How To Get Rid Of Dark Armpit Shadow After Shaving Your Underarms

Hi Heather,

Every time I share under my arms, I notice that I have a dark shadow there that won’t go away. Even when all of the hair is gone and I shave every single day, it’s still always there – and in the last few months I think it’s gotten worse! I don’t know what to do besides maybe bleaching my armpit, and that sounds weird. How do you get rid of the armpit shadow?

katy perry

Dark underarm shadow is common (super common, actually), and when you think about it, quite a weird thing to feel insecure about – although that hasn’t stopped most of us from feeling insecure about it. It happens when your skin there gets exposed to certain things, most of which are “things” you use/do every single day. They include shaving, sweating, no ventilation there (not wearing shirts that give air to your underarms), alcohol-based deodorants, and hair removing creams. It’s completely normal for them to occur after shaving, and also normal for the shading to get worse as you continue to shave.

All of this information is true, but not exactly helpful or comforting. So, how can you make the underarm shadow disappear? You unfortunately can’t run out to Target and buy a cream to lighten up your armpit, but there are some natural tactics you can employ if you feel the need to do so. Here are some ideas:

  1. Use vegetables/fruits. Potatoes and cucumbers can be used as natural bleaching alternative. Slice up one of these, or get some of their juice, and rub it on your armpit. Let the juices sit there for about 20 minutes, then rinse off. Do this a few times a week and you might see a difference. If you look online, you’ll see a lot of tips about using lemons or orange peel. Avoid those. Both of these acidic fruits can irritate that sensitive area, especially right after shaving, and actually end up making the shadow worse.
  2. Try waxing instead. Waxing your underarms, for some reason, doesn’t always leave behind the same dark shadow as shaving does (probably because it rips hair out at the roots rather than surface level). This might not be true for everyone, but I can certainly attest to it – once I started waxing my underarms, the shadow started to disappear. Waxing your underarms also happens to be the easiest wax in the world. There are so few nerve endings there that you barely even feel the wax being ripped off. It’s quick and relatively painless.
  3. Switch up your deodorant. Doctors have found that dark shadows under your armpits can be a result of your skin reacting to certain deodorants. Try using a different deodorant. To make sure you’re not buying the same thing under a different brand, check out the ingredients list.
  4. Moisturize and exfoliate. You probably don’t pay any attention to your underarms if you’re not removing hair there, but that skin needs love to. Exfoliate gently twice a week with a gentle exfoliating cleanser and a warm cloth – and don’t get too into it, because too much can make the shading worse. Then use a light moisturizer or oil to hydrate the skin.
  5. Try Retin-A. If the shadow really won’t go away, talk to a doctor about a skin lightener like Retin-A. This might help the situation. Keep in mind, though, that Retin-A is powerful (which is why it’s not over the counter) and makes skin extremely sensitive to the sun. So if you’re going outside and wearing a bathing suit a lot, you might want to skip it.

If nothing on that list works, see a doctor – or just stop thinking about it. Armpit shadow can be a genetics thing, so maybe you’re just pre-disposed to it. And honestly, I promise, you notice it more than anyone else out there. Good luck!

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Posted in: Body Issues
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