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Meladerm for Dark Underarms

author image Jessica Blue
An award-winning blogger, Jessica Blue has been promoting sustainability, natural health and a do-it-yourself attitude since graduating University of California, Berkeley in 2000. Her work, seen in a wide variety of publications, advocates an environmentally-responsible and healthy lifestyle.
Meladerm for Dark Underarms
Skin lighteners work on dark spots, including the underarm. Photo Credit Digital Vision/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Nobody's skin is perfectly even, but some of us have a little more color than others. Skin discolorations and dark spots are a common phenomenon, technically called hyperpigmentation. Hyperpigmentation can affect any body part, including your underarms. If you're tired of dark spots, you might want to try a skin lightener such as Meladerm.

Function of Meladerm

Your skin color is naturally produced by a pigment called melanin, which is created in melanosomes. Where your melanosomes are more active, the surrounding skin is darker. Meladerm, according to manufacturer Civant Skin Care, works to reduce melanosome activity. It does this by reducing the presence of the enzyme tyrosinase, which is instrumental in melanin production. Civant claims that this process will fade dark spots, including those found on elbows, knees, underarms and knuckles, within a few months.

Active Ingredients

Civant Skin Care claims to use the most beneficial and safest active ingredients, including some derived from natural extracts. Insider blog The Beauty Brains examined these ingredients, and found that the most noteworthy were kojic acid and alpha-arbutin. Kojic acid is a proven skin lightener, having been researched by the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). Alpha-arbutin was studied in Japan, where it was tested on human skin cells. Both studies concluded that these ingredients were safe for use on your delicate skin.

Meladerm does not contain hydroquinone, a skin lightener that may have negative long-term effects.

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Civant claims that, when combined with regular exfoliation, Meladerm can start rendering visible results within two weeks of use. Full results, however, can take two to three months and will depend on your skin physiology and health. After three to four months, Meladerm tends to become less effective and you can stop using it.

The AAD study found that kojic acid was more effective than the industry standard hydroquinone. Alpha-arbutin was also found to be effective: It reduced melanin synthesis by 60 percent. No proof yet exists of Meladerm's true effects, but these are promising indications.


The Beauty Brains warns that, while Meladerm bases its effectiveness claims on scientific research, that research is incomplete. The studies on kojic acid and alpha-arbutin were both conducted in vitro, meaning they were done on skin cells or samples in the laboratory. They have not been fully tested on real people; until that research is complete, it's not possible to know the true effectiveness or danger of skin lighteners like Meladerm. In particular, there is no proof yet that Meladerm will lighten your underarms.


Although the AAD declared kojic acid to be safe for use in 2004, a 1995 study discovered some instances where people had allergic reactions after a few months of use. If you have any skin problems before or after using Meladerm, talk to your doctor.

The AAD also warns against overusing skin lighteners like Meladerm. Too much can result in ocronosis, which turns your skin darker and gives it a bluish color. If you notice any color changes, stop using Meladerm and talk to your doctor or dermatologist.

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