Brown circles under armpit female showing armpits with worried face

Brown Circles under Armpit: What can you do?

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Pictures of Brown Circles Under Armpit

When addressing armpit discoloration, visuals often speak louder than words.

Observing brown patches under the armpits is essential in recognizing this common concern, especially among women from certain ethnic backgrounds such as Filipino, Indian, and African origin.

Below, you'll find curated images that accurately depict this condition, known as Acanthosis Nigricans, or more simply, brown circles under the armpit.

Image Description Image Link
Clear display of uniform brown patches typical of underarm pigmentation View Image
A close-up revealing the texture and boundary of the discoloration View Image
A case showing a more extensive area of brown patches under both armpits View Image
Depiction of a mild form of underarm hyperpigmentation View Image
Image displaying how armpit discoloration can differ in intensity View Image

The images you see here can be a starting point for recognizing the condition. With the proper dermatological advice, improvements are possible.

Why do armpits turn brown?

Brown patches under your armpits can be a source of discomfort, especially in social situations where raising your arms may reveal the discoloration.

Understanding the causes is the first step to addressing this common cosmetic concern.

Acanthosis Nigricans

Acanthosis Nigricans is a skin condition characterized by dark, velvety patches in body folds and creases.

Your armpits may exhibit these changes due to insulin resistance, which is often associated with obesity and diabetes.

Hormonal Changes

Hormonal fluctuations, such as those experienced during puberty, pregnancy, or menopause, can lead to increased melanin production.

If you notice your armpits turning brown, it could be due to hormonal changes affecting your skin's pigmentation.

Genetic Factors

Genetic factors contribute to skin structure and response to internal and external stressors. This makes some ethnicities, like Filipino, Indian, and African descent, more prone to hyperpigmentation.

Irritation and Friction

The repetitive irritation and friction caused by shaving, tight clothing, or deodorants can lead to a brown rash under the armpit.

This is your skin’s response to constant rubbing and contact with irritating substances.

Diagnosis and Medical Consultation

Addressing brown patches under your arms requires understanding the symptoms, knowing when to consult a dermatologist, and being aware of the tests and examinations that can lead to a proper diagnosis.

Recognizing Symptoms

Brown patches, or discoloration, under your armpits can be a sign of a medical condition termed Acanthosis Nigricans.

This condition is often characterized by darkened, velvety skin patches and is more prevalent among certain ethnic groups such as Filipinos, Indians, and individuals of African origin.

If you observe such changes, keep note of their texture and any accompanying symptoms for your dermatologist.

When to See a Dermatologist

Concerns about underarm discoloration, especially if accompanied by itching, irritation, or an expansion of pigmented areas, should prompt a visit to a dermatologist.

Females experiencing brown patches may feel self-conscious, especially in social situations. A dermatologist can offer solutions to help manage the appearance efficiently.

Tests and Examinations

A dermatologist will typically perform a physical examination to assess the affected skin.

Further, they might suggest a biopsy or blood test to confirm a diagnosis and rule out other potential causes for the discoloration.

Accurate diagnosis is crucial to determine the appropriate treatment and rule out underlying health issues.

Treatment Options - How to Get Rid of Brown Armpit Circles?

Discovering brown patches beneath your arms can be distressing. However, a range of treatment avenues exists, from topical solutions to lifestyle adjustments, that can address the pigmentation concerns you're facing.

Topical Treatments

For direct application on the skin, topical creams containing lightening agents like hydroquinone or kojic acid can reduce the appearance of brown armpit circles.

Retinoids, derived from vitamin A, are also effective in evening out skin tone.

  • Hydroquinone: Apply a thin layer once or twice daily.
  • Retinoids: Use as per package instructions, usually once daily at night.


If topical treatments are insufficient, consulting a dermatologist for prescription medications is your next step.

Dermatologists may prescribe higher concentrations of topical creams or recommend procedures such as chemical peels, which can help in exfoliating the skin and lessening pigmentation.

Lifestyle and Home Remedies

In conjunction with medical treatments, lifestyle changes can enhance the effectiveness of interventions.

Wearing loose-fitting clothes and maintaining proper hygiene are beneficial. Furthermore, natural remedies like lemon juice, known for its lightening properties, can serve as a mild treatment.

  • Loose clothing: Opt for breathable fabrics to reduce friction.
  • Lemon juice: Gently rub a slice of lemon on the affected area.

Associated Conditions and Risk Factors

Brown patches under your armpits can be a sign of underlying health conditions. It's important to understand the factors that may contribute to this hyperpigmentation to effectively address the issue.

Obesity and Diabetes

Obesity is linked to the development of brown patches under the armpit due to insulin resistance. This condition causes your cells to become less effective at absorbing glucose, leading to higher insulin levels.

As a result, Acanthosis Nigricans often occurs, displaying as velvety, brown patches in body folds. Similarly, type 2 diabetes can manifest in the same way due to insulin resistance.

Underlying Skin Conditions

Certain skin conditions can lead to pigmentation changes.

Dermatitis, or inflammation of the skin, can result in discoloration once healed. Skin infections or cancer can also present as darkened patches.

It's essential to consult with a healthcare professional if you suspect any of these conditions.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder common among women of reproductive age.

PCOS is often associated with insulin resistance, which can lead to the development of brown patches under the armpit. If experiencing other symptoms like irregular menstrual cycles, it may be prudent to be evaluated for PCOS.

Prevention and Long-term Management

Brown circles under armpit, one large and two small, surrounded by skin

Maintain Ideal Body Weight

Keeping ideal body weight is key in preventing armpit discoloration.

Excess weight can increase the risk of Acanthosis Nigricans, which often manifests as brown patches.

Focus on a balanced diet and regular exercise to manage your weight effectively.

Shaving and Hair Removal Techniques

Improper shaving techniques may cause skin irritation, leading to dark patches. Instead:

  • Use a sharp razor and shave in the direction of hair growth.
  • Consider alternatives like waxing or using hair removal creams designed for sensitive skin to reduce skin trauma.

Skincare Routine

Incorporate a daily skincare routine that includes:

  • Gentle cleansing to remove debris and sweat.
  • The application of moisturizer to maintain skin hydration.
  • The occasional exfoliation to remove dead skin cells, which can help even out skin tone.

Wardrobe Choices

Tight clothing can cause friction and skin irritation. Choose loose-fitting clothes made from natural fibers to allow your skin to breathe.

Clinical Treatments

For persistent issues, professional treatments such as laser therapy might be useful. It’s recommended to consult with a dermatologist for an appropriate plan tailored to your needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

When noticing brown patches under your arms, you may have questions about the cause, potential health implications, and treatment options. This section addresses the most common concerns.

What could cause dark patches to suddenly appear under my arms?

Sudden discoloration in your armpit area could result from several factors. These include skin reactions to deodorants, shaving, friction from clothing, or an underlying skin condition. It's important to monitor the patches and consider if any recent changes in your routine might have contributed to the appearance of these spots.

How can acanthosis nigricans be identified and are these brown patches a sign of it?

Acanthosis nigricans is characterized by darkened, velvety skin patches that may appear in folds and creases of your body, like under the arms. These patches could be a sign of acanthosis nigricans, especially if they have a certain texture and are accompanied by skin thickening. Dermatological examination is necessary for a proper diagnosis.

Can the presence of dark spots under the breasts be related to any underlying health conditions?

Yes, dark spots under the breasts can sometimes be indicative of an underlying health condition. Conditions like diabetes, obesity, or hormonal imbalances can lead to skin changes, which could manifest as pigmentation changes under the breasts and other areas.

What are the common treatments available for brown patches found under the armpit?

Treatments vary widely and depend on the underlying cause of the pigmentation. Common treatments include topical retinoids, chemical peels, laser therapy, and addressing any associated medical conditions. Over-the-counter lightening creams may also be used, but caution is advised as they can sometimes worsen pigmentation if misused.

Is there a link between dark underarm spots and diabetes?

Dark underarm spots can be a sign of insulin resistance, a condition commonly associated with type 2 diabetes. Known as acanthosis nigricans, these marks may suggest the need for a medical evaluation to rule out diabetes, especially if they develop quickly or are accompanied by other symptoms.

Does armpit discoloration indicate a risk of cancer?

Armpit discoloration itself is not typically a sign of cancer, but it's always wise to seek medical advice if you're concerned. Certain skin changes can be a sign of a rare type of cancer. However, most often, the discoloration is related to benign conditions that can be treated.

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