Can waxing darken underarms?

How waxing affects your underarm skin

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Like most women, you may want to stop the shaving your underarms routine and kick it to the curb. You may be thinking about other hair-removal options, and there are many to mention a few like electrolysis, laser hair removal, hot wax, cold wax, sugaring and using various hair removal creams, together with a variety of devices to help you get that flawless skin.Unlike some of these newer options, waxing has been around for a while. It’s easy to locate a salon that offers waxing, and there are many brands of DIY products also available. However, you may be questioning if it is safe to wax, after all, you’re tearing the hairs out of your sensitive underarm skin.

Is waxing safe for underarm skin?

A look at waxing and dark underarms

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Overall, underarm waxing is a useful and relatively safe way of hair removal practiced by many people. There are a few drawbacks to utilizing this method, including pain, bruising and minor bleeding that occurs when you rip the hair out of your skin. You’re also removing a thin layer of skin in the process. This may leave your freshly waxed skin susceptible to irritation and infection. You may also get minor burns if the wax used is too hot, and some find that over time, repeated waxing can darken the skin or cause it to lose its elasticity. Additionally, there can be some risk of infection linked to the reuse of wax at a salon. Salons often reheat wax and use it on many clients, and if a piece of epidermis gets in the wax, it can harbor germs. If you’re worried about wax reuse, ask the salon attendant for a fresh batch of wax 

What causes armpits to darken?

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Discoloration of the skin in the armpits can be due to many causes as it is very sensitive skin and can easily get irritated and lose its moisture. Shaving, waxing, using deodorants and harsh products like antiperspirants regularly can all irritate the skin and stimulate the melanin-producing cell causing hyperpigmentation (darkened skin).Other causes of hyperpigmentation include:

  • The growth of dark hairs under the skin surface
  • Genetics and medical conditions like:

Acanthosis nigricans – which is a skin disease characterized by patches of dark, velvety discolored skin in body folds and creases, like in the armpits. It affects obese or diabetic people. In extremely rare cases, it can symbolize a cancerous tumor in an internal organ. In many situations, the treatment of the underlying cause can help decrease the discoloration like by losing weight, taking medicine for any underlying problems or having surgery.Erythrasma is also a disease that can cause armpit discoloration. Erythrasma is a long-term bacterial skin infection caused by the bacterium Corynebacterium minutissimum and is also prevalent in overweight or diabetic patients.

  • Dead skin cell build up: If the accumulation of dead skin cells is to blame, a dermatologist should be able to diagnose and prescribe an exfoliant to eliminate the dead skin.
  • If the discoloration is due to overstimulated melanocytes; which are producing extra melanin, a topical ointment will work sufficiently, but it is only a short-term solution. Despite what the cause may be, your first step should be to see a dermatologist. There are a few questions that dermatologists ask before determining a mode of treatment: What’s the underlying cause of the pigmentation? Where is the pigmentation localized? Is it a symptom of an underlying disorder like diabetes, or is it melasma, which is more chronic?

Not all pigment disorders are the same, and it is important to find the root cause. The treatment always revolves around protecting the skin diligently from the sun, putting on sunscreen diligently, stopping hormones if needed and using a blend of bleaching agents with rotating active ingredients.Treatment of darkened underarms, however, depends on the cause.

How to lighten dark armpits

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While you may be thinking that waxing is a better option to shaving, the process isn’t much better. Ripping away the hair with wax regularly can make things worse especially if you’re susceptible to ingrown hairs. If you have thick, coarse hair, waxing can lead to trauma and inflammation because of ingrown hairs – making you prone to dark areas. These thick, dark hairs can make the armpits look darker even before they grow through the surface of the skin. Daily shaving, waxing and applying deodorant can irritate the sensitive skin of the armpits and lead to hyperpigmentation. Here’s how to avoid discoloration, itchiness, and irritation. Prevention tips:

  • Bath or shower regularly to clean off sweat and environmental contaminants. It also helps with skin cleanliness.
  • Wax instead of shaving as this helps to eliminate dark ingrown hairs that cause your underarms to appear dark. Waxing removes dead skin cells.
  • Exfoliate: With the accumulation of dead skin cells the skin can get dark patches. Exfoliate properly using a semi-rough sponge or a scrub while showering.
  • Change the deodorant you use: Some deodorants and antiperspirants can trigger an adverse reaction with the skin cells that produce melanin. Ask your dermatologist about getting a less harsh one or find a natural alternative.
  • Keep your skin dry, especially during warm weather.
  • Avoid wearing clothes that make you sweat and when exercising wear clothes made of fabrics that absorb moisture.
  • Avoid very hot or damp situations
  • Maintain a healthy body weight to prevent getting ailments that are caused by being overweight.

Easy at-home remedies

However, if your armpits are already discolored, here are some easy at-home remedies which should alleviate the darkening:


There’s a reason lemons are used in most cleaning products; they have a natural cleansing power and antibacterial qualities. Lemon is a natural skin lightener, exfoliating agent, and toner, so it leaves your skin feeling smoother and softer.  To lighten your armpits, slice a lemon and rub it onto the armpit in circular motions then gently wash it off after.

Lemon juice and honey mask

During your bath, mix equal parts raw honey and lemon juice. Apply this to your underarms as a mask and leave on for about five minutes. Rinse the paste off and moisturize the area.


Potatoes are acidic, and this quality makes them ideal for use to naturally ‘bleach’ the skin. Slice some potatoes and rub them on your armpits and leave to dry, then rinse off gently and repeat if necessary. 


Much like potatoes, these plants contain natural bleaching agents. Rub a thick slice of cucumber on your armpits and let it sit for about an hour before washing off with lukewarm water.

Bicarbonate of soda scrub

Make a natural skin lightening scrub by combining a spoon of bicarbonate of soda with one of coconut oil. Gently scrub this mixture onto your underarms and leave the scrub on for 5-10 minutes before rinsing off. Over time, bicarbonate of soda exfoliates the epidermis getting rid of dark patches and body odor. Instead of coconut oil, you can use some fresh lemon juice or apple cider vinegar.

Gram flour mask

Make a skin lightening flour mask or paste by combining 2 spoons of gram flour, a spoon of milk, 1 spoonful of lemon juice, and a pinch of turmeric. The paste will be yellow. Apply it on clean, dry skin and let it sit for about 30 minutes before rinsing it off. The lemon and milk work to lighten and brighten the skin.

Turmeric mask

Mix some turmeric powder with coconut oil and use this paste on clean underarms for 20 minutes. Wipe it off with a tissue then rinse with some cool water. Turmeric is rich in antioxidants and draws out impurities while lightening skin discoloration.

Aloe vera

Apply some aloe vera juice onto freshly shaved underarms to disinfect and to moisturize and heal the skin. It is high in antimicrobial properties, and it also promotes skin rejuvenation. Some use fresh Aloe Vera gel as a shaving gel. It is slippery and moisturizing therefore making it ideal for this function.

Over the counter Topical Treatments

There are several commercially accessible topical creams and ointments meant to lighten skin tone. Normally marketed as skin lighteners or skin-bleaching agents, such solutions can contain a variety of active ingredients. Common active ingredients can include hydroquinone, retinoids, corticosteroids, mercury, etc., and many of these solutions are sold with instructions to discontinue use after six months. Some solutions can take several weeks of use to see a notable improvement. They work by reducing or inhibiting the generation of melanin, the skin’s natural pigment enzyme.

Other Treatments

If you can spend more money and endure a short recovery period, some medical methods can help balance our underarm skin tone. Chemical peels utilizing alpha hydroxy acids and beta hydroxy acids can remove the outer layer of skin to reveal brighter skin beneath. Q-switch ruby lasers can also be used to remove pigment without any scarring, and both laser therapy and dermabrasion can be appropriate for some skin conditions, particularly acanthosis nigricans.

How to tighten skin?

To make our skin tighter, eat healthily, exfoliate your skin, limit UV exposure, and use

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