How to Get Rid of Dark Underarms Forever

Summer, sun, & sea make me think of beautiful strapless dresses, breezy halter tops, and stylish tanks. Are you not as excited as I am to dress for the season? Do you want to hide behind sleeves of clothing? I’d like to get to the pit of your long sleeved hesitation – Let me guess – dark armpits? Don’t shy away, you’re not alone, darkening of the underarm skin is a frequently reported problem especially among people of Middle Eastern, Asian and Indian descent. Good news is, if we can get to the root of your individual problem this pigmentation conundrum is easily solvable. I have compiled a list of some of the common causes of such skin darkening, and solutions for lightening your underarms:

The Irritation Factor

With the use of deodorants that come with strong perfume, alcohol and high dose of Aluminum Chloride, armpits can become irritated. Skin irritation results in inflammation and darkening of the skin.


Use mild deodorant especially made for sensitive skin. I recommend:

1.Babe Roll-On Deodorant hydrates skin and prevents dryness as it is enriched with Alfa-Bisabolol 0.10%, which calms and softens the skin.

2.Dove Clear Tone Skin Renew Anti-Perspirant/Deodorant which contains calendula and sunflower seed extracts soothes and hydrates irritated skin. It comes in regular and Clinical Protection, which gives you prescription-strength wetness control.
A recent study has shown efficacy of Niacinamide 4% and Desonide 0.05% creams to improve pigmentation.

Heavy Fuzz Factor:

If your hair is dark and coarse, the skin in your armpits can look darker, even if you’ve just shaved. This is because the roots of the hair are visible through the skin. In this case, you may want to try waxing, which removes the roots. Sometimes the problem can be worsened by frequent ingrown hairs, which can leave dark spots that take months to fade.


Go for laser hair reduction or try using hair-minimizing products to control hair density and thickness. I recommend:

1.Avon Skin So Soft Fresh & Smooth Hair Minimizing Roll-On Anti-Perspirant Deodorant may help — it contains urea and salicylic acid to soften hair and minimize razor bumps.

2.Bioxet hair reducing body cream contains a herbal extract ‘Complex B’ that retards blood circulation around hair root, thus retarding hair growth.

Acanthosis Nigricans:

is a skin condition that produces brownish gray velvety patches on the underarms, the sides of the neck, and the inner thighs. It can be associated with diabetes or other hormonal imbalances.


Studies have shown that fat deposits release hormones to darken and thicken the skin; so plan on loosing weight. Chemical peels and laser treatments help improve the condition. I recommend the use of prescription creams like:

Retinoids (Retin-A 0.25% cream)
Lactic acid (Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Skin Smoothing Lotion)
Urea (Babe 10% Urea Repairing Lotion)



is a bacterial infection that produces brownish orange patches in one or both armpits. Your dermatologist can diagnose it by shining a black light on your skin to see whether the patches appear fluorescent orange.


It can be treated with topical antibiotic creams or oral antibiotics.


Some Simple Steps To Avoid Pigmentation From Recurring:

a) Avoid excessive use of hair removal creams and shaving your armpits. These are the major culprits for darkening of the underarms.

b) Avoid excessive use of deodorants and perfumes containing alcohol, which lead to irritation and ultimately discoloration and darkening of armpits.

c) Avoid tight clothing as your skin may get irritated due to friction which further leads to darkening. Avoid polyester or synthetic clothing and wear loose cotton clothing instead.

d) Excessive weight or obesity might cause friction within the skin around armpits which will further result in dark armpits. Try to lose weight and stay within your ideal weight range.

e) Maintain good hygiene. Cleanse and exfoliate your armpits on a regular basis. This will help to remove the impurities and dead skin cells, which can cause skin to look dark.

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Shazia Ali
A certified dermatologist, Skincare guru to the who's who of the Middle East, Dr. Shazia knows the secrets of anti-aging, the insider tips and tricks on how to achieve healthy, beautiful radiant skin and everything in between. Currently the brand Ambasador for University of Westminster, and the head Dermatologist at Tababa Clinics.

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