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Dark underarms are common, but what makes them dark?

women applying baking soda deodorant


Underarms get dark for a bunch of reasons.. There’s no one answer. That’s why it’s important to talk with a professional, and we can’t replace a visit to your doctor.

But, here are some common causes.


Hormones can cause changes in the production of melanin in your skin. Pregnancy causes hormonal shifts which can trigger darkening. This is common on your inner thighs, areolas, underarms, and even your face-- known as “pregnancy mask.”Coloration usually goes back to normal after you’ve given birth. Birth control also affects your hormone levels which can cause the overproduction of melanin in your skin.


Shaving without the proper lubrication may increase friction against your skin and the blade. A dull blade can also cause friction and pull hair. And while waxing is an alternative, it too can cause inflammation of the hair follicle.


A lot of natural deodorants include sodium bicarbonate also known as baking soda. But with a pH of about 9, it is highly alkaline which does not always agree with your body’s skin pH of around 4-5.5. By applying a deodorant with baking soda in it, your skin may react to the change in pH by getting irritated and therefore becoming darker.

If you are using many products, including DIY, on your underarms for your darkness, consider taking a break and giving your underarms time to heal and breathe. Keep this in mind while you are determining your underlying cause and be patient and gentle with your skin.

This information and opinions in this article are not intended to treat, diagnose or cure any medical conditions.

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