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Black armpits: causes, treatment and remedies to clear them

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

The skin of the armpits has the same constitution of the skin of the rest of your body, including the areas of the folds. However, due to its location, the humidity that is maintained at that level and other factors, can cause this area to darken to the point that the armpits look totally black. The blackening of the armpits and any other area of ​​the body is caused by an abnormally increased production of melanin, which is the protein that gives the skin its color.

In this FastlyHealarticle, we will review the causes of black armpits , possible medical treatment, and home remedies you can use to clear them up.

Causes of black armpits

Black armpits can occur due to certain specific conditions, which lead to them being darkened by the high production of melanin. Thus, the main causes of black or darkened armpits are:


Obesity usually rides with a condition called metabolic syndrome in which there is hyperinsulinemia, among other disorders, which can lead to armpit blackening.

In this other FastlyHealarticle you can learn more about Obesity: causes and consequences .

Type 2 diabetes

The hyperinsulinemia (high levels of insulin in the blood) that some patients with diabetes present can cause the melanocytes to exaggerate the production of melanin and, with this, the armpits become dark.

Here we show you more about Type 2 Diabetes: causes, symptoms and treatment .


Some medications have been shown to be involved in underarm hyperpigmentation . Among these we can mention:

  • Insulin.
  • Steroids, prednisone type.
  • Growth hormone.
  • Contraceptive medication (OC).
  • Abnormally high doses of niacin.

Endocrine problems

Again, insulin is involved in some conditions that alter its levels in the blood, leading to hyperpigmentation. Among these conditions we can consider:


Some types of cancer can cause malignant acanthosis nigricans , in which there is also blackening of the folds as a result of their hormonal secretions.

Other causes of black armpits

  • Chemical irritation from the use of some deodorants and antiperspirants.
  • Irritation and abrasion from shaving.
  • Friction from wearing very tight clothing.
  • Melanosis caused by smoking.
  • Erythrasma (a type of bacterial infection).
  • Lemon stains that come out after use on the skin and exposing the area to the sun.

Treatment of black armpits

Obviously, treatment should be aimed at controlling the cause that is causing the armpit blackening. Thus, depending on the cause, these are the most common medical treatments for dark armpits :

Weight control

Controlling your weight will not only reverse the metabolic syndrome, but will also lead to the normalization of insulin values ​​and the elimination of the stimulation of melanocytes.

Diabetes control

It is vital that the doctor regularly monitor the patient with diabetes and help him or her adapt the treatment according to their evolution and each situation. This regulation will lead to a control of diabetes, which will finally lead, as in the previous case, to the normalization of insulin values ​​and, therefore, to the production of melanin.

Medication withdrawal

The suppression of the medications that may be causing axillary hyperpigmentation is the beginning of their clearance.

Endocrine disease control

Proper control of endocrine conditions that we mentioned earlier when talking about the causes is essential to solve the imbalance of hormones and thus solve all the symptoms and signs that may exist, such as darkened skin, as well as keep the problem itself under control that is the really important thing.

Laser therapy

Laser therapy is an alternative that has also been used successfully in those cases where, in addition to black skin, it is very thickened.

As an added measure, the use of some topical creams and lotions will help lighten the skin in the armpits .

  • Use of creams with retinoic acid to reduce the thickness of blackened areas and lighten them.
  • Use of hydroxyquinone creams.
  • Chemical peeling of the armpits with solutions containing trichloroacetic acid to remove damaged skin.
  • Calcipotriene-based creams.

Home remedies to lighten black armpits

Some important measures to take to prevent the armpits from darkening and, in case it has already happened then to lighten them, are:

  • Change brand and type of deodorant.
  • Try shaving with new razors or devices, thus avoiding injuring the skin because the edge is too worn.
  • Use of loose fitting clothing.
  • Stop smoking if you have, no matter how little.
  • Exfoliate the armpits two to three times a week.

In addition, there are natural remedies to lighten the armpits and among them we recommend these:

  • Grated potato : extract the juice from a grated potato and apply it to the armpits; Leave it on for 10 minutes and rinse with cold water. Do it 3 times a week.
  • Coconut oil : massage a few drops of coconut oil into the armpits, leave it on for 15 minutes and remove it with warm water and a mild soap.
  • Lemon : rub ½ lemon in each armpit and leave applied for 10 minutes. Remove with cold water.
  • Cucumber : rub a few slices of cucumber in each armpit, leave applied for 10 minutes and then remove with cold water.
  • Tea tree oil : Mix 5 drops of tea leaf oil in 8 ounces of water, apply to each armpit and leave on for 10 minutes. Rinse with warm water and mild soap.

In this other article we introduce you to more Home Remedies to lighten the skin .

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Black armpits: causes, treatment and remedies to clarify them , we recommend that you enter our Skin, hair and nails category .

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