Though it is a normal occurrence, having dark underarms can make one uncomfortable and ilang. Fortunately, there is a multitude of underarm whitening products in the market that address discoloration and keep your pits fresh. And with the right one, you can raise your arms with confidence!
In this article, we have curated a list of the best underarm whitening products you can buy online. We have also provided a guide to help you decide on which product to purchase—with some comments and tips from dermatologist Dr. Katrina Erika Habaluyas Luz. Scroll down to know more!
Dr. Katrina Habaluyas Luz is the face behind Ask Your Derma. She is a board-certified dermatologist in Metro Manila. She is also an educator and digital creator on all things skin, hair, and nails. She is a Diplomate of the Philippine Dermatological Society and offers online video consultations. You can also catch her on her Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube channel.
Our recommendation articles are carefully researched and crafted by the mybest Philippines team of writers and editors. To stay true to our company’s mission and vision to help users’ selection process easier, we also collaborate with experts from various fields to ensure that our content stays factual and useful.
The expert oversees the Buying Guide only, and does not determine the products and services featured.
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Underarm darkening is a natural and more common occurrence than you would think. Discoloration can appear in areas other than your face, such as the back of your neck, elbows, and inner thighs. Underarm skin is about as sensitive as your eyelids, making them more prone to irritation and hyperpigmentation.
A prominent cause for dark underarms is excessive friction, as underarms often rub against something else, whether from shaving or tight clothing. The friction makes your underarms darken over time as it causes inflammation. This stimulates the cells to produce more pigment, which makes your skin darker.
Another culprit could be the type of underarm products that you use. Some deodorants and antiperspirants contain ingredients that could irritate your skin, such as synthetic fragrances. If you have an underlying medical condition like obesity, diabetes, or even polycystic ovarian syndrome, it could also cause your skin to darken.
Dark underarms or axillary hyperpigmentation can be due to several things. Typically, there is an increase in melanin production or abnormal distribution of this pigment in the epidermis and/or dermis after external injury.
This can be from friction, irritation from the products we apply, procedures we do to it (e.g., cleansing, shaving, plucking), to certain medical conditions such as obesity or diabetes which are prone to the development of what we refer to as acanthosis nigricans (dark, almost velvety underarms).
Lots of brands peddle their product to help you achieve instant whitening. But you also have to pay attention to its ingredients, particularly if any of them are actually good as a skin lightener. Here are some ingredients to look for when purchasing an underarm whitening product.
Kojic acid is an ingredient that is widely used in our country. It is primarily used for lightening the skin as it prevents the formation of tyrosine, an amino acid used to produce melanin. It is derived from the fermentation process used to make sake, soy sauce, or rice wine.
Did you know that we have an enzyme in our body called tyrosinase responsible for the melanin, aka the color of our skin? But sometimes, the body can create too much melanin leading to hyperpigmentation such as that seen in the underarms.
This is where kojic acid comes in, as it can stop tyrosinase activity and reduce melanin production. The great thing about kojic acid is that there's a lot of science backing it up, as multiple clinical trials have been done testing its efficacy and safety as a topical medication with lightening properties.
Vitamin C is considered a powerful antioxidant, which protects the skin barrier against free radical damage. It inhibits your skin’s melanin production and fades brown spots without altering your normal skin pigmentation. Meanwhile, niacinamide is also known as vitamin B3, and it helps improve hyperpigmentation.
It is less potent, but it contains fewer side effects than hydroquinone, a skin bleaching agent. Niacinamide often works best when paired with other ingredients such as antioxidants and prescription retinoids. Vitamin B3 in itself is rather mild and is better at treating rosacea and other inflammatory skin conditions.
Vitamin C and niacinamide (aka Vitamin B3) are both anti-oxidants—meaning, they help protect the body, including the skin, from the damage of free radicals. Vitamin C's role in reducing hyperpigmentation is more prevention via fighting free radical damage.
On the other hand, niacinamide acts by stopping melanosome transfer from melanocytes (pigment cells) to keratinocytes (skin cells), another process by which hyperpigmentation develops. The nice thing about niacinamide is that it also offers a lot of other benefits such as anti-oxidant properties, sebum regulation, and barrier protection.
Lately, toners, particularly those containing exfoliating acids, have been hyped to double as underarm products that could help smoothen and brighten your pits. Exfoliating acids such as glycolic acid dissolve the skin's outer layer to reveal brighter and smoother-looking skin.
Definitely, I'd consult a dermatologist before starting this one. Although it is true that exfoliating acids can help brighten skin by aiding in the cellular renewal of the skin, it's possible that irritation can develop given that the underarm is an area where the skin is thin and not to mention prone to occlusion.
Licorice root extract is an ingredient that is used in traditional medicine. It is often used to control inflammation, rosacea, and acne, but it also has skin-lightening benefits. It is a rich source of antioxidants that can help reduce hyperpigmentation and prevent excess melanin from being produced.
Licorice extract, also known as glabridin, is derived from the root of the tree, Glycyrrhiza glabra linneva, which acts by inhibiting tyrosinase. It has been incorporated in skincare products given its antioxidant and skin lightening properties, particularly useful for sensitive skin types.
Underarm whitening products come in different forms such as deodorants, soaps, scrubs, and creams. It is not necessary to integrate all of them into your daily routine lest you irritate your delicate skin. The key is to find one that you could use consistently.
Using deodorant is a small yet important part of everyone’s daily routine. It is almost automatic to swipe on deodorant or antiperspirant after showering to keep ourselves smelling fresh and promote good hygiene, especially in a country as humid as ours.
If you want a pretty low-maintenance route, you can look for deodorants that are formulated with skin-lightening ingredients. These serve the dual purpose of preventing you from smelling bad and reducing dark spots at the same time.
Deodorants are one of the most commonly used cosmetic products that people apply on their underarms daily. Deodorants are typically used to mask odor but newer products incorporate lightening ingredients as well. This makes them very convenient, no-fuss, and handy to be applied.
Some form of whitening soap is always present in Filipino households, as it keeps the skin looking bright. If you’re the type who doesn't like applying too many products to your underarms, you can opt to use soaps instead.
The good news is that lots of whitening soaps contain skin-whitening ingredients, so it is just a matter of choosing one to suit your preference. But for best results, consistency is key! Using it regularly can bring about the desired effect.
The main purpose of soaps and cleansers is precisely to cleanse. This is why they contain surfactants that lift dirt and aid in the solubility of oils. A lot of soaps in the market, however, have been incorporated with lightening agents.
By virtue of its method of use wherein one applies it on the body and immediately washes it off with little contact time with the skin, it's definitely difficult to assess how much of the product is actually absorbed, lest if any effect can be brought about.
Dark underarms could also be caused by the build-up of dead skin, which could happen if you don’t exfoliate every once in a while. You could do physical exfoliation by making your own homemade remedy or chemical exfoliation using acids present in toners. Or, you could detoxify your pits using clay masks.
The skin of the underarm is unique - given its anatomic position and composition (rich in hair follicles and sebaceous glands). Thus, it requires specialized attention and care.
However, scrubbing is not encouraged as it can cause additional friction and irritation. Best to consult your board-certified dermatologist on this one as they can offer in-clinic procedures which use alpha-hydroxy acids in lower concentrations, such as glycolic acid, which would bring about exfoliation.
Unlike deodorants or soaps, creams are applied in the morning and at night for maximum efficacy. Keep in mind that some creams can take longer than others for you to see effects, so have a little patience.
It's also important to apply the cream to clean underarms. Just like you ensure to apply skin care products on a clean face, the same goes for underarm creams. This is to ensure that it's properly absorbed by your skin.
Aside from deodorants and soaps, lightening creams for the body, including the underarms, are also readily available in the market. It is very important to patch test the product before using it fully as the risk for contact dermatitis is definitely there.
These creams may contain a variety of ingredients, including fragrance that may cause a reaction in sensitive individuals, all the more since it will be applied to a particularly sensitive area.
Nowadays, there are lots of products in the market that claim to lighten underarms instantly. However, you should know that it could take some time, especially if you are using acid peels. You wouldn't want to overdo it.
Make sure to purchase products that come from reputable brands and not suspicious looking ones as it could contain toxic chemicals such as mercury, which could only worsen your skin condition.
When shopping for skincare products, remember just because they're sold on the shelves doesn’t mean they're automatically safe to use. It's important that you do your research. It can be challenging to navigate ingredients lists on most skincare product labels, thus, when in doubt Ask Your Derma!
If you are unsure of what product to buy, that is totally fine. We recommend that you consult with a dermatologist to find one that is suitable for you. It is also important to hear their advice if you want a more potent product. This applies especially when it comes to chemicals, instead of just blindly purchasing whatever is trending at the moment.
It's definitely advisable to seek a consultation with your board-certified dermatologist of choice! They can help you identify the possible cause of the underarm darkening as well as the product and/or procedure that would enable you to achieve the best and safest results.
Click to purchase
Intensive Renew Deo Dry Serum Collagen + Vitamin B3
Deeply Penetrates the Skin for Whiter Underarms
Intensive Whitening Bar
The Go-To Whitening Soap for Filipinos
Intensive Underarm Whitening Cream 10% Niacinamide
Get Smoother Underarms With 10% Niacinamide
Beauty +PLUS Deodorant Stick
The Fan-Favorite Sunflower Oil Now in Deo Form
Underarm Whitening Cream
An Underarm Cream That Can Also Whiten Your Elbows and Knees
The Body Shop
Vitamin C Glow-Revealing Liquid Peel
A Concentrated Vitamin C Peel That Reveals Whiter and Healthier Skin
Organic Skin Japan
Illuminants + Axillight: Treatment Antiperspirant
Combines the Power of 3 Whitening Ingredients for Lighter Underarms
Activated Charcoal Whitening Soap
Detoxifies the Underarms for a More Even Complexion
Intense Whitening Body Scrub
A Mild Exfoliator That’s Gentle on Delicate Areas
Pit Perfect Underarm Whitening Scrub
Uses Natural Ingredients to Exfoliate and Brighten the Armpits
Want silky smooth underarms? Dove's got you covered! Their Original deodorant is a trusted and go-to product due to its mildness, but their new release will have you clicking the Add to Cart button in no time! It is infused with collagen, which is known for its ability to promote skin renewal.
It works in tandem with niacinamide or vitamin B3, which prevents the formation of dark spots. Plus, it contains vitamin E that evens out your complexion and Omega6, which promotes smooth and healthy skin. Moreover, this deodorant has been clinically proven to renew skin for up to 20 layers deep, so you get that much-needed nourishment for your pits.
No doubt, almost everyone regards Belo as their trusted brand for beauty products. Their whitening line is extensive, which just goes to show how serious they are about skincare. Belo's Intensive Whitening Bar claims to give you 64% more whitening power compared to soaps that only use one lightening ingredient.
Kojic acid is a common ingredient in the Philippines that's known for its ability to quickly exfoliate and reveal brighter skin. It also prevents melanin production and minimizes pigmentation.
This ingredient is combined with tranexamic acid, an amino acid derivative, which reduces stubborn dark spots. However, because of these ingredients, you may feel a slight tingling sensation when using the product.
Luxe Organix’s whitening cream is potent as it contains 10% niacinamide, which targets hyperpigmentation spots. Thus, a little goes a long way to achieve whiter underarms. It also helps repair your skin’s barrier, so you can say goodbye to little bumps and chicken skin!
Aside from niacinamide, it contains licorice root extract, which can soothe irritation in case you suffer from chafing. Meanwhile, alpha arbutin and tranexamic acid also aid in reducing hyperpigmentation. Want a multi-purpose product? You’ll be pleased to know it could also be applied to the inner thighs, elbows, and knees!
Consider swapping your usual deodorant for this natural deo from Human Nature. It contains their best-selling sunflower beauty oil, which can help you achieve lighter and softer underarms. It can also reduce the appearance of chicken skin and help you get a smoother complexion.
Worried about smelly armpits? Luckily, this deodorant is infused with tea tree oil, which has antibacterial properties that can control body odor. The addition of sage oil fights odor-causing bacteria to keep you feeling fresh and clean all day. Go ahead and let your underarms breathe with this deodorant's gentle formula!
Belo’s underarm cream is hypoallergenic and dermatologist tested, so you don’t have to worry about it being too harsh on your skin. It is formulated with alpha arbutin, which is extracted from blueberries and cranberries. It suppresses enzymes that stimulate melanin, thereby treating and preventing pigmentation.
It also contains hydroxyphenoxy propionic acid, which can improve uneven skin tone. It can also help prevent redness caused by habitual plucking and shaving. If you have dark elbows, knees, and even areolas, you can apply some of the cream there, too.
Never skip exfoliation again with this gel to peel concoction from The Body Shop. Its star ingredient is vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant with brightening properties. Their concentration actually has 60 times more vitamin C than an orange, making it the perfect product to reveal whiter underarms.
It is also infused with Camu Camu Berry, which contains vitamin C and niacin to help combat pigmentation and exfoliate dead skin cells. To use this product, simply pump it twice and apply it to dry skin. Massage it for about 20 seconds until you can see exfoliating residues, then rinse with water.
Need an intense whitening deodorant that can also control odor? This deodorant mist from Organic Skin Japan offers all that and more! It combines the whitening power of glutathione, alpha arbutin, and kojic acid to fade dark spots and repair the skin from within. Forget sweating buckets! It also keeps your underarms odor-free for up to 24 hours.
After application, the deodorant leaves behind a powder-dry finish that feels soft on the skin. Best of all, it's cruelty-free, paraben-free, 100% natural, and vegan, so even those with sensitive skin can use it. With this product, you now can flaunt your smooth underarms!
Sometimes, a good detox is all you need to cleanse your skin of all its impurities and reveal rejuvenated skin. The same goes for your underarms. You can use a bentonite clay mask until you see improvement in discoloration, but this soap works pretty well as an alternative for busy bees.
Dr. Sensitive’s charcoal soap is formulated with activated charcoal to detoxify the skin and produce a more even complexion. Plus, it contains salicylic acid, which helps exfoliate and cleanse clogged pores. It also provides extra whitening with the added kojic acid, while glycerin prevents the skin from drying out.
Not exfoliating your underarms can contribute to discoloration due to the build-up of dead skin cells. Gluta-C’s body scrub is ideal for those who don’t want the usual hapdi of exfoliants and whitening products. It has been hailed to be milder than most body scrubs since it doesn't contain any parabens, microbeads, and hydroquinone.
Their product is noted to whiten dark areas gradually; therefore, a little patience is key. For this reason, it is also great to use on other sensitive areas such as your neck or singit. It also has glutathione, a frequently used ingredient in skin whitening, along with vitamin C, papaya enzymes, and natural bamboo scrubs for an intense whitening effect.
RRAW is a local brand that proudly uses skin-loving ingredients that are suitable for sensitive and delicate skin types. This underarm scrub contains pink salt and kaolin clay, which gently exfoliates and brightens the skin. These ingredients also remove dirt and bacteria from your pits, leaving you with smooth and fresh underarms.
Plus, it is formulated with ground oats and sea salt to further remove dead skin cells from your armpits. It also contains glycerin for hydration as well as lemongrass, jasmine, and lavender, which gives off a light scent. Given all these qualities, your skin will surely feel refreshed after use!
Below, Dr. Katrina answers some of the web's most asked questions, so before you hit that check out button, have a read to make sure you make informed decisions!
Absolutely a no-no! Definitely, keep your toothpaste for your teeth!
The best way is to minimize friction and trauma. If you can avoid plucking and/or shaving, all the better. #AskYourDerma as we do have quite a couple of procedures in our arsenal that can help improve chicken skin, particularly lasers.
This is also a big no! It is best to keep the calamansi in the kitchen!
It's good to understand that dark underarms are normal. Therefore, there is no need to get distressed over it. But if it is a concern to you, then there are definitely options that can be done at the comforts of your home or under the direct supervision of your dermatologist.
Looking for other underarm products? Here are other items you can use whether you want a brighter looking kili-kili or a more natural deodorant option.
Underarm darkening is a natural occurrence and is nothing to be alarmed about. Perhaps it is more of a cultural thing, but if you are bothered by it, you can always consult your dermatologist to solicit the right advice. You can also achieve kili-kili goals by choosing any of our recommended whitening products.
Author: Justine Cuizon
Re-editor: Aprille Jarcia
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Our buying guide was carefully researched and crafted by the mybest team of writers and editors, in collaboration with the expert featured in this article. We used the buying guide as a basis for choosing and ranking the product recommendations, and we looked at reviews and ratings from different E-commerce sites like Lazada, Shopee, and more.
No. 1：Dove｜Intensive Renew Deo Dry Serum Collagen + Vitamin B3
No. 2：Belo｜Intensive Whitening Bar｜Buy 8 + 4 Free
No. 3：Luxe Organix｜Intensive Underarm Whitening Cream 10% Niacinamide
No. 4：Human Nature｜Beauty +PLUS Deodorant Stick
No. 5：Belo｜Underarm Whitening Cream｜Buy 1 Take 1
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