Spring has just turned to summer, and the first pool party is approaching. You decide to celebrate the season by buying a new swimsuit. In the dressing room you excitedly slip into the first swimsuit. As you lift your arms, you notice the dark color of your armpits. Your shopping enthusiasm quickly vanishes -- you just don't know what it is or how to make that discoloration disappear.
Underarm skin discoloration is either a familiar frustration you're intimately acquainted with or a problem you probably didn't even know existed. It's know as underarm hyperpigmentation -- hyper means "more," and pigmentation refers to color. Before you learn about the causes of underarm hyperpigmentation, it's helpful to know how your skin gets its color in the first place. Melanin-producing cells called melanocytes give skin its pigment [source: Mayo Clinic]. People with darker skin have more melanin than people with lighter skin, and someone with albinism has little, if any, melanin. Clusters of melanin cause freckles and moles [source: Mayo Clinic].
People with discolored underarm skin are often self-conscious and embarrassed by their underarms, and they don't know why their armpits are dark. Understanding the causes of this hyperpigmentation can often help prevent underarm skin discoloration, and there are ways to treat the condition.
Keep reading to learn about the most common causes of underarm skin discoloration and how to treat them.