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What Causes Dark Underarms? Everything You Need to Know

woman with dark underarm

For many, dark underarms can be a great source of insecurity, with some even refusing to wear short-sleeved tops (even during the summer months!) just to keep them out of sight. Sadly, despite it being common, dark underarms are often still understood. Because of its taboo nature, many choose to opt for home treatments, which usually prove to be ineffective.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll discuss what causes dark underarms and explore effective ways to get rid of them once and for all!

Firstly, Are Dark Underarms Normal?

We’re so used to seeing perfectly white and smooth underarms on TV or social media so having dark pits can seem strange. Despite this, having dark underarms is actually perfectly normal! Contrary to popular belief, dark underarms don’t necessarily mean the person who has them is unhygienic or unhealthy. In fact, dark underarms can be attributed to various factors such as hormonal changes, genetics, and even certain lifestyle habits.

To better understand how dark underarms happen, let’s examine the common causes.

dark armpit

What Causes Dark Armpits?

Dark armpits, also known as dark underarms, can be caused by numerous factors, some of which are beyond our control. Here are some of the common causes.


Dark underarms are primarily caused by hyperpigmentation, a condition that is caused by the overproduction of melanin, the pigment responsible for skin coloration. Things such as hormonal changes, friction, and certain medications can stimulate melanin production, leading to darker skin in the underarm area.

Hormones and Genetics

Hormones and genetics significantly influence skin tone and can even cause dark armpits. 

During puberty, higher levels of estrogen and testosterone increase the production of melanocytes, the cell that produces melanin, leading to more pigment production and dark underarms. Similarly, pregnancy and menopause, with their hormonal fluctuations, can trigger melanin overproduction, resulting in dark patches on the skin, including the underarms.

Genetics are also a big factor, with people with darker skin and those with a family history of hyperpigmentation being more likely to have dark underarms. 

Despite hormonal and genetic influences, proper skincare practices and professional guidance can effectively manage dark underarms, promoting brighter, healthier skin.

What Lifestyle Habits Can Cause Dark Underarms?

While some causes of dark underarms are uncontrollable, there are several lifestyle habits can contribute to the development of dark underarms. Understanding what these are is the first step toward effectively managing and preventing dark underarms.

Poor Hygiene

The lack of good hygiene practices, such as skipping your daily shower or leaving your sweaty pits to dry without washing or wiping them clean, can lead to the buildup of dead skin cells and bacteria, which can cause dark underarms.

sun exposure

Sun Exposure

Prolonged exposure to UV rays can make hyperpigmentation worse in the underarm area. UV radiation encourages melanocytes to produce more melanin, leading to darkening of the skin. Since the underarms are often exposed to sunlight in a country as hot as ours, especially during outdoor activities, they are particularly prone to darkening. 

Clothing Choices

It may not be obvious but what you wear can also cause dark underarms, so you need to be mindful of your clothing choices!

Tight-fitting clothing and synthetic fabrics can contribute to dark underarms by causing excess friction and trapping sweat and bacteria. This can lead to irritation, inflammation, and the accumulation of dead skin cells, promoting hyperpigmentation. 

Switching to loose, breathable fabrics like cotton and avoiding tight garments can help your armpits breathe and minimize the risk of darkening. Additionally, wearing breathable fabrics allows for better air circulation, reducing sweat buildup and preventing bacterial growth. 


Deodorants and Antiperspirants

Some ingredients commonly found in deodorants and antiperspirants, such as alcohol and aluminum compounds, can cause skin irritation and pigmentation issues, especially in individuals with sensitive skin. Learning what ingredients in deodorants cause dark underarms is important so you can watch out for and avoid them when doing your weekly grocery shopping.

Shaving Techniques

Regular shaving with improper techniques or using dull razors can cause irritation and inflammation, leading to darkened skin in the underarm area. Additionally, frequent shaving can also result in ingrown hairs, further intensifying irritation and contributing to the darkening of underarm skin.

waxing armpit

Harsh Hair Removal Methods

Waxing, plucking, or using depilatory creams without care can irritate the delicate skin of the underarms, triggering melanin production and resulting in skin darkening. These hair removal methods can also lead to ingrown hairs and further inflammation, making the darkening of the underarm area even worse.

How to Treat Dark Underarms

Now that you know what causes dark armpits and the things you can do to prevent them, let’s discuss tried-and-tested tips on how to lighten underarms.


Incorporate Brightening Products

Products containing ingredients like vitamin C, niacinamide, and kojic acid can help lighten dark underarms by inhibiting melanin production and promoting skin renewal. Gluta-C offers a range of brightening products specifically designed to target hyperpigmentation and restore skin radiance. For instance, the Gluta-C Intense Whitening Underarm & Bikini Skin Whitening Gel is enriched with the potent combination of glutathione and vitamin C, meticulously formulated to visibly lighten delicate skin areas. Feel the magic of soft, brightened skin with balanced tones, designed for all skin types.

Experience the added benefits as it helps prevent chicken skin and reduces hair growth, ensuring a smoother, more flawless appearance. Safely brighten sensitive areas with confidence, knowing you’re treating your skin with gentle yet effective care.


Learning how to exfoliate underarms properly can significantly whiten your armpits. Regular exfoliation with gentle methods, such as using mild scrubs or a panghilod, is needed to properly remove any dead skin cells that may have built up on the surface of the underarms. 

By gently scraping off these dead cells, the skin undergoes a process of renewal, helping the fresher, healthier skin cells underneath to come out. This shedding of dead skin cells not only unclogs pores but also assists in the absorption of skincare products, allowing any brightening or lightening agents to penetrate more deeply and effectively. This makes the underarm area appear smoother, brighter, and more even in tone over time. With regular use, you can reduce the appearance of dark underarms and restore a natural radiance to your skin.

To reveal radiant skin, you can use the Gluta-C Intense Whitening Body Scrub, powered by natural papaya enzymes. This gentle yet effective scrub exfoliates, lightens, and nourishes your skin, leaving it smoother and brighter. Infused with glutathione and vitamin C, it enhances your natural radiance, making it your pathway to healthier-looking skin.

Gentle and safe for everyday use, this moisturizing and nourishing formula is enriched with natural papaya enzymes and bamboo scrubs, ensuring a microbead-free exfoliation experience. 

Moisturize Daily

Keeping the underarms properly hydrated is a good way to maintain optimal skin health and prevent dryness, which can worsen darkening in this sensitive area. Proper hydration helps to strengthen the skin’s natural barrier function, preventing moisture loss and ensuring that the skin remains supple and resilient. Additionally, well-hydrated skin is more resistant to external stressors, including friction from clothing and environmental aggressors like dust and pollution, which can further contribute to darkening.

We recommend applying a gentle, hydrating moisturizer to your underarms after showering. Look for moisturizers containing ingredients like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, or shea butter, which help to lock in moisture and keep the skin hydrated throughout the day.


Apply Sun Protection

Sun exposure can amplify hyperpigmentation by stimulating melanin production in the skin, leading to further darkening of the underarm area. This is why you need to protect your skin from harmful UV rays to prevent worsening of hyperpigmentation. 

Applying broad-spectrum sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 to the underarm area daily is needed, even on gloomy days when UV radiation can still penetrate through clouds. Broad-spectrum sunscreens offer protection against both UVA and UVB rays, which are responsible for causing skin damage and triggering melanin production.


Choose the Right Deodorants

Banish sweat while taking care of your underarms by opting for deodorants and antiperspirants that are free from harsh chemicals and fragrances, especially if you have sensitive skin. To start, look for products labeled as hypoallergenic or formula. 

Experience 24-hour odor protection with Gluta-C Intense Whitening Deodorant. Crafted with glutathione and vitamin C, this deodorant keeps you feeling fresh while working to lighten underarm skin and minimize fine lines. Safe, effective, and non-staining, it’s perfect for those seeking both care and confidence.

Enjoy its smoothing and brightening benefits, while its non-marking and stain-free formula ensures worry-free wear throughout the day. Plus, it’s paraben-free and alcohol-free, making it gentle on your skin.

laser hair removal on armpits

Switch to Gentle Hair Removal Methods

Everyone wants smoother, hair-free underarms, but you don’t have to sacrifice your armpits’ health to get them! Consider alternatives to traditional shaving or waxing, such as laser hair removal or using hair removal creams specifically formulated for sensitive skin. 

Laser hair removal offers a long-term solution by targeting hair follicles with light energy, resulting in reduced hair growth over time. Similarly, hair removal creams created for sensitive skin gently dissolve hair at the root without causing irritation or inflammation. 

Those also seeking tips on how to whiten the bikini area will be happy to know that opting for gentler hair removal methods can also give you great results!

Seek Professional Treatments

In cases where home remedies and over-the-counter products are ineffective, you can consult with a dermatologist for personalized treatment options. Professional treatments such as chemical peels, microdermabrasion, or laser therapy can help address stubborn dark underarms more effectively, but they are significantly more expensive.

Dark underarms can be a huge insecurity for some, but with the right knowledge and products, achieving brighter, healthier underarms is possible. Learning about the underlying causes and implementing effective skincare routines can guide you in effectively lightening dark underarms and boosting your confidence. 

So, are you ready to C your glow? Switch to brightening products by Gluta-C today and choose to be confident with your brighter and whiter underarms!

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