Dark Underarms: Causes, Prevention, and Treatment

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care for dark underarms

Have you ever experienced being shy to raise your arms when wearing sleeveless clothes? Maybe, you have even been hesitant to buy sleeveless tops, dresses, and swimsuits because you are afraid to show your underarms.

Dealing with dark or discolored underarms can be embarrassing and may even cause an individual to lose confidence and self-esteem. If you have the same problem, read on to discover how to address it.


What Causes Dark Underarms?

Ideally, your underarms should be about the same shade as the rest of your body. But sometimes, there are certain factors that cause your underarms to become darker. Here are some of the culprits that may be causing your dark underarms.


Some deodorants and antiperspirants contain paraben, alcohol, and fragrances. These chemicals can irritate your armpit skin and cause inflammation. Over time, this reaction can make the skin in your underarm thicker and darker.

There are also some antiperspirant products that have aluminum as an active ingredient. This component is effective in preventing you from sweating. However, it does so by clogging up your sweat ducts, causing your armpit to become dry and more pigmented over time.


Shaving is a quick and easy way to get rid of your armpit hair. However, using a razor to get rid of your underarm hair can also damage the skin of your underarms.

Shaving can cause irritation and abrasion on your armpit skin. The irritation caused by the razor can trigger post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, a condition that can make your underarm skin darker.

Additionally, shaving only removes the surface-level hair from your underarms. This means that the root of each hair is still in your skin. If your hair is much darker than your skin tone, the subsurface hair may make your underarms appear darker.

Tight Clothes

You must be aware that friction causes heat, which then turns the skin darker after some time. When you wear clothes made from synthetic fabrics that are tight around the armpits, you may be constantly applying friction to your underarms as you move around. If you do this regularly, it may cause your underarms to become darker.

Lack of Exfoliation

Your underarm skin is almost as sensitive as your face’s. This means that your underarm needs the same skin care routine as your face to keep it healthy.

When not cared for properly, your underarms may have an accumulation of dead skin cells. This buildup may cause the skin of your armpit to appear pigmented and feel rough.

To avoid this from happening, make sure to get rid of the dead skin cells from your armpits by exfoliating. Just be careful not to rub your skin raw. Doing this might cause more damage to your underarms than good.

smoking causes dark underarms


Smoking is an activity that not only damages your lungs. It also makes your underarms darker.

When you smoke regularly, you can suffer from smoker’s melanosis. This condition causes hyperpigmentation in various areas of your skin, including your underarms.

You will notice dark patches appearing on your skin as long as you continue smoking. Once you stop for good, your complexion will slowly return to normal.

Hormonal Imbalance

Aside from external factors, dark underarms can also be caused by internal reasons. One of these internal factors is hormonal imbalance.

When you suffer from hormonal imbalance, you may develop a condition called melasma. This occurs when the generation of the melanin-producing cells on your skin is triggered by excess levels of progesterone and estrogen. Because of this, you may experience hyperpigmentation in various parts of your body.

Melasma commonly occurs in pregnant women and those who are taking hormonal birth control pills. If you fall under these categories, make sure to look out for any discoloration on your skin and armpits.

Acanthosis Nigricans

This condition causes parts of an individual’s skin to darken and thicken over time. Some of the most common areas affected by acanthosis nigricans are the underarms, necks, elbows, and knees.

Acanthosis nigricans is often connected to other underlying health issues, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. Although this condition is not dangerous on its own, it can serve as an early indication of various types of illnesses.



Before trying any underarm whitening techniques, you must first address the factors that cause the discoloration on your underarms. Once you accomplish this, you can also prevent your underarms from getting more damaged and darker. Here are some things you can do.

Change Deodorant

Choose a whitening deodorant that does not contain any harmful chemicals, such as alcohol and paraben. One product that you can use is Gluta-C Intense Whitening Deodorant, a deodorant made with mild ingredients that will not irritate the skin of your underarms.

Stop Shaving

Since shaving can scrape and irritate your armpit, choosing a different method of armpit hair removal is the best thing to do. Instead of taking a razor to get rid of underarm hair, it is better to use wax. You can also undergo laser hair removal treatments for a more permanent solution.


Remove the layer of dead skin cells from your underarms by exfoliating regularly. Make sure to use a high-quality exfoliating product, such as the Gluta-C Shower Salt Scrub with Kojic Plus+ Whitening System, to acquire the results you want.

Avoid Wearing Tight Clothes

You should aim to reduce the friction you apply to your underarms. Achieve this by wear loose-fitting clothes as often as possible.

Stop Smoking

You have already learned about smoker’s melanosis and how it can darken your underarms. To address this issue, you have to quit smoking. After some time, you will notice the dark patches on your skin, especially your underarms, disappearing.

Talk to a Medical Professional

If your dark underarms are caused by an underlying health condition or any medications you are taking, you should talk to your doctor. They can help you come up with a way to address the discoloration of your underarms effectively.



Now that you have addressed the causes of your dark underarms, you might be thinking of ways on how to whiten your underarms overnight. However, it is not that easy.

Some treatments can take more than a few days before showing any effects. Additionally, you might need to try various methods before finding the one that works for your skin. Luckily, there are a variety of options to choose from when treating dark underarms.

Natural Treatments

There are people who prefer a natural approach to lightening underarms. They often use natural bleaching agents to take care of the discoloration on their armpits.

potato home whitening treatment


Potatoes make great snacks and dishes when fried or mashed. But did you know that it can also help you whiten your underarms?

To use potatoes as a treatment for your armpits, grate one and squeeze the juice out of it. You can then apply the potato juice to your underarms and rinse it out using cool water after 10 minutes.


Cucumbers have great bleaching properties that can help solve your underarm issue. You can use it by rubbing a few thick slices on your underarms for a few minutes. Let its juice soak through your skin for at least 10 minutes and rinse it off with water after. Repeat this method daily to see improvement on your armpits.


This citrus fruit’s acidic properties are great for removing dead skin cells from your underarms. Lemons also have bleaching abilities that can lighten your armpits with regular use.

To use lemons as a dark underarm treatment, cut one in half and dip each slice in sugar. Then, rub them on your underarms for at least two minutes. Rinse your underarms with cool water after leaving it on for at least five minutes.

Tea Tree Oil

Aside from using fruits and vegetables, another natural treatment you can choose is tea tree oil. This oil can help lighten your underarms and keep them odor-free.

You can enjoy the benefits of tea tree oil by mixing five drops of the ingredient with eight ounces of water. Spray the mixture on your armpits daily after every bath and let them air dry.


Medical Treatments

In addition to natural remedies that you can do at home, you can go to a professional for effective underarm whitening treatments. Here are some medications you can use procedures you can get done on your dark armpits.

Topical Creams and Lotions

Use skin care products that contain the following active ingredients:

  • Tretinoin
  • Corticosteroids
  • Azelaic acid
  • Kojic acid

These components can be effective in whitening your underarms. They can also help make your armpits look smoother.

Chemical Peel

This procedure is great for exfoliating your underarm skin. When you undergo a chemical peel, you can get rid of your armpits’ thicker and damaged skin, leaving you with smoother underarms.

Dermabrasion or Microdermabrasion

Both of these treatments involve using a medical-grade diamond tip to get rid of dead skin cell layers from your armpit. The only difference is that dermabrasion goes deeper than microdermabrasion and can cause bleeding in some cases.

When you undergo any of these procedures, your underarm will be fully exfoliated. These treatments will also encourage your skin to produce more cells, leaving you with smoother and fresher-looking underarms.

Laser Therapy

Improve the appearance of your dark underarms by undergoing laser therapy. This procedure is safe and non-invasive with minimal downtime.

Laser therapy targets the pigments that are found deep within your skin. Professionals use a laser system to target melanin in your skin and break them down. This type of treatment is perfect for individuals who have already tried various methods to lighten their underarms but are not satisfied with the results.


Regain your self-esteem and be more confident in raising your arms by addressing your dark underarm problems. Just remember that you first have to know the cause of your issues to determine the best way to start your treatment. You should also avoid any damaging factors to prevent your underarms from getting darker.

If you would like to learn about effective underarm whitening products, contact us today.

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