With eyes on them at all times, Celebrities often face the pressure of maintaining their squeaky clean image, and this includes maintaining the clean look of their underarms as well.

But like us, they aren’t naturally immune to the common phenomenon of dark underarms. So, how do they seemingly have perfectly clear and smooth underarms? We’ll spill all the secrets below.

What causes dark underarms?

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As with most bodily imperfections, the cause of dark underarms is purely a physiological one. Sweating is a physiological process that humans use to keep their bodies at a safe and healthy temperature. According to dermatologists, sweating from inner sweat glands occurs when the body produces too much heat. As a result, moisture permeates on the skin surface through small sweat ducts.

Even though sweating is vital to the body’s ability to maintain equilibrium, its effects aren’t always pleasant, especially when there is an excess of body odour or noticeable changes in your skin complexion.

Another cause of dark underarms is the buildup of dead skin cells from infrequent exfoliation. This is why underarm care routine involving measures such as frequent exfoliation and moisturising intermittently can help.

Tip 1: Make it a habit to cleanse daily

The area of the body known as the underarms is an intertriginous zone, which means that because of the way the skin folds, it is more likely to retain moisture due to poor airflow. It also frequently harbours bacteria and fungle-yeast organisms.

In essence, if you don’t cleanse regularly, there’s a chance that dark stains will develop at your underarms. Making sure to clean your armpits in the shower daily will aid in getting rid of bacteria, dirt, and other impurities that tend to accumulate beneath your arms.

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Dermatologists advise alternating between a pH-balanced body or underarm cleanser everyday, and cleansing that area of your body once a day. There’s no need to do so multiple times a day, unless the nature of your work is very physically demanding.

Tip 2: Don’t forget to exfoliate

Celebrities like actress Gwyneth Paltrow and pop icon Mariah Carrey have long advocated for the slightly bizarre practice of bathing in milk as the key to achieving their smooth and supple skin.

However, you may be surprised to learn that there’s some science to this. When milk ages, the sugar lactose turns the bacteria within into lactic acid, which in turn has a chemical-peel effect on your skin.

Besides the face, some parts of the rest of our bodies are prone to excessive oil, clogged pores, and discoloured skin cells as well. Hence, another pivotal step in your underarm care routine is exfoliation.

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Exfoliation should be properly incorporated into your skincare regimen if you want flawless, baby-smooth skin. Exfoliation aids in removing dead skin cells, which can clog pores, and encourages the production of collagen, which helps to improve texture and keep the skin tight and firm.

Should you use chemical or physical exfoliants?

You have two options at this stage. A physical exfoliant is one that consists of textured ingredients, such as this Himilayan Pink Salt Scrub from Pure Body Naturals.

By exfoliating gently, you’ll see rejuvenated skin that is smoother and less dull in no time.

Pro tip: Exfoliate only about once a week, as excessive use of physical exfoliants could irritate the skin.

For an even gentler option, you can opt for chemical exfoliants instead. Unlike physical exfoliants that work manually, toners that have AHAs, BHAs, and PHAs work chemically to dissolve away your underarm buildup.

If you have more sensitive skin or simply prefer the gentler route of improving your skin condition by way of chemical peels, we’d recommend products like Paula’s Choice Weightless Body Treatment in 2% BHA. Experts also recommend using a glycolic toner (that has no more than 5% glycolic acid concentration) to get rid of dead skin and improve your skin’s overall tone and texture.

If your skin is more on the textured side, we’d also recommend using chemical exfoliants over physical ones for more effective results.

Can glycolic acid replace deodorants?

Last year, the #glycolicacidasdeodorant tag managed to rack up 18.9 million views on TikTok, with many users swearing by its efficacy as a deodorant and saying that they ditched the latter in favour of The Ordinary’s Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution.

Does it really work, though? Experts have since weighed in on the matter.

Glycolic acid won’t stop you from sweating. For that, you’ll have to use a product that has an aluminum-based compound which works to block the release of sweat. This is also the standard set by the FDA for products to be considered as an antiperspirant.

That being said, it might prevent odour from spreading. This is because it is believed that glycolic acid can reduce body odour by removing dead skin cells and lowering the pH level of your skin.

Additionally, in a video that has now received over 1.3 million views, dermatologist Dr. Lindsey Zubritsky (also known as @dermguru) described the trend as “legit”. She claimed that in addition to eliminating odor, it also treats hyperpigmentation and ingrown hairs in the region.


#duet with @jasmijnxanthe glycolic acid for armpit odor – it’s legit #glycolicacid #theordinary #bodyodor #deodorant #darkarmpits #derm #dermguru

♬ Trendazuquitacharlis_flow – Charlis_flow

Tip 3: Moisturise (but don’t overdo it)

For smooth and supple skin that is even in tone, you must remember to moisturise your underarms.

Although it might seem that because they are rarely exposed to damaging radicals, your underarms don’t need to be hydrated, this is untrue because they are more prone to have dark spots from continual chafing. Notice how that part of your body constantly comes into contact with clothing and skin?

After exfoliating, quickly apply a gentle, chemical-free moisturiser or lotion on your underarms to seal in the moisture.

As they are already damp, we recommend using an underarm or body lotion only once or twice a week, or more frequently if dryness is an issue. For a body lotion that provides 24 hour hydration, we recommend the Milk Body Lotion by Fresh, which was also featured in our Reader’s Choice awards as the best body moisturiser for normal skin.

Its lightweight texture ensures fast absorption, the plant-based milk ingredients help to effectively soothe and nourish your skin.

Tip 4: Avoid Dry Shaving

We get it. It’s been a long day, you have to get up early for work in the morning, and you just can’t be bothered to go through your full shower routine.

While it may be tempting to skip the shaving cream or gel, we greatly advise against it. According to dermatologists, doing without such skincare products is a surefire way of giving yourself bumpy underarms.

That’s why it’s important to use a good shaving gel every time you shave. You should also always use clean blades, and swap them out for new ones whenever they get dull.

Pro tip: Soften the hair at your underarms prior to shaving by having a steamy shower.

Try waxing instead of shaving


the last 2 also work as a deodorant!

♬ Lalalatte – Tsundere Twintails

Shaving and waxing both have advantages and disadvantages. Like us, celebrities also interested in a reliable way to keep their underarms looking clean and bright.

While shaving may seem like a faster, more practical approach to have smoother underarms, many celebs actually steer clear of it since it increases the number of ingrown hairs. This is caused by a reaction to the metal of the razor.

Switching to waxing might be one way to combat this, as demonstrated by user @woojungyi. Just make sure to wax your skin in the opposite direction from the direction of hair growth. This way, ingrown hairs will be less likely to develop.

Tip 5: Consider Underarm Treatments

Celebrities are no strangers to undergoing lots of treatments to maintain their spotless image, and it’s easy to see why in the case of their underarm care.

The experts offer other, more lasting options for smooth and even underarms that most celebs are well familiar with: laser hair removal and other underarm whitening treatments. Although such solutions require the most investment in terms of money, time, and commitment, you might just be able to forget the issue of dark or uneven underarms in the long term.

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According to dermatologists, laser hair removal is a highly effective way to eliminate the stubble that comes with frequent shaving. The process of laser hair removal to the axillae has been shown to effectively get rid of underarm hairs after multiple treatments. Experts say that results typically show after around six months, with appointments done once a month, depending on the individual and their hair growth pattern.

Underarm treatments using vitamin D, alpha hydroxy acid, or salicylic acid lotions can also lighten the complexion of your underarms. Be sure to make an appointment with your dermatologist before administering any substance topically to avoid skin troubles.

If you’re interested in taking on the task yourself but don’t want the hassle of going for appointments, consider an at-home laser hair removal option!

Which of these underarm care tips will you be trying out? Let us know in the comments below.

Featured image credit: @woojungyi/TikTok