In the dark

Tuesday, 18 October 2016


For some of us, especially olive to dark skinned women, nothing is more stressful than those dark marks under our arms. With summer well on it’s way, the thought of hiding under long sleeved tops isn’t much of an option. So what do you do? We give you the low-down on what causes dark armpits and how to remedy them.


Shaving your armpits may give them a dark, discoloured appearance. When you shave you cut the hairs off at, or just below, the surface of the skin. Regular removal can also cause ingrown hairs and skin trauma, which can lead to hyperpigmentation

How to fix it: Instead of shaving, try waxing, tweezing or even lazer removal instead. These methods get rid of the hair below your skins surface and reduce the visibility of the hairs. Products like FINO Soothe (R69.95 ), protect against bumps and ingrown hair, soothe and moisturise skin and ease discomfort when new hair growth comes through preventing dark marks.

Antiperspirants and Deodorants

Some ingredients found in these products can cause irritation to your skin and using it on irritated skin, especially after shaving, can add to the pigmentation problem.

How to fix it: Switch to a deodorant that’s gentle on your pits and contains moisturising ingredients such as glycerol and sunflower seed oil to nourish your skin.

Bacterial Infection

Human skin is alive with micro-organisms and because of this, fungal infections are common in areas like armpits. A bacterial infection known as Erythrasma can also be a culprit. Sometimes, the infection can lead to the formation of red or brown, scaly patches. Sounds scary, right? These kinds of infections are more common with people suffering from diabetes mellitus, Addison’s disease, pituitary problems, hypothyroidism, or those undergoing growth hormone therapy.

How to fix it: Thankfully there are effective topical and oral antibiotics to treat this condition. Always consult your doctor if your underarm hyperpigmentation persists or seems to be related to other symptoms, such as itching or tenderness.


Constant friction causes skin to darken. Sweat or wetness in the area also increases friction, making the problem worse.

How to fix it: Try and keep the area dry and clean by bathing regularly. To help eradicate the darkness, look for products containing alpha-hydroxy acids or topical retinoids, which is a Vitamin A derivative.

Acanthosis Nigricans

A medical condition called Acanthosis nigricans, usually found in body folds such as armpits, causes dark patches of skin with a thick, velvety texture. It’s commonly found in people who are overweight, have darker skin, and have diabetes. It’s also triggered by too much insulin in the blood stream.

How to fix it: It’s simple, watch your diet to control insulin production. These skin patches tend to disappear after successfully treating the root condition.



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  1. Itumeleng Motaung

    Thanks for the advice. I always had problems with certain deodorants. They would leave my skin very sore, dry and irritated. Now I know which products to use.

    1 year ago •


    I used to experience the Darkening but tried lemons and they’ve lightened up

    1 year ago •

  1. alecia

    I use lemon juice under my arms and they have lightened.

    2 years ago •


    How do you know what the cause is though? It could be any one of these.

    2 years ago •

  1. Mark Parr

    I enjoy my monthly wax. You can’t beat waxing. It leaves your skin smooth.

    2 years ago •

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