Latest Stories

Tricks of the Trade

Lighten dark areas and minimize stretch marks



Can you recommend any beauty product that can help lighten dark spots and armpits and remove stretch marks?


The darkening of underarms, elbows and knees is most likely due to hyperpigmentation, a skin condition that affects more people than you think. It is mainly a result of excess melanin, which can be hereditary, or triggered by sun exposure or pregnancy.

In the case of underarms, the area can turn dark as a reaction to your deodorant, plucking or shaving, dead skin build-up or rubbing against tight clothing. Areas like your elbows and knees can also become dark and rough when you forget to exfoliate and moisturize.

The good news is, there are many ways to lighten these areas, and you can even use ingredients you can find in your kitchen. Foods with whitening properties include lemon or calamansi, as well as papaya and milk. You may try using these to lighten dark areas, but keep in mind these will take time (a few weeks) before you see a significant change.

Another way to do it is to find a whitening system to suit your needs and budget. Find a soap, lotion/moisturizer or cream that have active ingredients like vitamin C, alpha hydroxy acids (AHA) and licorice extract, which are known to help brighten skin. Some even double as an exfoliant or deep moisturizer, which are also needed to speed up the whitening process.

But if you’re looking for a more drastic plan of action, a visit to your dermatologist is a good idea. She may be able to recommend a more potent whitening or bleaching cream to even out those dark spots. She may have a separate concoction for your underarms, since this area can be quite sensitive.


More complicated

Now, when it comes to stretch marks, well, this can be a little more complicated. We get stretch marks when we grow or gain weight too quickly, which causes our skin to break in some areas. It isn’t a serious thing, but, of course, we all want our skin to look smooth and bump-free.

BACKSTAGE at Anna Sui Spring-Summer 2012 WWW.STYLE.COM

One of the most effective ways to prevent stretch marks is by moisturizing daily, which helps skin become more elastic and pliant. This is one of those times when that old adage, “an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure,” applies. Moisturizing daily will help stave off stretch marks.

However, if you have them already, try to assess the stage they’re in. The earlier you catch these stretch marks, the easier it will be to minimize them. Their appearance will depend on your skin color: They start out pink, reddish brown, brown or dark brown and eventually fade into a more silvery color. They’re easily treatable when still red or purple, than when they’ve turned silver or white with deep indentations.

Luckily, there are quite a few products out there that help minimize stretch marks. Read the label and look for the following active ingredients: retinoids (proven to increase collagen and elastic production, but not to be used when nursing); glycolic acid (also known as AHA, this boosts collagen production); and vitamin C (works well with glycolic acid).

These may also be available in their potent form from your dermatologist. And if you are looking for a faster way to zap those marks, ask your doctor about laser treatments.

Got a beauty question? E-mail the author at ask.kellymisa @gmail.com.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: beauty , Lifestyle , skin , Stretch Marks

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  2. ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  3. This is not just a farm
  4. She has become the sex slave of her best friend
  5. Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  6. Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Giudicelli sing ‘All of Me’–and we all swoon
  7. Moist, extra-tender blueberry muffins
  8. Most criticized books list includes Hunger Games, Perks
  9. How Vitamin B can be a remedy for ‘manhid’ and neuropathy
  10. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  1. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  2. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  3. Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Giudicelli sing ‘All of Me’–and we all swoon
  4. How Vitamin B can be a remedy for ‘manhid’ and neuropathy
  5. 90 percent of Filipino households don’t practice proper toilet hygiene, sanitation
  6. ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  7. Boots Anson-Roa to wed in Eddie Baddeo
  8. Prince William fuels speculation of second royal baby
  9. Marcos grandson to wed beautiful Rocha scion
  10. This is not just a farm
  1. Mary Jean Lastimosa is new Miss Universe Philippines
  2. Did Angara ruin Pia Wurtzbach’s chances at Bb. Pilipinas?
  3. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  4. Manila in shock over model Helena Belmonte’s death
  5. Vinegar test helpful vs cervical cancer
  6. From Jeannie to mom of suicide victim
  7. San Vicente beaches hidden but not for long
  8. Borgy and Georgina are back; others are off–again
  9. Sen. Angara: I thought Pia Wurtzbach gave a good answer
  10. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?


  • Divers begin pulling bodies from sunken ferry in Korea
  • Aquino: ‘Doubting Thomases’ now contributing to PH recovery
  • Fire engulfs apartments in Sampaloc
  • Messy warehouse belongs to Unicef, WFP, says Soliman
  • Suspected Abu Sayyaf rebels release hostage
  • Sports

  • Warriors beat Clippers in playoff opener
  • Pacquiao top Mayweather contender
  • Rain or Shine, Ginebra clash for No. 6 spot
  • Ateneo eyes quarterfinal spot vs Benilde
  • Style contrast marks OneFC ‘Rise of Heroes’
  • Lifestyle

  • Noli Yamsuan, Cardinal Sin’s ‘official’ photographer: ‘I could smell the aftershave lotion of the Pope’
  • Simplifying and lightening life
  • Where to go for Easter night-out
  • Joe de Venecia visits the Queen Mother of Cambodia
  • Fashionistas flock to designer’s wedding
  • Entertainment

  • Show-biz celebrities’ other choices of summer getaway
  • Why ‘Noah’ can’t dock his ark at Philippine theaters
  • Acclaimed artist goes wild while on holiday
  • Believing in this mermaid
  • Missing Xian
  • Business

  • Top-selling insurance agent opens her dream café
  • Connecting and transacting with one another
  • Building wealth for health
  • Why Mandaue Foam buys, rather than rents, space
  • A workplace of new possibilities
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Epiphany
  • Unpaid creditor vs distressed debtor
  • Moving on
  • From culinary desert to paradise
  • Response to China: ‘Usjaphil’
  • Global Nation

  • Asia seeks Obama’s assurance in territorial spats
  • Cesar Chavez movie sparks memories of Fil-Am labor leaders
  • Filipinos in US poised for success
  • Visas for priests and other faith leaders
  • DOH to continue tracking co-passengers of OFW infected with MERS virus