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What Is Axillary Fat? Understanding Fat Deposits In The Armpit Area

Axillary fats are the extra folds of skin and tissues around the armpit creating an uncomfortable bulge. It is common among people of all genders, ...

by Kendra Reed

This article was created after thorough research and has been improved with the assistance of AI technology. Furthermore, our dedicated editorial team has meticulously fact-checked and polished its content for accuracy and clarity.

Axillary fats are the extra folds of skin and tissues around the armpit creating an uncomfortable bulge. It is common among people of all genders, ages, and sizes. Axillary fat can be demotivating for those on a weight loss journey. Although armpit fat does not indicate an underlying condition, it can be treated through surgical procedures or lifestyle modifications. 

Extra layers of fat cause armpit fat. It is completely normal and is not a matter of concern. Sometimes armpit fat is caused by the development of axillary breast tissue. It may cause pain and discomfort along with cosmetic concerns.

The difference between armpit fat and axillary breast tissue will be discussed in this article. First, let’s look at the common causes of axillary fat. 

Causes Of Axillary Fat

  • Genetics: Fat distribution in our bodies is largely regulated by genetic makeup. Hence, genetics can play a role in determining the amount of fat around our underarms. 
  • Hormones: Sex Hormones, particularly estrogen and testosterone can lead to fat distribution in an area-specific manner. Hormonal fluctuations can cause breast tissue to swell and enhance armpit fat.
  • Body weight: Being overweight can result in fat deposition under the armpit. Following a diet or exercise routine can help reduce the appearance of armpit fat. However, weight loss cannot affect axillary fat caused by breast tissue. 
  • Lymphedema: It is a condition where lymph nodes in the armpit swell due to an infection or injury. Armpits contain a network of lymph nodes that swell when something clogs the system. 
  • Posture: A bad posture can make armpit fat more apparent. A straight posture can help avoid this. 
  • Tight Clothes: Wearing tight clothes causes the skin between the armpits and the breast to bulge. This is why armpit fat is more apparent in women and men. 
Axillary Fat

Axillary Breast Tissue Vs Armpit Fat

We often mistake axillary breast tissue for armpit fat. This happens when breast tissue forms outside the breast area, in or near the armpit. It may differ according to changes in hormones experienced during menstruation or pregnancy.

However armpit fat does not change with hormonal fluctuations. Compared to armpit fat, axillary breast tissue feels fibrous and not smooth. Unlike armpit fat, axillary breast tissue is not affected by weight loss or exercise. Although axillary breast tissue is often benign, it can also be cancerous sometimes.

Hence it is important to diagnose it correctly. People also seek treatment due to cosmetic or functional concerns. Medical intervention becomes necessary because axillary breast tissues cannot be removed through weight loss methods.

How To Reduce Armpit Fat?

Armpit fat often becomes a source of self-consciousness in people, especially those who are overweight. There are many proven methods to get rid of the uncomfortable pooches of fat. Let’s discuss them in detail.

  • Lose excess weight: Armpit fat is more prominent in people with excess body weight. Practicing a healthy and low-calorie diet along with a workout routine can help shave off the extra pounds and facilitate even fat distribution throughout the body.
  • Avoid tight-fitted clothes: Wearing tight clothes can make armpit fat more evident. It is important to wear the right-sized clothing to prevent fat bulges near the armpit. 
  • Build muscles: Building muscles in the chest and arms can tighten up the armpit and make the fat less visible. 
  • Seek medical attention: If your armpit fat is caused by axillary breast tissue, your doctor may recommend surgical or nonsurgical treatment options to remove it. 
  • Correcting posture: A slouched body can make armpit fat more visible. Practicing a straight posture not only reduces visibility but also benefits your whole upper body. 
  • Exercise: Exercises like pushups and jumping jacks that sculpt the upper body can tone arms and shoulders and reduce armpit fat.


It appears that some amount of armpit fat is almost permanent in everyone, no matter how well they diet or exercise. The presence of breast tissue makes it more evident in women. However, following a healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet and weight training can reduce the amount of fat that builds up in the armpits. Constantly working the shoulder and chest muscles can prevent armpit fat bulges to an extent.

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