Axillary hyperpigmentation (AH) is a condition where the skin of the armpits is darker than the surrounding skin and the rest of the body. This condition can be embarrassing and troublesome for many people who have tried multiple options to treat this with little to no success.
Why is AH so hard to treat?
Well first, it is important to know what the cause of AH is. AH can be a genetic condition, a medical condition, or most commonly, can be a product of something called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH).
AH that is a form of PIH is often the result of things we do in our daily life, such as shaving, using shaving cream and deodorant. Shaving causes inflammation due to damage and irritation of the hair follicles, whereas the shaving cream and deodorant contain chemicals in them that can cause irritation and inflammation.
Another reason people develop AH from PIH is simply due to the anatomy of the axilla and the friction in that area with our daily movements. This area of the skin is very sensitive, and similar to the skin under our eyes, which is why it is so susceptible to post-inflammatory responses.
Another common reason AH occurs is due to skin condition called acanthosis nigricans (AN). AN is characterized by dark, thick skin in the folds of the body, and sometimes can itch and have a poor odor.
AN can be a symptom of diabetes/pre-diabetes, hormonal issues, thyroid issues, certain medications, obesity, etc. It can also be due to genetics and family history. Bloodwork may be required to figure out if there is a medical cause to the hyperpigmentation.
So how do we get rid of axillary hyperpigmentation?
Once the root of the cause is determined, a treatment plan can be formulated, but like most medications/treatments, it may take trial and error to figure out the best plan for optimal results.
While unfortunately, there is no standard treatment for AH, the first recommended line of treatment is skin lightening agents, such as Tretinoin or hydroquinone creams.
Chemical peels, dermabrasion, micro-needling, and laser therapies may also be helpful in lightening the skin. Chemical peels, dermabrasion, and micro-needling treatment options can help by exfoliating, removing, and repairing damaged/thick skin.
Micro-needling has the added benefit of collagen production to the treated area and has less risk to cause additional hyperpigmentation that a laser may cause, especially for those with darker skin tones.
Lastly, lets discuss lasers as treatment options for axilla hyperpigmentation. Laser hair removal may be beneficial for some people due to the darkening color of the root of the hair, which could be making the underarm look dark. Another option is the IPL, also known as Intense Pulse Light, laser.
The IPL laser works by breaking up melanocytes, the cells that cause pigmentation, and bring them to the surface for them to flake off. It is important to note that because of this process, the area will get darker at first, then over the following two weeks, it will break up, diminish, and lighten.
You may see results after one treatment, but often a few sessions are required for the maximum benefit. The Tetra CO2 CoolPeel laser may also help to lighten hyperpigmented areas. The CO2 CoolPeel laser delivers fractional ablative treatments without thermal damage and results in superficial skin resurfacing.
While laser treatments can help hyperpigmentation, in some individuals, it can actually make it worse. Usually, this risk is more common in people with darker skin tones. Laser treatments can also cause post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation as discussed earlier.
Your provider will do their best to chose the correct laser treatment and settings based on your skin type to reduce this risk.
So, what can we do for you at Avere Beauty for Axillary Hyperpigmentation? We will sit down with you and collect your health history to try to figure out the cause of the condition and assess your skin.
Once we think we know what the cause is, we can formulate an individualized treatment plan that hopefully gives you the most optimal result with the least downtime and cost!
Book now at averebeauty.com