Chemical peels improve pigmentation and skin texture on the face and body. But can we also use chemical peels for dark underarms? Most experts say yes.
However, given that the skin of our underarms is so sensitive, chemical peeling should be done cautiously.
If you struggle with dark underarms and are thinking about having a chemical peel done, here are some nuggets of knowledge about what you should know when it comes to chemical peels and your dark underarms.
How Do Chemical Peels treat Dark Underarms
Chemical Peels are procedures that significantly and quickly reduce skin discoloration.
Chemical peels work by:
- Eliminating damaged cells.
- Increasing skin cell turnover, replacing them with healthy, normal cells.
- Preparing the skin to receive topical applications like azelaic acid, can help reduce discoloration even more.
- Disrupting melanin synthesis (the making of the pigment that gives skin its color). It accomplishes this by suppressing tyrosinase activity.
The underarm area is considered a special case that warrants extra care and caution. This is because the skin there is very sensitive (more so than almost anywhere else on the body).
How Is A Chemical Peel Done For Dark Underarms
Chemical peeling is the process where a chemical (usually an acid) is applied to the skin in controlled amounts to remove the top layer of the skin.
This results in the generation of new skin cells and remodeling of the skin.
The steps you will need to follow when having a chemical peel done will include:
- Have an initial consultation with your doctor to discuss the cause of your darkened skin, the overall condition of your skin, and what kind of chemical peel will be best for you.
- Follow all your skin priming instructions. Your skin professional will advise you on how best to prepare your skin for the chemical peel during the few weeks before the procedure. This will ensure that your skin is strong and healthy to undergo the peel without being damaged.
- Have the procedure done on the appointed date. Your skin care professional will clean your skin and apply the chemical peel solution.
- Discuss your aftercare and follow-up sessions. Your doctor will advise you on how you should care for your skin after the peel, what you should expect, what you should do for side effects, and when you should see them again for a follow-up visit. You will need to take a few days off from work to care for your skin.
- Follow all your aftercare instructions.
Even though the skin on your underarms and the skin on your face are different, the effect of the chemical peel is expected to be the same. It may just progress differently.
Since your underarms are more sensitive, peeling may last longer and the side effects may be a little more intense. However, with proper aftercare, you should heal just fine.
Click here to read What to Expect After a Chemical Peel
What’s the Best Chemical Peel For Dark Underarms
The kind of chemical peel that is ideal for you will depend on the type and degree of hyperpigmentation (darkened skin) you have, as well as your skin type.
As each person’s skin is unique, the best thing to do would be to discuss your options with your doctor and/or skin care professional.
However, generally, the best chemical peels to treat darkened skin are:
- Glycolic acid Peels- Tend to be milder & better for sensitive skin
- Lactic Acid Peels
- Salicylic Acid Peels
- Trichloroacetic Acid (TCA) Peels (Most effective but harsher on your skin so this may not be a suitable option for your underarms)
Remember: Do not do a chemical peel on your underarm at home, on your own, especially if you have no experience with chemical peels in general.
Even though there are chemical peel solutions being sold online and over the counter for your face, they may still be too strong for your underarms.
Always consult a professional if you are going to consider and do such intense treatments on skin as sensitive as your underarm skin.
For a faster and less risky way to lighten your underarms I highly recommend using Laser whitening, you can click here to learn more.
Side Effects of A Chemical Peel
The common side effects of a chemical peel are:
- Some irritation
- Mild discomfort or pain in the area
In your underarm area, these side effects may be amplified because of the location, the tendency for your skin to rub together under there, and the thinness or extra sensitivity of the area.
How intense your side effects are will also depend on the kind and concentration of chemical peel that you use, and your aftercare practices.
Remember to pay attention to your skin to make sure you notice and can treat any side effect that is unexpected or that you know when to seek medical attention.
Care Tips After A Chemical Peel For Dark Underarms
Your aftercare routine will include things you should do to help your skin heal and things that you should avoid.
The key to gaining the best results from your chemical peel and protecting your tender underarm skin is to follow your doctor’s aftercare instructions and take good care of your skin.
Tips to Make Your Armpits Heal Better after a Chemical Peel
- Ensure that you ask about & follow all your aftercare Instructions.
- Keep your skin clean. Use a gentle cleanser
- Moisturize your armpits. Use a gentle moisturizer that won’t clog your pores
- Protect your skin from the Sun. Wear clothes that cover your underarms and ensure you use a good sunscreen
- Keep your clothes as loose as you can to prevent the skin from chaffing or becoming more irritated
- Do not exfoliate or scrub your armpits
- Avoid sweating as much as you can. Use loose clothing, stay indoors, and stay in a cool environment if you can (use a fan, or AC if possible)
- Keep hydrated and get enough sleep and rest – to allow your skin to heal
Things to avoid after a chemical peel for underarms
- Sun exposure – wearing sunscreen is a must
- Exfoliation – let the skin naturally peel
- A complicated skincare routine – too many chemicals are to be avoided.
- Skin care products with active ingredients like retinoids, tretinoin, acids, etc.
- Washing with harsh cleansers/soap and warm/hot water
- Scented fabric softeners, soaps, deodorants and other skin products
- Tight fitted clothes
- Excessively touching, picking or scratching your skin
- Other cosmetic treatments during the healing process
- Saunas (which cause you to sweat excessively)
- Strenuous physical activity (which also causes you to sweat excessively)
Apart from skipping the deodorant, and wearing loose clothing, the aftercare specifics for your underarm are much the same as the aftercare for your face.
- Keep your skin clean, hydrated, and moisturized
- Keep your skin protected from the sun
- Let the chemical peel do its thing naturally
- Monitor and manage side effects
Alternative Treatments To Chemical Peels For Dark Underarms
If chemical peels are not right for you, there are other treatments available that can also help dark underarms. These include:
- Vitamin C,
- Glycolic Acid Serums or Toners,
- And Retinol
- Laser Whitening for Underarms
- Niacinamide for Dark Underarms