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Dark underarms can be defined as the dark coloration of skin in the underarm region compared to the rest of the body. It is a problem many individuals find embarrassing. Ascertaining the reason can help to alleviate the problem effectively. Darkened underarms can occur because of many reasons discussed below.
Shaving your underarms is considered to be one of the major reasons for underarm darkening. When you shave you cut the hairs off at, or just below, the surface of the skin. If your hairs are slightly darker than your skin color, they can give the appearance that your skin has a dark stain when it's really just sub-surface hair. Shaving leads to skin hardening and darkening over time because of the irritation and abrasion that naturally occurs.
Hair removing creams tend to remove unwanted hair in a smooth fashion, but these hair removers contain chemicals which can irritate the skin and cause darkening of the underarms.
Excessive sweating and poor ventilation of underarms, is also one of the major reasons for underarm darkening. Underarms are the least ventilated areas in the upper body. Wearing tight clothes can prevent the skin from breathing, which eventually makes the underarms dark.
As the cells inside our body and our skin cells die, they accumulate on the outer layers of skin, giving it a darker color. Dark spots under your arms are sometimes the result of dead skin cells that have accumulated there.
Some people can develop inflammatory reactions on the exposed areas of their skins causing discoloration due to natural reactions to the alcohol and chemicals in the deodorant. Some ingredients in these products (perhaps the fragrance) could be reacting with the skin to cause discoloration. Practically speaking this seems unlikely but many people do claim that when they stop using such products, the darkness fades away.
People suffering from obesity or diabetes may experience a condition called acanthosis nigricans. This condition can occur when there is excess insulin flowing in the blood stream. Excess insulin can cause the skin cells to become overstimulated which leads to abnormal skin growth, and subsequent darkening. This 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.
Smoker’s melanosis is a condition which results from tobacco smoking. In this condition, hyper-pigmentation is caused by smoking. Dark patches appear in areas such as underarms as long as smoking continues. When you stop smoking, these dark patches disappear.
Melasma is often observed in pregnant women. When suffering from this condition, skin discoloration occurs at sun-exposed areas, including underarms. Melasma is also found in women who use oral contraceptives and those undergoing any hormone replacement therapies.
Addison’s disease is a medical condition in which the adrenal glands do not produce the required amount of hormones such as glucocorticoids and mineralocorticoids. Addison’s disease causes hyper-pigmentation which results in darkening of skin that hasn’t been exposed to the sun such as underarms.
A bacterial infection known as erythrasma can be a culprit in producing dark underarms. The infection begins appearing as pink patches and later turns into brown scales. It affects more individuals in warm climates than those in cold. Erythrasma is treated using oral or topical antibiotics.
In general, underarm darkening is not a disease or a medical condition. It is simply a darkening of the skin, similar to sun tans that people get when exposed to ultraviolet rays for a considerable period of time. However, in certain cases, dark underarms can be result of conditions such as Addison’s disease, hormonal changes during pregnancy, diabetes, high insulin content in the body, hyper-pigmentation, and allergies or irritations caused by deodorants or antiperspirants. Know the reason before opting for any treatment to avoid further complications.
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