The Usual Suspects Behind Armpit Darkness

Aidan Heintzman

Posted on April 28 2020

The Usual Suspects Behind Armpit Darkness

Dark armpits aren’t the end of the world. However, it’s no fun when you feel self-conscious wearing your favorite sleeveless top or strap dress! 

There are established causes of armpit discoloration. Many of which you can luckily figure out and effectively treat. 

In this article, we’ll highlight the common causes of armpit discoloration, and how you can determine if these may be triggering your own dark underarms.

Grooming Habits that Cause Dark Underarms

Let’s start with some good and bad news. 

The bad news is that some of your personal care habits and routines may be the reason why you have armpit discoloration in the first place. The good news is that once you correct or eliminate these practices, a persistent case of dark armpits may quickly resolve itself.

Your Razor Blade is Causing Armpit Discoloration 

You probably don’t give much thought to your shaving habits because it’s pretty straightforward. 

Apply your favorite shaving cream or product, put the blade to the skin, and repeat. We all know the drill. We also know we sometimes have to do this sooner than we would like to! 

However, the mere act of shaving can actually damage your skin. Or at the very least, create the illusion of your skin discoloration. When you shave, only surface-level hair comes off, so if your hair color is darker than your actual skin tone, your armpit skin will have the appearance of being darker. 

This means that armpit discoloration you see could be sub-surface hair; even after you just finish shaving. A shaving product that gets deeper into your skin is one way of ensuring a closer shave, and the disappearance of darker armpits.

Your Deodorant is Making Your Armpits Look Dark

Your deodorant can be your friend and foe. 

Sure, your antiperspirant helps with body odor; especially on stressful, jam-packed days. However, certain formulas leave their mark in the form of armpit discoloration. 

Some deodorants are also known to cause rashes due to irritation, but a rash is not the only way the skin responds to irritation. For many women, especially those with darker complexions, that irritation manifests in the form of dark armpits.

How do you check? One easy solution is switching your deodorant for some time and checking to see if your armpits lighten up. If it does, then your old deodorant was probably to blame for the discoloration, and it has got to go!

Your Dark Armpits Come From a Lack of Exfoliation

An overlooked and slightly unsettling cause of dark armpits is a buildup of dead skin cells. 

When dead skin cells accumulate, they increase the level of pigment your skin produces. It just so happens that the underarms are very sensitive to this reaction. The result is dark underarms that just won’t go away, even when you switch your shaving or deodorant products. 

Exfoliating your skin on a regular basis will remove the buildup of dead skin cells, which will naturally lighten up your armpits as the skin ramps down its pigment process. 

Careful! Your underarms are some of your most sensitive skin. Try to find a mild exfoliant that won’t cause additional irritation.

Also, keep in mind that it might take some time for darkness to resolve or disappear. If you want to hide dark armpits right away, you can use our Joban Beauty deodorant plus concealer until they improve on their own. 

Beyond Skin Deep: What Else Can Make Your Armpits Dark?

It’s also true that what appears on your skin is a reflection of what’s happening within. 

That’s not a proverb, but rather a scientific and medical fact! 

Bodily processes can affect the texture and tone of your skin, and discoloration of the armpits can occur when those processes go awry.

Hormonal Disorders Can Lead to Dark Underarms

Hormones can also trigger armpit darkness. For example, abnormal levels of progesterone and estrogen can stimulate the excess production of melanin, which in turn, leads to increased skin pigment in sensitive areas (such as the armpits). This is known as melasma. These hormonal disruptions can occur in women who are menopausal, pregnant or on birth control. 

Keep in mind that dark armpits triggered by hormonal fluctuations can wax and wane or resolve over time. Dark armpit discoloration can also only be one symptom of a hormone imbalance. If you’re feeling tired, not yourself, or just “off”, it’s also a good idea to visit your doctor to make sure nothing else is going on. 

Serious Conditions Can Lead to Armpit Discoloration 

At times, discoloration in the armpits (or anywhere else on the skin) may be a sign of something more serious. 

For example, Type 2 diabetes and more rarely, cancer, can present themselves in the form of discoloration. Both conditions can result in Acanthosis nigricans (AN), a skin condition that causes one or several areas of the skin to get darker and thicker. The armpits are commonly affected. 

In the case of diabetes, AN occurs as blood sugar increases. It can be an early sign of insulin resistance especially when it occurs with other diabetes symptoms such as excessive thirst or fatigue. With cancer, AN can occur in response to a malignant tumour in the stomach or liver. 

However, we don’t mean to scare you, just arm you with knowledge! 

The good news is dark armpits usually have less serious causes than diabetes or cancer. However, much like a hormone imbalance, if you’re seeing armpit discoloration with other symptoms, it’s wise to check with your doctor as a precaution. 

Medications Can Trigger Armpit Discoloration 

Speaking of doctors, dark armpits can be a common side effect of several medications. The typical offenders include corticosteroids, birth control pills, high dose niacin and more. 

The good news about medicine-induced skin discoloration is that it usually subsides over time or with an adjustment of the dose. Of course, the best way to determine how to handle this is by speaking with your doctor. 

When a health condition is the cause of armpit darkness, it simply makes sense to follow the doctor’s orders. The treatment plan you have been given will not only keep your condition under control, but it may very well lead to a reduction of skin discoloration over time. 

It may not happen overnight, but you can use a product like our Joban Beauty deodorant plus concealer to hide armpit discoloration in the meantime. 

Shedding the Light On the Causes of Dark Armpits

Dark armpits may seem inexplicable at times, and perhaps, just random! However, while relatively harmless, dark underarms can impact confidence, self-esteem or just make you feel like you can’t raise your arms without feeling self-conscious.

A Joban woman shouldn’t have to worry about living their life to their fullest. 

Whether you’re wearing your favourite sleeveless blouse, waving to a friend or even just reaching the high shelf in the aisle of the grocery store, you should feel your best.

Dark armpits covered with a product such as our Joban Beauty deodorant plus concealer is the perfect choice to combat insecurity from dark underarms. 

Combining deodorant, makeup and an applicator into one, Joban will not only keep you odor free, but it will also hide armpit discoloration. So whether you’ve experienced dark underarms your entire life, or you need Joban just for the moment, we believe Joban can be the best asset for confident women everywhere!

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