Having dark underarms can make one uncomfortable and ilang as it is pretty much a cultural thing to perceive it as unhygienic even though it is a completely normal thing. Luckily there are a multitude of underarm whitening products in the market that can ensure your pits are as fresh as they come and take care of discoloration.
The term kill-kili power seems to bear some semblance of truth, especially if you're the type who can raise their hands like they just don't care. It will give you a boost of confidence, so you are ready to take on the world or your daily commute. We have provided a guide to help you decide on what underarm whitening products to buy - with some comments and tips from dermatologist Dr. Katrina Erika Habaluyas Luz!
Dr. Katrina Habaluyas Luz is the face behind Ask Your Derma. She is also a board-certified dermatologist in Metro Manila.
She is also an educator and digital creator on all things skin, hair, and nails. She is a Diplomate of the Philippine Dermatological Society and offers online video consultations. You can also catch her on her Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube channel.
Underarm darkening is a natural and more common occurrence than you would think. Nothing is disgusting about it. Discoloration can appear in areas other than your face, such as the back of your neck, elbows, and inner thighs. Underarm skin is about as sensitive as your eyelids, making them more prone to irritation and discoloration.
A prominent cause for dark underarms is excessive friction, as underarms often rub against something else, whether from shaving or tight clothing. The friction makes your underarm darken over time as it causes inflammation. This stimulates pigment making cells to produce more pigment that makes your skin darker.
Another culprit could be the type of underarm products that you use. Some deodorants and antiperspirants can contain ingredients that could irritate your skin, such as synthetic fragrances.
If you have an underlying medical condition like obesity, diabetes, or even polycystic ovarian syndrome, it could also cause your skin to darken. Though to be sure, you should always consult with your doctor first.
Dark underarms are a common complaint amongst patients. However, it is important for us to understand that this is a normal occurrence. We need to #normalizenormal rather than judge others or even ourselves.
Dark underarms or axillary hyperpigmentation can be due to several things. Typically, there is an increase in melanin production or abnormal distribution of this pigment in the epidermis and/or dermis after external injury.
This can be from friction (by virtue of its anatomy), irritation from the products we apply (e.g., deodorants or antiperspirants), or procedures we do to it (e.g., cleansing, shaving, plucking), to certain medical conditions such as obesity or diabetes which are prone to the development of what we refer to as acanthosis nigricans (dark, almost velvety underarms).
There are a lot of options for underarm whitening products in the market. When you look it up, it can get overwhelming. We have provided a guide that narrows it down to make it easier for you.
Lots of brands peddle their product to help you achieve instant whitening. But you also have to pay attention to its ingredients if any of them are actually good as a skin lightener. Here's what you should look for when buying.
Kojic acid is an ingredient that is widely used in our country. It is primarily used for lightening the skin as it prevents the formation of tyrosine, an amino acid used to produce melanin. It is derived from the fermentation process used to make sake, soy sauce, or rice wine.
Did you know that we have an enzyme in our body called tyrosinase responsible for the melanin, aka the color of our skin? But sometimes, the body can create too much melanin leading to hyperpigmentation such as that seen in the underarms.
This is where kojic acid comes in - as it can stop tyrosinase activity and reduce melanin production. The great thing about kojic acid is that there's a lot of science backing it up, as multiple clinical trials have been done testing its efficacy and safety as a topical medication with lightening properties.
Vitamin C is considered a powerful antioxidant, which protects the skin barrier against free radical damage. It inhibits your skin’s melanin production and fades brown spots without altering your normal skin pigmentation.
Niacinamide is also known as vitamin B3, and it helps improve hyperpigmentation. It is less potent, but it contains fewer side effects than hydroquinone, a skin bleaching agent.
Niacinamide often works best when paired with other ingredients. Examples of these are antioxidants and prescription retinoids rather than on its own, as it is rather mild and serves more to treat rosacea and other inflammatory skin conditions.
Vitamin C and niacinamide (aka Vitamin B3) are both anti-oxidants - meaning they help protect the body, including the skin, from the damage of free radicals. Vitamin C's role in reducing hyperpigmentation is more prevention via fighting free radical damage.
On the other hand, niacinamide acts by stopping melanosome transfer from melanocytes (pigment cells) to keratinocytes (skin cells), another process by which hyperpigmentation develops. The nice thing about niacinamide is that it also offers a lot of other benefits such as anti-oxidant properties, sebum regulation, barrier protection.
Lately, toners have been hyped to double as underarm products that could help smoothen and brighten underarms, particularly those containing exfoliating acids. Exfoliating acids such as glycolic acid dissolve the skin's outer layer to reveal brighter and smoother looking skin.
Definitely, I'd consult a dermatologist before starting this one. Although it is true that exfoliating acids can help brighten skin by aiding in the cellular renewal of the skin, it's possible that irritation can develop given that the underarm is an area where the skin is thin and not to mention prone to occlusion.
Best to Ask Your Derma!
Licorice root extract is an ingredient that is used in traditional medicine. It is often used to control inflammation, rosacea, and acne, but it also has skin lightening benefits. It is a rich source of antioxidants that can help reduce hyperpigmentation and prevent excess melanin from being produced.
Licorice extract aka glabridin, derived from the root of the tree, Glycyrrhiza glabra linneva, acts by inhibiting tyrosinase. It has been incorporated in skincare products given its anti-oxidant and skin lightening properties, particularly useful for sensitive skin types.
Underarm whitening products come in different forms. It is not necessary to integrate them all into your daily routine lest you irritate your delicate skin. The key is to find one that you could consistently use.
A deodorant is a small yet important part of everyone’s daily routine. It is almost automatic to swipe on deodorant or antiperspirant after showering to keep ourselves smelling fresh and promote good hygiene, especially in a country as humid as ours.
If you want a pretty low maintenance route, you can look for deodorants formulated with skin lightening ingredients. These serve the dual purpose of preventing you from smelling bad and reducing dark spots at the same time.
Deodorants are one of the most commonly used cosmetic products that people apply on their underarms daily. Deodorants are typically used to mask odor but newer products incorporate lightening ingredients as well. This makes them very convenient, no-fuss, and handy to be applied.
Some form of whitening soaps is always present in Filipino households to keep skin looking bright. If you’re the type to dislike applying many products on your underarms, you can opt to use soaps instead. The good news is lots of whitening soaps contain skin-whitening ingredients, so it is just a matter of choosing one to suit your preference.
The main purpose of soaps and cleansers is precisely to cleanse. This is why it contains surfactants that lift dirt and aid in the solubility of oils. A lot of soaps in the market, however, have been incorporated with lightening agents.
By virtue of its method of use wherein one applies it on the body and immediately washes it off with little contact time with the skin, it's definitely difficult to assess how much of the product is actually absorbed, lest if any effect can be brought about.
Dark underarms could also be caused by the build-up of dead skin, which could happen if you don’t exfoliate every once in a while. You could do physical exfoliation by making your own homemade remedy or chemical exfoliation using acids present in toners or detoxifying your pits using clay masks.
The skin of the underarm is unique - given its anatomic position and composition (rich in hair follicles and sebaceous glands). Thus, it requires specialized attention and care.
However, scrubbing is not encouraged as it can cause additional friction and irritation. Best to consult your board-certified dermatologist on this one as they can offer in-clinic procedures which use alpha-hydroxy acids in lower concentrations, such as glycolic acid, which would bring about exfoliation.
Unlike deodorants or soaps, creams are applied like your regular skincare routine - morning and night for maximum efficacy. Keep in mind that some creams can take longer than others for you to see effects, so have a little patience.
Apply the cream on clean underarms. Just like you ensure to apply skincare products on a clean face, the same goes for underarm creams. This is to ensure it is properly absorbed by your skin.
Aside from deodorants and soaps, lightening creams for the body including the underarms are also readily available in the market. It is very important to patch test the product before using it fully as the risk for contact dermatitis is definitely there. These creams may contain a variety of ingredients including fragrance that may cause a reaction in sensitive individuals, all the more since it will be applied to a particularly sensitive area.
Nowadays, there are lots of products in the market that claim to lighten underarms instantly. However, you should know that it could take some time, especially if you are using acid peels. You wouldn't want to overdo it.
Make sure to purchase products that come from reputable brands and not suspicious looking ones as it could contain toxic chemicals such as mercury, which could only worsen your skin condition.
When shopping for skincare products, remember just because it’s sold on a shelf, doesn’t make it safe. It's important that you do your research. It can be challenging to navigate ingredients lists on most skincare product labels, thus, when in doubt Ask Your Derma!
If you are unsure of what product to buy, that is totally fine. We recommend that you consult with a dermatologist or your doctor to find one that is suitable for you.
It is also handy to hear their sage advice if you want a more potent product. This applies especially when it comes to chemicals, instead of just blindly purchasing whatever is trending at the moment and doing it yourself.
It's definitely advisable to seek a consultation with your board-certified dermatologist of choice! They can help you identify the possible cause of the underarm darkening as well as the product and/or procedure that would enable you to achieve the best and safest results.
Here are our top 10 best underarm whitening products that will get you confidently raising your hands in no time.
**Prices may vary depending on the website and their campaign period**
|Key Ingredient||Collagen, Vitamin B3|
Buy 8 + 4 Free
|Key Ingredient||Kojic Acid, Tranexamic Acid|
|Key Ingredient||Vitamin C, Camu Camu Berry|
|Key Ingredient||Sunflower Oil, Tea Tree Oil, Sage Oil|
|Key Ingredient||10% Niacinamide, Licorice Extract|
|Key Ingredient||Activated Charcoal, Salicylic Acid, Kojic Acid, Glycerin|
|Key Ingredient||Mallow, Peppermint, Cowslip, Lady's Mantle, Green Tea Extract, Glycerin|
Buy 1 Take 1
|Key Ingredient||Glutathione, Vitamin C, Papaya Enzymes|
|Key Ingredient||Alpha Arbutin, Hyroxyphenoxy Propionic Acid|
|Key Ingredient||Rolled Oats, Apricot Kernel, Apple Cider Vinegar, Papaya Extract|
The Body Shop
Intensive Renew Deo Dry Serum Collagen + Vitamin B3
Intensive Whitening Bar
Vitamin C Glow-Revealing Liquid Peel
Beauty +PLUS Deodorant Stick
Intensive Underarm Whitening Cream 10% Niacinamide
Activated Charcoal Whitening Soap
Illuminants + Axillight: Treatment Antiperspirant
Intense Whitening Body Scrub
Underarm Whitening Cream
Pit Perfect Underarm Whitening Scrub
For Deeply Penetrating Whitening
Go-To Whitening Soap for Filipinos
Concentrated Vitamin C Peel for Maximum Potency
Your Cult-Favourite Sunflower Oil Now in Deo Form
Get Smoother Underarms With Niacinamide
Detoxifies Underarms for a More Even Complexion
Hypoallergenic and Preservative-Free Antiperspirant
Mild Exfoliator that's Gentle on Delicate Areas
Cream That’s Also Suitable for Elbows and Knees
Scrub That Fits Into Your Budget
|Price Starts at||₱159||₱478||₱1,046.25||₱199.75||₱299||₱80||₱1,270||₱115||₱369.75||₱190|
|Key Ingredient||Collagen, Vitamin B3||Kojic Acid, Tranexamic Acid||Vitamin C, Camu Camu Berry||Sunflower Oil, Tea Tree Oil, Sage Oil||10% Niacinamide, Licorice Extract||Activated Charcoal, Salicylic Acid, Kojic Acid, Glycerin||Mallow, Peppermint, Cowslip, Lady's Mantle, Green Tea Extract, Glycerin||Glutathione, Vitamin C, Papaya Enzymes||Alpha Arbutin, Hyroxyphenoxy Propionic Acid||Rolled Oats, Apricot Kernel, Apple Cider Vinegar, Papaya Extract|
It's good to understand that dark underarms are normal. Therefore, there is no need to get distressed over it. But if it is a concern to you, then there are definitely options that can be done at the comforts of your home or under the direct supervision of your dermatologist.
Looking for other underarm products? Here are other items you can use whether you want a brighter looking kili-kili or a more natural deodorant option.
Underarm darkening is a natural occurrence and is nothing to be alarmed about. Perhaps it is more of a cultural thing, but if you are bothered by it, you can always consult your dermatologist to solicit the right advice. You can also achieve kili-kili goals by choosing any of our recommended whitening products.
Author: Justine Cuizon
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