The skin of the armpits has the same constitution of the skin of the rest of your body. However, due to its location, the humidity that remains at that level and other factors, this area can be darkened. The darkening of the armpits and any other area of the body is caused by an abnormally increased production of melanin, which is the protein that gives the skin its coloration.

Some people may suffer from an excess in the production of melanin, due to certain medical conditions such as obesity and diabetes, the use of some drugs, endocrine problems or cancer.

This excess in melanin production can cause your armpits to look darker than the rest of your body.

However, usually the darkening of the armpits is simply due to an irritation, the use of some deodorants or an excess in the frequency of shaving.

Internet and social networks are full of supposed natural remedies to lighten your armpits.  Things as crazy as the use of grated potato, lemon, cucumber, oils or sugar peels. But the truth is that these methods are not as effective and sometimes the situation can worsen as they can cause more irritation to the skin. This irritation causes the body to generate more layers of dermis, which translates into a darker appearance. Therefore, sensitive skin is more likely to suffer from this phenomenon.

Let's see what are the possible causes. Once you have detected what could be the reason for your dark armpits, we recommend that you follow the treatments that we will offer you later. Keep reading!

clean armpits

Causes of Dark Armpits


It is likely that if your mother and grandmother have darker armpits than the rest of the skin on the body naturally, you have them too. This occurs especially in dark skin tones, which feature more pigment cells in the skin.

Insulin resistance, Diabetes and obesity

Insulin resistance, which can occur with diabetes or polycystic ovary syndrome, can lead to a type of skin darkening known as acanthosis nigricans. Obesity usually rides with a condition called metabolic syndrome in which there is hyperinsulinemia, among other alterations, which can lead to darken armpits. The hyperinsulinemia presented by some patients with diabetes can cause the melanocytes to increase the production of melanin in an exaggerated way and, with this, that the armpits become dark.

acantosis nigricans

Excessive sweating or hyperhidrosis

Being an area of the skin that makes a fold, if we sweat excessively the presence of moisture can cause a lot of irritation in the area.

Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation

Any type of irritation as a result of shaving or sensitivity can cause a rash or inflammation, which can resolve and leave post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

Natural Deodorants

Some natural antiperspirants or deodorants can trigger contact dermatitis by their strong presence of essential oils, which are known to produce allergies to many people.


Some drugs have been shown to be involved in hyperpigmentation of the armpits. Among these we can mention:
• Insulin.
• Steroids, like prednisone.
• Growth hormone.
• Contraceptives.
• High doses of niacin.


Endocrine problems

Again insulin is involved in some conditions that alter their blood levels, leading to hyperpigmentation. Among these conditions we can consider:
• Acromegaly.
• Cushing's syndrome.
• Hypothyroidism.
• Addison's disease.


Some types of cancer can cause malignant acanthosis nigricans, in which blackening of the folds occurs as a result of hormonal secretions.


Smoking habit can produce melanosis.

Other common causes of dark armpits

Irritation and abrasion from shaving, Friction from wearing very tight clothing, Lemon stains that come out after use on the skin and exposing the area to the sun.

lemon stains

How to treat underarm hyperpigmentation?

The treatment should be aimed at controlling the cause that is causing the blackening of the armpits. So, depending on the cause, these are some of the medical treatments for dark armpits.

Weight management

Controlling your weight will allow not only to reverse the metabolic syndrome, but also lead to the normalization of insulin values and the elimination of melanocyte stimulation.

weight managment

Control your Diabetes 

It is vital that the doctor keeps a regular control of the patient with diabetes and  helps him to adapt the treatment according to his evolution and each situation. This regulation will lead to a control of diabetes, which will eventually lead, as in the previous case, to the normalization of insulin values and, therefore, to melanin production.

Medication withdrawal

The suppression of medications that may be causing axillary hyperpigmentation is the beginning of their lightening.

Endocrine disease control

The proper control of the endocrine conditions that we mentioned above when talking about the causes is essential to solve the imbalance of hormones and thus solve all the symptoms and signs that may exist, such as darkened skin, as well as keep the problem itself under control that is really important.

Laser therapy

Laser therapy is an alternative that has been used successfully in those cases where, in addition to black skin, it is very thickened. As an additional measure, the use of some topical creams and lotions will contribute to lightening the skin of the armpits.

underarm laser


Retinoids are a classification of Vitamin A derivatives, which can be taken topically or orally. For hyperpigmentation, it’s usually topical. Retinoids are a ‘wonder treatment’ for a variety of skin concerns, including discolouration.


Microdermabrasion aims to exfoliate the top layer of dead skin cells. Except instead of using chemicals, it uses fine sand particles or a diamond-tipped wand.

The top layer of skin is where most of your hyperpigmentation resides. By gently removing it, the body naturally begins producing fresh, new skin. The idea is that this new skin will not be hyperpigmented, since it is not as irritated as the layers of dead skin being removed.

underarm laser

Treatments that you should start now to lighten your armpits

1. Avoid exfoliating the area with abrasive substances

Remember that the thickening of the skin was first due to irritation in the area, so using very aggressive treatments will only make things worse.


2.Replace regular soap

Replace your regular soap with a liquid emulsion approved by your dermatologist. This will help regulate the pH of the skin and leave it completely free of perfumes, dyes and other chemicals that could cause an allergic or irritant reaction. You can try Duradry bodywash that is specifically made to end excessive sweating and body odor, with 90% natural ingredients.

body wash

3.Decreases the frequency of shaving.

If you do it daily, you should stop doing it and try to reduce the use of the shaver to a maximum of 2-3 times a week. You should always do it with a new and sharp blade. Change your shaver at least every 2 weeks or whenever the moisturizer starts to wear out. In the same way, you must pass the shaver gently on your skin, without rubbing aggressively and at different angles. Remember that the hairs of the armpits grow in different directions, so to reach all of them without being aggressive, you must alternate the direction of movement.


4.Change your deodorant

If you think that the products you use daily may be the cause of the blackening of your armpits, do not wait for the product to run out. Change it immediately! Try Duradry system that will not only keep you cool, but its formula designed to stop excessive sweating will make your armpits dry and free of moisture, which means less rubbing.


5. Wear loose clothing

The use of very tight clothing and synthetic fibers can cause annoying rubbing that can cause thickening of the skin over time.

Here you have some easy and effective ways to improve the tone of your armpits. The sooner you act, the faster your armpits will clear up. Remember that this will not happen overnight, it is a process that takes time. 

But Don’t over treat underarm hyperpigmentation. Sometimes, people can get so zealous to remove their dark armpits, that they go overboard on treatments. It’s important to go slow when treating underarm hyperpigmentation.  Be patient, and eventually, your skin is likely to heal from it.

Nonetheless, even if your armpit skin does get lighter, continue to be cautious of over-irritating the area.