Dark Underarms: Causes, Treatment, and Prevention

dark underarms

Having dark armpit shade is common for most people and they aren’t a sign of any serious condition. However, you may find it embarrassing when your underarms shade doesn’t match the rest of your body color. 

In some cases, a skin condition called acanthosis nigricans (AN) leads to dark underarms. Around 7-70% of people have a prevalence of AN based on race, age, and body weight.

Let’s have a look at the causes of underarms and possible treatments for them. 

Causes of Dark Underarms

However, the following factors can also increase the chances of AN or dark underarms:

Repeated hair removal- This is one of the most common reasons for dark underarms. Repeated hair removal can cause excessive production of skin pigment cells, thus leading to dark underarms. 

Obesity ﹘ Obesity is another reason behind dark underarms. A study shows that people with obesity usually have more dark skin underarms than other body areas. 

Hormonal disorders ﹘ You may have dark underarms because of hormonal issues such as an underactive thyroid, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), or other hormonal disorders. People having these conditions are more likely to have AN compared to others.

Genetics ﹘ Sometimes AN or dark underarms could be genetic.

Cancer ﹘ Though a rare case, sometimes AN can occur because a cancerous tumor grows in your liver, stomach, or other internal organs. This type of AN is called malignant acanthosis nigricans.

How to Prevent Dark Underarms 

Here are some ways to prevent darker underarms.

  • If you are diagnosed with AN, then try to maintain a healthy weight.
  • Change your deodorant. Look out for a different brand. Try using a natural alternative, such as baking soda. 
  • Do not shave your underarms. Try waxing or laser removal methods instead.
  • Stop wearing tight-fitted clothes; rather wear loose clothes.
  • Quit smoking if you do.

Treatments for Dark Underarms 

Aloe Vera 

Aloe vera is an excellent natural sunscreen. Its antibacterial properties naturally soothe the inflammation and lighten the darker armpits.  

Simply apply aloe vera gel on your underarms and leave for 10-15 minutes, then rinse with water. For good results, use aloe vera on alternate days. 


Cucumber is known for its bleaching properties, thus making it an effective ingredient to treat dark underarms. 

You just have to rub a few cucumber slices on your dark underarms for a minute or two, let it dry for another 10 minutes, and then wash off with plain water. Doing this daily will help reduce skin darkness.

Medical Treatment 

In some cases, opting for a procedural-based treatment is a better approach that includes micro-needling or chemical peels. Remember, all these potential treatment options require multiple procedures for significant improvement. 

We don’t recommend using home chemical peels on underarms because of the skin sensitivity, it’s best left to the experts.


The use of supplements containing vitamin C and E can help fade the darker skin. You can consider taking multivitamins like Diamond Glow which is a powdered supplement rich in vitamin C, E, and other 15 natural ingredients ﹘ all these together can help you get rid of your darker armpits fast.

Take Away 

Darker underarms are usually harmless and not of much concern until they are due to AN or other medical conditions such as diabetes or an inactive thyroid gland. Usually, treating your medical condition will automatically lighten the darker skin. 

However, consider the treatment mentioned above if the darker armpits or dark patches are because of wrong shaving or another similar reason. If you see any serious signs, consult a doctor.

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