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Armpit Whitening—A Beginner’s Guide to the Perfect Underarm

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Cynthia is an administrator, has a degree in Business, Economics, & History, and is a qualified Hypnotherapist. She loves to write & travel.

Discover the best ways to lighten your armpits naturally.

Discover the best ways to lighten your armpits naturally.

What Is Underarm Whitening?

Do you use an underarm whitener? As I sit sipping coffee in the morning and crunching my toast, I generally have a look at my Google Analytics account and go through such things as what keywords are bringing visitors to my articles. Since the beginning of spring, I have noticed that the term "underarm whitening" keeps appearing. Now I am not sure why, because I have never written anything at all about this topic.

But the term keeps showing up and it has got me thinking, do women really worry about having dark underarms? Living in chilly, rainy England, where you do not get too many chances to wear skimpy tops, I have never really thought much about my armpits, other than squirting on deodorant every day and a quick shave in the shower, so I took a good look at them in the mirror. They seemed ok to me, but since I have obviously been neglecting my underarm skincare regime, I decided that I needed to find out more about underarm whitening and how you go about it.

Dark Underarms—An Embarassment?

It appears that having dark underarms is a source of embarrassment to many women, and can even prevent them from wearing strappy tops in the summer, raising their arms in the air or playing sports. Dark underarms are more visible on fair-skinned people, and like skin discolouration and blemishes on other parts of the body, they can lead to a lack of confidence and self-esteem.

So what causes this darkening of the armpit area? Like most things, some people are more prone to developing them than others, but the main causes are poor armpit hygiene, friction from tight clothing rubbing, a build-up of dead skin cells, being overweight, reactions to deodorants and other skincare products, shaving, and taking androgen-based contraceptive pills. It is worth noting that having dark underarms and hyperpigmentation around your collar bones and neck could be a symptom of Type II diabetes, and it could be worth getting it checked out and having a blood sugar test.

Exfoliating and Whitening Deodorants

So what can you do to whiten your armpits and get them glowing and radiant once more? Well, one of the easiest things to start with is that you can exfoliate the area under your arms and get rid of any dead skin that has built up. Choose a mild exfoliator or body scrub to use on your underarms a couple of times a week when you are in the shower and this should keep the area free of dead skin build-up.

Try to choose a mild exfoliator, and also one that is organic and paraben-free, so that you are not absorbing any nasty chemicals through your delicate skin. You can also now get roll-on deodorants that are designed to reduce skin darkening under your arms that when used every day can help to keep those armpits pale as a lily.

Also, it has been suggested that a common ingredient of many deodorants, alum chloride, can react with your sweat to stain both your clothes and your skin. So even if you do not switch to using a whitening deodorant, try and choose one that does not contain alum chloride. There are now many natural and organic deodorants out there that do not contain any damaging chemicals and will also cherish your precious skin.

Underarm Hair Removal

You could also investigate other methods of removing the hair from under your arms. Shaving only cuts the hair off at skin level and does not remove the root. So, especially if you are fair-skinned with dark hair, you can be left with a dark shadow under your arms. Shaving can also cause irritation that can be unsightly and cause skin discolouration. Hair removal creams dissolve the hair below the surface of the skin, so it takes longer for the hair to grow back and so you are less likely to have a dark shadow.

Always do a patch test before you use hair removal cream, to ensure that you do not react badly to it, and again it is best to choose a hair removal cream that is designed for sensitive skin, is organic and paraben-free. It’s not for the faint-hearted, but underarm waxing takes out the whole hair from the root, and if you wax on a regular basis you will probably find that the hair starts to thin out as the roots get damaged and less hair grows back.

The most permanent solution is to have your armpit hairs removed by electrolysis. To remove the hair permanently, a very fine metal probe is inserted into the hair follicle and an electric charge is delivered that destroys only the hair follicle. This has to be done for each individual hair, so it is likely that more than one treatment session will be required, and this can start to become quite expensive.

Natural Armpit Whitening

There are quite a few natural methods of whitening your underarms that you easily use at home. Perhaps the simplest natural method is to slice a lemon and then rub the lemon slices across your armpits. Lime slices would be just as effective, but this needs to be done regularly to keep those pits white, and because lemon or lime juice is acidic, you might find that it dries your skin out and that you need to smooth in a moisturiser afterward.

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A variation of this is to mix a tablespoon of honey with a tablespoon of lemon juice and smooth the mixture over your underarm skin. Leave the honey and lemon juice mixture on for around thirty minutes and then sponge it off with warm water and rub in some skin moisturiser. Some of the best skin moisturisers for this delicate underarm area are coconut oil and Vitamin E oil.

Lemon juice mixed with turmeric paste can also be applied to your armpits at bedtime and left on overnight. This is rinsed off in the shower the next morning, followed by moisturiser applied to your underarm area. This is one that needs to be done regularly to keep them pale, so it is a method that might not do much for your love life!

Surprisingly, potato juice will also bleach the skin, so you could try chopping some peeled potatoes, putting them through the juicer and then applying the juice to your underarms. Allow the potato juice to dry on your skin and then rinse off with cool water. A rather more exotic and appealing mixture to use is sandalwood powder mixed with rosewater, which you then apply to your armpits in order to reduce the darkening of the skin.

I wouldn’t mind betting that it smells rather better than the potato juice as well! If you would rather drink something to whiten your underarms, rather than using a lightener on your underarm skin, soak some fenugreek seeds overnight in a glass of water and then drink the liquid first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. You then have to wait for about half an hour before you have your breakfast, to give the fenugreek water the chance to work.

Underarm Whiteners

There are also a wide range of skin lightening and bleaching creams on the market, which are designed to fade out those dark patches under your arms. The problem with some of these lightening creams is that they can contain very harsh chemicals. The main culprit seems to be something called hydraquinone. Hydraquinone has been associated with an increased risk of developing several serious medical conditions, such as problems with your adrenal glands, the symptoms of mercury poisoning, cancer and a rare metabolic condition called ochronosis that damages the skin and tissues around the joints, eyes and ears.

In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration has proposed a ban on the sale of over-the-counter skin lightening products, and it is worth noting that this ban is already in place in Australia, Japan and the European Union. So try to choose an underarm whitener that does not contain hydraquinone, and if you are determined to use a whitening cream that contains it, try to ensure that is not more than 2%. Skin lighteners are very powerful creams or lotions to smooth onto your body, so you must do a patch test first to see if you get a bad reaction and you must never use them on broken or irritated skin.

Where to Find Underarm Lighteners

So, as you can see, you do not need to suffer the embarrassment of dark underarms any longer. You can slip into that skimpy evening dress with confidence, play tennis in a vest and wave your arms in the air with abandon. Most of the ingredients for the natural remedies you will already have at home, but if you do want to buy whitening products, you can find everything that you need online.

Amazon has a great range, so go and have a look today. If you are going to a salon to get your armpits whitened or for laser hair removal, make sure that the therapist has the correct training and certification. Meanwhile, back here in our chilly English summer, I’m just going to slip my jumper back on and really not worry too much about my underarms. I just knew that there had to be some benefits to living in a cold climate!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


Amanda on March 29, 2019:

It is not something that is seem often but what you have said about being embarrassed is totally true bc I want to avoid the embarrassment or questioning of my dark underarms. Never in my last 5-6 years have I worn a tank or sleeveless dress outside because I was afraid it will be seen when I lift my arms. Not that I am much of a sports person either but I would definitely avoid any sports where I need to raise my arms and wear a tank. It is not something that you can really get by with more confidence in yourself (at least not for me). Wen I do my shopping, I just avoid anything sleeveless. I have tried some natural remedies and some whitening products but none of them have seem to work so far. Or maybe I have to be more consistent with them and give it a few more weeks. Nonetheless, Im glad you made this article bc it is something that some people like me “suffer” through.

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on July 26, 2015:

Thanks for reading the hub Deb and leaving a comment. I'm sorry you have experienced teasing for having dark underarms and feel you cannot wear certain tops. Hopefully there are some strategies in the hub or that you can find elsewhere on the web or get advice on that will help you. Maybe you also need to have a look at the people you are spending time with. Genuine friends don't make those kinds of personal jokes when they know it is hurtful.

deb on June 02, 2015:

I know this is old, but I have to say with all the many comments implying how astonishing it is that some people would be so shallow as to care about something like this, I know that you do not have dark underarms. You have no idea what it's like to not be able to lift your arms, because people think you don't shave because it is that dark, or being teased for 'hairy armpits', even when you have just waxed (because I dared to lift my arms that day). I have tried everything and I still can't lift my arms even when wearing a very short sleeved top let alone sleeveless.

Ikea on July 08, 2014:

Yes, following what you said now. :) Thanks!

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on July 07, 2014:

The fresher the better Ikea

Ikea on July 07, 2014:

Thanks CMHypro for the information! I'll follow your tip on this matter. More power! :)

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on July 06, 2014:

Thanks for reading the hub. Well all natural products are best used as fresh as possible. If you get a lot of juice from a potato, then store it in a clean container in the fridge for no more than 3-4 days. I certainly wouldn't use it if it has started to change colour or has started to smell. Maybe in the future juice a smaller potato and use all of it at once?

Ikea on July 06, 2014:

I just started using this one and I’m concerned whether or not it’s okay to use the potato juice for 1 whole week. Like, I squeezed a whole potato and a lot came out and it’s so much for just one application. And I noticed that the juice darkens. Can I still use it? Badly need an answer.

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on April 11, 2014:

Thanks for the read Lady Guinevere. I'd never heard of it before either, which is why I did a bit of research and wrote the hub. I got the idea as it was a search term that kept appearing in my Google Analytics report. I can't believe either that some people stress about the colour of their armpits, but it seems to be a real body worry for quite a lot of ladies. And you wouldn't believe what other body parts folks apparently whiten!!!

Debra Allen from West By God on April 11, 2014:

Good Golly Miss Molly!!!! I never heard of this. The things they do to change your self image is crazy to say the least. Oh I can see or hear it now---bullied for have colored arm pits.

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on April 11, 2014:

Glad you enjoyed it PlumbingOnTap anf thanks for the read

Elliott Raggio from Hove on April 11, 2014:

wow great hub!!! the info you shared will certainly help many women out there

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on April 09, 2014:

Glad you found the hub useful Blackilocks and I hope the honey and lemon works for you

Min from Singapore on April 09, 2014:

Dark underarms are embarrassing for sure! Scrubs work well for me. Will try the honey and lemon method.

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on February 15, 2014:

I'm glad you enjoyed the hub on armpit whitening sasa. Gentle natural methods are much better than harsh chemicals, but maybe it would be even better to come to accept your natural skin colour and celebrate it? After all how can any one underarm skin colour be better or more acceptable than another?

sasa on February 14, 2014:

Great post .Its very interesting i am also suffer from Dark underarm but now i will try your method .Dark underarm is such an embarrassment for me but know i will surly shine with the help of your valuable post.Thank you so much

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on December 08, 2013:

Glad that you found the hub useful torrilyn, and find some of the natural armpit whitening methods useful

torrilynn on December 07, 2013:

I found this article to be very useful. I for one have embarrassing dark armpits. Thanks for the tips. Voted up.

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on September 01, 2013:

Thanks for reading the hub Carrie and leaving a commenting. It is always sad when women feel insecure about any part of their appearance. But hopefully that insecurity will not lead to the use of beauty treatments or procedures that can potentially damage their health, such as some of the strong, chemical based whitening creams

Carrie Lee Night from Northeast United States on August 31, 2013:

CMHypno: Thank you for writing such an interesting hub. Genetics has everything to do with this :) Dark thick hair runs in the famiy, but I do know like you mentioned in this hub exfoilation helps. I hope this hub helps some women who feel insecure about their appearance. Have a wonderful week.

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on April 06, 2013:

Thanks for reading and commenting That Grrl. It was news to me that women even thought about what colour their armpits were, hence the slightly 'tongue in cheek' way the hub has been written. But when I researched it, it does seem to be an issue that causes distress and some ladies will, unfortunately, go to some quite extreme lengths to get their underarms a colour they have decided is 'desirable'.

Laura Brown from Barrie, Ontario, Canada on April 02, 2013:

I don't think women need more reason to obsess over their bodies. This kind of product just preys on women and our issues with ourselves. I don't even shave my armpits, Nivea can bite me, have nightmares about me and other women who aren't going to freak out about their armpits. I don't wear make up and only shave my legs for special occasions.

littlemissbree on August 16, 2011:

Great post! :) My best friend used to have very dark underarms because she used to be obese. She's lost a lot of weight since then, but the dark underarms served as a reminder of the past. All her clothes & dresses have sleeves because of it! I shared my Whiterderm with her, and now the skin's getting lighter...

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on June 06, 2011:

Thanks for reading about underarm whitening pixiedust. It was news to me that anyone actually worried about the colour of their armpits LOL!

pixiedust on June 06, 2011:

gee helpful

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on March 29, 2011:

Neither had I Stacie until the keywords 'underarm whitening' kept on coming up on my Google Analytics report. Are women really that worried about their armpit colour? And when I did the research for the hub, you wouldn't believe where else people use whitening products! Thanks for reading the hub and leaving a comment

Stacie L on March 29, 2011:

well this is a first!

I never heard of this problem or solution before now LOL


CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on February 19, 2011:

Hi sangeetas627, thanks for reading the hub on underarm whitening and glad you found the information useful

sangeetas627 from India on February 19, 2011:

Useful hub...Thanks for sharing.

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on September 16, 2010:

Glad you found the hub on underarm whitening so useful from Earth on September 15, 2010:

Thanks for sharing this great articles its so very helpful, Cheers!

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on July 27, 2010:

Glad that you found the information on underarm whitening useful. niddz. Thanks for reading the Hub and leaving a great comment

nida naveed from saudi arabia on July 25, 2010:

nice hub thank you for the contribution in such a sensitive issue.

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on June 26, 2010:

Hi Dave, I think that you may be looking for information on a skin condition called vitilgo, which causes patches of skin to lose their pigmentation.

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on June 19, 2010:

Hi Peter, it was something I had never thought of until the phrase kept coming up on my keywords in Google Analytics and decided to investigate. I think it just shows that something can be a great concern to one person or group of people, yet totally bypass someone else. Thanks for the read and the comment

Peter Dickinson from South East Asia on June 19, 2010:

I suppose this would normally be a hub title I would bypass but having noted the whitening underarm deodorant on my Asian mia's dressing table I have wondered. So I read this. Interesting. I have never even given a thought to dark underarms in my life till now. If I had, I doubt whether I would have considered it a problem. Thanks.

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on June 14, 2010:

Hi Hello, hello, it was news to me too that dark undearms were such an issue for some people, until I started researching it. Like you, I think that we should all chill out a bit and be more accepting of the way we all look. Thanks for the read and the comment.

CMHypno (author) from Other Side of the Sun on June 14, 2010: