Why Are My Armpits Dark? Causes, Prevention, and Treatment

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The woman has dark armpits.

The woman has dark armpits.

Published May 30, 2024

Dark armpits is one common insecurity women would rather not talk about. The topic receives so much shame, though it is a condition so normal and so preventable. It’s time to put an end to it and discuss comprehensively what we can do to lighten them. 

In this article, we’ll dwell on answering the question “why are my armpits dark”. You’ll find out that its many causes are things one do unconsciously and without proper knowledge of. You’ll also learn that this problem has many solutions you can count on. Let’s start. 

Causes of Dark Underarms

1. Improper shaving or waxing

Perhaps the most common culprit behind darkened armpits. Shaving too harshly or without lubricant may introduce minor, low-grade cuts. These cuts inflame the skin on your underarms. Similarly, the aggressive pulling of hairs by waxing also irritates the armpits. The latter can lead to hyperpigmentation as time passes. 

2. Lack of exfoliation

The armpits may not be getting as much love when taking a shower. As a result, a buildup of dead skin cells may reside between them. It makes your skin look dull. It can also prompt the skin to produce more pigmentation. 

3. Wearing tight-fitting clothes

Your armpits, elbows, knees, and groin experience a lot of rubbing and friction throughout the day. Wearing tight clothing only exacerbates this issue. 

4. Using irritating deodorant and antiperspirants

Your daily underarm product may unknowingly be the cause of your hyperpigmentation dilemmas. Some deodorants and antiperspirants use certain compounds, such as fragrances and alcohol, that can irritate the skin. 

5. Obesity

Carrying extra weight makes our bodies more resistant to insulin, a hormone that balances blood sugar. High blood insulin levels lead to increased production of skin pigment cells. 

Over 200 percent or more of adults over their healthy body weight go through darkening in the underarms and other skin folds. 

6. Type 2 diabetes 

Obesity is also a risk for type 2 diabetes, a medical dilemma of high blood sugar. 

7. Hormone syndromes

Some conditions can disrupt insulin levels and can lead to dark armpits 

  • Polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Cushing syndrome
  • Acromegaly
  • Hypothyroidism 

How To Lighten Dark Armpits

1. Use fewer products

Your dark armpits could be triggered by irritation from the products you use. So, reduce the products you apply to your armpits to see if that helps. 

Also, consider the type of products you’re using. It is best to lean on products marketed for sensitive skin. Look for fragrance-free, dye-free, and preservative-free products. 

2. Develop a safer shaving routine.

Shaving is such a simple regime that you may not notice you’ve been doing it too harshly. Change how you do it, and your underarms will experience the least friction. 

Always use a lubricant such as shaving cream. Change your razor when it gets dull to save yourself from any cuts. After each session, apply a natural balm or moisturizing lotion to soothe your underarms. 

3. Use a chemical exfoliator.

Another good habit to develop is exfoliating your armpits once a week. It aids in riding dead skin buildup. Buy a mild chemical exfoliator suited for your skin type. 

Stay away from harsh physical exfoliators. Ditch scrubs with coarse microparticles. These particles can introduce skin abrasions, further irritating the complexion and directly darkening the armpits. 

4. Avoid wearing fit and rough clothing.

Keep it breezy. Wear breathable clothes over tight-fitting garments. This will significantly reduce the friction your underarms experience every moment. Plus, you’ll feel more comfortable and relaxed as you navigate your day. 

5. Treat the underlying skin condition, if there is one to treat

If you have one, diagnosing and treating the underlying skin conditions will lighten and brighten the skin in your armpits. Steroid creams help clear eczema. 

6. Avoid home remedies 

Lemon juice, limes, and other kitchen concoctions were meant to stay in—you guessed it—the kitchen. They typically irritate and dry the complexion. They can also cause skin reactions in sunlight, making underarms even darker. 

Medical Treatments for Dark Underarms

1. Topical prescription creams

  • Hydroquinone is a skin-lightening compound that lessens pigmentation by inhibiting melanin production. It is often employed in concentrations of 4% or higher for significant results. 
  • Retinoids. Tretinoin works by accelerating cell turnover. It helps shed darkened complexions and promotes new skin growth. 
  • Corticosteroids. These can cut inflammation. They help lighten the skin when used in combination with other treatments. 

2. Chemical peels 

  • Glycolic acid peel. This AHA peel exfoliates the top layer of the skin. It aims to reduce dark spots. 
  • Salicylic acid peel. This BHA peel is fantastic for treating hyperpigmentation.
  • TCA peel. Trichloroacetic Acid peels are deeper chemical peels that can effectively rid more stubborn pigmentation issues. 

3. Laser treatments 

  • Fractional CO2 Laser. This laser resurfaces the skin. It removes damaged skin layers. It also stimulates collagen production. 
  • Q-Switched Nd: YAG Laser. This laser targets explicitly curving melanin in our complexion. It breaks down dark pigments without damaging surrounding tissues. 

4. Microdermabrasion

Microdermabrasion can be an effective treatment for lessening the darkness of the armpits. It can exfoliate the outermost layer of dead skin cells, stimulate cell renewal, and promote collagen production. In addition, it smoothes the skin and reduces roughness caused by shaving or friction. 

5. Microneedling

Microneedling is another impressive procedure for lightening dark armpits. It involves using a device with fine needles to introduce tiny punctures in the skin. It stimulates collagen production and facilitates skin regeneration, helping to enhance the state of hyperpigmentation. Also, it establishes microchannels that let topical treatments like serums and lightening creams penetrate the complexion deeper. 

Women get rid of dark armpits with the help of medical treatments.

Frequently Asked Questions of Why My Armpits Are Dark.

1. How do I get rid of dark skin under my armpits? 

  • Maintain good hygiene
  • Moisturize
  • Avoid irritants
  • Topical creams i.e. niacinamide, kojic acid, or hydroquinone
  • Chemical peels
  • Laser therapy

2. How do you get rid of dark armpits in The Ordinary? 

After cleansing:

  • Apply the Glycolic acid toner to a cotton pad.
  • Gently swipe it over the armpits once a day in the evening. This toning solution can help exfoliate the skin and reduce darkness over time.
  • Please do not use it on freshly shaved or irritated skin. 

3. Do dark underarms go away?

Dark underarms can sometimes be temporary. Treatment can often be reduced or even eliminated. It is the proper care and treatments. The duration and effectiveness of treatments depend on the underlying cause and consistency in following appropriate skincare routines. 

4. Can deodorant cause dark armpits? 

Yes, deodorants and antiperspirants can contribute to the darkening of the complexion under the armpits. Here are some reasons why this might happen. 

  • Chemical irritation
  • Allergic reactions
  • Buildup of residue
  • Friction
  • Parabens and aluminum compounds

And now, we’ll be certain that your underarms will brighten, and get its glow back the first time around. Ensure to remember and take our guide by heart to help you with your armpits insecurities. It will all get better in time, trust us. 

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Four Seasons Laser Center is a highly renowned med spa in Boca Raton Florida. Our state of the art equipment is run by highly trained and experienced staff so you can rest assured that you are in good hands. We offer laser hair removal services for your whole body, PDO Threads facelift, safe and effective Plasma Fibroblast skin tightening, and other advanced medical beauty services to help you look your best. Contact us now to book a free consultation.

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About The Author

I am Tracy Gorman, a skilled writer passionate about creating engaging content. With expertise in various topics like lifestyle, beauty, and health, I can craft valuable articles that provide immense assistance.

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