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.



Is Charcoal Deodorant Safe During Pregnancy?

Is Charcoal Deodorant Safe During Pregnancy?

When my friend became pregnant, it certainly changed the course of our conversations! Not only did she mention all the things she has been learning about child rearing, but she also talked a lot about her own bodily changes. In fact, she asked me if charcoal deodorant was safe to use during one of our dinner conversations. You may have heard a lot about certain ingredients being dangerous during pregnancy, but I can assure you that charcoal is not one of them. If anything, you might be more inclined to use it after you read today’s Decoded.


Charcoal Is a Potent Substance in Medicine

Charcoal is often used in medicine for food poisoning and drug toxicity cases. When someone is admitted to the emergency room for a possible overdose, they are often fed charcoal alongside other treatments. Charcoal binds to the poison in their gastrointestinal tract so that it is not absorbed in their bloodstream, which is where it is fatal. It is such a powerful substance that it can bind to the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in your foods. You should only ingest charcoal according to a medical professional’s advice.


Charcoal Used As a Topical Treatment Is a Dream

According to Medical News Today, there are no adverse reactions noted with activated charcoal in terms of topical usage. It is scientifically impossible for activated charcoal to enter the gastrointestinal tract when applied topically, so it is safe to use during pregnancy.

underarm swear and odor

How Does Charcoal Deodorant Compare to Other Deodorants?

Putting charcoal on your face, hair, and underarms doesn’t seem glamorous, but it has been proven to provide the following health and beauty benefits when used properly:


It Draws Out Oil, So What Is There Not To Like?

During pregnancy, you may be sweatier and charcoal will help your armpits become less congested. This is because charcoal’s porous textures bind to all the dirt, oils, and dead skin cells clogging your pores. Similarly, the armpit contains millions of apocrine sweat glands that can be overrun with the same substances. Just like the charcoal face masks you use, a charcoal-based deodorant decongests the pores from impurities throughout the day so that you can wash away the next morning. 

It Is A Natural Substance That Minimizes Odor

Many studies have shown that activated charcoal can bind to the smelly compounds in the body that produce unpleasant odors. It is a much better alternative than baking soda, which is a skin irritant. Your skin is usually more sensitive during pregnancy, so it is best to stay clear of anything that can trigger a reaction.


I Don’t Want It to Stain My Clothes Though

Maybe you are sold on charcoal, but you think it will ruin your clothes due to its dark hue. The deodorant that I have created called the takesumi detox contains low levels of activated charcoal as you don’t need very much for it to be effective. The deodorant has a grey tinge, but applies as a clear substance. Not only does it glide on easily, but it also dries quickly.

It’s always good to question the ingredients that you are using, especially during pregnancy. Your body is changing and you are caring for another human, so taking precautions is necessary. I hope you are at ease about using charcoal deodorants after reading this post. If you have any other questions or tips on using natural deodorant during pregnancy, please leave a comment below.



How Do I Tell A Friend That Their Armpits Smell?

How Do I Tell A Friend That Their Armpits Smell?

There is no doubt this is a tricky topic for everyone. We have all encountered that person or friend who has an odor problem. This has always been one of the hardest things for me to address. When someone smells bad, they can give off a negative impression of themselves because human memory and brain receptors are tied to the sensory.


Here is the risk of telling someone they smell

I am known for my candor and I am always completely honest when I give my opinion, but telling someone they smell is something they will never forget. Most people are self-conscious and this is deeply personal, so I don’t want to embarrass them or be remembered for being the person that delivered the most embarrassing news ever!  Not only that, but those people are usually aware that they have an odor problem and have been unable to find a solution.


I used what I call the “self- deflection” strategy

I had a part-time student working for me at a former company, I noticed that she smelled bad in her work space. Perhaps she was not showering properly, or wearing deodorant, so I decided to tell her about my own odor issues and use my deflection strategy to make the uncomfortable topic about me.  I mentioned that I often sweat during hot weather or stress, which made me smell more. This tactic made me relatable and sounded less like an attack on her. I also told her that I was concerned other people could tell when I smelled and I asked her if I smelled as I was having one of those days!


Telling someone they smell

Photo by Kelly Smith


I told her about “quick fixes” I read about online

I told her about blogs, articles, and websites that gave me tips on how to control my odor problem. This way, I wasn’t criticizing her personally and offering her a general guideline that she could choose to follow.
If you are in a similar situation right now, you can mention Decoded as we have many tips on what to do with body odor. You can even suggest our underarm bar if you use it and tout its benefits.

Either way, it’s best to start with your own odor problems and expand upon them with tips and tricks. I hope this was helpful and if you have any stories on how you handled a similar situation, comment below as I would love to hear about it!

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