, or excessive sweating, then this is different. I know that this could be an em­barrassing condition for many people and sometimes even disabling and could easily ruin one’s social and professional life. Go ask your doctor about Botox injection for hyperhidro­sis. It could be best thing that could happen to you.

A lot of people recommend waxing instead of shaving. I say otherwise! It may be true that shaving creates micro-cuts and dark shadow because the hairs are not pulled from the roots. But my own personal experience would make me biased to shaving. The color of my armpits has been fair ever since until I got them waxed from esthetics school. My skin came off and I had the worst hyper pigmentation, the full width of the waxing cloth, on both my armpits. It took long tormenting months until the area gradually faded back to its lighter color but not totally yet. If you are very hap­py with waxing and still have un­blemished, flawless armpits, then go ahead, yours is a rare case. I read from the Internet that it is recommended to go for waxing to remove the dark skin but I will never ever follow that suggestion. There are ways to exfoliate the skin but with waxing, the depth of exfoliation can never be con­trolled. The fact that my armpits turned raw red, then brown after one week, the exfoliation was way too deep.

There is a medical condition called acanthosis nigricans. This condition causes light­brown-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. Most often this condition is related to obesity. Eating too much of the wrong foods, especially starches and sugars, can cause insulin re­sistance. Occasionally acanthosis nigri­cans is congenital or due to an endocrine (glandular) disorder. People with this condition can try using whitening creams. Be careful in choosing the whiten­ing product, though, because too overuse of the whitening cream can ricochet back to the original problem which is hyper pigmen­tation. Always remember that medium to dark skin always hy­per pigments as it recovers from trauma.

Many sites on the Internet rec­ommend using lactic acid, etc. but bear in mind that these acids, depending on who manufactured it and for whose use they were formulated for ( home use, esthe­tician, doctors), can cause hyper pigmentation if improperly used. Alpha hydroxyl acids can pene­trate deep into the skin, cause al­lergies and create more damage. Make sure you consult a doctor for this or at least get some ad­vice from reliable estheticians. I have given up on using deodorant since I was 18 yrs old. This is probably why dark armpits has never been an issue with me (thank God!). I have never paid serious attention to alum (tawas) crystals until last summer. My sister in law has a jar with white pulverized stuff in it and I asked her what it was. She informed me it was tawas in the jar and she has been using it for a very long time. I was embarrassed with myself but I asked her if I can see her armpits. What I saw was a pair of underarms as fair as porcelain!

Ngayon mga kakababayan, palagay ko babalik at babalik pa rin tayo sa abang tawas para pam­paputi ng ating mga kili-kili!. (So my dear fellow Filipinos, I think it’ going back to the humble alum crystals, that we have ignored for ages, that will help whiten our un­derarms).