Your underarms should be of the same shade as the rest of your skin. But sometimes, the skin in the armpits turn into a darker hue. Because of the darker shade of the underarm than the rest of the arm, many women feel embarrassment.

What’s the problem?

When it comes to your armpits, it is the melanin that causes the area to become darker.Here are some common causes that leave you with undesirable dark under arms.

1. The use of alcohol-based deodorants and antiperspirants.

2. Excessive rubbing / Friction: constant rubbing or friction may result in thickening of the skin and darkening of the skin. 

3. Hormonal changes: Periodically, your body goes through hormonal changes, like when you get pregnant. This causes your body to increase the production of melanin, leading to blotchiness, uneven skin tone, and skin darkening on the upper lip, neck and yes, your underarms as well.

4. Acanthosis nigricans: The Dark underarms may also be as a result of a medical condition that is known as acanthosis nigricans, which is often associated with obesity, hormonal disorders, certain medications, and cancer. Areas affected become thickened or dark gray or brown color.

5. Shaving / Waxing: Underarm hair that has been shaved tends to be darker and coarser. Underarm waxing has its own drawbacks. It doesn’t truly relieve you of underarm hair, but only reduces it.

6. Use of hair removal creams.

7. Bacteria: If you do not clean your underarms properly, they may appear black and dark. Dead skin will start to build up, and microorganisms will thrive in the dark and sweaty conditions of your underarms. This may lead to a chronic infection in the deeper layers of your underarm skin, further which leads to the formation of rough, discolored skin that is red in the first place but slowly changes brown in color.


It is not always possible to prevent, but precautions will always reduce the risk of developing dark underarms. This include:

1. Maintaining a healthy weight.

2. Opting for Laser hair removal instead of shaving and waxing on the underarms.

3. Managing medical conditions that may contribute to Acanthosis nigricans development.

4. Avoid using alcohol-based antiperspirant.

5. It’s important to wash your armpits regularly with a bar of antibacterial soap. Preferably use a wash with tea tree. Tea tree oil contains antiseptic properties and is very effective in killing bacteria.

6. Replace shaving or waxing with laser hair removal. These procedures remove hair below the skin’s surface and reduce the visibility of the hair and hence works on pigmentation and dark appearance of underarms.


1. Topical Creams: The best option is always to consult your dermatologist to get the best advice on dark underarms. Under the supervision of a dermatologist, prescription creams, ointments, and gels can be used to lighten the skin under the arms. The medicines like retinoid creams to thin and lighten the skin, hydroquinone cream to lighten the color of the skin, a vitamin D-based cream to reduce pigmentation and using topical antibiotics or antibacterial soaps to minimize discomfort.

2. Chemical Peels: Various combinations of peels can be used to treat the dark underarm concern. Chemical peels help in rejuvenation and repair of the skin. Chemical peel brightens and even out your skin tone by reducing the appearance of hyperpigmentation and skin discoloration. They revitalize dull-looking skin, help skin look soft and smooth. Because of their deep exfoliating effects, Peels can refine the surface of your skin. They also cause your skin to peel physically, so they require around a week of downtime. However, the results are worth the wait!

3. Underarm Pixel: A Laser system can effectively target deeper pigmentation within the skin. This treatment works well.  The laser beam breaks down the melanin, which subsequently diminishes in a few treatment sessions. Successive sessions will be required to see effective results. The laser light goes deep into the skin and heats up the dermal layer. The body’s defense mechanism promptly perceives this action as an injury and rushes to repair it. This process stimulates collagen production, making skin tissue firmer and more elastic. Skin darkening may indicate an underlying medical condition that requires immediate attention, so people with dark underarms should see their doctor. 

When the underlying condition is treated, the symptoms are resolved and skin gets lighten. But if an underlying cause is not treated, then dark underarms can reoccur. Always consult a dermatologist as they can always recommend medications and treatments for the same. Never neglect any such condition.