How to Get Rid of Dark Under Arms

DARK UNDERARMS – Causes, Remedies & Prevention

Dark underarms is one of most common beauty problems faced by many women – it is a real turn down especially since it poses constraints on wearing sleeveless tops which ultimately results in being self-conscious when it comes to dressing. Dressing of course has a major influence on our confidence levels so we must not let anything restrict ourselves to pick and wear the attire of our choice. Recently during my parlor visit for a regular waxing session this topic came for discussion since my friend badly wanted to get some solution to this problem. Thought of sharing with you all about the topic and further investigation of the problem. So here am trying to cite the major causes of dark underarms and remedies, preventive measures etc.

Dark UNderarms
Dark Underarms
Major Causes:

  • Frequently wearing tight dresses, especially made of synthetic material, which are skin tight around the arm pit area (this will be worse if you’re overweight) which causes friction between skin and cloth and thus leads to dark underarms.
  • Hair removal by Shaving or Hair Removing creams: Shaving removes only those hairs which are above the skin surface and underarm area will appear dark since the hair follicles beneath skin are still visible in the form of black spots. Same is the case with hair removing creams and additionally certain chemicals in the cream might react and worsen the darkening effect. Neither shaving nor hair removing creams removes hair from its roots.
  • Negative reactions to Anti-Perspirants or deodorants: Alcohol and few chemical ingredients in these react badly on skin to cause darkening, especially anti-perspirants are supposed to be harsher than deodorants.
  • Dead Skin Bulid-up: As is the case with face and body, dead skin cells accumulate in under arm area and many times dirt and sweat accumulation makes things even worse and make it stubborn & thus difficult to remove.
  • Medical Conditions: Discoloration of underarm area can also be due to a medical condition called Acanthosis Nigricans, which is related to insulin production or some glandular disorder. If you have dark underarms and hyper-pigmentation around the base of your neck, please go get your blood sugar checked. These can be symptoms of type II diabetes and most people don’t know they have this. Intake of androgen-based contraceptives also contributes to darkening.

Apart from these, Genetics is also one factor and dark underarms may be passed on as heredity from past generations.

  • You can try a home made pack similar to what we use for face, with ingredients that have skin whitening properties- like a combination of lime+cucumber juice with a pinch of turmeric or besan+yogurt or sandalwood paste+rose water etc. Regular use will have positive effects but don’t expect an immediate solution.
  • Many commercial products are also available in market to lighten dark underarms but it is always advisable to go for something which is prescribed by your dermatologist which will generally have ingredients like salicylic acid, AHA, lactic acid, Retinol etc which are proven for their skin lightening properties.
  • If you suspect any medical condition contact your doctor and get it treated medically.

Once you find out what works well for you, and have shown positive results it is equally important to take some preventive measures to ensure your underarms stay clean n clear for ever.


  • Avoid tight fitting dresses, at least don’t wear them every day and choose cotton rather than synthetic material for daily use especially during summer when we sweat profusely…
  • Switch to waxing and stop shaving/using hair removing creams. You can really feel the difference in skin in terms of color, texture and growth of hair. Since waxing gets rid of hair from the roots the area stays clean and soft and hair grows back slowly without much thickness too.
  • Be conscious of the ingredients in deodorants, better to avoid anti-perspirants which have harsh chemicals and pick deos especially which are free of alcohol and strong fragrance. I personally feel it is always better to stick on to body spray/splashes rather than roll-ons since the application is more hygienic when it comes to spray. Avoid using all these while at home instead dust on some anti-fungal powder to absorb sweat if it is really required.
  • Regularly exfoliate your underarm area with a good body scrub, at least twice a week while you take shower-this will remove all dead cells, traces of deos, sweat and impurities. Make sure you moisturize the sensitive skin after exfoliation.
  • You may need to keep track of your weight too. Excess flabby arms lead to dark armpits due to rubbing skin against skin.

Now following are few things which have really helped me to prevent darkening of underarms.

  • I do regularly exfoliate with my favorite St.Ives apricot body scrub and am sure it works!!This is followed by applying a body moisturizer which will ensure the skin is not dried out.
St Ives Scrub for Underarms
St Ives Scrub for Underarms
  • I prefer waxing – really hate the way skin feels after shaving be it arms, legs or underarms which makes my skin dry so I never opt for shaving.
  • I always stick on to a mild deodorant – Dove is my personal favorite since it is quite moisturizing and has a mild fragrance-been using it for many years. Absolutely loving the new Dove deo with cucumber and green tea extract which has a refreshingly pleasant & mild fragrance and smell is quite long lasting too…I love to experiment with perfumes but not deodorants since it is being used in underarms where skin is quite sensitive.

In short just a little care is required to prevent darkening of underarms which would surely yield beautiful and long lasting results!!


31 thoughts on “How to Get Rid of Dark Under Arms

  1. Hey nice post Shyna. This will be useful for a lot of people. All these days I thought the dark underarms are usually only due to razor usage and deos. Glad to know there are other things that cause this problem. Thanks a lot for such a nice post 🙂

  2. I used to shave my underarms earlier but after switching to waxing i did notice my arms have lightened to a great extent.It hurts so bad though 🙁 I use the Fa roll-on works good on me. Nice post. Thanks 🙂

    1. True Insiya, waxing is painful but if you can bear it the results are amazing isn’t it? And picking a spray or roll-on is all personal choice..Glad that u liked my post..

  3. Great post. It’s a real issue. Even though I wax, exfoliate, don’t wear tight clothes and don’t have diabetes, I still suffer from this problem. But I did find out that using a strong anti perspirant makes it worse, so I stopped using that. Now I use normal Sanex deo and sometimes I use lime and I can see improvement!

    1. Sunaina happy that you were able to find out the real culprit and yes anti-perspirants contain many harsh chemicals; good that you switched to a safer one.

  4. Shyna – Nice post!
    I in fact use razor underarms alone, and not a single prob (in fact more convenient as I can wer my sleeveless tops anytime!). But I read the chemicals in aerosols sprayed on direct can impact the color and stopped it, just use roll ons there 🙂
    .-= Gaea´s last blog ..Bangle Mania Chudi Khankegi =-.

    1. Lucky you….i have heard majority saying shaving darkens underarms!and using spray or roll on is a matter of individual liking..i somehow find roll on less hygienic since it comes into direct contact with underarms and we keep it closed and then re-use it again.i have been using spray for so many years and have never had the prob of discoloration but only thing we should be careful about the ingredients be it spray or roll on .

    1. Thx Radhika..I have tried shaving once in an emergency but i could feel the big difference, hair grows back real fast…never ever used razor for underarms after that.

    1. I never thought this new dove has such a great scent..realized after my hubby n friends started asking about it…my hubby is a perfume addict n he was surprised when i showed him this.

  5. a gr8 post shyna…
    i used to use Hair removing creams for under-arms as waxing meant terrible pain.. 😥 even started having darker under-arms…
    bt then switched to regular waxing.. really tht helps in reducing the darker area..
    even i think tht strong Deo’s r also a prob for the under-arms.. i too nw use Dove.. its mild n gud 🙂
    n thanks for the home made pack remedies.. i m going to try tht out nw too.. :-))

  6. Nice post 🙂 And I too have been using razor for underarms for years now and havent had any problem. Really wanna try that St Ives scrub :yes:

  7. I’ve switch to waxing now and i guess it should take some time to see the result. I wanted to ask you if the home made pack really works because this is really a big problem for me. I also heard that deodorants cause dark underarms and can you tell me what i should use instead or if there is anything that i can do to make it lighten more quickly.

  8. First i used to shave, but now i wax ….it is really good for the complexion as well as get rid of bad odour……..Using baking soda with water is the best remedy for skin fairness of whole body as well as it also help those people with acne problem…………It worked for me hope it will work for you….. 🙂

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