How to Treat Dark Armpits During Pregnancy
The body goes through significant changes during pregnancy. Your belly expands, your blood volume increases, and your heart rate and breathing rate become faster as your baby grows. Another change that can happen during the first few trimesters is dark underarms.
If you’ve noticed dark patches on your face, armpits, or anywhere else on the body, you may have melasma.
Here’s everything you need to know about this skin condition, and how to treat it.
WHAT IS MELASMA?
Melasma is a skin disorder that commonly affects pregnant women. It occurs when the melanocytes (cells that produce melanin) in your skin produce extra pigment, often referred to as chloasma, or the “mask of pregnancy.”
Chloasma will not affect the wellness of your baby. It is merely a cosmetic concern that can be rather frustrating for moms-to-be. It is especially common in people with more pigment in their skin such as those of Latin, Hispanic, African, and Middle Eastern descent since they have more active melanin production.
Melasma is essentially darkening of the skin. Symptoms include dark spots, patches, or areas of the skin, like dark underarms. Pain or soreness are not symptoms if melasma. If you experience these symptoms, speak to your health care provider or dermatologist so that they can accurately diagnose your condition.
WHAT CAUSES DARK UNDERARMS?
According to the derms, skin hyperpigmentation during pregnancy can often occur due to hormonal changes, such as increased levels of estrogen, progesterone, and melanocyte-stimulating hormones. This skin discoloration commonly affects the underarm region, but it can also occur on the genitals, inner thighs, and areolas.
Other factors that may also increase the likelihood of skin pigmentation include excessive sun exposure, health conditions such as hyperthyroidism, and heredity (research shows that those darker skin tones are more commonly affected by skin darkening).
It’s nothing to be concerned about. More than 90% of pregnant women experience skin changes — usually in the third trimester. However, if you’re looking to get rid of dark armpits during pregnancy, there are certain skincare products and home remedies that can help.
HOW TO TREAT DARK ARMPITS DURING PREGNANCY
Wearing a pregnancy-safe broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher is essential for preventing melasma. Numerous studies have demonstrated that exposure to the sun plays a key role in triggers pigmentation. Look for an SPF that contains zinc oxide or titanium dioxide (mineral sunscreens), which are less irritating to the skin.
Apply every day, at least 20 minutes before going outside, to provide your skin with adequate protection. Re-apply every two hours.
Invest in a Vitamin C Serum
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that’s known for its brightening effects. In addition to brightening your skin tone, vitamin C helps to minimize the appearance of hyperpigmentation while fending off free radicals for smooth, supple, discoloration-free skin.
Best of all, vitamin C is safe to use during pregnancy — and suitable for all skin types. Of course, if you experience any unpleasant side effects, remove it from your skincare routine immediately.
Try Rainbow’s Smooth Bundle, which features a vitamin C serum + mask designed for both the face and body. It also contains vegan collagen, which helps spur natural collagen production and restore elasticity for youthful, radiant-looking skin.
“A mild chemical exfoliant like glycolic acid or lactic acid is helpful,” says board-certified dermatologist Dr. Marisa Garshick. “However, avoid over-scrubbing the area, as this can actually make things worse.”
You’ll find chemical exfoliants in everything from cleansers to lotions and serums. Choose a gentle formula like Rainbow’s Glow Serum. It contains a brightening blend of glycolic acid and bakuchiol (a safe retinol alternative) to buff away dull, dead skin and reveal refresh, glowing skin underneath. Besides brightening, it also offers very subtle skin lightening effects to fade away dark underarms.
Moisturize the Area
Moisturizing the underarm area is vital when it comes to keeping darkness at bay. That’s because moisturizers prevent dryness, which may increase the risk of irritation and darkening. If you’re experiencing blemishes during pregnancy, make sure you avoid a heavy, creamy formula that may block the pores. Stick to lightweight, non-comedogenic skincare products instead.
Reach for Rainbow’s Hydrate Serum. Formulated with hyaluronic acid and vitamin B5, these two ingredients work in tandem to drench skin in lasting moisture. Besides nourishing and hydrating skin, this daily serum can also treat other pregnancy-related concerns like stretch marks.
Approach Hair Removal Carefully
Waxing and dry shaving, though safe during pregnancy, can cause skin inflammation that can exacerbate melasma. For that reason, it’s worth sticking to wet shaving to ensure a smooth, irritation-free shave without hyperpigmentation.
Consider Laser Treatment
Laser therapy can be a helpful in-office treatment for lightening dark underarms and dark lines. However, we recommend speaking to your dermatologist before booking an appointment to make sure you’re a suitable candidate for the treatment.
Try Topical Medications
If you’re melasma won’t go away, ask your dermatologist about topical treatments such as hydroquinone, tretinoin, and corticosteroids. These can help improve the appearance of dark armpits with consistent use.
Consider Home Remedies
If you’re looking for a natural way to fade dark underarms, there are a few worth trying. For starters: lemon juice. Mix together half fresh lemon juice and half cucumber juice, and apply to skin using fingers or a cotton pad.
Another effective home remedy is turmeric. Turmeric contains a polyphenol compound called curcumin that’s reported to supresses melanocyte activity.
Aloe vera gel is another excellent ingredient for treating discoloration, reducing inflammation, and brightening the skin.
Melasma might not be a life threatening condition, but it can be frustrating for those dealing with it. Fortunately, there are things you can do to alleviate discoloration under your arms or anywhere else you’re experiencing skin darkening.
We recommend giving the above skincare treatments and home remedies a try to effectively address skin hyperpigmentation. If you don’t see an improvement after four weeks, visit your dermatologist for professional guidance. You may be suffering from a completely different condition.