How To Take Care Of Darkened Armpits? Precautions & Risk Factors

Darkened armpits can be an embarrassing and frustrating issue for many people. The discoloration is medically known as axillary hyperpigmentation. It occurs when there is excess melanin production in the armpits, causing them to turn several shades darker than the rest of your skin.

While mainly a cosmetic concern, darkened underarms can make people self-conscious about wearing certain clothes.

The good news is that with proper care and treatment, it is possible to lighten and get rid of dark underarms. In this article, we will discuss the causes, symptoms, care, risk factors, and precautions related to treating dark underarms.

What Are Darkened Armpits? Causes Of Darkened Underarms  

Darkened armpits refer to darker skin in the underarm area as compared to the rest of the body. Some of the common causes include:

Frequent Armpit Shaving

Shaving – Frequent shaving irritates and inflames the delicate underarm skin causing darkness

Friction – Skin rubbing from tight clothes can trigger irritation and pigmentation

Sweat – Excess sweating leads to the accumulation of dirt and bacteria that causes darkened skin

Dead skin cells – Accumulation of dead skin cells can block pores and cause discoloration

Hormonal changes – Fluctuating hormones during puberty, pregnancy or menopause leads to increased melanin 

Weight gain – Skin stretching from weight gain or weight loss can also cause underarm darkening

Deodorants and antiperspirants – Harsh chemicals and synthetic fragrances can irritate and darken the armpits

Medical conditions – Diabetes, obesity, or other hormonal disorders can trigger excessive pigmentation

Symptoms Of Darkened Underarms

The main symptom is darker-colored patches on the underarm skin as compared to surrounding areas. Other associated symptoms and signs include:

Velvety texture – skin feels extra smooth and velvety

Sweat and odor – Excessive sweating and body odor 

Itching – mild itching sensation in the darkened areas

Dryness – Dehydrated, flaky skin in underarms

Irritation – irritation, redness, and inflammation of the skin

How To Take Care Of Darkened Underarms?

Here are some effective ways to lighten, treat and care for darkened armpits:

Exfoliate regularly – Use a gentle scrub 2-3 times a week to remove dead cells and improve pigmentation

Avoid shaving – Switch to hair removal creams or laser hair removal to prevent further irritation 

Use an antiperspirant – Look for an aluminum-free clinical strength antiperspirant to reduce excessive sweating

Apply a lightening cream – Creams with kojic acid, vitamin C, or hydroquinone can help lighten skin over time

Use natural remedies – Lemon juice, raw potato, and cucumber slices can temporarily lighten dark underarms

Wear loose clothes – Tight-fitting and synthetic clothes rub against the armpits causing friction and darkness

Maintain hygiene – Wash with mild antibacterial soap and keep underarms clean and dry

Protect from the sun – Use sunscreen under the arms when going out to avoid further tanning

Get adequate sleep – Adequate rest is essential for cell turnover and natural exfoliation 

Stay hydrated – Drink plenty of water to keep the skin well-hydrated and healthy

Risk Factors For Darkened Underarms

There are certain factors that can increase your risk of developing darkened armpits:

Genetics – Having naturally darker skin means more melanin production which can lead to underarm pigmentation

Obesity – Excess weight and skin friction lead to discoloration in folds like armpits and inner thighs

Hormonal imbalance – Fluctuating hormones during pregnancy, PCOS, and menopause increase pigmentation risks

Chronic diseases – Long-term diabetes or other conditions impact melanin production

Skin irritation – Shaving, antiperspirants, and sweat rash can irritate and inflame underarms 

Sun exposure – Tanning from sun exposure causes more melanin formation 

Age – As we age, skin renewal slows down increasing dead cell buildup and pigmentation

Ethnicity – Those with African-American or Hispanic skin tones are more prone to hyperpigmentation

Medications – Certain drugs like chemotherapy or antimalarial pills may cause skin discoloration

Related:- What Are The Side Effects Of Carrot Seed Oil On Skin?

Tips & Precautions to Prevent Darkened Underarms

Here are some useful precautions and tips for preventing dark underarms:

✔ Always use a sharp, sterilized razor and shave in the direction of hair growth 

✔ Avoid over-shaving and allow 2-3 days between each shave session

✔ Use an aluminum-free, gentle antiperspirant deodorant suitable for sensitive skin  

✔ Apply sunscreen with SPF 30+ before heading out to prevent tanning

✔ Exfoliate regularly using a gentle scrub containing AHAs or BHAs 2-3 times per week

✔ Wear loose breathable fabrics like cotton to minimize friction and irritation

✔ Keep the underarm area clean and dry to prevent the buildup of sweat, bacteria, and dead cells

✔ Include antioxidant-rich foods like berries, tomatoes, and spinach in your diet

✔ Apply soothing natural remedies like cucumber, yogurt, and lemon juice on the underarms 

✔ See a dermatologist if you have severe or worsening dark armpits for proper treatment


Dark underarms can knock anyone’s confidence but with the right skin care regimen and treatments, you can safely lighten the area. Using gentler hair removal methods, reducing friction, applying lightening creams, and protecting from sun exposure helps tackle the problem.

While darkened armpits are purely a cosmetic issue, do get it evaluated by a doctor to rule out any underlying conditions. With diligent care and precautions, you can flaunt your beautiful underarms confidently again.

Read More:- Is Talcum Powder Good For Skin Rash? Benefits Of Talcum Powder


1. Can shaving cause dark underarms?

Yes, frequent shaving can irritate and inflame the underarms, leading to darkened skin over time. It’s best to limit shaving and opt for gentler methods.

2. How can I lighten my dark underarms fast? 

Using lightening creams with ingredients like kojic acid, vitamin C, and alpha arbutin can help lighten dark underarms faster when applied daily.

3. Is lemon juice effective for lightening dark underarms?

Lemon juice can provide temporary lightening of underarms due to its citric acid content. However, its photosensitizing effect means it can potentially darken skin further with sun exposure.

4. Should I exfoliate my underarms if I have dark armpits? 

Yes, regular exfoliation using a gentle scrub removes dead skin cells and speeds up cell turnover to reduce darkness. However, do not scrub too harshly. 

5. Can deodorants or antiperspirants cause armpit darkening?

Yes, certain chemicals, perfumes, or aluminum in deodorants can potentially irritate and inflame the delicate underarm skin leading to pigmentation over time.

Dr. Luna Rey specializes in diagnosing and treating a wide range of skin conditions, from common conditions like acne and eczema to more complex conditions like psoriasis and skin cancer. In addition to her medical practice, Dr. Luna has a strong interest in writing and has published numerous articles on dermatology topics in leading medical journals. Her writing style is clear, concise, and easy to understand, making her work accessible to a broad audience.

Leave a Comment