How to Exfoliate Armpits and Banish Dark Underarms for Good

Dark armpits are definitely one of those things that can ruin your confidence and look. Sometimes we manage to find the cutest sleeveless tops but can't wear them for fear of exposing dark pits, or we catch sight of a picture of ourselves with our arms raised only to show to the world a not so pleasing sight.

Of course such situations can be avoided by paying enough attention to our underarms.

Those enviable pits you see in billboards and magazines aren't just something that can be achieved only through photoshop - you too can get smooth and clear pits. How? It all starts with one little word: exfoliation.

'Cause exfoliation isn't just for brightening your facial skin or helping you get a closer shave on your legs - it also does wonders for your armpits. In fact, jut by taking a bit of time out to exfoliate your underarms, you may be able to say goodbye to dark underarms once and for all.

Why exfoliate your armpits?

how to exfoliate armpits

The same way we regularly exfoliate our face and body to keep the skin bright and healthy should also be the same way we pay attention to our armpits. Sadly, a lot of people tend to overlook this body part when it comes to exfoliation and that shouldn't be the case if you want smooth and arm-raising worthy pits!

Regularly shaving, waxing, or plucking, and swipes of deodorant aren't enough when it comes to underarms - in fact, all of these things can over time cause the darkening of our pits.

That's 'cause our armpits are actually more delicate and in need of attention than most of us realize. The surface of underarms have two kinds of sweat glands, namely the eccrine and apocrine. The eccrine glands are the ones that can be found all over your body and regulates your temperature. They are also the ones that produce clear odor free sweat.

Meanwhile, apocrine glands are found in areas with a lot of hair growth such as your pits. They secrete fluid when your body is under emotional or psychological stress and this is what produces the unpleasant odor we all know as BO.

Also, the hair follicles in our underarms tend to get clogged with dead skin cells and residue from things such as deodorant. Simply washing with soap daily is not enough to get rid of these. And without exfoliation, dirt, bacteria, and irritants can build up in the follicles of your pits. This can then lead to ingrown hairs and razor bumps which contribute to the darkening of armpits.

And sure, underarm lightening creams are a huge help in whitening armpits but even these creams work a lot better with the help of exfoliation. Simply sloughing off old, dead skin cells allows the lightening creams to penetrate deeper and better - plus, the speeding up of cell turnover means you see results a lot faster.

How to exfoliate armpits?

Now that you know why you should exfoliate your underarms, you're most likely wondering how to do it. There are oh, so many ways - from home remedies to products specifically designed to gently exfoliate and get rid of all the unwanted stuff that leads to darkening armpits over time.

Read on for a list of options to deep clean your pits!

Gram Flour Whitening Mask

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Gram flour is a traditional skin lightening remedy that deep cleanses and exfoliates the skin while providing a near instantaneous whitening effect.

Simply mix two tablespoons of gram flour with one teaspoon of plain yogurt to form a thick paste.

Apply this paste on your underarms and leave on for at least 15 minutes before rinsing off with warm water. This is a very gentle whitening mask so you can do it as often as you want.

Charcoal and Honey Mask

Sometimes you gotta go dark to go light - like is the case with this activated charcoal mask.

Activated charcoal has quickly become a star skin care ingredient for its ability to deep purge pores of impurities and toxins.

Its all because this jet black powder is extremely porous and can draw out and absorb whatever grossness is lurking in your pores.

To use it, simply mix one tablespoon of raw honey with three capsules of activated charcoal and apply to clean and dry underarms. Leave it on for at least 20 minutes.

Orange Peel Scrub

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Oranges are yummy and famous for being a rich source of a very key beauty vitamin: Vitamin C.

Not only does Vitamin C help keep your skin healthy, but it also has skin-repairing, melanin-inhibiting abilities that help get rid of dark armpits.

Plus, it's just so easy to use as an armpit exfoliant. You can go about it in one of two ways:

  • Orange peel powder scrub: By using orange peels in a powder form, you can also take advantage of the fine graininess to gently exfoliate your armpits. All you have to do is dry out orange peels by leaving them under the sun for a day or two and then grind the dry peels in a blender or food processor - or simply buy yourself some organic orange peel powder. Add water or milk to create a thick paste that you can use as a 10 minute scrub. Rinse off with cold water afterwards.
  • Orange peel sugar scrub:​ Another option is to simply blend the orange peels in a blender or food processor (without having to wait for them to dry). You can then mix sugar with the grated orange peels and add a bit of coconut or olive oil for better consistency. Voila - instant armpit exfoliating scrub. 

Exfoliating Mitt

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Here's a simple, re-useable solution to your armpit exfoliation needs: use a loofah or an exfoliating mitt.

These cause no mess at all, require no preparation or clean up and you get a great, even exfoliation to even out your skin tone and stimulate collagen production. 

Even better, you can use an exfoliating mitt before you shave, wax or epilate to cut down on the chance of ingrown hairs.

Our favorite pick for this category is Dermasuri's Deep Exfoliating Mitt Body Scrub​ - it's made of the perfect texture to gently and effective slough the dead skin off your pits as well as the rest of the body. 

AHAs and BHAs

how to exfoliate armpits

Okay, now we're bringing out the big guns. If you do nothing else on this list - at least get yourself a skin care product that contains AHAs and/or BHAs to gently yet thoroughly exfoliate your armpits.

AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) and BHAs (beta hydroxy acids) are both chemical exfoliants naturally found in foods.

For example, glycolic acid and lactic acid are both alpha hydroxy acids derived from sugar cane and milk respectively.

And these chemical exfoliants will do more to get rid of dark armpits than pretty much any other exfoliant. Here's why: Both AHAs and BHAs are amazing, non-abrasive exfoliators that work by bringing the pH of the skin to a higher acidity level in order to chemically loosen the “glue” that binds the dead and damaged skin cells.

While manual scrubs can only slough off the very outermost layer of dead skin, chemical exfoliants are able to penetrate deeper to get rid of dull, dead skin and promote new cell growth. The best part? You don't have to do any work - just apply a product with AHA or BHA and you're done. No scrubbing required.

More tips to lighten armpits

You've been exfoliating and seeing results but you want to lavish a little more TLC on your pits. What should you do? Here's a list of armpit whitening tips!

  • Wax instead of shave. Shaving only removes the hair above the skin and creates an illusion of darkness. Instead opt for waxing your underarms. It may hurt more but the hair will be removed from the root making your underarms appear fairer. Plus it will take longer for the hair to grow back. Waxing also serves as an exfoliating method.
  • Minimize usage of deodorant. Certain deodorants tend to produce a reaction within the skin that increases melanin production thus darkening your underarms. Instead of using deodorant daily try switching out with natural deodorants on some days to combat body odor while keeping pits light. If you absolutely cannot live without a trusty deodorant - we feel you. Just opt for a whitening deodorant.
  • Moisturize underarms. We all know of the importance of moisturizing the skin and this includes the armpits of course. Lack of moisture can make your underarms dry, rough, and dark. Keeping them moisturized on the other hand hydrates and cuts down on darkness-causing things like chafing. When choosing moisturizers, look for ones with lightening ingredients as well!
  • Eat vitamin rich food. What we consume always shows in our outward appearance. Lack of vitamins and minerals in the body can contribute to dull and dark skin such as in your underarms. Eat a proper diet loaded with nutrients such as vitamin C to lighten the skin. Vitamin C produces collagen that helps repair dark, damaged skin.

Our armpits don't get as much attention as our face but keep in mind that our pits need some TLC to remain smooth and clear! So if you've been lavishing attention to the rest of your skin and ignoring your underarms, it's time to include your precious pits into your skincare regimen. After all, nobody wants to be flaunting dark underarms in contrast with an otherwise flawless complexion.

Give yourself that extra confidence boost in wearing those cute sleeveless tops by regularly exfoliating and taking care of your pits!