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Hyperpigmentation des aiselles.

How to target armpit hyperpigmentation?

Armpits are one of the areas of your body that are most susceptible to hyperpigmentation. Some people don’t care at all, while others are very conscious of it. Here are the various causes of this skin concern, and the ways you can avoid it.

Published November 29, 2022, by Maylis, Ingénieure chimiste, — 5 min read

Why are your armpits darker than other parts of your body?

Hyperpigmentation is the dermatological term used to describe persistent marks that appear on the surface of the skin. It’s caused by an irregularity in the pigmentation process that means that melanin, the pigment responsible for the skin’s natural coloration, is overproduced in certain areas. On the armpits the color is quite spread out and looks less like pigmentation marks. People with dark skin are more susceptible to having darker armpits because they produce more melanin.

Armpit hyperpigmentation is generally linked to several factors:

  • Epilation and/or shaving:

    Both of these hair removal methods can cause micro-lesions, which lead to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, turning the skin red, pink, or brown.

  • Friction:

    Whether from clothes that are too tight, or simply skin on skin, the armpits are subjected to friction which thickens the epidermis and leads to a buildup of dead melanin-rich skin cells.

  • Certain illnesses:

    There’s a correlation between diabetes and the pigmentation process. Insulin can interfere in the melanogenesis process, which is why armpits that are a lot darker than the rest of the body are sometimes a symptom of this illness. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is another health issue linked to darker armpits.

  • Certain deodorants and antiperspirants:

    These products often contain allergens like alcohol and/or perfume, which irritate sensitive skin and cause inflammation. The body can overreact to this, leading to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation which darkens the armpits.

Darker  armpits can also be genetic.

How to avoid having darker armpits?

It’s important to clarify that it’s not always possible to avoid darkened armpits, especially when they’re caused by genetics or an illness. However, in other circumstances, you can prevent this skin concern:

  • Use natural deodorants:

    We advise you to use natural and/or hypoallergenic deodorants, which don’t contain substances derived from alcohol or synthetic perfumes.

  • Space out how often you epilate/shave:

    You could swap shaving for epilation (pulling out the entire hair, including the root), because hair regrowth and removal are less frequent. You could also decide to stop hair removal altogether, and show off your armpit hair with pride!

  • Take care of your armpits:

    In your daily shower, don’t skip properly cleaning your armpits. It helps to get rid of impurities which can dull the area. After shaving, try our soothing cream with calendula. To soothe the skin after epilation, use a cold compress, a hydrolate and/or our gel enriched with aloe vera.

  • Exfoliate:

    An excess of dead skin cells can darken your armpits. To avoid this, exfoliate them once or twice a week. Choose a gentle and natural exfoliating product which suits your skin. Our nourishing body scrub is particularly effective at softening dry and uncomfortable skin.

  • Wear looser clothing:

    This will help you to avoid friction but will also keep you cooler and reduce sweating. Choose cotton clothing and avoid synthetic materials which accumulate sweat.

Sources :

  • Syndrome des ovaires polykystiques (SOPK), un trouble fréquent, première cause d'infertilité féminine. INSERM (2019).

  • DANSINGER M. Skin problems in diabetes. WebMD (2021).

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