Can Natural Deodorants Darken Underarms

Can Natural Deodorants Darken Underarms

Being in the deodorant business, I have basically heard it all…from underarm rashes, to excess odor and contact dermatitis; you name it! But a few weeks ago I started receiving questions around hyperpigmentation in the underarm area. At first I was a little bit thrown off. I have fair skin, so this is not a problem I have ever personally faced. 

However the more digging I did, the more I started to realize that this problem is considerably more common than one would think, particularly for women with darker skin, or olive skin tones. I also realized that not many people want to talk about the fact that they have dark patches in the underarm area. So here I am today. 


The Number 1 Cause of Dark Underarms

Aside from certain medical conditions, hyperpigmentation in the underarm area is normally a result of post-inflammatory irritation. However, certain ingredients that are typically found in your deodorants or antiperspirants can ALSO act as irritants, and thus cause and aggravate dark patches. So if you are suffering from dark underarms, I want you to get up and check if your deodorant has any of the following ingredients. If it does, get rid of it. 

Baking Soda


Key Offending Ingredients in Antiperspirant:  


The active ingredient aluminum is typically found in antiperspirants to keep you from sweating. It works by forming plugs in your sweat glands, which blocks your pores and leads to congestion. This can cause irritation, and lead to hyperpigmentation – especially If you have sensitive skin.


Alcohol – found in many antiperspirants, deodorants AND natural deodorants – is usually a culprit for irritation. So, even if you’re using natural deodorant, or are thinking of switching to natural deodorant, always check the ingredients to make sure it does not include traces of alcohol. 


Yes, it makes your deodorant smell delightful. However, high-levels of fragrance do not react well with sensitive skin. That being said, it’s okay to have fragrance in your deodorant, BUT it must be in the product at very low levels. 


Key Offending Ingredients in Natural Deodorant: 

Baking Soda:

This is one of the most common ingredients in natural deodorants. Unfortunately it’s an alkaline substance, and if it mixes with an acid it can alter the pH levels of your skin. Depending on your skin’s pH, your reaction to baking soda will differ – some will have mild reactions, while others will have more serious and extreme reactions. However regardless of where you fall in the spectrum, baking soda always leads to hyperpigmentation issues. 

ideal skin pH is 5.5, baking soda pH level is 9Fragrance:

Again, even when it comes to natural deodorants, stay away from deodorants that contain high levels of fragrance. The easiest way you can check is to look at the first 5 ingredients on the label. If you find that fragrance or even essential oils are within the first 5 ingredients, that means they make up the majority of the formulation. 


Other Causes of Hyperpigmentation


Believe it or not, your razor can be one of the biggest sources of irritation, especially if you have dry skin or are using a dull blade. This leads to friction which can cause the skin to darken and thicken over time. 

WHEN you shave also makes a big difference. Shaving often produces micro cuts on your skin. So, if you shave in the morning and then apply your deodorant or antiperspirant, you are applying a product to broken skin. Shaving at night gives your underarms time to heal and calm down, before applying product to the area. 


Exfoliation, particularly with aggressive scrubs, can also lead to hyperpigmentation. If you have sensitive skin or are already prone to hyperpigmentation, throw out your loofah. If you exfoliate with harsh tools or scrubs, then it will only make the condition worse. 

If you’re looking for a way to eliminate dead skin in the underarm area, use a charcoal deodorant or a charcoal mask. This will keep your pores from clogging, and will not cause irritation to the area. 



The key to calming angry armpits is to simply soothe the area that is inflamed. My favorite go-to ingredient to help with irritation is aloe vera. I absolutely LOVE it, and I highly recommend you keep a natural aloe vera gel in your bathroom at all times. Not only does it help reduce inflammation and irritation, but can also be a handy tool for sunburns or minor irritations. Trust me, it’ll make you and your underarms much happier. 




The bottom line is that the key to avoiding dark underarms is to avoid irritating the skin. If your skin is continually irritated, overtime it can lead to thicker and darker patches. Hence you need to pay attention to the ingredients in the products you use. This is often the key to avoiding irritation under there, and it can help you avoid nasty outcomes. 

If you have experienced this or have any other fixes for this problem we would love to hear from you below.



What Those Pimple-Like Bumps on Your Scalp Really Are

What Those Pimple-Like Bumps on Your Scalp Really Are

Zits are always unwelcome no matter where they pop up and are always annoying to deal with. We’re used to seeing them on our face and body but have you ever gotten them on your scalp? These types of zits are way more common than you think.

I asked the girls at kaia HQ if they had ever experienced scalp zits. Half of them admitted to getting them regularly but had never really looked into it. If there’s one good thing about scalp zits,  it’s that you don’t see them, which is probably why they don’t get talked about enough! But that doesn’t mean you should ignore them.


They’re More than Just Zits

Scalp zits are actually not zits, but an infection of the hair follicles called folliculitis.

Infection? Sounds really intense, but rest assured, dermatologists say they are very common and is something most of us may experience at some point in our lives.

Researchers from the National Center of Gerontology says it is very easy to misdiagnose folliculitis because it has very similar clinical symptoms to acne. In order to properly diagnose and treat, it’s important to know what they look like.


Our all-natural dry shampoo transforms your hair and scalp while you sleep. 

How Can You Tell If You Have Folliculitis?

These infections mimic acne but can become little pustules (small bumps that contain fluid or pus). If you feel a bump on your scalp, or have itchiness or soreness, part your hair away and try to get a good look at the area. If it’s on the back of your head, ask a loved one to help you take a look.  Look for small red acne-like bumps with a small ring of inflammation around the hair follicle. They can sometimes also look like a white-headed pimple around the hair follicle.


scalp zits treatment

Photo by Pixabay.


The Causes

According to a study conducted by the National Center of Gerontology, the most common cause of folliculitis is by staphylococcus aureus (S.a), a type of bacteria found on the scalp. Not only has staphylococcus aureus been proven to cause dandruff but it can also lead to infections when combined with oil on the scalp. A buildup of dead skin cells and excess sebum on the scalp can end up clogging the hair follicle and Staphylococcus bacteria thrives on that. The oilier your scalp is, the more bacteria there will be. Other causes of folliculitis can include viral, fungal, or yeast infections.


Here’s How to Avoid It

According to a medical journal by the University of Lübeck, lessening the load of staphylococci bacteria on the scalp is key to avoiding and treating folliculitis.

Controlling oil production on your scalp is also important in order to prevent the Staphylococcus bacteria from growing and causing infections.

TIP: Using an all-natural and aerosol-free dry shampoo overnight will help soak up excess oil on your scalp. However, avoid product build-up and clogging hair follicles by only using dry shampoo 1 to 2 times in between washes. Click here to learn more about how to use dry shampoo the right way.


how to treat scalp pimples

Photo by Velizar Ivanov.


Here’s How to Treat It


1. Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse

I know I say this often, but apple cider vinegar is a truly powerful natural ingredient that helps disinfect the scalp and restore healthy pH levels. Mix equal parts of water and ACV and massage through scalp then rinse. Interested in other ways to use apple cider vinegar? Click here.


2. Witch Hazel Toner

Spot treat using an astringent like witch hazel to help dry out the area using a cotton pad or cotton ball. Gently dab on the inflamed area and avoid rubbing the area.


3. Tea Tree Oil

Has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties can help treat bacterial infections. Just add one drop of tea tree oil to your shampoo. Avoid using too much as it can cause further irritations.


4. Sea Salt Scrub

Gently exfoliating the scalp can reduce product buildup and dead skin cells. Try this easy DIY scalp scrub here.


5. Visit your doctor or dermatologist

If nothing seems to be working, you may need a prescription shampoo or a topical product.


Did you know about folliculitis? Have you experienced it before? Let us know your experience in the comments below.


Feature photo by Gabriela Pereira.

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What is Pit Priming And Why You Should Be Doing It

What is Pit Priming And Why You Should Be Doing It

You’ve heard about priming your face for foundation. It makes sense and totally works, your primer helps prep your skin to be ready for foundation and even helps your foundation to perform better. However, priming your underarms is a REAL thing. My team kept using this term over and over again, and now I understand why!



When consumers ask me why they get odor breakthrough, I suggest that they try priming their underarms first. Note: Severe odor break-though often occurs when you first stop using antiperspirant and switch to natural deodorant. Read more about how that actually works here.


pit priming before applying natural deodorant - kaia naturals



Underarm priming is the process of removing odor-causing bacteria under your arms BEFORE applying deodorant.

This is a CRITICAL step in making sure that your natural deodorant can do the heavy lifting of managing the bacteria all day long without having to worry about breakthrough odor. So let’s say that the underarm priming helps transform your deodorant into EXTRA-STRENGTH protection!



It is a common misconception that sweat has a very pungent smell, but in reality it is the combination of sweat and bacteria under the arms that creates odor issues. The bacteria that lives on armpits breaks down the lipids and amino acids found in sweat, resulting in a very distinctive body odor smell, which we refer to as B.O.  

The next time you smell B.O, in a crowded subway or at a sweaty concert, you should think, “Oops! Someone has bacteria on their skin!”


pit priming before applying natural deodorant - kaia naturals




Our armpits naturally house a lot of bacteria. In fact, it is one of the most heavily populated areas of bacteria on our body.

There are two main types of bacteria in your armpits:

Corynebacteria – The type that makes you smell

Staphlococcaceae –  The least smelly bacteria

If you are just making the switch to natural deodorant, underarm priming is crucial for a smooth transition. A study conducted at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences’ Genomics & Microbiology Lab determined that long term use of antiperspirant actually results in more growth of Cornyebacteria under the arms when you stop using it.



Many people experience odor breakthrough during the second week of switching to natural deodorant – because there is more odor-causing bacteria present, NOT because your natural deodorant FAILED. It’s the bacteria that IS TO BLAME, so you have to get rid of it!

The good news is as your body detoxes from aluminum in antiperspirant, the growth of Cornyebacteria will begin to decline. However, to ensure you do not get odor breakthrough during this detox stage, it’s important to underarm prime.


pit priming with apple cider vinegar before applying natural deodorant - kaia naturals




I can’t even begin to stress HOW EASY underarm priming actually is. It also doesn’t require an extra step, because who has time for that… I certainly don’t!

Prime the underarms in the shower by cleansing your armpits with a natural, antibacterial soap. Look for ingredients like apple cider vinegar and sodium like the kaia naturals‘ the underarm bar which creates an inhospitable environment for odor-causing bacteria to grow. Let it sit while you do the other steps of your shower routine, and rinse it off.

Other tips to stay fresh during the day include trimming or removing underarm hair, which promotes the growth of bacteria on the underarms.

If you have any questions, ask us in the comments section below!

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