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The #1 Ingredient to Prevent Underarm Blackheads

march 2022 | 5 Minute Read 

armpit blackheads: underarm closeup

When we think of blackheads, our mind usually pictures clogged pores on the nose and face and extraction videos on YouTube; however, did you know many people are highly susceptible to armpit blackheads?  

Armpits are a unique area of the body with their microbiome, apocrine sweat glands, and large hair follicles. This unique ecosystem, combined with deodorant and antiperspirant use, makes this area prone to blackheads. 

What Causes Blackheads on Armpits?

armpit blackheads: underarms

Buildup of Oil and Impurities

As I mentioned previously, the armpit is home to a high concentration of hair follicles. These follicles each have a sebaceous gland and apocrine sweat gland attached to them. These follicles are prone to clogging from oil secretion from sebaceous glands and other impurities such as dead skin cells. When the follicles fill up with excess sebum and impurities, a blackhead will form in the area.

Comedogenic Deodorant and Antiperspirant Ingredients

Many natural deodorants are formulated with comedogenic ingredients (meaning they will clog your pores and hair follicles). The biggest one to look out for is coconut oil (cocos nucifera).  

In addition to this, antiperspirants are designed to form a gel-like plug to block sweat from being released. Many antiperspirant users report clogged underarms and blackheads from aluminum-based antiperspirants. I recommend staying away from antiperspirants and opting for non-coconut oil-based natural deodorants. 

If you are experiencing chronic blackheads or bumps on your armpits, it’s important to consult a doctor to rule out any medical causes that may be contributing to this condition.

Activated Charcoal: The Armpit Blackhead Clearing Ingredient

Activated Charcoal has a Proven Track Record

Charcoal is a revered ingredient used for centuries in Japan for purification, odor control and detoxification. Charcoal is used in many other industries; your favorite water purification system likely uses charcoal for filtering out impurities. It is also used in the medical field to treat patients who have consumed poison or toxins.

Armpit blackheads: activated charcoal

Use of Activated Charcoal in Skincare

Looking at the skincare market, there is no shortage of charcoal face masks, cleansers and scrubs that aim to control excess sebum and help keep pores clear and free of blackheads. The same principle can be applied to armpit blackheads.

Activated Charcoal for Underarms

The use of charcoal in the underarms will absorb excess sebum, draw out impurities such as deodorant and antiperspirant residue, and help clear clogged pores. Additionally, due to activated charcoal’s odor-absorbing and neutralizing properties, it will help to manage excess odor.

How to Incorporate Activated Charcoal Into Your Underarm Routine

I know that using fragrance in the morning is satisfying especially when used in products that help combat odor. As a product developer there is actually a rule of thumb when developing deodorants; never ever exceed 3% fragrance, period. Since I develop natural products, I only use essential oils or natural scents, but they can still be allergens. My rule at kaia is only to use 0.05% fragrance because if 3% is the top limit I know that can still cause armpit irritation. This is why my deodorants are lightly scented, only 0.05% of the formula is fragrance, making them suitable for sensitive skin.


As a natural deodorant product developer, I’ve developed a two-step system that uses the power of charcoal in the underarms for odor control and to keep underarm pores clear and healthy.

Step One: Begin Your Day by Cleansing Your Underarms

If you have a blackhead condition on the face, what do you start your facial routine with? A blackhead-clearing cleanser. 

Using this similar concept, I created an activated charcoal bar specifically designed for the underarm area called, well, the underarm bar. Most people don’t take the time to wash their underarms in the shower, leading to clogged pores and blackheads from deodorant residue buildup and the accumulation of excess sebum and impurities. 

Start each day with an underarm cleanse using the underarm bar to help prevent armpit blackheads from forming. As a bonus, this bar was also formulated with ingredients to help eliminate odor-causing bacteria, such as apple cider vinegar and sea salt (sodium). You won’t need messy armpit masks or DIY recipes with this bar.

Step Two: Use a Charcoal Deodorant

The next step to preventing armpit blackheads is incredibly simple if you’re already using deodorant… use a charcoal deodorant. I formulated a natural deodorant called the takesumi detox®, which uses the power of charcoal in two ways. 

First, charcoal is used as a deodorizer, absorbing and neutralizing excess odor. I formulated my deodorant with charcoal instead of baking soda as it is extremely skin-friendly, whereas most other natural deodorants rely on baking soda, which is highly alkaline and causes rashes and irritation.

The second purpose for activated charcoal in my deodorant is its ability to draw out impurities and pore unclogging properties. This means regular use of my charcoal deodorant will help keep your hair follicles and pores clear, minimizing odor, irritation and, most importantly, armpit blackheads.

Activated charcoal is truly a skin-friendly ingredient that can help keep armpit blackheads at bay. The simple two-step underarm routine of the underarm bar and my charcoal deodorant will not only ensure you stay odor-free all day, but it will go one step further and give you clearer, blackhead-free underarms.

Each week on my blog The Little Book of Human Discomforts I share clever solutions for seemingly embarrassing skin, body, and hair issues. Consider subscribing below to be the first to know when new content is live! I also share lots of body and skincare tips on Instagram @kaianaturals and on my TikTok page @madamesweat.

All content found on this website is created for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Website. 



Clean beauty industry maven and product developer Madame Sweat (Mary Futher) founded kaia naturals after spending 20 yearsworking for global beauty companies. She now shares advice on modern hygiene etiquette for grooming, hosting, home and travel on Instagram, TikTok and her popular blog called The House of Hygiene.

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