Treat Dark Underarms

How to Treat Dark Underarms

Want to lighten your underarms? Here are some tips and tricks to treat dark underarms and brighten the area.

Dark underarms are a common concern for many individuals. Are these patches of discoloured skin under the arms affecting your confidence when wearing sleeveless tops or swimsuits? Underarm skin is sensitive. It is easily inflamed, and inflammation can lead to hyperpigmentation. Furthermore, because it folds upon itself, product absorption is enhanced. This is crucial since all ingredients that aid with hyperpigmentation are (to some extent) irritating.

What are the causes of dark underarms?

Before we dive into the ways to treat dark underarms, let’s look at why they occur. Here are some factors that contribute to dark underarms:

  • Frequent shaving and waxing

Shaving or waxing regularly might result in dark underarms. These hair removal methods can cause skin irritation, ingrown hairs, and an increase in melanin synthesis in the underarm area.

  • Deodorants and antiperspirants

Some deodorants and antiperspirants include harsh chemicals that can darken the skin, especially if used right after shaving.

  • Friction

Rubbing garments against the underarms, particularly in hot weather, can produce darkening due to irritation.

  • Hormonal changes

Hormonal changes, such as those experienced during pregnancy or menopause, can cause skin darkening.

  • Medical conditions

Acanthosis nigricans and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) are two medical diseases that can cause darkening of the skin in various locations, including underarms.

How to treat dark underarms?

Do you want to brighten up your underarm area? Here are some effective ways that can help:


The accumulation of dead skin cells can darken the underarms over time. So, regular exfoliation is crucial for treating dark underarms. I recommend introducing a chemical exfoliator into your skincare routine two to three times per week while avoiding any physical exfoliants with gritty particles to avoid causing microtears in the skin. But don’t over-exfoliate, as it can exacerbate the problem. Additionally, avoid vigorously scrubbing your underarms, no matter how tempting it seems. Physical pressure has little to no benefit for reducing hyperpigmentation; in fact, it is more likely to aggravate the condition. If you must use a physical exfoliator, choose a gentle and nourishing formula.

Stay away from harsh hair removal methods

While shaving is one of the easiest hair removal methods, it can take a toll on your delicate underarm skin. I recommend opting for waxing or laser hair removal to prevent dark underarms. If you want to stick to shaving, don’t forget to use shaving cream to minimise friction. Friction can stress the skin, causing an inflammatory reaction and hyperpigmentation. Furthermore, allow the shaving cream to sit on your skin for 15-30 seconds before shaving, and replace your razor blades regularly to avoid dull blades scraping against your skin. After shaving, use a post-shave lotion or moisturiser to help soothe your skin.

Choose the right deodorant

Since skin irritation can lead to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, you need to stay away from deodorants laden with harsh chemicals. Replace your deodorant with one that is free of harsh chemicals, fragrances, and alcohol. Look for hypoallergenic or natural products because they are less likely to irritate the skin.

Try a chemical peel

Chemical peels can be an effective option to treat dark underarms. They operate by exfoliating the top layers of the skin, which can aid in the removal of dead skin cells and the reduction of hyperpigmentation in the underarm area. Chemical peels are classified into three types: superficial, medium, and deep peels. A superficial or medium-depth peel is usually recommended for dark underarms. These peels are commonly made using glycolic acid, salicylic acid, or lactic acid.

Dark underarms can be bothersome, but with proper care and treatment, you can achieve lighter, healthier skin in this area. If you want to learn more about how to treat dark underarms, schedule a consultation with me here.