Itchy underarms are an itchy, irritating sensation, usually accompanied by redness, swelling, and soreness. Although scratching can temporarily relieve symptoms, continuous scratching can make the affected skin susceptible to infection.
There are many reasons for itchy underarms. Because the armpits contain many lymph nodes, blood vessels, and sweat glands, itchy underarms may indicate many potential problems.
For example, allergic reactions to food, chemicals, or insect bites can cause itching under the armpits. Chickenpox, eczema, and contact dermatitis can also cause blisters and intense itching. In addition, rashes caused by shaving, ingrown hairs, various fungal skin infections, and even chronic kidney disease can also be potential causes.
In most cases, the itching of the underarms is mild and usually disappears by itself after a while. However, if you experience severe itching accompanied by breathing difficulties, fainting and vomiting, you need to seek medical help immediately. This can be a symptom of a severe allergic reaction, which can be fatal in some cases. This article discusses the common causes and treatments of itchy underarms.
14 Common Causes of Itchy Armpits
1. Bad hygiene: There are a lot of sweat glands in the armpits. Sweating can cause the underarms to become warm and humid areas. This environment is conducive to the growth of bacteria. Without proper cleanliness, many bacteria can cause irritation and itching.
2. Dermatitis: Dermatitis is usually caused by allergies to specific products, including washing powder, soap, household chemicals, etc. In addition, excessive oil secretion and extremely dry weather can also cause dermatitis. Dermatitis can cause skin swelling, inflammation, redness, itching, scaling, and blisters.
3. Psoriasis: Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease caused by the rapid accumulation of cells on the skin’s surface. This symptom can cause the skin to become itchy, red, and peeling. Psoriasis often occurs on the legs, back, and scalp. Psoriasis in the underarms can cause severe itching.
4. Improper shaving: Improper shaving is one of the common causes of itchy armpits. Improper shaving includes using dull razors, dry shaving, shaving too frequently, and incorrect shaving methods. This can cause lumps under the skin.
5. Candida infection: Warm and humid areas such as the armpits, mouth, and groin are prone to Candida growth. In most cases, your immune system can handle it. However, if your immune system is weak, the overgrowth of yeast can cause infection. You will find a red rash on the armpits accompanied by itching.
6. Hyperhidrosis; Hyperhidrosis is a sweat gland disease that causes excessive sweating in the armpits. This can breed overgrowth of bacteria in the armpits, causing irritation and itching. Common hyperhidrosis causes include obesity, exercise, environmental changes, and taking certain medications.
7. Folliculitis occurs when bacteria infect the hair follicles under the armpits. This can cause redness and itching of the skin under the armpits. In most cases, folliculitis can heal on its own. However, in some cases, you may need medical help.
8. Hidradenitis suppurativa: Hidradenitis suppurativa, also called reverse pimple, occurs when hair follicles are blocked and inflamed. This condition can cause cysts and abscesses to form under the skin. In addition, when an abscess ruptures, it can cause irritation and itching under the armpits, which can take a long time to heal.
9. Deodorant: Although deodorants and antiperspirants can help keep you fresh, they can also cause blockage of sweat glands. This can cause blackheads and abscesses, causing dermatitis reactions or skin irritation.
10. Intertrigo: Intertrigo is a common rash that occurs in the skin folds. It causes the skin to become red, swollen, and itchy. In addition, it can cause the skin to crack and emit an unpleasant smell. Common causes of Intertrigo include obesity, diabetes, and poor hygiene. If left untreated, Intertrigo can also cause bacterial or fungal infections.
11. Ingrown hair: This is broken hair that bends to one side and grows back to the skin. Ingrown hair in the armpit area is usually caused by shaving. This condition can cause skin inflammation, redness, and itching.
12. Prickly heat: Prickly heat, also known as red prickly heat, is usually caused by sweat trapped in sweat glands. This condition is common in people resting in bed or exposed to hot and humid climates. Prickly heat can cause itching and redness in the armpits.
13. Swollen lymph nodes: The underarm area of the human body contains many lymph nodes. When the lymph nodes are irritated, they swell and cause itching and irritation.
14. Axillary ringworm: Axillary ringworm is a fungal infection caused by excessive sweating. Tinea armpits can cause itching and irritation of the armpits, which is most common in people with hyperhidrosis of the armpits.
The above are common causes of itching in the armpits. Other causes include sicca, axillary dermatitis, keratosis pilaris, Fox-Fordyce disease, pregnancy, and skin cancer.
Home Remedies for Itchy Armpits
If you are interested in trying using home remedies to get rid of the itch on your armpits, here are some of the treatments that you can try:
You already know how a hot compress can help rid the pus found inside each raised bump on your armpit. The cold compress can effectively eliminate the itch and the burning sensation you are experiencing because of your skin condition.
- Place some ice cubes on a clean towel.
- Place the towel on the affected area of the skin.
- Once you have reached the 10-minute mark, rest your armpit a bit.
- Repeat the procedure after 10 minutes.
Doing this will effectively get rid of the itch and, at the same time, get rid of the inflammation of your skin.
Tea tree oil is commonly used for many home remedies, and this time, this is also effective in getting rid of the itch of your armpits. If a parasite causes your armpit rash, this is one of the home remedies you can try doing.
- Add a few drops of tea tree oil with extra virgin olive oil.
- Apply on the affected area of your armpit thoroughly.
- Rinse off the mixture with cold water.
Tea tree oil has antiseptic properties that can be highly effective in soothing your armpit and getting rid of the infection.
Oatmeal may be your breakfast of choice, especially if you are on a diet or trying to live a healthier lifestyle, but oatmeal can be used in different ways. It is known to be a home remedy for the skin, so it is not surprising that this is one of the home remedies you can use to get rid of itchy armpits. Oatmeal can help normalize your skin’s pH level, which can lessen the possibility of infections getting worse.
- The best type of oatmeal to use is colloidal oatmeal.
- After setting up the oatmeal in a bowl or dish, apply a few drops of your essential oil of choice.
- Place on the affected area of your skin for about 20 minutes.
- Rinse off with water afterward.
- It would help if you did this once every day until the armpit rash fully heals.
Is there anything that coconut oil cannot do? This is very useful in getting rid of armpit rash, and this is also known to be naturally good for the skin. It can help calm down your skin so that it will stop itching, and at the same time, it has properties that can allow your armpits to heal properly.
- Use extra virgin coconut oil as this is the most effective.
- Place extra virgin coconut oil on the affected areas of your armpit.
- Allow the coconut oil to be fully absorbed on the skin.
- You can do this a few times every day until the rash goes away.
One thing that can be said about baking soda is that it can be used for various things. You can use it to clean multiple parts of your home, and the things that it can do for your body are endless. Baking soda is the most effective if you have an armpit rash caused by dermatitis. Aside from balancing the armpits’ current pH level, this can also eliminate the inflammation of the skin.
- Prepare a mixture composed of baking soda and water. The ratio for this is 1:3. You can make adjustments depending on how much mixture you need.
- Apply the solution you created to the affected area of your skin.
- Rinse off the solution with cold water.
- Do this once every day until you see the rash go away.
How to Prevent Itchy Armpits
The first thing you need to remember is to avoid scratching the itchy areas of your armpit. Although scratching will relieve the itch temporarily, there is a possibility that you will cause a break on your skin. It will become more prone to bacteria and other viruses that may worsen your armpit’s condition when this happens.
Aside from the no scratching rule, here are the other things you can do to treat your itchy armpit:
- Stay Clean – Clean your armpits with mild soap and water. You will be surprised by the difference that this can make.
- Avoid Deodorant – If you have to wear deodorant, only do it when you know that you will sweat a lot. Suppose your armpits show some symptoms of having dermatitis or other skin conditions. In that case, you may consult with a dermatologist about what other item you can use instead of the regular deodorant.
- Use Soothers to Get Rid of Itchy Armpits – Instead of scratching your armpits, you can use other home remedies to get rid of the itch.
- Avoid Shaving – There are other ways that you can do to remove the hair from your armpits. It would help if you considered getting laser hair removal treatments. These treatments will effectively get rid of your hair without harming your skin.
- Use Hot Compress – Even though bacteria may thrive in warm and moist places, using a hot compress can help eliminate the pus inside the bumps that have formed on your armpit.
When to See a Doctor
If you are suffering from other symptoms like breathing difficulties, swelling of the face, fever, and so much more, get yourself checked by your doctor immediately.