A portrait of woman stretching her arms in the morning.

The skin on your underarms is as much at risk of burning and photoaging as the skin on your face. Yet, most folks – even the skincare enthusiasts –aren’t aware that the axilla region needs SPF, too.

What kind of sunscreen do your armpits need? Should you apply it before or after deodorant? Below, answers all these questions, including how to apply sunscreen on the underarms properly.

Yes, Your Underarms Absolutely Need Sunscreen

The skin on your underarms is delicate and thin. Being covered by clothing most of the time doesn’t guarantee protection from sun exposure since can pass through fabric. “Especially with the upcoming summer season, wearing outfits that expose underarms makes them more susceptible to UV damage as well,” explains Dr. Chan-Benavidez. and can also compromise their barrier function, which ramps up your risk of .

This is why Dr.Chan-Benavidez and other dermatologists recommend applying sunscreen on the underarms daily, not just when you’re heading to the beach.

Your pits are constantly exposed to UVA and UVB light from the sun, whether you’re driving, hanging up laundry, or simply walking outside. Without proper sun protection, your underarms can darken and become irritated. 

Can Sunscreen Help Brighten Dark Underarms?

Dr. Chan-Benavidez says wearing SPF every day will not lighten existing dark marks on your kili-kili. Most sunscreens in the market do not have brightening properties that actively improve the . That said, sunscreen helps prevent further darkening of the skin caused by UV radiation.

If your is a concern, consider incorporating serums or creams with ingredients such as vitamin C and niacinamide to help even out your skin tone. Additionally, laser therapy and are effective at targeting stubborn dark spots, but they also carry risks and side effects. So, be sure to consult with a dermatologist before trying out new treatments.

How to Apply Sunscreen on Your Underarms the Right Way

You might think you know how to apply sunscreen correctly, but when it comes to sun-guarding your underarms, there are some unique rules to follow.

1. Choose a formula that’s kinder on your underarm skin.

There isn’t one that’s best for everyone. The choice strictly depends on your preferences. “In general, avoid sunscreens with fragrances and parabens,” warns Dr. Chan-Benavidez.

Before choosing the right sunscreen for your underarms, it’s also important to know your skin type. Does it get red easily? Do you often feel itchy or see dry patches on your pits? If you answer yes to any of these questions, Dr. Chan-Benavidez recommends using mineral sunscreens containing zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. “They are less irritating and less likely to cause any untoward reaction, which is perfect for those with .” 

2. Use SPF 30 or higher.

One non-negotiable rule in applying sunscreen is picking a product with at least SPF 30 and has “broad spectrum” on the bottle. Broad spectrum means you’re getting protection from UVA and UVB rays. In addition, it’s better to pick a water-resistant sunscreen since underarms are prone to sweating.

3. Apply deodorant before sunscreen.

Sunscreen should be the last step in your . As Dr. Chan-Benavidez explains, any product you layer on top of your SPF can potentially alter the protective effect of your sunscreen and reduce its efficacy. That’s why you should start with deodorant and end with sunscreen.

Make Dove Radiant + Care Deodorant Dry Serum 3% Niacinamide 10x Collagen Deep Renew your go-to deodorant. It’s infused with skin-loving ingredients that protect you from odor for up to 48 hours and nourish your underarm skin. Plus, it’s quick-drying and doesn’t leave any residue.

If you’re dealing with dusky pits, try Dove Radiant + Care Deodorant Dry Serum 3% Niacinamide 10x Vitamin C & E Dark Marks Reducer. The antioxidant-rich ingredients help fade dark marks and keep your kili-kili soft.

4. Remember to reapply.

“Sunscreen should be applied every two hours, or more often if you’re sweating heavily or swimming,” says Dr. Chan-Benavidez. This is simply because SPF wears off after a few hours, regardless of how high the SPF level is.

To make it easier to apply sunscreen, keep a travel-sized bottle in your bag. Or, you can use a stick sunscreen for quick touch-ups throughout the day. But make sure it’s not the same one you use for your face.

Everyone can benefit from learning how to apply sunscreen on the underarms. Now that you know better, there’s no excuse to skip this crucial step.