When it comes to beauty, dark underarms can be a source of insecurity among Filipino women.
It can be due to genetics, obesity, excessive sweating, or the after-effect of shaving.
PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) talked to celebrity dermatologist, Dr. Cathy Valencia, about this common beauty concern.
She debunked the mistaken notion that eating dark foods can cause more pigments to appear in the skin.
Not true, Dr. Cathy clarified, adding, "Usually, yung nakakaputi sa body, hindi siya pwedeng gamitin sa armpit."
She told PEP, "Example, yung mga medicine na pampaputi, parang toner na nakaka-exfoliate, they use it sa armpit nila."
She explained that some creams are intended to be used for a particular part of the body alone, "Yung nakakaputi sa body, nakakaputi sa face, hindi siya puwedeng gamitin sa armpit or sa iba."
In fact, this could worsen the case.
Here are ways to alleviate underarm discoloration, what to do and what to avoid, according to Dr. Cathy.
1. Do not scrub too much.
She pointed out,"Scrubbing of the armpits can cause irritation... ang part ng body natin, yung mga part na nagfofold, like the neck, armpit, yun yung very sensitive, kailangan alagaan.
"So kapag namula na, rest muna, and then resume."
SOLUTION: All you need to do is mix equal parts of baking soda and corn starch and dust it on underarms.
The exfoliating nature of baking soda unclogs the pores and removes dead skin cells, which are the main reason for dark discoloration of the armpit.
2. Don't shave, don't pluck.
Shaving and plucking result in chicken skin.
Dr. Cathy said, "Ang nakakaitim ng armpit is yung pagshe-shave and pag-pluck kasi sometimes hindi nila nagagawa ng tama.
"Syempre may heat yan, minsan nakakasunog ang waxing.
"So kapag nag-wax sila ng armpit nila 'tapos pinu-pull pa yan, baka lalong umitim din lalo na kung 'di expert yung gagawa."
Her suggestion: go for an Intense Pulse Light (IPL).
This procedure impairs the hair follicle, taking a longer period of hair growth and eventually minimal hair growth.
Dra. Cathy said, "If you compute it, bili ka ng razor, bili ka ng ganito, magpapa-waxing ka, bibili ka ng cream, kapag kinompute mo yan every two weeks, and then versus yung hair removal, i think mas cheaper pa rin and mas safe.
"And then puputi pa yung armpits mo kasi you dont have to put all the chemicals."
3. Choose antiperspirant carefully.
The doctor warned, "Sometimes kasi nakaka-iritate yung antiperspirant,the more na gumagamit sila, nangingitim."
To address excessive sweating, she recommended a cream or product that contains liquorice, arbutin, and nicotinamide [a form of Vitamin B3]."
4. Use lemon, calamansi, or tawas, for home remedies.
According to homeremediesforlife.com, lemon and calamansi "contain anti-septic and anti-bacterial properties that cleanse the dark underarms.
"The acidic properties of lemon exfoliate the dead skin cells and lighten the skin."