Dark Underarms: Causes, Treatment, and Prevention

Dark Underarms: Causes, Treatment, and Prevention

There are several days when you would have wanted to wear your favourite sleeveless dress but the thought of your underarms made you drop it. Dark and patchy underarms take a serious hit on your confidence and restrict your lifestyle choices considerably. 

Dark underarms not only look unseemly, but they may also be indicative of some underlying medical conditions. Most of the time, they are a result of over shaving, using chemical-based deodorants or neglecting following a skincare routine.

In this blog, we tell you how to get rid of dark armpits and share some pointers on maintaining proper skin tone in the underarm region. You needn’t give up wearing your favourite sleeveless tops just because your underarms look unsightly. Regain your confidence and take charge of your own looks. 

But first, let us understand why dark underarms occur and how to deal with this problem.

Why do Some People Get Dark Underarms?

Our skin produces a pigment called melanin that gives it colour. Certain races like Asians, South Americans, and Africans have more melanin-rich skin than others. 

When pigment cells multiply faster than usual, darkening of skin occurs in the folds of the body like underarms, groin, thighs, etc. 

Some seemingly harmless actions like using hair removal creams on underarms, or shaving too often can also cause excessive pigmentation.

Discoloration in the underarm skin and the appearance of scales and plaques in the underarms generally occur due to the accumulation of dead skin cells, excessive sweating, or friction caused by certain fabrics. 

The possible reasons for dark underarms are listed below:

  • Use of chemical-based deodorants and antiperspirants 
  • Irritation and abrasion from frequent shaving
  • Pile up and accumulation of dead skin cells
  • Friction from tight clothing
  • Hyperpigmentation (increased melanin) caused by smoking or melasma
  • Bacterial infection

Dark underarms can also be due to a skin condition called Acanthosis nigricans (AN). This skin condition causes your skin to thicken and darken in the folds around the body. People with melanin-rich or darker-toned skin tend to have this darkening of skin folds.

How to get rid of Dark Armpits: Chemical Treatment Methods 

The problem of dark underarms is a fairly harmless, cosmetic one. If, however, dark underarms are making a dent in your confidence, you can go for prescribed topical medications 

Some topical medications are listed below:

Retinoid creams

These are Vitamin A derivatives and include adapalene, tazarotene, and tretinoin. Topical retinoids unclog skin pores and prevent discolouration. These also thin the skin and help you get rid of dark underarms. Oral retinoids like Isotretinoin are strong in potency, but have several side effects, and should be used only on medical advice.

Hydroquinone Creams

Creams with Hydroquinone are effective in removing discolouration in the underarm region.

However, though topical treatments provide temporary relief, they typically aren’t effective in preventing recurrence.

The following specialized procedures for dark underarms treatment are also available (though these need to be done under medical supervision):

Chemical Peels

Discolouration of underarms happens when there is dead skin pile up combined with too much melanin in the underarm region. 

Chemical peels containing trichloroacetic acid (TCA) are used to remove the damaged skin cells. The top layers of the skin are peeled off to unveil fresh skin underneath. This must be done by a trained skincare professional. Chemical peels may leave your skin extra sensitive to sun damage and other cosmetics.


Dermabrasion is an exfoliating treatment in which a trained skin professional removes the outer layers of the skin to reduce uneven tone, injury marks, or acne scars. 

However, if you have skin conditions like inflammatory acne, recurrent herpes flare-ups, radiation burns, or burn scars, dermabrasion is not possible. 

Laser treatments 

Laser resurfacing too involves removing the top layer of the skin to reduce darkening skin. Though this treatment heals faster than other dark underarm treatment procedures, the skin needs to be bandaged till completely healed. Skin sensitivity increases as a result of laser treatment.

All the above-specialized procedures to get rid of dark underarms are complicated and tend to leave the skin pink or swollen, with a tingling sensation. There may be skin redness or rashes as an after-effect. It may take up to three months for your skin to completely heal. 

Instead of resorting to such extreme measures, it makes sense to go for some natural remedies and exfoliating and moisturizing creams. 

How to get rid of Dark Underarms: Natural Remedies

The following home remedies have been shown to reduce this skin problem to an extent:

Rubbing grated potato 

Rubbing grated potato can aid you in getting rid of dark underarms. Raw potato works as a natural bleach and an anti-irritant and has been shown to help in dark underarms treatment

Applying lemon juice

Many swear by the effectiveness of lemon juice in reducing skin discolouration. The acidity of the lemon exfoliates the underarm skin and removes dead cells from the skin surface. This results in clearer skin. However, lemon juice being acidic may irritate sensitive skin.

Applying Turmeric

The curcumin in turmeric is known to help restore the underarm skin tone. Turmeric mixed with lemon juice is a natural remedy to get rid of dark underarms. Results vary from person to person. 

Applying powdered orange peel

Orange peel mixed with rose water and milk has shown positive results in some cases.

Rubbing Cucumber slices 

Cucumber has also been known to be effective in dark underarms treatment.

All these natural remedies have their limitations and are effective only up to a point. Opt for making suitable changes in your lifestyle, hygiene habits, and skincare rituals instead, for long term benefits.

How to get rid of Dark Armpits through Lifestyle Changes

Some simple, long-term lifestyle changes can help prevent this skin condition. 

  • Maintain ideal body weight

Exercise regularly and eat healthy in order to reduce weight, as obesity is one of the main causes of Acanthosis nigricans. Consult your dietician and doctor for further advice.

  • Take frequent baths to avoid sweat accumulation

Ours is a hot and humid climate. Sweat and dirt tend to build upon the skin. Take a bath daily to maintain hygiene. Remember to always shower after working out, or doing any kind of exerting work. Keeping your underarms clean and well aired helps in maintaining skin hygiene.

  • Wear light, cotton clothes

In summer, or while going out during peak sunlight, wear loose, light coloured cotton clothes that allow your skin to breathe. Synthetic clothes tend to stick to your skin, causing more sweat accumulation and friction in the underarm region. This aggravates the problem of dark underarms.

  • Maintain underarm hygiene

While bathing, cleanse your underarms thoroughly with a gentle cleanser. Dry with a soft towel. Make sure your underarms can sweat freely. Exfoliate your underarm skin regularly and keep it moisturized.

  • Using aluminum free deodorants

Avoiding aluminum, salt-based antiperspirants will allow your skin to naturally shed the aluminum from the sweat glands. Your body can sweat naturally, and your armpits won’t be clogged due to the aluminium. You can select more natural oil-based antiperspirants to keep your underarm fresh.

  • Exfoliating the underarm skin regularly

Apply an underarm exfoliating cream to exfoliate dead skin cells and remove roughness in this delicate area. Exfoliating cream with Daisy flower extract and Madecassoside is extremely effective in restoring the skin tone and texture of dark, rough, scaly armpits. What’s more, this amazing skincare solution also controls excessive sweating and provides long-lasting freshness. So, you get both fresh underarm skin and freedom from dark underarms at one go! 

Check out the Re’equil website for this amazing cream for dark underarms treatment.


Why Re’equil?

Getting rid of dark underarm patches can be a real challenge unless you get a really good skincare product to deal with it. Home remedies may or may not work, and chemical-based treatments are expensive, risky, and with several side effects.

Medical grade, dermatologically tested skin care products work effectively in dealing with discolouration of underarms. Scientifically developed, SLS and paraben-free skincare products don’t irritate your skin in any way and nourish it in the best possible manner. This works wonders in helping you get rid of dark underarms.

Re’equil is your trusted skincare solutions provider that offers the best of skincare science combined with the goodness of natural ingredients. You get honest and effective dermatologically tested products with clinically proven ingredients so that your skin and hair concerns are taken care of. Customers who have used Re’equil love how they look and feel. What’s most important, our products build back your confidence in yourself!

For getting your self-belief back, check out the Re’equil range of products on this website https://www.reequil.com/  

Here’s to a more confident you!