Fat in the armpits is a point of self-consciousness for many peeps. Read about the causes of armpit fat and ways to get rid of it, no matter what your budget looks like.

Located between the breast and underarm, armpit fat is normal in peeps of all ages, genders, sizes, shapes, and weights. It’s likely caused by a combo of factors such as genetics, hormones, and other lifestyle factors.

Read on for an in-depth look at the causes of armpit fat, plus how to reduce its appearance.

Mirror, mirror on the wall, where the f*** did this armpit fat come from after all?

While any human could have it, armpit fat may be more noticeable in women. Wearing a bra or tight clothing can make the skin on the chest and underarm protrude, giving the appearance of having fatty armpits.

Before we raise our pitchforks and commence with the bra-burning, let’s look at the common causes of armpit fat.


Just as with body types, your body’s fat distribution is regulated by your genetic makeup.

A 2021 study conducted on people of Asian, African and European descent showed that fat distribution patterns differed not only between different ethnicities but more so between biological women and men.

So if you have fatty pits, chances are your relatives have it too. Gotta love family!


While underarm fat tends to be more common in women, anyone can have armpit fat, regardless of sex and gender.

But sex hormones, particularly estrogen and testosterone, drive body fat accrual in an area-specific manner. This has to do with the evolutionary roles fat storage has played in the survival of the human species (ie. giving women the energy to breastfeed babies during famine).

Breast tissue is specifically sensitive to hormonal changes, which cause tissue alterations during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, menopause, etc. This fluctuation can increase the appearance of extra fat or skin between the girls and your underarms.


If you are overweight, you may have fat accumulation in or around your armpits.

If you have recently put on some extra pounds, the subcutaneous fat could be the culprit for the appearance of armpit fat.

General subcutaneous fat can be kept in check through lifestyle adjustments, such as diet and exercise. However, it’s difficult to target weight loss in specific parts of the body.

Axillary breast tissue

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

Axillary breast tissue is extra breast tissue growing outside the confines of the breast area. It may present itself in the form of a lumpy mass.

This is an uncommon, congenital occurrence. According to one study, 2 to 6 percent of women and 1 to 3 percent of men have accessory breast tissue growing in their bodies. Of those who have it, it’s most likely to grow in the armpit.

If you notice any unusual masses, lumps, or a not-so-sexy side boob, it’s critical that you consult a doctor in order to rule out lethal health conditions, such as cancer.

Lymphedema (swollen lymph nodes)

Lymphedema is a disease when your lymph nodes chronically swell.

Below the surface of those stinky pits lie a network of lymph nodes, which act as your body’s drainage system. And like the drain in your sink –if something clogs your lymphatic system, fluid is retained in the lymph nodes and causes swelling.

The causes for this condition range from a injury, surgery, or even cancer (ie. breast cancer and lymphoma).

It is important to regularly check your breasts and armpits for masses or lumps. If you feel anything abnormal, contact a doctor right away.

Here is our two scents on what you can do to reduce armpit fat:

  • Wear a properly-fitted bra. One study found that 80 percent of women wear the incorrect bra size, most of which wear being too small (yikes!). In addition to comfort, getting measured and wearing a correctly sized bra will reduce the appearance of excess fat.
  • Adjust your posture. One remedy for that underarm pooch is to stop slouching. Usually, when you slouch forward, body rolls become more apparent. Correcting your posture when you sit and stand (straight back and shoulders back) can keep your armpit fat in hibernation.
  • Build up the chest and upper arm muscles. While it is difficult to specifically target fat loss in the armpits, building muscle mass in your chest and arms will tone and tighten up the area, reducing fat visibility.
  • Shave off the pounds. Losing weight in a healthy way will reduce the prominence of armpit fat and fat distribution all around your body.
  • Consult your doctor about surgical removal. Your doctor might recommend liposuction if your quality of life is affected by axillary breast tissue.

If diet, exercise, and weight loss are not working for you, liposuction is the most effective way to remove armpit fat. The procedure removes the unwanted fat pockets via suction.

Deciding to go under the knife is a big decision, so it’s important to know what happens during surgery, how to find a surgeon and the cost of the procedure.

Pre-surgery. Before your surgery, you will meet with the surgeon to develop a game plan. During the consultation, the surgeon will talk to you about the results you want, how to prep, technical details, post-surgery care, etc.

Surgery time. The surgeon will provide you with a local anesthetic to numb the tissue in your armpit area. Next, the surgeon will make 1 to 2 inch incisions in the numbed area and insert a cannula to suction the fat.

Post-surgery. Your recovery will depend on how invasive your procedure was. It’s normal to have post-operative swelling for the first two weeks, and most people can resume a regular schedule a week after surgery. However, allowing yourself six weeks to fully recover and no minimal strenuous activity for 3 to 4 weeks is important. Your surgeon will schedule a post-op appointment to make sure you are healing properly.

Thanks to the era of the internet, finding a surgeon in your area can be done easily. Surgeons who perform these procedures are plastic surgeons, many of which promote their styles and techniques on their websites. Google is your friend. Do your research, read reviews, and call their offices to get more information before you decide who the right surgeon is for you.

Generally, a simple armpit lipo costs between $3,000 to $5,000. Armpit liposuction is considered an elective surgery, so it’s usually not covered by insurance. The cost is based on many factors, such as case complexity, location, surgeon, and utilized techniques. The surgeon will go over the cost of your surgery during your pre-surgery consultation.

Coming up with a workout to tone your underarms can be easy, with a price tag of next to nothing. Try these simple and effective exercises at home or in the gym.

Old-fashioned pushups

An old-school favorite for a reason, pushups are effective, don’t require any equipment, and can be done anytime, anywhere. So, drop and give yourself 20!

  1. Begin in a plank position, your body in a horizontal straight line and your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Keep your toes and balls of the feet touching the floor.
  2. Bend your elbows and lower yourself toward the ground until your elbows are bent at a 90 degree angle.
  3. Immediately push your weight up through your arms until your arms are straight and you’ve returned to your original plank position. This completes one repetition.
  4. Do as many repetitions as you can until you max out, three times a day.

Modification: the plank position can be done on your palms and knees as long as the weight is shifted into your arms.

Jumping Jack(ie)s

Jumping jacks are a great way to get in the kind of high-intensity cardio that will help you beat extra fat in your pits.

  1. Stand up straight with your arms at your side and legs shoulder-width apart.
  2. Extend your arms out from your side and up over your head. Simultaneously jump your legs out to a straddle stance.
  3. All at once, bring your arms back down to your side in a big waving motion and jump your legs back into their original standing position.
  4. Do jumping jacks for one minute on, one minute off, for a total of ten minutes.

*Challenge yourself: try to increase the number of jacks you can do every minute.

Mountain climbers

  1. Mountain climbers are another fab high-intensity cardio exercise that burns underarm fat and will have you dropping pounds.
  2. Begin in a plank position, your body in a horizontal straight line and your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Keep your toes and balls of the feet touching the floor.
  3. Bring one knee up toward the center of your stomach and then quickly alternate between legs.
  4. Continue alternating for one minute on, 1 minute off for 6 minutes.

Downward-facing doggy

Downward-facing dog is a great yoga pose to strengthen and stretch your muscles, especially in your upper arms and chest.

  1. Get down on all fours, hands shoulder-width apart, with shoulders above your wrists.
  2. Lift your knees and tuck your toes against the mat or ground, using that leverage to extend your legs and lift both knees into the air. Your body should be in an upside-down “V” shape.
  3. Extend and lengthen your spine while pressing through the palms of your hands and balls of your feet.
  4. While holding the position, pull your pelvis up toward the ceiling, using the triceps in your upper arms and drawing your shoulder blades down your back to stabilize your form.
  5. Make sure you breathe and gently work to sink deeper into the position.

Armpit fat is common in many adults, especially if you were born with a vulva. It can be caused by:

  • genetics
  • auxiliary breast tissue
  • carrying extra weight
  • the way your body distributes fat

Maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly can keep the underarm pooch at bay. But if you feel like you’re not getting your desired results, you can talk to a plastic surgeon about surgical options.