Talking about underarms tends to be a topic that most people avoid, despite the fact that 9 out of 10 women actually feel conscious and embarrassed about their pits.
Our underarms are actually supposed to be the same shade as the rest of the skin, but when the reverse happens – it can be a real nightmare to deal with. Not only can it be detrimental to one’s self esteem, it can also lead to uncomfortable situations that may cause us to cover up even during tank top and bikini season.
A 2014 study revealed that roughly 74% of people will suffer from dark armpits at some point in their life – which is why in this article, we aim to explore the causes of this stressful issue, and also cover possible solutions to help you see the light!
Causes of dark underarms
There are many factors that can lead to the darkening of the underarms, including genetics, obesity and sun exposure. Your age, race and lifestyle habits, including smoking and using the wrong type of deodorant for your skin can also worsen the darkness.
It can also be due to a more serious condition known as Acanthosis Nigricans (AN) – which causes skin to thicken and darken in areas such as the elbows and neck, and of course, the underarms. It is often accompanied with an itch or foul odor, and is more likely to happen in people with dark skin as they are more prone to hyperpigmentation.
While dark underarms are deemed as more of a cosmetic issue, AN is often associated with an underlying medical condition, such as diabetes or obesity.
Repeated trauma and friction from improper shaving or plucking techniques can also cause post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) – which stimulates excess melanocyte production, the pigment cells responsible for darkening of the skin.
Understanding melanin production
Your skin color is actually determined by melanocytes – specialized skin cells that produces the skin-darkening pigment, melanin.
While it is meant to protect us from the harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun, an excessive amount of melanin brought about by melanocytes multiplying faster than usual can lead to skin turning into an undesirable, dark color.
Having said that, how do we successfully treat dark underarms then? Essentially, in order to lighten the skin, you will need to remove the excessive pigments. However, hyperpigmentation is often a dermal problem – meaning to say that it requires a solution that is able to reach beneath the deeper layers of the skin.
While there are plenty of over-the-counter creams and products that promise to whiten the armpits, including the use of natural remedies such as lemon juice and sea cucumber extracts – they might not be the most effective in the long run, as most of them only work to improve the external appearance of the skin instead of dealing with the root cause of pigmentation.
When such solutions fail to work, many patients look to visit a doctor to have skin resurfacing treatments done, such as chemical peels or laser therapy.
While chemical peels work wonders for exfoliating the surface layers of the skin, pigmentation laser treatment is able to penetrate into the deeper layers to break down the pigments for longer-lasting, more potent results.
There are 2 main types of lasers: ablative and non-ablative laser. At The Clifford Clinic, we use a non-ablative laser called Pico – a powerful, non-invasive laser that is currently one of the most effective pigmentation treatments in the market to date.
Pico laser – the best treatment for dark underarms?
Pico is an FDA-approved treatment that uses selective photo-thermolysis – a technique that matches with specific wavelengths of light to heat up targeted tissues in order to break up the pigments in the skin. The body then naturally eliminates the pigments overtime, leading to the gradual lightening of the skin.
During the process, tiny bubbles are formed, and are eventually filled up with collagen during the body’s natural healing process that also aids in acne scar removal!
Working in picoseconds rather than nanoseconds, this makes Pico laser 10 times faster than traditional nanosecond lasers in the market. The key to Pico’s success is in its wavelengths – generating a powerful laser pulse every 450 seconds, the treatment involves a more comfortable experience, shorter recovery times and faster treatment results!
Due to its features, Pico is perfect even for those with dark, tanned skin – with minimal side effects and zero downtime! Successive treatments are needed to see optimal results, and it also depends on your body’s ability to effectively eliminate the pigments.
Since we are dealing with light energy here – it is important that your doctor knows the specific type of laser and temperature to work with; otherwise, it can lead to scarring and even more pigmentation.
Patience is key to any treatment, and so is taking good care of your skin throughout the process.
So, if you are ready to raise your arms and say yes to all the good things in life, book your consultation with us today!
1. What is a typical procedure like?
Our doctors will first cleanse your skin prior to starting treatment, followed by applying topical numbing cream onto the target areas. You will be required to wear laser-protective goggles during the session, and a cooling mask will be immediately applied to soothe your skin after.
2. Is treatment painful?
Most patients report that the treatment is highly-tolerable, with what feels like a warm, tingly sensation the skin.
3. What is the cost of treatment?
This is highly-dependent on the individual, but treatment prices can range anywhere from $250 to $1000 per session.
4. How long is a session?
The laser treatment itself will take roughly 20 to 30 minutes to complete, while the application of numbing cream and post-treatment mask will take another 30 minutes.
5. How long will it take for me to see results?
Treatment results from Pico is gradual, and patients usually notice an improvement in their skin over the next 6 months after their first session.
Generally, we recommend 4 – 6 treatments to see maximum results.
6. What are the side effects?
There are minimal side effects seen with Pico laser – the most common being redness that subsides within a few hours.
Pico laser is considered to be a no downtime treatment.
7. Why The Clifford Clinic?
There are several different Pico lasers in the market; however, at our aesthetic clinic, we use Picocare 450 lasers that also helps with rebuilding the skin’s collagen and improving its overall texture.
At The Clifford Clinic, we offer both chemical peels and laser therapy, including the powerful Pico laser to successfully treat and lighten dark underarms!
After your initial consultation with our doctors, we will customize a treatment using the ideal parameters needed to see the best results for you. We may also recommend a list of topical and oral medications as post-treatment aftercare and maintenance. Many times, we also combine our Picocare 450 laser with the HEXA MLA hand piece for patients facing acne.