How I’m Brightening My Dark Armpits

How I’m Brightening My Dark Armpits
by Truly Beauty

Is it just me or are my armpits looking darker these days?

Apparently, it's not just me. Dark armpits are a common skincare concern that affects me, you, and probably your next door neighbor, too. 

While it's frustrating, treating discoloration on the underarm skin is do-able. Here's everything you need to know about dark pits, what causes them, and how to brighten them!


What Causes Dark Armpits?

Here are the most common culprits behind dark underarms. 

Deodorants and Antiperspirants 

Deodorants and antiperspirants do a great job in making your underarms smell fresh, but they may be the offenders behind the darkening. That's because these skincare products typically contain alcohol and fragrances that can irritate the skin and cause hyperpigmentation. Since you're applying them directly to your underarm area, your pits are prone to irritation and discoloration. 

Opt for alcohol free, natural deodorants and antiperspirants and avoid spraying them directly onto your skin.


Shaving and Waxing

"People shave the underarms quite a bit, which can lead to inflammation, as well as repetitive trauma and friction," says Carlos Charles, M.D., founder of Derma di Colore. "Whenever there’s any repetitive friction on the skin, the skin responds by becoming a little bit thicker, and thicker skin is often a little bit darker, or hyperpigmented."

Unfortunately, waxing isn't much better. Ripping away the hair with wax can leave you prone to ingrown hairs, inflammation, and ultimately, darker underarms. 

And your pits aren't the only ones at stake here. Your knees, elbows, and knuckles get dark too. So, you might want to switch to a skin-friendly hair removal method instead, like laser hair removal therapy.


Wearing Tight Clothes

Friction is the most common cause of hyperpigmentation and dark spots on the skin. If you wear tightly fitted clothes all day, the fabric rubs against the skin, causing irritation and in turn, discoloration. 

Try wearing loose fitting clothes and choosing natural fabrics like cotton or silk to let your skin breathe and reduce the chances of irritation and hyperpigmentation.


Medical Conditions

While it's rare, dark underarms might be a sign of an underlying medical condition such as polycystic ovarian syndrome, acanthosis nigricans, or Addison's disease. Speak to your healthcare provider if you suspect you have a condition that needs addressing.


How to Lighten Dark Underarms

Treat Skin Conditions

If you have a rash on your armpits, it's important to get it evaluated by a dermatologist before proceeding with brightening treatments.

The inflammation may be caused by a chronic skin condition such as eczema, psoriasis, allergic contact dermatitis, or fungal infections. Get it checked and treated before starting a brightening treatment.



If you do not exfoliate your underarms regularly, dead skin cells will accumulate on the skin, leaving a dark shadow on your pits. The same theory applies to other areas of your body too, like your knees, knuckles, and elbows. Gentle exfoliation once or twice a week goes a long way to prevent darkening of your underarms and other areas of your body prone to discoloration.

Incorporate a gentle combination of chemical and physical exfoliation into your routine 1-2 times a week. Look for ingredients like lactic acid and glycolic acid (AHAs), which dissolve the buildup of dead skin cells and oils, leaving skin smoother, clearer, and brighter.

We recommend Truly's Bright Pitties Bundle, a 3-step underarm lightening kit that exfoliates, hydrates, and smooths. Featuring a body scrub, shave butter, and pigment treatment, this trio relies on AHAs, coconut oil, vitamin E, and aloe to quell hyperpigmentation, scarring, and discoloration on the body.




Upgrade Your Shaving Routine

If you shave, invest in a few shaving essentials to prevent skin irritation and thus, darkening. We recommend Truly's Smooth Legend Shave Kit, which features a pre-shave scrub, shave butter, and after shave oil moisturizer that delivers irritation-free, smooth to the touch skin. Coconut, rose water, grape, and vitamin E work together to nourish, moisturize, and soothe skin.

Remember to replace your razor blades frequently to prevent dull blades from rubbing and irritating the skin. 

If you're still experiencing dark skin on the underarm area, consider laser hair removal instead.


Try Home Remedies

If you prefer natural DIY remedies, try using one or more of these natural ingredients to lighten underarms.

  • Cucumber

  • Turmeric

  • Baking soda and lemon juice

  • Toothpaste

  • Tea tree oil

  • Apple cider vinegar

Simply apply one of the above to the affected area, leave it on for several minutes, and then rinse off with lukewarm water. If you have sensitive skin, avoid using harsher ingredients like baking soda, lemon juice, and tea tree oil. All skin types should avoid using whitening formulas and lotions, which can be extremely irritating and drying to the skin.


Go Sleeveless

If friction's the issue, try wearing sleeveless shirts for the next couple of weeks and assess how your skin looks afterwards. Are you still getting irritation? None at all? Has your skin tone improved quite a bit since dropping the sleeves? This could be a clear indicator that friction is to blame for your dark armpits.

Since we know you can't go sleeveless forever, invest in a few looser-fitting shirts that won't rub against your skin. 


Consider Professional Treatments

If all else fails, try booking in for professional laser or microneedling treatments. However, bear in mind that it will still require multiple procedures to see significant improvement. You will need a little patience if you want to see desires results.

If you're interested, speak to your dermatologist to get their professional opinion.


Underarm discoloration might go away on its own, but it might not -- depending on the root cause. If it's a negative reaction to an ingredient in your deodorant and you continue using, the problem definitely won't go away. On the other hand, if tight clothing is the culprit and you switch to sleeveless, looser-fitting shirts, armpit discoloration may go away on its own in due time.



Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.