Are you suffering from dark armpits? This condition can make you feel really self-conscious. You may even avoid wearing certain clothes. It's a problem, however, that many people experience. There are several ways you can treat this condition and prevent skin irritation.

Understanding What Causes Dark Underarms

What causes dark armpits? Ideally, you want it in the same shade as your whole body.

However, underarm skin is usually darker because of its unique position. This folded and hidden area can accumulate dead skin cells.

On top of that, it is aggravated by habits from using chemical deodorants to wearing tight clothes. Underarm discoloration is not a health problem, but dark armpits can cause embarrassment, especially during bikini season.

Avoid this by choosing the best clinical strength antiperspirant. Learn more about this issue below.

Why Are My Armpits Dark?

Some people feel frustrated when they look at their discolored underarms. Why do armpits get dark?

Dark armpits cause embarrassment and can affect your self-confidence. If you truly want to solve this issue, you must find the root of the problem. Usually, dark armpits stem from your habits and lifestyle choices. Let’s talk about the most common culprits...


According to Women's Health, something as simple as shaving can cause underarms to appear darker. Shaving normally takes the hair off just below the skin surface. If your hair is darker than your skin, then your armpits may appear dark.

Repeated shaving can also cause this problem to get worse. The friction from shaving excessively can lead to inflammation. This can cause the skin to become thicker and appear darker.

Shaving Damage Treatment

You may want to try waxing instead of shaving. A different razor may also be able to cut the hair at a different length.

Dead Skin Build-Up

Sometimes microscopic cells can build up right under your skin. This can cause discoloration in your armpits.

These extra cells could be caused by not effectively washing the area under your arms. Waxing instead of shaving can also help eliminate dead skin cells in this area.

Dead Skin Build-Up Treatment

Exfoliation may help you get rid of excess dead skin cells. It's also important to make sure your underarms are washed thoroughly each time you shower or bathe.

Excessive Pigmentation

This is also called Hyper Pigmentation. Sometimes your skin will become darker in certain areas due to problems with melanin production.

Changes in pigmentation can also be caused by Addison's disease. This is when your adrenal glands don't produce enough important hormones. Excessive pigmentation can also occur during pregnancy.

Excessive Pigmentation Treatment

You will likely need to see a dermatologist for this condition. It will be necessary to get an official diagnosis. Make sure you follow a prescribed treatment plan.

Acanthosis Nigricans

It's possible you could have Acanthosis Nigricans. This is a condition that affects pigmentation in the skin.

Healthline reports that if you have this disorder you may experience dark, velvety patches of skin in several areas. It can affect the armpits as well as your neck, palms, elbows, and knees.

Acanthosis Nigricans Treatment

Reducing insulin resistance and weight loss seem to be important steps for treatment of this condition.

Medications and Infections

Too much insulin can cause the skin under your arms to become dark. Sometimes medications such as birth control can make the skin in this area darker as well.

Diabetes, as well as a fungal infection, may also be reasons for underarm skin becoming dark. Excessive sweating can lead to bacterial infections that cause dark armpits.

Hormonal Disorder

Your body’s hormonal fluctuations may be the culprit of dark underarms. If you have any health conditions that disrupt your hormones, one of its manifestations is armpit discoloration.

Examples of these issues are the following:

  • Acromegaly
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Cushing syndrome
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • Diabetes

To reverse this, your doctor must treat the underlying health condition. Usually, you will be given laboratory testing, then prescribed the appropriate medications. Additionally, you can try home remedies to lighten your armpit color.

Hormonal Disorder Treatment

If you’ve got a chronic medical condition, it is vital to speak to your physician about hyperpigmentation in armpits. Discussing dark armpit treatment is not embarrassing at all.

Bear in mind, your doctor is concerned about your holistic health, which includes your mental and emotional well-being. Depending on your specific health problem, you could be given hormone replacement therapies in the form of pills, injections, or intravenous drips. The latter two are administered under a doctor’s supervision. Treating the root will fix your dark underarm problem.


Did you find a brown circle under your armpit? Yes, these dark splotches can be rather cringe-worthy.

But did you know that this issue can sometimes run in the family? If you have a grandparent, parent, sibling, cousin, or any other close relatives worrying over dark armpit skin treatment, then your condition is most likely due to genetics.

You can inherit a faulty gene that makes you more susceptible to forming dark underarms.

Other Remedies for Dark Armpits

Skin discoloration under arms can be triggered by hormonal disorders, improper shaving, or Acanthosis nigricans.

You don’t have to endure perpetually dark armpits forever. Apart from hormonal treatments or skin solutions from a dermatologist, you can try natural remedies like milk, egg yolk, tea tree oil, sea cucumber extracts, curcumin or turmeric, and milk thistle extract to lighten troublesome spots.

Consult a Dermatologist

Dark armpits are generally harmless but seek medical advice if you believe your condition stems from a hormonal issue like underactive thyroid, PCOS, or diabetes.

If the darkness is due to habits like wearing tight clothes or shaving, you may be given topical whiteners, chemical peels, or vitamin D creams.

Notably, if you see several dark patches in other areas along with your armpits, you must seek immediate care from a dermatologist or skin specialist because this could be a more serious skin condition like cancer.

Topical Creams and Antibiotics

Never use antibiotics, steroidal creams, or other topicals without the guidance of a medical professional. For example, topical creams or lotions containing hydroquinone are meant to bleach the skin.

However, it can cause mild burning, inflammation, irritation, and sensitivity when applied incorrectly.

On top of that, oral and topical antibiotics must also be used properly to prevent antibiotic resistance. Improper antibiotics usage means these medicines can no longer effectively fight bacteria.


If you really want to hasten the lightening of dark armpits, microdermabrasion administered by your board-certified dermatologist may help.

This is a minimally invasive procedure that uses a special applicator with an abrasive surface. It gently sands away the thicker skin epidermis to rejuvenate the area. As a result, you get renewed skin tone and texture. Some techniques spray fine particles of sodium bicarbonate or aluminum oxide with a suction to accomplish similar results.

Laser and Micro Needling Treatments

Lasers administered by your dermatologist prove effective in lightening armpits, but they come with some side effects like blistering, swelling, or scabbing.

There’s also micro-needling, which involves pricking the skin with tiny needles. It creates small wounds to stimulate the skin to produce more collagen and elastin, which promotes skin healing. This can be done by a dermatologist or aesthetician.

However, results are not immediate and you may experience discomfort in the area. Wound healing takes time, and people who suffer from keloids may end up with scars.

Natural Deodorants

If you’re using a chemical deodorant, it’s now time to let that go and switch to a natural one that’s equally effective like Duradry.

It contains aluminum chloride hexahydrate which soaks up water and thickens it. It is also paired with salicylic acid which is an active ingredient that reduces the risk of irritation. This can also help lighten skin as it exfoliates dead skin cells, leaving you with renewed and lighter skin.

How to Prevent Dark Underarms

Dark armpits are bothersome, especially when you wear sleeveless blouses, tank tops, or bikinis.

When your armpits are significantly darker than the rest of your body, it affects your self-esteem. But there’s no need to suffer because apart from medical treatments, you will find many home remedies for dark underarms from implementing skincare routines to making lifestyle changes. Let’s discuss them below.

Exfoliate Dead Skin cells

Make it a habit to exfoliate your body with a gentle exfoliating scrub. You can even make your own all-natural one with 3 tbsp olive oil, 2 tbsp honey, and ½ cup sugar.

Rub this paste using a circular motion on your armpits at least twice a week. The grainy sugar will slough off dead skin cells that tend to accumulate in your armpit folds. It can also detoxify your pores and take out impurities, leaving you with lighter and smoother skin.

Be on the Lookout for Type-2 Diabetes

When you have too much insulin in your blood, this can leave you with dark skin patches. That’s because the pigment cells in the skin multiply faster with high blood sugar.

If you want to address the problem, you have to fix the cause. Seek medical help to lower your blood sugar to normal levels. You can control this with lifestyle changes or medications. Your dark skin will fade once your insulin levels normalize.

Moisturize Your Underarms

Dry skin doesn’t receive enough moisture to maintain itself. As a result, dry skin becomes red, dark, and scaly.

On top of that, environmental conditions can exacerbate these issues like cold weather or dry air. Unfortunately, your armpits are areas that don’t receive enough moisture.

If you want to reverse problematic dark skin under armpits, apply hyaluronic acid-based moisturizers to perk up dull, dead, and dark underarms. With sufficient hydration, your skin can repair itself and slowly go back to its original state.

Wear Loose and Comfortable Clothes

Wearing skin-tight clothes might make you feel sexy and confident. However, it could be wreaking havoc on your underarms. Clothes that are too tight create friction and cause chafing. It is even worse when you wear synthetic fibers which don't circulate air, leaving dampness.

When that happens, friction leads to an accumulation of sweat and continuous rubbing will make your armpits darker. If you want to speed up the lightening of your armpits, wear looser clothes made with organic cotton fibers that proffer breathability.

Don’t Shave Your Underarms Too Frequently

Shaving too often can cause dark armpits because it leads to an excessive reproduction of pigment cells. These pigments provide skin color, and they multiply faster than usual with repeated shaving.

For best results, don’t shave excessively and use a gentle shaving foam for sensitive skin to provide lubrication. After shaving, use a gentle moisturizer to prevent dryness, reduce underarm irritation, and mitigate pigmentation.

Keep Excessive Sweating Under Control

If you are wondering how to prevent dark underarms after shaving or trying to avoid dark armpits in general, you need to change your habits and make more conscious efforts to keep excessive sweating at bay.

Thankfully, you’ve got an extra strength antiperspirant that won’t irritate your skin. We eliminate both odor and sweat with 15% aluminum chloride. We also use salicylic acid, which sheds dead cells from the top layers of dark skin under arms.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Shaving Cause Dark Underarms?

Dark and black armpits cause major embarrassment. But you shouldn’t be stuck in a position where you feel embarrassed to raise your arms.

For starters, minimize excessive shaving because this can result in dark armpits. Your skin gets irritated from the repeated movements of the razor. As a result, there’s excess melanocyte production, which is the pigment that makes that area look darker.

Avoid irritating your underarms by minimizing your shaving time, using a gentle foam, and moisturizing the area after.

Why Are My Underarms Turning Dark?

If you’ve uttered the words ‘my underarms are very black’ you’ve probably felt a bit self-conscious about it. There are many reasons why this could be happening - and the most common are excessive sweating and using the wrong antiperspirant.

This is followed by wearing tight-fitting clothes that promote friction and irritation. Excessive shaving is also a likely culprit as it results in too much irritation.

You could also suffer from dry skin and insufficient exfoliation, resulting in dead skin accumulation. Finally, you can have a hormonal imbalance that manifests as dark skin.

Can Underarm Darkness Go Away on Its Own?

Sadly, dark underarms will not miraculously fade on their own. The only way you can fix the problem is if you address the root.

So if your black armpits stem from excessive sweating, you need a good antiperspirant. If the culprit is excessive shaving or dryness, lessen shaving times and moisturize the area well. You may also need to start wearing loose clothes with breathable fabric. If it’s a hormone imbalance, taking medication will eventually fade your black armpits back to their original color.

How to Avoid Dark Underarms?

If you’re serious about lightening your dark armpits, you need to make radical changes in your lifestyle and habits.

1. Change your antiperspirant and seek a better brand that controls odor, stops sweat, and promotes skin exfoliation.
2. Stop shaving and shift to waxing or laser hair removal.
3. Exfoliate your armpits with a gentle scrub at least twice a week.
4. Wear loose-fitting clothes to prevent underarm chafing.
5. When lifestyle changes fail, seek medical advice to ensure it’s not a hormonal problem.