Ask the ESSENCE Beauty Editors: 'How Can I Lighten My Underarm Skin?'

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When it comes to beauty, no one loves to talk makeup, hair and skin care more than your ESSENCE beauty team. If you’re in need of get-glam tips and tricks, help is here. Each week Corynne, Tasha, Marcia and Nicole will answer your most pressing questions, share expert advice and recommend must-have products. Email your questions to BeautyEditors@essence.com.

Q: Why are my underarms darker than the rest of my body? Is there a way I can get my underarms to return to my natural skin tone?

A: Many of us experience darkness under our arms due to irritation from either the shaving process itself or the deodorant we use. Here’s the reality: the skin under our arms is delicate so it can be easily irritated. So let’s start with the shaving process itself. Are you using a shave cream or oil? It’s important because trying to remove the hair without it could cause additional irritation. If you don’t want yet another thing in your shower I would suggest picking up the Gillette Venus & Olay razor ($8-$10, drugstores) because it’s designed with moisturizers that combat the dryness that can come with shaving.

Next, take a look at the deodorant you’re using—is it too strong? When I experienced underarm irritation in the past, the culprit was deodorant. Check out the Dove Clear Tone Anti-Perspirant/Deodorant ($4-6, drugstores) because it is actually formulated to reduce irritation and fade dark marks with continued use.

Now if the darkness under your arms doesn’t improve after you’ve tried these methods, you may have to look at a different way to remove your hair. Some sisters go for waxing because it thins the hair out over time and is done less frequently. Another alternative is to invest in laser hair removal. An important thing to note when it comes to trying lasers: You must find someone who has experience working with Black skin otherwise you’re putting yourself at risk. All lasers are not designed to work well on darker skin so don’t be afraid to ask questions or better yet, get a referral from a friend.

Have you discovered a way to prevent underarm darkness?  Share your tips in the comments section!  —Corynne

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