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The top 5 causes of darkened armpits

Germaine Pie Is Puzzled By Her Pits: What causes darkened armpits and what can we do to get rid of them? They’re so embarrassing!

The Right Brain Raises Her From the Pit of Despair:

It’s not surprising that so many people have this problem – there are at least FIVE different reasons your pits could be darker than they should be.

Reduce darkened armpits

Cause #1: Shaving.

When you shave you cut the hairs off at, or just below, the surface of the skin. If your hairs are slightly darker than your skin color, they can give the appearance that your skin has a dark stain when it`s really just sub-surface hair.

What To Do About It: Stop shaving and try waxing or plucking instead so you get rid of the hair below the skin surface. Since the hairs aren’t lurking so close to the top of your skin, they won’t be as visible.

Cause #2: Buildup of dead skin cells.

According to at least one dermatologist, dark spots under your arms are the result of dead skin cells that are trapped in microscopic “hills and valleys” on your skin.

What To Do About It: Exfoliate, preferably with a product containing lactic acid.

Cause #3: Antiperspirant and deodorant usage.

In theory, some ingredients in these products (perhaps the fragrance) could be reacting with the skin to cause discoloration. Practically speaking this seems unlikely but many people do claim that when they stop using APDs, the darkness goes away.

What To Do About It: Try switching brands or using a deodorant instead of an antiperspirant. You may stink a bit more, but hey, the Left Brain lives for experiments like that!

Cause #4: A medical condition called acanthosis nigricans.

This condition causes light-brown-to-black markings on the neck, under the arms, or in the groin. It can be related to insulin production or to a glandular disorder and it typically occurs in people who are overweight.

What To Do About It: Watch your diet to control insulin production and use Retin-A, 20% urea, alpha hydroxyacids, and salicylic acid prescriptions to lighten your armpits.

Cause #5: Hyper-pigmentation.

This condition causes your skin to produce excess melanin pigment. It doesn’t usually affect armpits, so it’s a less likely cause.

What To Do About It: Use a skin bleaching cream to destroy the excess melanin. The Beauty Brains don’t recommend this unless you consult a dermatologist first. You can also try laser treatment to destroy the pigment.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Candi December 4, 2013, 3:43 pm

    Informitive thank you.

  • holly December 26, 2013, 11:20 pm

    I have black stuff under my arms. i try to scrub it of but i can only remove some of it. I’m very light skin so this is embarassing for me. i was wondering what i coukd do to remove it from my skin

    • Phill May 7, 2016, 9:37 am

      Avoid deodorants that contain aluminium. That causes the black stains on skin and clothes.

      • Randy Schueller May 7, 2016, 9:38 am

        Aluminum salts can cause yellowing of fabric but I’ve never seen any evidence that they produce any kind of black stains. If that’s true I’d love to share the information with our readers. Can you direct me to any proof of what you say? Thanks.

        • Renee October 4, 2016, 10:09 am

          It left black marks on some of my clothing. However, I started getting a darkening of my skin when I came off of APDs and I now use Native brand and now, I’m seeing the darkening of my skin….not sure why since this should be opposite. (I’ve never had darkened skin until now)

          • Sandy October 18, 2016, 9:28 pm

            I have been using native deoderant for a month now and my armpits have gotten so dark. I have never had this issue before. I don’t understand it because it is supposed to be good for you.

          • Tressie January 16, 2017, 10:43 am

            I also started using native deodorant about 3 months ago and my underarms turned dark also

          • Esme C February 26, 2017, 12:21 pm

            I also use Native deodorant for a few months now. Just in the last couple of weeks notices the blackened area in my underarm pits. Just as confused as I thought it was the drugstore deos that contained Aluminum Zirconium that did that, yet I never experienced it with those .

          • Kayla May 7, 2017, 1:03 am

            I too have never had darkened armpits and just switched to Native prior to the darkening!!! I just started researching causes and came across your comment! I’m baffled!

          • Jacqueline June 8, 2017, 9:48 pm

            My armpits have also turned black. I just nearly fainted when I looked them! OMG! This is after switching to native. I am definitely going to discontinue use!

          • Aubrey June 15, 2017, 6:27 pm

            Same issue here! Started using Native and developed dark spots under my arms! Bummer! Thank goodness it’s not just me though.

          • Debbie July 13, 2017, 12:41 pm

            I too noticed darkening after switching to Native deodorant. I emailed the company.. here is the response:

            Thanks for reaching out to us, and I’m sorry about the issues you’re having with Native.

            While we can’t diagnose medical issues, we have heard of that issue arising before (albeit in a tiny percentage of cases). Generally, it has to do with the bacterial environment under your arm changing. I’d recommend you take two steps. First, dab a bit of apple cider vinegar under your arm. This will help rebalance the pH under your arm. Next, make sure to exfoliate under your arms for a few days alongside washing your underarms with antibacterial soap in the shower for a few days. For example, you can dab some diluted apple cider vinegar on your underarms for about 30-40 minutes and then shower with antibacterial or exfoliating soap!

            This should get rid of the dark color, and once you’re past this phase, it shouldn’t return. Will you give these tips a shot and let me know how it goes?


            Julia Colbert
            Earn Free Travel Size Deodorant

          • Karen July 22, 2017, 7:54 am

            I also started using Native deodorant a few weeks ago (end of June) and have noticed significant darkening of my skin. I’ll try the suggestion they offered and see if it helps. I’m so glad I’m not the only one!!

          • DEIDRA August 15, 2017, 10:07 am

            I just started using native and am experiencing the same darkness! I came to this site to see if there is anything to do about it

          • Tab September 25, 2017, 2:38 pm

            Wow! My armpits turned dark and i freaked out when i saw it. I have to lighten them back up.

          • Sara September 29, 2017, 8:55 am

            Native darkened my skin, too, though nearly all of the deodorants with baking soda so that to me. Native was the only one to also give me a rash, though. Their customer service was awful. Anyway, the ACV helps a little, if it’s really caused by the baking soda and not something else. Try LaVanila Sport deodorant. It doesn’t last all day for me if I am super active but it’s fine for a regular work day, it contains no aluminum, and I haven’t had any darkening. Good luck!

          • Sabrina January 7, 2018, 11:58 pm

            What may be causing darkened Armpits with Native: baking soda.

            Apparently it’s a common reaction. They have released a sensitive collection for those who noticed this, which contains no baking soda.

          • KLP February 16, 2018, 12:04 pm

            I too use Native and just started getting the armpit darkening. I appreciate the responses and the posted instructions to remove it. I will try their suggested resolve and hold out hope that the darkening will leave and I can resume using Native. I love this deodorant and want to continue with it.

        • Julie October 29, 2016, 6:41 pm

          Same problem with Native!!! Hopefully if I stop using it my pits will lighten up! Love the deodorant, hate the darkening.

          • Lucy November 4, 2016, 8:47 pm

            Ive been using the native deo and around 4 days of use i notice darkening but i didnt think it was the deo so i kept on using it but they have become even darker so i just stopped using it hopefully it will go away! I dont understand why that happened if that deo is supposed to be natural ingredients!! I think ill email the company cause obviously im
            Not the only one!!!

          • Amanda May 11, 2017, 5:41 am

            I had the same issue, very shortly after switching to Native my armpits turned so dark! I was also having irritation, after switching back my armpits went back to their normal color and the irritation is gone.

          • Brittany July 22, 2017, 9:20 am

            Same problem since I switched to Native a few weeks ago! Bummed, love deodorant but can’t accept the dark redness of my under arms.

          • Leslie September 19, 2017, 10:23 pm

            Holy crap! I use Native too!! What on earth?! I have also found that my armpits STINK. Like… I say “Oh my gosh!” And am disgusted by myself since using Native. So frustrated!!

        • Kristen June 21, 2017, 9:42 pm

          I too have noticed darkening of my armpits after switching over to Native deodorant as well. I also find that my armpits are irritated, and though I’ve been using for almost two months now, I don’t feel like it is working better over time, as the card in the box says it will. If anything as the darkening and irritation has increased, the deodorant seems to have decreased in its effectiveness. It’s such a bummer, my sister swears by this stuff, but I’m not on board. I’m also terrified, what if this darkening is permanent?!

          • Lulu June 27, 2017, 1:47 am

            I’m having the same issue with native. So disappointed, but the darkening lights up if you use eye makeup remover on it. Randomly found that out.

        • brenda July 27, 2017, 2:26 pm

          I finally found the reason for the black stains under the arms of my clothing.
          I seem to tarnish or blacken any jewelry except real gold. Most deodorants have aluminum in them and all without it don’t control wetness and odor. I sweat excessively most of the time. I am in the medical field and wear a light blue scrubs. I sweat the whole time at work, embarrassing 🙁

      • Corvelyn June 28, 2016, 12:57 pm

        Is the laser treatment is to remove your armpit hair??

        • Shiloh November 11, 2016, 1:21 pm

          Same thing has happened to me after using Native deodorant!!!!

          • Melanie January 13, 2017, 5:36 pm

            I used native for about a week and all of a sudden my skin was darker and in some spots like…dry and flaky. I could get the dark skin off in those spots scrubbing with alcohol. So I did an experiment….went back to my normal deodorant, degree, on one arm and native on the other. The degree arm pit lightened back up within days. The native just got darker. Three days ago I switched back to degree under both….and the darkness is nearly gone. Never again going with Native!

        • Diana February 27, 2017, 12:06 pm

          No it can be used for any area of your body but near your face/eyes

      • Liz June 23, 2017, 5:54 pm

        I use a deodorant that does NOT contain aluminum. I never had any problems with regular deodorant but not my underarms are discoloured.

        • Monica June 28, 2017, 10:51 pm

          So glad to see this. I’ve been using Native and noticed the darkening too! I had laser hair removal on my armpits so I knew it couldn’t be because I needed to shave. I am shocked! I live in Florida and wear tank tops almost year round! I cannot have black pits! What on earth could cause this in their ingredients? I don’t care if it’s supposed to be better for you, I’m out!!

          • Danielle December 21, 2018, 4:28 pm

            Same problem with Native. I love the fragrance but OMG, my pits are almost black now. They initially said it was detoxing, but I am going to switch to a different deodorant.

    • Just a nigga tryna help July 26, 2016, 10:05 am

      What I did was get 2 cups, put honey in the one cup just a little bit and brown sugar on the other one. Now, grab the honey and pour it onto the brown sugar. Mix it in ( use gloves, spoons eh not the best). Once it’s all mixed up and kinda into a sticky form u put it under your armpits when ur taking a shower. It’s called the brown sugar scrub I think. What it does is it takes away all the dead cells. Trust me. It worked.

      • Extra September 23, 2016, 8:11 pm

        How long did it take in order to see a difference??

    • Irene October 27, 2019, 7:12 pm

      A light exfoliation mask will help with this. I use a baking soda and coconut oil mix, apply the mixture and let sit. Before you wash gently rub away the dead skin in the area. You can also use sugar and lemon. Hope this helps you!

  • VNikol February 7, 2014, 9:16 pm

    I use lemons for deodorant which work surprisingly well (the cleaner your diet the more effective they work), but on days that I shave I swipe a layer of tea tree oil followed by a layer of lavender oil (pure essential oils) as deodorant & I noticed how great they are at evening out my skin under my arms as well. I don’t use lotion, only oils (EVOO, Jojoba, Grapeseed) so I have a carrier oil on my skin although tea tree & lavender oils are the only two essentials safe for skin use sans a carrier oil.

    • no July 25, 2015, 9:52 am

      we get it, youre organic/vegan and better than everyone. and no, essential oils shouldnt be digested like most of you ppl swear everyone should do. quit proselytizing.

      • LadyT September 3, 2015, 9:45 am

        Ooh, somebody’s touchy. This woman was just trying to give some advice to others who might need it. Just know that when you comment things like that on a harmless post you just seem bitter and uninformed. And she never said anything about ingesting the oils, just applying them topically. Get it right if you’re going to criticize.

        • Syalie Boo December 4, 2015, 8:22 am

          Lol. So true. How moronic of this person to irrelevantly deject her when all she was doing was try to help. Smh. Someone must’ve crapped on her cornflakes.

          • Chris April 27, 2016, 7:29 am

            Leave him alone, he’s just a baby.

    • Oneka March 15, 2016, 1:36 pm

      I like the idea of the lemons and oils. I have tried almost everything and it’s not working for me. And I’m not vegan but I like using oils and organic stuff. It is great for your body. Better than all those chemical filled products and foods.

      • Clm May 11, 2016, 12:56 am

        Actually the lemon makes sense, lemon juice can be used to lighten your hair (gradually) combined with sunlight, and when combined with baking soda is a whitening toothpaste in a pinch. So I bet it would lighten your skin slightly though use maybe even the hair if you sunbath your armpits lol. The Romans supposedly bathed in milk to lighten their skin but that seems like a waste to me. I will have to try this.

      • Mrs Howard May 12, 2016, 2:09 pm

        I mix my own deodorants. Organic refined coconut oil, baking soda and lavender and lemon oils. Absolutely love the stuff!

        • CJ June 23, 2016, 11:33 am

          I just recently began using baking soda and water as a deodorant replacement. It definitely works but it doesn’t have any smell. I would like to try your idea. Is there a certain amount of each ingredient that you use?

          • Amorighoye alero November 6, 2018, 11:31 am

            Heard of baking soda,water and lemon,that it works really fast,think I should give it a try

        • Dan October 6, 2016, 2:37 am

          I use baking soda & coconut oil to lighten the darker spots on myself, from deordeants, creams & from what all 5-6 of my dermatologist tell me, my eczema….& the creams etc. to treat it. Those 2 also make a great & cost effective exfoliating scrub. It may take mos. to get lighter, but look how long it took to look like we’re two toned. I’m sure all races, to some degree, have this to deal with? T’aint being human fun? P.S. We’ll be geezers, they’ll come out with a product that does all the things we’re going on about with just one spritz from a can. It’s always something, eh?

        • Sarah j March 8, 2017, 4:30 pm

          I have used antiperspirant deordorant for years and it has not done anything remotely close to dark armpits. I used those natural ingredients with Jasmine essential oil and it turned my one armpit dark and slightly itchy. Other comments say Native did the same. maybe it is one of those ingredients in Native that has either baking soda, organic non- go cornstarch, or organic coconut oil that could be the culprit…i am going back to my lemon mix but if you used that for a while (assuming you have increased hormone fluctuations like me) you risk developing skin tags.

        • JL June 22, 2017, 8:10 am

          Thanks for all the advice! I’m going to try the oils for sure. I too have had the darkening of skin since I stopped using deodorant with aluminum. Which is not what should be happening. I think it has something to do with not having the aluminum on my skin that’s created it. I have tried three different deodorants now that do not have aluminum and the same thing has happened every time. When I go back to using the regular aluminum deodorant the darkening of the skin goes away. It’s so frustrating

    • delosi May 2, 2016, 10:01 am

      Thank you very much

    • Lara February 22, 2017, 12:02 am

      I’ve used aluminum free deodorant for years and never had this happen then I used the lemons for 3 days and wow super dark. I wonder what causes this???? I even made my own deodorant and it’s not getting better…:(

  • Janice@www.unexplainedbruising.net March 18, 2014, 10:34 am

    I used to pluck my underarms to remove the hair but after a while of doing so it looked swollen and rough so I switched to shaving with a razor but then I noticed that my armpits were shades darker than before. Now I apply cream and shave using a soft scraper. I am thinking of trying waxing since I didn’t achieve the smoothness I hoped to attain with my current routine.

  • Kaycee December 12, 2014, 1:39 am

    Hey well I’m young and under my arms are brown and get a bit sore it’s really embarrassing i dont like to put my arms up at all and i dont want to tell my mum what are some ways that mite help me get rid of the darkness please help me

    • Randy Schueller December 12, 2014, 6:26 am

      Hi Kaycee. If if bothers you that much you should really tell your mom about it. You didn’t do anything wrong so there’s nothing to be bothered about. Maybe you could show her this article and ask her if she’s ever heard of this. They you can tell about your problem and has her to help decide if any of the treatments we mentioned in the article might be good for you to try. Good luck and let us know what she says!

  • Kaycee December 12, 2014, 1:44 am

    Okay well under my arm has gone brown and it gets sore every now and then I’m still only young and love to play sport but lately I’ve been to imbarresed to even put my arms up to play i dont want to tell Any one about it what are something’s i can try please help me .

    • Zaeilb April 15, 2017, 12:25 pm

      My mom told me to use Tawas or Alum while I’m still young to keep my underarm from darkening and having a body odor but when I tried using deodorants it darkens so I stopped and use the tawas instead and it gets back to normal. Tawas is a chemical compound whose name is often given as potassium aluminum sulfate. It is a crystalline substance that can be colorless or white. Filipinos use tawas in doing laundry and in whitening armpits.

  • zuhra December 16, 2014, 1:43 am

    hey keycee you are like me my armpirt have dark colour and idont know what kid of diseases that i have please help me if some one know he treatment

  • Shonna February 13, 2015, 10:36 am

    I just started using a all natural deodorant and have alwayed waxed my arm pits. Now one of them is turning color, it seems to be getting darker. What should I do?

    • Randy Schueller February 13, 2015, 12:19 pm

      If you just started using a new deodorant and you noticed a change in your armpit color you could try going back to your old deodorant.

    • Sarah j March 8, 2017, 5:44 pm

      After doing some extensive research (not a lot) I’m come to the conclusion that it is the baking soda that is darkening our lovely pits! I’m doing more research to find a remedy and an alternative to a natural deodorant

      • SAndra Deveze Marquez September 4, 2017, 8:50 pm

        Yes it is the baking sida! Weird cause is usually used to whiten I’ve used Native and Lush Deodorant and but are straight baking soda, works for the smell but darkens the skin. The best natural deodorant that turns my sweat into pure odorless salt is Pegassus Soaps and I buy it at Etsy, I always come back to it!

  • 22TANGO March 23, 2015, 12:40 am







    • Fran January 25, 2016, 12:21 am

      I drink lots of water, eat fruits and vegetables but fairly exercise (I do take antidepressants and anti-panic meds) and I have like developed velvety patches/bruises near my waist and the obvious darkened underarms, knees and elbows I also have really pale skin so imagine how those stand out -and not in a good way-, and like the others said it’s really embarrassing and frustrating. BTW, I haven’t gone to a GP or doctor of any sort yet because I’m terrified they would tell me I have like some sort of degenerative disease or something (yes, as stated before I have to take meds to treat anxiety and panic disorder, which makes me think now that those meds might be causing this patches/bruises, right?) TY for your answer and patience

      • Randy Schueller January 25, 2016, 7:31 am

        Unfortunately this sounds like a medical issue not a cosmetic science issue. I think you really should see a doctor. Even if there’s bad news it’s better that you find out early rather than later.

    • Mano June 9, 2016, 9:08 pm

      After showering I use natural oil on piece of cloth like a washcloth and gently wipe my underarmsZ. it keeps the u rearm moisturizer and soft. Every night wipe ur u detains with a wet cloth dry it and apply soil and gently wipe it . U will c a difference . Secret :!always wipe
      If ur u detains with a little bit of our with wash cloth . Key gently .

  • Jasmarie June 15, 2015, 3:55 am

    My Armpits Are Very Dark And I Am Afraid To Tell My Mom . They Are Very Dark And I Have A Dark Skin Tone So It Is Easy To Notice . I Keep Itching It So It Makes Small Scab , I Tried This Ointment Which Removed The Scar But My Armpits Are Still Very Dark . Any Suggestions?

    • Randy Schueller June 15, 2015, 6:53 am

      Jasmarie, you need to tell you mom so she can help you. Don’t be afraid to show her.

  • Skylar June 16, 2015, 3:21 pm

    I’m 14 and I have dark colour armpits I’m really pale and white so its easy to notice. Me and my mom aren’t close and she never sat me down and talked about shaving so I did it secretly so I don’t want to talk to my mom about it I’ve tried using different razors, tried exfoliating but it just doesn’t work I haven’t wore tank tops for this reason in many years and I just don’t know what to try.. Any advice would help greatly!!!

  • Sammy June 19, 2015, 8:50 pm

    I have dark underarms and I switched deodorants but it hasn’t switched back to my skin color. It hasn’t changed at all and now I am afraid to put on deoderant and now I smell.

    • elen marie November 20, 2015, 1:37 pm

      Try to use bioderm oitment as a deodorant after shower and tiny bit before going to bed. Its not expensive and harmless. It helps whitening the skin and it will not give you smell.You will see the result after few times of using it. Also rubbing fresh lemon while shower also helps so keep this as a habbit.

  • Kiara June 25, 2015, 12:18 am

    Ok i have these black spots under my arms nd my mother is known about it so she told me to stop using deordant for a while nd just wash under my arms but the spots are still here nd they itch alot nd burn when i sweat help!!!! I want to start back wearing deorderant but i just need help

    • Randy Schueller June 25, 2015, 6:46 am

      @Kiara: I don’t know what those spots are. Maybe you should see a dermatologist to make sure it’s nothing serious.

  • Grace June 27, 2015, 5:26 am

    I don’t know if it will be the same as your guys problem but I also have brown spots on my armpit but not just there in between my boobs also have the brown spot what can I do
    I’m a little over weight but started a diet a week ago
    Please help

  • Amy mcdonald July 16, 2015, 8:15 pm

    I am a mother and just took my 14 year old daughter to the dermatologist for darkening of her armpits. They have been Luke that for two years, I honestly thought she just wasnt scrubbing well enough. We changed deoderants among other things. For her it is a rare condition that is hard to cure but easy to treat called confluent and reticulated papillomatosis or carp for short. Don’t be embarrassed to tell your parents, it can’t be anymore embarrassing than what you are already going through. Good luck to all of you maybe it isn’t what my daughter has but don’t hesitate to have it checked out.

  • tori vega July 30, 2015, 10:00 am

    can any one tell me how to make our armpits white simply in home without the lemon does any body have another idea??????

    • Nic February 26, 2016, 1:13 am

      Hi you can use coconut oil, baking soda, cucumber, and potato.

      • Jessie April 1, 2016, 5:32 pm

        I just started using coconut oil as a body wash and for my gray armpits. I also try not to shave too much. I don’t know if it is helping yet, but it’s worth a shot.

  • Ninnie August 7, 2015, 1:08 am

    I am using a cream from walmart called Nadinola it’s around 5 bucks u apply it twice daily and after a week I’ve noticed results 🙂 also lemon and baking soda help if u want to try natural fixes.

  • Angie August 12, 2015, 12:52 pm

    I have used a natural deodorant for about 2 months with simple ingredients (shea butter, baking soda, arrowroot powder, cocoa seed butter, bergamot and lime essential oils, vitamin E, and hop extract). I began seeing a large dark purple rash under my left arm and started reducing the amount of deodorant I was using and skipping days sometimes (I really loved the way it was working, so I was hoping I could manage the rash). Within that week I woke up in the middle of the night with severe spasms in my arm and had to go to the ER. I was told I have what is called “cording” and it is generally only seen in mastectomy patients (that have had a lymph node removed in the armpit). It appears that maybe my lymph node in my left arm was impaired and both my doc and OT believe that a reaction to one of these ingredients is likely the cause. It’s been almost a month and I still don’t have a fully functioning arm (unable to straighten completely due to cording, tenderness and spasm pain). Has anyone else had anything similar or are there any ingredients that I listed about that would have a higher probability of possibly causing a lymph reaction like this? Any info would be great!

    • Heather Sefcik August 7, 2016, 11:02 am

      I made my own natural deodorant with shea butter, baking soda, arrowroot and essential oils. Now my left armpit is a little darker than it used to be too. I haven’t had any spasms though. My right armpit is still normal. Maybe it is one of these ingredients since we both used them? I’m going to try exfoliating, but I really don’t understand why it’s only happening on one side. It is kind of reddish purple, like a bruise, but it doesn’t hurt.

  • Meg August 19, 2015, 9:09 pm

    Hi, I’ve been reading that using bergamot and being exposed to sunlight rays can be severely harmful to the skin. I would IMMEDIATELY switch deodorants, as I’m guessing you go into the sun most every day.
    Try this article for more info.


  • Meg August 19, 2015, 9:36 pm

    While Arrowroot powder, baking soda, lime essential oils, hop extract, and vitamin E are most likely not the cause, Shea butter and cocoa seed butter have both been known to cause skin irritations and allergic reactions. But, if you have previously used Shea and cocoa seed butter before, the deodorant company may have overdosed on bergamot, and used lime extract to try to relax the muscles that the bergamot tightened. Either way, discontinue use, and I hope I have been a help to you. Be sure to check the back of bottles for bergamot oil, and if you’re new to the butters, ask you’re doctor if there’s any chance you’re allergic to them, because believe me, many people are, as I get a reaction when I use it. As a new deodorant, I would use Tom’s as it works for me and is all natural. I would also reccomend using a wetter deodorant (don’t buy dry) as it may stick and irritate your underarms while they heal. For now, though, discontinue use of any deodorant and wash your underarms lightly with Lukewarm water unless your doctor tells you otherwise or if your arms do not allow you to move this way. Discontinue shaving or waxing of any sort until your arm heals fully, and even for a bit afterwords to put less stress on your arms. As for the odor, spray perfume on your shoulders and over the sleeves on your shirt. You may smell a bit, so make sure you have a stronger perfume. I know it may be embarrassing, but your arm ABSOLUTELY doesn’t need any more irritation. Try to take daily showers in the morning if your arm allows you and use all natural soap for kids, and you will not smell as much or be irritated as much. In the shower, don’t scrub harshly, just lather your arm with soap and clean away with a soft, squishy, hot sponge. Remember to listen to your doctor if he says to avoid any of these things, though, as I am not actually looking at your arm. I hope I have been a help, and please keep me updated. Remember, there was a time before deodorant was invented.(: Hope you get better soon.

  • Jan August 20, 2015, 10:19 am

    I’ve read the issues and replies, looking for help myself. I noticed a darkening just a few days ago. I’m going to try the various suggestions each two weeks at a time and will give feedback.
    However, I must make some comments from my background and experience. First, I am a Massage Therapist and do have an extensive education and experience on the human body. Additionally, I have been a mother and caregiver for over 40 years. That being said, the very first thing is to stop rubbing and scrubbing with anything. The underarm skin is very sensitive and just below the surface is blood vessels that can rupture, and lymph nodes that can be damaged. Second, stop using traditional deodorant/antiperspirants and try Epsom salt. You can get it in a stick form to wet and roll on, or dissolve the salts in water & dab on the solution, and let it dry before dressing. Third, and final for now, give it at least two weeks for your body to start the regeneration of this area.
    These methods have worked for me in the past, but now that I’m older, I’m preparing for other influences like the effects of menopause. The first on my list is brisk walking, because it will provide the movement of my arms to do a natural massage and sweating to allow my body to release anything that is trapped in those tissues. We spend too much time at our computers with only movement of our hands and fingers, it stands to reason that idle parts are hampered in circulation.
    Good Luck, and let everyone know how each of you do.

  • Meg August 20, 2015, 3:59 pm

    Also, could I have the name?

  • Catherine August 26, 2015, 6:27 am

    I’m 38 yrs old. my armpits is very dark and it started 2 yrs ago. pls help this is embarrassing.

  • Crystal September 27, 2015, 10:23 pm

    This is so embarrassing to me and I do to have this problem. I’m starting the bleaching cream with myself just because I have a two tones coloration all over my body. But my underarms is not cute , Iam going to try the pluck and see what..but I have the itching problem too any suggestions

  • Maria Loca October 8, 2015, 11:06 am

    Sometimes also if you’re pregnant it tends to darken a bit, mostly subsides post partum. I wax my armpits and it seemed to have lightened them up a bit. Also if you wear clothing that covers the armpit area it likely traps the moisture from sweat and the hairs (we all have little ones) causing a reaction. So keep them ventilated when possible. Hope you find something that works. Good luck! ☺

  • Faye November 16, 2015, 7:50 am

    My mom and I are not close. I have white underarm before and I always tweeze but nothing happens It doesn’t affect it at all. then one day I watched on youtube things like waxing and I tried it once and then my underarm became so dark and now I can’t use my favorite shirt and dresses. Please help. I don’t know why this happens.

  • Sonia November 22, 2015, 8:38 pm


    I wax my underarms by a professional but each time I do it they get really sore and unable to use anything for days when they heal I have really dark skin witch takes ages to fade please help!!!

  • Maggie Smith December 8, 2015, 1:40 pm

    I’ve heard it is detoxing – impurities coming out of the skin . Deodorant can be a barrier so when you stop using it, the toxins start coming out and can actually burn, discolor and irritate. Losing weight, cleansing the body can be the only answer. That’s difficult so take a healthy product like Raw meal (slowly as it cleanses, too) It’s natural with no harmful ingredients. Using bentonite clay to help remove the impurities can also help. You can use it externally, wipe on and wash off – very soothing. Some take it internally but you should check with a doctor knowledgeable about natural healing.

    • Randy Schueller December 8, 2015, 3:31 pm

      Maggie: “Detoxing” is most certainly NOT the cause of darkened armpits. I’m afraid you’ve been misinformed.

      • Someone July 21, 2016, 12:21 am

        I do think it is detoxing because I use to use secret deodorant, but I was allergic to the not natural one. So i did not put any deodorant on until the redness cleared and then started to use a all natural one, and my mom said that my arm pit will smell for a couple of week because it is getting all of bad toxins out of your body, the brownness is from the sweat building up so make sure to shower every day and try to be not in the sun all day. And definitely recommend using all natural deodorant, a really good one is pit paste you can get at whole foods.

        • Randy Schueller July 21, 2016, 7:20 am

          Your body does not “detoxify” itself through your arm pits.

  • Dee December 9, 2015, 7:23 pm

    This answered all my questions. Ty.

  • Jesse Mara January 11, 2016, 10:44 pm

    Is it normal to find a black seed-like kinda thing growing in your armpit? I woke up this morning and found this thing the size of a papaya seed under my armpit and when I pulled it and it came off easily with no pain, leaving a small circular sore. I’m freaking out!

    • Randy Schueller January 12, 2016, 8:29 am

      That doesn’t sound normal but I have no idea what it is. I would check with a doctor if I were you.

  • Tiara March 7, 2016, 11:13 pm

    Thank you
    Very helpful and informative piece of article.

  • Natalie March 12, 2016, 6:45 pm

    I have had this a few times which always results in me needing to treat it with a canesten cream. Yep, my GP diagnosed thrush. Apparently if you’re skin sensitive to certain deodorants and just carry on using them it can irratate enough to cause a fungul infection somehow. Honestly, as crazy as that sounds, I changed my deodorant and used the cream I needed to and within a few days I was fine. I recently changed my deodorant again and what do you know it happened again, back to normal again now from using the same treatment again. It’s worth buying a tube just in case.

  • JT March 13, 2016, 5:32 pm

    So I just got back from vacationing in the tropics. Near the 3rd week I noticed the skim darkening under my armpits. When it started peeling I thought possibly sunburn? I didn’t think to use sunscreen there. I have used diy deodorant for the past year without any problems so no changes on that front. Since being back my skin is close to normal…

  • Grace M March 29, 2016, 5:49 pm

    I need help, I have dark armpits, neck and dark spots on my arms. I’ve been to doctors, had a biopsy and did not find anything. They said it’s a skin inflammation of the skin and pigment discoloring. I had blood work done and everything came back good. I am 49 and in good health, my only health issue is a vitamin D deficiency and I take 50,000mg once a week. Do my age have anything to do with it. NEED HELP…What can I do.

    • Randy Schueller March 30, 2016, 11:01 am

      I wish we could help Grace but it sounds like you have a medical condition and we can only help with cosmetic problems. I hope you find a solution!

    • Ellie November 2, 2017, 12:55 am

      Sounds like autoimmunity. Vitamin D deficiency is very common in people with autoimmunity.

      Look up Paleo Mom and her work on autoimmunity. Try the Whole 30 or AIP diet for 2 months and see if you feel/look better. Those diets heal autoimmunity.

  • wardah May 9, 2016, 11:56 am

    i have very very very dark neck plz help me and tell what we do now plz????

    • Shantel February 6, 2019, 8:05 am

      Dark skin on the neck, elbows, groin, knees, knuckles can indicate a few things like PCOS or insulin resistance!

  • Cat Bradley May 22, 2016, 8:34 pm

    I have been aluminum free for a few years now and have tried everything under the sun, after a waxing incident where I got welts right in the crease of my left armpit, now most natural deodorants turn that area black! It goes away when I quit using the deos that cause it. I thought it was a reaction to the baking soda so I bought Schmidts baking soda free but if I use it continually it starts to turn dark in that area again…maybe from the essential oils?

    • Domenica June 25, 2016, 4:22 pm

      I just switched to schmidt’s stick and after 2 weeks,I ended with darkened armpits. They feel kind of sore and when I wash them with a cloth it leaves a brown residue. I’m assuming it’s a fungal infection but normally if it is, it smells, and it does not smell. I switched over to their fragrance free one, I was using the lavender-sage, and hope it goes away. Going back to whole foods today to see if I can exchange my other stick for a different one (I have the stick and the jar one).

  • Jenny June 19, 2016, 1:08 pm

    I made my own body scrub.
    I used extra virgin olive oil, sugar, honey and since I don’t have lemons at home I used a lime.

  • delphine severin July 1, 2016, 8:09 pm

    Well I heard lemon works best for cleansing the armpits actually I used that procedure for a week I so little changes.. But I still wanna get back to using deodorant and they are the cause to darkening my armpit.. I just can’t help itand the brands which contain alcohol works best for me butthey make my armpit darker.. What should I do?? And I wanna smell good still

    • Sha September 20, 2016, 8:52 pm


      Actually if your aim is to have smell-free underarms, lemons really help. I’ve been using lemons in place of deodorants for many years already, I wet my hands with some fresh lemon juice and apply to my underarms at night before going to bed.
      I live in a hot and humid climate so showering in the mornings (and the evenings) is pretty normal here, and I never NEED a deodorant to mask any underarms smell, as the lemon juice actually works as a natural deodorizer throughout the day. There were times that I ran out of lemons and had to skip a night of applying lemon juice to my underarms at night, and yet the next day I was still smell-free. Skipping more than 2 nights did produce a faint underarms smell but only noticeable if I lift my arms AND I sniff close to my underarms LOL (seriously, I’ve done this to test, sorry if TMI ha ha).

      Recently, these past 1 month, I get a bit lazy to shop for lemons, and I saw that I have a bottle of hardly used cheap castor oil in my cabinet, so I thought, why not? So I did the same, applying before going to bed. Castor oil is drying so your underarms are not greasy going to bed. So far I can attest, also helped a bit in the smell department though not quite as great as lemon juice.
      I’ve also used extra virgin coconut oil a couple of times before, prior to trying the castor oil, and I think it smells better, just that it takes a tad longer time to dry vs the castor oil. I’ll probably go back to using EVCO again tonight for longer periods and see how it goes.

      Hope this helps someone…

  • Ebony July 6, 2016, 1:35 am

    I agree with the oils, I’ve also been recently informed that tea tree also kills bacteria under the skin. I use Yor health bare oils and have already achieved results. No matter the brand 100% organic oils are a positive alternative, it does take time and consistency. No I’m not vegan etc, I eat relatively clean. However always consult a professional, understand what you’re putting in or on your body.

  • Joe July 9, 2016, 5:10 pm

    My girlfriend has sensitive skin, used the wrong type of antiperspirant which caused a rash and we went on holiday to a hotter country and now has dark brown skin on and around a large area of her armpits any suggestions or explanations?

    • Randy Schueller July 9, 2016, 5:42 pm

      Sounds like the dark skin was a result of the rash.

  • AisakaW August 18, 2016, 5:56 pm

    I’M light tan and I had dark underarms for about 4 years, I have, scrub them, stop shaving with razor, and not used deodorant. And did what I could to whiten them but nothing works. I’m so embarrassed to lift my arms up when I don’t have long sleeves on.

  • Noelia October 14, 2016, 8:57 pm

    I have very dark skin under my armpit and a little around my neck I can’t wear little tank tops because it will show all the. Black in my armpit!!! My mom says its because I don’t scrub but I do and I honestly don’t see any improment

  • Annie November 28, 2016, 12:01 am

    I am 14 and i have very dark underarms .I went to the doctor and it seemed like the doctor did not care. She said it was because i am over weight. But let me explain. First of all, I am not that overweight.I just don`t understand how and why they are so dark. She said that there was nothing i or she could do about it. I need some help. I know that i need to lose weigjht and i am trying hard to lose it but is there any way that it couild go away faster?? I hate raising my hand in class and i wear long sleeves all the time! I need help because i am scared that people will see it and atoumatically assume that i am a nasty person who doesn`t take of her self.I t has happened before.I take excellent care of my self Please help so people wont be so jugdemental

    • Randy Schueller November 29, 2016, 7:56 am

      Hi Annie. I’m sorry to hear about your problem with dark underarms. Have you already tried the tips we gave in the article? If so I’m afraid I don’t have any additional ideas for you. Maybe you could check with a dermatologist? Good luck and don’t worry, you’ll get through this!

    • kirsten January 8, 2017, 8:38 am

      hey I’m 14 to and has the same problem as u I always where long sleeves or a jacket and my mom says its because I’m overweight and that I should just use the bleach cream

  • Kirsten January 8, 2017, 8:34 am

    i have dark armpits and I told my mom and she said that i should just use bleach cream

  • Cee January 22, 2017, 6:59 pm

    I’ve had bad armpit over for at least a decade. The smell began in my early 30s. I heard of miradry,but I feel uneasy getting rid of my sweating glands. Most folks believe the odor comes from not bathing or no deodorant. But regardless how much I wash or apply deodorant the odor remains. Dermatologist gave me prescribed deodorant and creams, but none work.

  • Natasha February 7, 2017, 11:33 pm

    My armpits turned black over night! I woke up about 4 days ago and my arm pits were dark they never have been so i dont know what could cause such a quick change

  • Teena February 21, 2017, 7:15 am

    Thank you for the information. I will try doing one at a time to see if my arm pits improve.

  • andreas March 11, 2017, 7:33 pm

    this is not the deo how causes this you are most likely prediabetic/insulin resistant and symtoms of that is “acanthosis nigricans” or hyperpigmentation. you should also avoid lime with sun, using on skin or drinking

  • londa March 25, 2017, 12:00 am

    I had rotator cuff surgery on my right shoulder and no air wasn’t getting any and now my under pits is dark what can I do to prevent more darkening it’s only been 2 months since my surgery thank you

  • Raza April 3, 2017, 8:44 pm

    I have dark patches on my underarms, back of neck and the inner part of elbow (opposite the elbow).
    I tried using home remedies several times, like lemon, baking soda, applce coder vinegar, but nothing works.
    Olease do let me know you need a photo to determine the cause.
    I would have attached but there is no option here.
    I’m getting married in october this year and want to cure this before that.
    I’ll be waiti g for your reply.
    I’m worried

    • Randy Schueller April 4, 2017, 7:38 am

      I’m sorry but we can’t give you medical advice. Perhaps you should consult a dermatologist.

  • Someone April 9, 2017, 9:15 am

    How do I know which of those 5 is my problem?

    • Randy Schueller April 9, 2017, 9:24 am

      You could try each “what to do about it” step until you find one that works for you. Then you know that’s your problem.

  • Pema April 28, 2017, 1:14 am

    My armputs got dark after i the day i had rashes around my armpits and when it the rashes went away it got dark… What should i do for that…

  • simrat May 26, 2017, 7:30 pm

    hey, i have a brown dark patch on both of my underarms. and a few bumps. what do i do ?

  • tania July 10, 2017, 4:50 pm

    i really luv this website it really does help

  • Diana Lopez July 25, 2017, 10:16 pm

    Oh my God! So I thought I was the only one experiencing the darkness under the armpits after using the Native deodorant. So apparently everyone who uses this deodorant experienced the same side effect. I am so upset right now…took a shower and noticed the darkness under my pits…looks like a stain. I hate Native deodorants. I want my money back!

    • Bev September 6, 2017, 1:49 pm

      I am wondering if all the Native deodorant causes the discoloration or is it just the vanilla one? I have used the Native for a couple of months and it happened to me so I switched to another fragrance in the Native line, the cucumber. Has anyone tried this one?

  • Marissa August 15, 2017, 9:24 pm

    OMG!!! The SAME thing happened to me with Native Deodorant…WTH??? I don’t recommend this anyone. My armpits got dark and I’m just hoping it goes away?!?!

  • Melissa September 5, 2017, 10:48 pm

    I’m so bummed I started using Native deodorant for about the past 3weeks and I noticed this morning that my armpits are dark! More so on my lt side I showed my husband and we immediately stated the remedies to try and reverse it. He says to keep using the deodorant because I really do like it aside from the fact that now I have dark armpits and now I feel even more self conscious! Ugh

  • Anne September 28, 2017, 7:33 pm

    I, too, got dark circles under my arms after using Native deodorant! I received the same stupid response from Julia at Native (as well as a refusal to allow me to return the unused bars I purchased). I have been unsuccessful so far in getting the dark color to go away after switching to Schmidt’s deodorant (3 weeks). I’m about to go back to Degree, I never had this problem until using Native.

  • Lisa October 3, 2017, 8:12 am

    Glad I’m not only one. Just started using Native and although I love it. I noticed this morning darkening under armpits. I will try the apple cider comment above and see if it helps…

  • Florina October 10, 2017, 8:59 am

    Hmmk its really embarrassing cos now I CNT wear clothes like vest I really need help

  • Wyrdsister October 13, 2017, 2:24 am

    Schmidts deoderant gave me black underarms. It worked at deoderizing but ugh. Made my under arms feel rough and gross. I have had success with alum based deoderant from les couvent des minimes its a roll on you can get from Ulta or amazon. It uses rosemary and blood orange. My aunt swears by Listerine. Seriously, I used it in an emergency and it works! I WAS SHOCKED. My mom uses an aluminum free deoderant called Lavilin Bio. Which works great as well. You use it once a week even after exercising and bathing every day and it works great as well. I wont be going back to Schmidts.

  • L November 10, 2017, 9:56 am

    I too received the same response from Julia at Native. I used the coconut scent. “Small percentage”, yeah riiiggght. I also bought unscented and lavender but didn’t use those. Curious if it’s just the coconut one that causes the darkening. My pits have never looked worse. Does this darkening go away?

  • Amy November 17, 2017, 12:07 am

    Wow. So, I also just started using Native deodorant a few months ago. I have had a slight darkening in my underarm creases since my teen years but since using Native they have darkened dramatically. My right pit is VERY dark like a blackish red and sometimes gets irritated. I thought maybe I the irritation was from increased sweating or maybe detoxing from discontinuing an aluminum based anti-perspirant, but now that I see how many Native users are having this problem I will be discontinuing my use of this product immediately! Bummer because it’s expensive and I went in for the 3 pack so I still have 1 1/2 sticks left. I want so much to use natural products but I also want to run back to my skin-smoothing, non-caking, good-smelling, no rash giving Dove so fast..

  • Mary November 19, 2017, 7:26 pm

    I also have darkening of the armpit skin, but not due to Native…I’m using Aluminum-free La Roche-Posay Deodorant (24 hr. physiological brand). I absolutely love it and it works like a charm, although it’s too expensive for my liking. So, I think it is any non-aluminum deodorant that can cause this. I’m just a person trying to be healthy, but I really don’t like this discolouration happening. It’s embarrassing!

  • Carol Vann December 2, 2017, 4:38 am

    I use dermalmd lightening serum under my underarm in the crease there was a dark spot. I only used it a day after shaving because you can’t have open pores. I applied morning and night. It’s does not smell and doesn’t have a sticky residue. No I didn’t use deodorant because I use a crystal stick and that last about 3 days for my without and body oder and to get maximum benefit of the product. I have seen a diffference in my underarm area and one pump goes along way for both underarms. I have a old spider bite on my leg that left a dark mark that’s next. Great product

  • Jenn December 29, 2017, 4:12 pm

    Same problem with the Naive deodorant. Sucks too because I like it.

  • messi March 10, 2018, 1:45 am

    my brother is having a black colour under his armpit what should i do and hes only a little boy

  • Liz March 22, 2018, 5:52 am

    This happened to me when I switched to 4 different natural deodorants. The only ingredient all had in common was arrowroot powder. It took a couple weeks of scrubbing with baking soda in the shower to exfoliate it back to my normal hue.

  • Donna-Marie Jones May 16, 2018, 10:24 pm

    Hi, I am so glad I saw all these comments about using Native deodorant. I have been using it for about a month because I figured it would be better for me buy like all these people I have gotten dark staining in my armpits. Glad to know it is not just me. How can I get rid of this? Should I stop using the Native deodorant? Why does it happen? thanks

  • Leigh April 29, 2019, 12:15 pm

    Under my arms are kind of purple some one please help and give a “what to do”

  • Shri June 1, 2019, 8:20 pm

    I have dark spots under my armpits, by any chance are they a sign of diabetes? And I’m only 11!
    Please help, I’m very worried.

  • R June 13, 2019, 12:06 am

    I have super dark and rough armpits, i usually jus pluck my hairs. I used to use deodorant because my armpit sweats a lot and causes a smell. But using of deodorants causes my armpits to become even darker. I don’t know what to do. I seriously just wan smooth ad whiter armpits 🙁

  • L February 15, 2020, 12:41 am

    I started using regular men’s speed stick and I noticed it didn’t last all day and I smelled worse. Today I saw that a large part of both my armpits are dark, it looks like irritation but I’m not sure.

  • LaTreese June 9, 2020, 2:55 pm

    I’ve started using natural deodorant and have tried a couple different kinds. My armpits have darkened, like everyone elses, but I did not use Native. So, I don’t think it’s just Native deodorant. The deodorants that have baking soda appear to do this as well. I switched to Schmidt’s Sensitive formula and it did wonders. Hope this helps!