Underarm Whitening

Underarm Whitening: Turn dark Underarms and Armpits Lighter With Creams, DIY Solutions and Bleaching

Have you noticed your underarms are noticeably darker recently? You are not alone! Underarm whitening is a common problem in women AND men around the world.  

Dark underarms affect predominantly African Americans and Hispanics the most, but every ethnic background is known to come across this condition. Dark underarms can be caused by a variety of reasons, rarely by serious health conditions, but can easily be treated with a number of easy solutions to whiten or bleach the armpits to a lighter skin tone. These methods range altering some of your personal hygiene habits and purchasing decisions with solutions you can buy, or if you have time, make on your own.

Why do I have dark underarms?

Dark underarms can be caused by a variety of things including dead skin buildup, chemicals in deodorants and antiperspirants, shaving, bacterial infections, or more rare, a medical condition called acanthosis nigricans. As mentioned earlier, your ethnic background can make dark armpits more pronounced. But the chief reason for this condition tends to usually be due to shaving and dead skin build up – so while we recommend you read all of the below to rule out all causes, do not get stressed out!

Deadskin Buildup

The most common cause of dark armpits can be as simple as dead skin cells – sometimes the gel or bar soaps we use do not properly cleanse the underarms well enough to remove this dead skin buildup which causes the appearance of black or dark underarms.

Deodorants and Antiperspirants

Deodorants have been linked to many health issues, including increased risk of breast cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. This is often because of aluminum that is added to help block pores reduce or prevent sweating, unfortunately, this then clogs pores and causes bacterial infections which then prevent toxins from escaping your body – talk about a domino effect!

Deodorants and antiperspirants also contain color dyes and perfumes among other ingredients that can interact with your body and cause dark armpits or other discolorations. There are cases of people halting the use of deodorants alone and their dark armpits become lighter in color. And with so many natural deodorants available, it is easy to leave behind toxic deodorants!

We like the Schmidt’s brand of deodorants, especially the Charcoal and Magnesium line which is great for those who sweat more. Charcoal is natural (and known to whiten skin itself) and absorbs toxins from your body while magnesium is actually good for you. Compared to other natural deodorants, this one actually works and keeps your dry! See other suggestions below.


Like most women, you likely shave your armpits, but since the hair in your armpit is likely darker than your skin, it can cause a dark skin appearance when the hair grows back. Other methods of removing hair will reduce the appearance of darker hair or stubble when it grows back, including waxing, sugaring and laser hair removal.

Bacterial Infection

Sometimes a bacterial infection can be causing a condition known as Corynebacterium minutissimum bacterium, which starts out as pink spots in your armpits and later turns into brown lines. If you notice these color in your underarms then it is likely a bacterial infection. Similar to Acanthosis nigricans (discussed below), it is commonly found in persons with diabetes mellitus (diabetes) and favors persons living in warmer areas.

It is often treated with antibiotics available in digestible pills or as a topical cream. Treatments for this tend to be very effective, especially with the oral antibiotic course (erythromycin).

Acanthosis Nigricans

A medical condition that is commonly found in healthy people but also those with insulin disorders and diabetes conditions.

This condition is also associated in persons with Addisons disease, pituitary problems, hypothyroidism or those on hormone therapy, including birth control pills and some cholesterol medicines containing nicotinic acid.

This medical condition can cause dark skin not only in the underarms but in other areas of the body with folded skin. If the areas of your body that are dark feel very smooth you may want to seek a doctor’s evaluation and maybe check your insulin levels to rule out diabetes or insulin disorders.

Further reading:

  • WebMD


A side effect of some medications is skin darkening – this is unfortunate because if someone is taking medication it is usually because they have another problem they are trying to treat. Some of the most common medications that cause skin darkening are amiodarone, antimalarials, mental health drugs, chemotherapy medications, also known as cytotoxic drugs, phenytoin, tetracyclines, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and heavy metals.

If you’re taking one of these classes of medications consult with your medical professional about stopping if no longer necessary, substituting with another medication or at least reducing the dosage.

Further reading:

  • WebMD

Whiten your Underarms: Make your armpits look great! Quickstart guide

So in writing this article, we’ve realized there are TONS of ways to whiten your underarms – below we have listed our favorite and most effective methods. But a key point we found is that combining the below four strategies works best so that you are always working to lighten the skin in your armpits. Here are our four top tips for turning dark underarms lighter!

  • Use a natural whitening soap
      • We like the idea of a whitening soap – since you bathe regularly, this is easy to implement and it also prevents darker skin in the first place.
      • Once you are in the shower, it is easy to use this on your underarms and clean up. It’s also inexpensive. Use a whitening soap for your underarms and continue using a normal soap/bathing gel for the rest of your body.
      • We like this soap named Vi-Tae Organic Papaya Soap, which contains papaya, a natural whitener also described below in more detail. It has pretty good reviews on Amazon. 
    • Use a whitening cream
      • Skin creams are useful if you do not have the time to create a homemade whitening solution for your armpits.
      • Some skin creams have synthetic ingredients – while this may speed whitening it may also cause reactions or side effects.
      • We like these whitening creams and both have good reviews:
      • Botanic Hearth Whitening Serum: This well-rated skin whitening cream is made with licorice and other organic ingredients such as aloe and essential oils.
      • Miracle Fade Skin Lightening CreamWhile this product contains active synthetic ingredients which we tend to avoid, it is rated better than other synthetics. If your skin is on the sensitive side, you may want to try the Botanic Hearth Whitening Serum. 
    • Use a whitening deodorant or at least a natural deodorant that’s less harsh on your skin
      • Whitening deodorants are another easy to implement treatment – because well, you most likely already use a deodorant and can easily swap your current one with a whitening deodorant. Results vary for each person, but it is worth a shot. We found the following two popular whitening deodorants, but results are mixed – it’s worth a short. Here are some recommendations:
        • Schmidt’s Natural Charcoal & Magnesium Deodorant
          • This well-rated deodorant is our top choice for it includes charcoal which is known to whiten your skin. Charcoal is also great in that it absorbs toxins and given your armpits are a key area of the body which produces sweat and in that sweat toxins, it makes it a wonderful ingredient. Magnesium is also very healthy for the body, most recently known to be beneficial for the heart. Lastly, the product also makes use of arrowroot – which has an earthy smell so we consider this deodorant to be for unisex.
          • Note: this product does not contain aluminum – a big plus making it one of our favorite deodorants to stay healthy and whiten your armpits.
        • Nivea for Women Extra Whitening Pore Minimizer Antiperspirant Deodorant Roll-On
          • This inexpensive deodorant is rated well with mixed results from purchasers and is offered by a well-known brand. This deodorant contains witch hazel and licorice. We could not verify if this product contains aluminum or not – we assume it does. 
        • Nivea Whitening Sensitive Deodorant Spray – For Women
          • Similar to the above deodorant, but for individuals with sensitive skin. It does not have many reviews at the time of writing this article. Note this is a spray and not a roll-on, a roll-on for sensitive skin couldn’t be found.
          • Note: this does contain aluminum
        • Belo Essentials Underarm Skin Whitening Antiperspirant Deodorant
          • The deodorant has mixed results with some of the reviewers claiming it works alone and others mentioned it needs to be combined with other actions. The ingredients contain some natural ingredients. including chamomile and
            Melissa officinalis leaf extract.
          • Note: this does contain aluminum
  • Use a natural whitener that you create
    • This takes time but can pay off because you customize your treatment to your preference and your body’s preferred method of skin whitening. We highly suggest you mix multiple natural remedies together to whiten your underarms – note this requires some time/effort on your behalf.
      We recommend combinations using the ingredients below: 

      • Charcoal
      • Lemon
      • Raw Organic Honey
      • Apple Cider Vinegar
      • Potato
    • These tend to be best for ease of use, price, availability, and ability to use for other applications (i.e. charcoal can also be used for whitening your teeth or face, stomach ailments and more). See below for instructions on how to use them and amounts needed. 


Natural methods/Do it yourself methods:

  • Use Charcoal powder with Raw Organic Honey (One of our favorite)
    • You will need: 2 tablespoons whitening charcoal powder, 1 tablespoon raw organic honey
    • Prep Time: 1 minute
    • Processing time: 1-2 minutes
    • Process/steps
      • 1. Combine the charcoal and honey with a fork or spoon
      • 2. Once the ingredients and combined into a paste apply liberally to the underarms using a cosmetic brush – the mixture should not be too runny so do not whip the ingredients. If the mixture is not completely black, you did not use enough charcoal.
      • 3. Allow the paste to work in your armpits for at least thirty minutes
    • How often: 2-3 times a week
    • Why this works
    • Charcoal powder has exploded in popularity over the last few years for its ability to remove toxins from the body. It has been used for thousands of years actually, well known for its ability to remove toxins from the stomach but because of this powerful attribute, charcoal also removes impurities from the skin which can lead to discoloration.
    • More recently, Charcoal powder has become popular for teeth whitening, and you guessed it, bleaching your armpits. Most people are in disbelief that something so black could help bleach or whiten your underarms but it is true.
    • Charcoal powder is messy, so we recommend making a paste – our easy recipe is made with honey which also helps whiten but also helps prevent the charcoal from going anywhere (charcoal is not good when it ends up on your clothes or walls!). As mentioned above, we recommend raw organic honey – some cheap honey is not really honey and can contain toxins, so what’s the point! 
    • First, make sure your underarms are clean before applying this mixture. If you have deodorant on or have built up the sweat, it will reduce its efficacy.
    • Mix the two together so it is not runny but easy to apply. The mixture should be completely black. If needed add more charcoal.
    • Use a cosmetic brush to apply to the underarms and let it absorb for 25 minutes.
    • Charcoal comes in a variety of formats – tablets (normally used for stomach issues), powder (great for teeth and armpit bleaching) – both can be used both powder is the easiest.


  • Natural Baking Soda with Water or Raw Organic Honey
    • You will need: 2 tablespoons organic natural baking soda (aluminum free), 1 tablespoon filtered water or 1 tablespoon raw organic honey
    • Prep Time: 1 minute
    • Processing time: 1-2 minutes
    • Process/steps
      • Combine 2 tablespoons of baking soda with 1 tablespoon of water or honey into a thick paste in a bowl. Remember we suggest an aluminum free baking soda and filtered water.
      • Apply the paste to your underarms, by gently massaging in a circular motion for a minute or two to help ensure the paste coats the skin well
      • Leave the paste on for another 30 minutes and then wash it off.
    • How often: 2-3 times a week
    • Why this works
    • Baking soda may be useful to whiten or lighten your underarms, and given it is a popular ingredient it is easy to find.
    • Baking soda helps because it gently exfoliates the skin, a common reason for black or dark armpits. It can also help bleach the skin which can even out the tones of the skins in your armpits.
    • Baking soda helps balance pH levels in your skin which promotes skin health – which will help you and your armpits look great!
    • Baking soda is an anti antioxidant and also contains antimicrobial properties – useful to prevent bacterial infections (as mentioned above, they are a common cause).
    • Baking soda controls excess sweating and oil in your armpits that might be contributing to dark underarms, given sweats and oil can contain toxins.
    • Using baking soda will help curb excessive oil production and excessive sweating, which is often a cause for skin darkening.
    • We discourage the use of baking soda with aluminum though, so check labels or use our recommended baking soda. 
  • Organic Lemon
    • You will need: 2 tablespoons lemon, 1 tablespoon water
    • Prep Time: 1 minute
    • Processing time: 1-2 minutes
    • Process/steps
      • Combine 2 tbsp of lemon with 1tbsp of water into an in a bowl. Remember we suggest an organic lemon and filtered water.
      • Apply the paste to your underarms, by gently massaging in a circular motion for a minute or two to help ensure the paste coats the skin well
      • Leave the paste on for another 10 minutes and then wash it off.
    • How often: 2-3 times a week
    • Why this works
    • Lemon is known to be a powerful bleaching and exfoliating agent – especially with hair. Before commercial hair lighteners became available, lemon juice was used to lighten hair. Rich with alpha hydroxy acids power lemon’s powerful exfoliating properties. Because of this, it can also be used in your underarms. Because of this acid in the lemon, it might irritate some people, or when used often. Lemon also can dry skin out but it certainly is proven to light skin.
    • We recommend using lemon juice for just a few minutes due to its acid content or mixing it with another remedy below (baking soda, olive oil, avocado, potato).
  • Potato
    • To my surprise, Potato is a natural bleaching agent as well which can be used to whiten your armpits. A little-known enzyme called catecholase whitens skin with little chance of reactions.
    • Cut the potato into the slices (uncooked potatoes) and gently massage the white part into your armpits for five minutes.
    • Some residue and some juice from the potato may form – that’s good! Let is absorb into the skin for 20-30 minutes to do its work. You’ll then want to rinse it off.
  • Cucumber
    • Cucumber juice is also a natural skin whitening agent – and has an added bonus of being loaded with many vitamins and minerals that promote healthy skin. It’s no wonder that when you think of a spa, an image of someone with cucumber slices comes to mind!
    • How to use cucumber: Peel a cucumber and grind it until you create cucumber “juice”. We recommend creating another to have at least half a cup so you can use it a few times without having to remake it but not so much that it goes bad. A good juicer can help with this, especially masticating juicers like the Omega. Leave the juice on for at least 30 minutes, and wash off when done.
  • Orange Peel
    • Orange peel can also whiten skin and its calming, pleasing scent can make the experience more enjoyable. As with other citrus whitening remedies, acid can be an issue so test out orange peels first before committing to it. Orange juice can also be sticky so this might not be for everyone.
    • How to use orange peels: The most popular method is drying the skin peels in the sun and then grinding them up to create a powder. Once you have done this you can mix orange peel powder with milk or yogurt (we recommend organic, pasture raised) to create a paste. Apply the paste for at least 30 minutes and then wash off. The diary will help offset the acid in the orange peels and diary itself whitens skin.
  • Yogurt
    • If the thought or using fruits or veggies is uncomfortable you can try applying high-quality yogurt to your underarms – yogurt is very soothing to the skin and the fat content will help the skin become more supple while lightening the skin tone.
    • How to use yogurt:
  • Coconut oil
    • Coconut oil has exploded in popularity over the last five years, and for good reason – it is jam-packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants. It is also known to be antibacterial, antimicrobial as a result of its medium-chain fatty acids.
    • Depending on who you ask, Coconut Oil might darken or lighten the skin. Well, who is correct? Both! Coconut oil is probably best described as a skin pigment balancer or regulator meaning that for persons with hyperpigmentation, it will reduce darkness, and for those with lighter skin, it will increase it.
    • Beware, if you suntan, and use coconut oil (which by itself is not safe), it will promote tanning. But that’s because the oil is essentially cooking your skin through the sun.
    • Given coconut oil’s many health benefits for the skin, we recommend it as a general tonic for the skin that can help whiten and reduce any beauty markers while moisturizing your skin – a great combination.
    • How to use it: Buy organic, unrefined coconut oil (so you can also eat and cook with it) and massage it into your armpits. You could also combine the coconut oil with other ingredients, like lemon, or charcoal to increase the whitening potency.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
    • One of our favorite products for its extreme versatility is apple cider vinegar – from insect bites to alkalizing water, and even skin whitening! With its high glycol content, apple cider vinegar helps to lighten skin tone aided by its exfoliating properties.
    • As a bonus apple cider vinegar helps clear blemishes, removes age spots and contributes a clearer, glowing skin tone! Apple cider vinegar also helps reduces excess oil in your skin.
    • For some, vinegar may irritate the skin so be sure to try it out first in a small area. We recommend organic raw vinegar such as Bragg’s Raw Organic Apple Cider Vinegar.
    • To use apple cider vinegar to whiten your armpits you can use the following recipes:
      • Apple cider vinegar with baking soda – this will help exfoliate the skin
      • Apple cider vinegar with honey – this will help moisturize the skin
      • Bathe in apple cider vinegar – add ⅛ of a cup to a bathtub full of water and soak yourself for at least thirty minutes, this is great because then your body color tone will match your underarms.
  • Olive oil
    • Besides being great on your salad, olive oil is a natural skin whitener and moisturizer – no wonder my Greek cousins have such wonderful skin! Olive oil contains high amounts of Squalene which is responsible for these properties.
    • To use olive oil to whiten your pits apply extra virgin organic olive oil and massage it into your underarms.
    • For stronger whitening try to combine with lemon juice. Make smaller amounts for better effectiveness. Try a ¼ cup of olive oil with a tablespoon of lemon juice, mix together, apply some to your armpits for at least 30 minutes and then wash off. You should need a minimal amount of each use so this mixture should last for several whitening sessions.
  • Raw Organic Honey
    • Honey has been used for thousands of year for a variety of applications both externally and internally – one of those is skin lightening!
    • Honey helps moisturize the skin, a key step in whitening the skin while clearing blemishes and impurities due to its antiseptic properties.
    • How to use honey to whiten your skin – consider using honey in combination with other methods, such as lemon or charcoal, keeping honey as a second step. Many persons use honey and apply it similar to a face mask, allowing it to harden than washing off.
  • Lemon + Baking Soda
  • Papaya

    • Tasty and good for your stomach, papaya can also help whiten your skin naturally. Unripe fresh papaya and papaya seed oil can do the trick. This is due to Papain, a whitening enzyme found in the fruit. Not well known is that the enzyme is found mostly in the peel.
    • People in the Philippines use papaya for skin whitening with great success. Like other natural remedies, it contains alpha hydroxy acids which exfoliate and help clear blemishes.
    • How to use it: We recommend making a papaya face mask with one unripe papaya (green color) a half of cup,  a tablespoon of honey and a tablespoon of lemon juice. Combine these ingredients, then add raw organic honey to create a paste.  Massage this into your skin and let it work for at least 30 minutes and then rinse off.
    • Papaya soaps can also help – here are a few picks:
  • Aloe Vera
    • Aloe Vera, popular for soothing sunburns, also helps lighten skin even in your armpits. Its sticky consistency works well as a mask which lifts impurities and dark spots. Aloe Vera also helps reduce UV rays which can darken your skin (even in your armpits – think reflective surfaces).
    • Besides also clearing blemishes, aloe vera is great for sensitive skin with its nutrients and moisturizing properties.
    • We recommend fresh organic aloe leafs – you could even grow them in your home if you live in an appropriate area.
    • How to use fresh organic aloe vera:
      • Buy or grow some aloe vera leafs, cut one of the leafs and cut the leaf open to reveal the sticky white flesh. If possible cut so you can create slices you can easily apply to your armpits.
      • Leave the aloe vera on for at least thirty minutes.
    • Aloe Vera gels are easily available, here are a few we like – we recommend combining these to create a powerful armpit whitener.
  • Tomato Juice
    • Like potatoes, we are surprised to learn tomatoes also bleach dark skin. In addition, they can help clear skin up, reducing bacteria levels which is another cause as noted above for dark armpits.
    • To use tomato, combine a tablespoon with milk or yogurt and work it into a paste that is not too runny or thick. Apply the paste, massing it into the skin for 3-5 min and then let it absorb for 20-30 minutes.
  • Turmeric
    • Turmeric, an ancient spice has been used for centuries in Asia for a variety of purposes. Commonly touted as an anti-depressant, pain reliever and stomach settler. Turmeric also works effectively for preventing skin from darkening as it blocks the creation of melanin which darkens the skin.
    • Bonus benefit: Turmeric also helps reduce hair growth – it has been used for centuries for removing facial hair.
    • We recommend fresh organic turmeric you can buy in health food stores or online, we found some well-rated options, listed below.

Preventing Dark Underarms

  • Don’t shave – instead try sugaring, waxing, laser hair treatments and tweezing -OK so tweezing your armpit hair could hurt! The idea here is that not shaving to prevent that dark stubble from growing in. Some popular products to help you do this at home are:
    • Sugaring kits
    • Home waxing kits
    • Tweezers
    • Laser treatments
    • We do not recommend hair removal creams as they tend to irritate skin especially given the sensitivity of your armpit skin.
    • Electrolysis is not recommended for it causes skin discoloration in some people.
  • Avoid irritants in the underarms – the skin there is very sensitive
  • Be sure to bathe regularly and use a gentle soap to wash your armpits – not cleaning well can cause bacteria buildup
  • Use a loofah to gently remove dead skin buildup from your body
  • Deodorant free day: Unless you are planning to be very active why not give your underarms a break and skip the deodorant for a day? This is especially good if you are not using a natural deodorant. Another idea is to take a shower before bed and completely wash off the deodorant you used
  • Diet – it is so important to eat healthily, this will keep your hormones in balance which can also cause dark underarms and help you maintain a healthy weight which also tends to contribute to dark armpit skin. Consider a paleo diet which has yielded amazing results for women around the world – that’s the diet I follow and no one believes my real age – they think I am 20 years younger!
  • Diet
    • Your body is your temple. If you eat processed foods or those with toxins your body will try to remove them – sweating it one method, and as may have guessed, the armpits are a key area. Sweat with toxins can cause dark underarms and pits.
  • Keep your skin moisturized and hydrated.