Finding it difficult to deal with the painful pimples on your armpits? As you know, the armpit area is relatively thin and contains a lot of sweat glands. You may have noticed that your armpit has plenty of hair follicles too. With the combination of a large number of sweat glands and hair follicles, the armpit can be prone to pimples.
But pimples do not happen without any reason. There are six known factors that contribute to armpit pimples. Understanding the reasons and preventing them can help you get rid of the problem. Let’s discuss the reasons that provoke armpit pimples and figure out the treatment options available for you!
What Expert Says
“Armpit pimples occur due to various reasons such as yeast infection, hidradenitis suppurativa, folliculitis, etc. While yeast infection can happen to anyone, hidradenitis suppurativa is genetically predisposed. Antifungal creams are highly useful for treating armpit pimples.”
-Dr. Harish Koutam, Chief Dermatologist, SkinKraft
What Is An Armpit Pimple?
Pimples are a result of bacteria buildup in your skin. Your skin pores get clogged due to the buildup and form a bump around it. Armpits are among the most common pimple-prone areas of your body.
Even though these pimples are usually harmless, they can be painful and frustrating. You will experience tenderness, itchiness, and skin irritation when the pimples appear. While the painless pimples may not require medical attention and often heal by themselves, the painful ones will need treatment.
Why Do You Get Armpit Pimples?
The occurrence of armpit pimples is common. As the armpits in your body contain a large number of hair follicles and sweat glands, they experience friction and heavy moisture. Naturally, the area becomes acne-prone.
Our chief dermatologist Dr Harish Koutam says, “Armpit pimples occur due to various reasons such as yeast infection, hidradenitis suppurativa, folliculitis, etc. While yeast infection can happen to anyone, hidradenitis suppurativa is genetically predisposed. Antifungal creams are highly useful for treating armpit pimples.”
Folliculitis is a hair follicle infection that causes inflammation around the hair strand. This infection forms a red pus-filled bump around the strand. Folliculitis happens due to bacterial infection, yeast infection or a fungal attack. It can also be triggered by inflammatory skin diseases or by consuming certain prescribed drugs. Usually, folliculitis goes away on its own within a few days. But large painful pimples may need proper treatment. 
- Sore skin
- Skin Irritation
2. Ingrown Hair
If you shave your armpits often, then ingrown hair can be the reason behind armpit pimples. Shaving your armpits using a razor increases the chances of ingrown hair. When a hair strand that has grown out from the hair follicle gets twisted and enters into the skin again, it is known as ingrown hair. It looks like a hair strand trapped inside a bump. While not all ingrown hair follicles turn into pimples, many get infected and forms a pus-filled blister. 
- Inflamed skin
- Pus-filled bumps
- Tender skin
3. Contact Dermatitis
Contact dermatitis is a skin condition in which your skin develops rashes and bumps after coming in contact with allergens or irritants. The bumps will be itchy and extremely frustrating. You may also notice pus-filled blisters in your armpits.
Contact dermatitis related armpit pimples occur when the armpit comes in contact with substances that you are allergic to. It can be the deodorant you use or the soap you shower with. The detergent you use to wash your regular wear can also be the cause of your armpit pimples. 
- Flaky Skin
- Extreme itching
- Skin inflammation
4. Hidradenitis Suppurativa
Hidradenitis Suppurativa is a skin disease that causes recurrent lumps under your skin. It usually occurs in areas like the armpits and groin. Hidradenitis Suppurativa is also popularly known as acne inversa. It has a tendency to break open and drain fluid from the lumps. You may get skin scarring due to the nature of the rupture.
- Recurrence of pimples
- Smelly discharge
5. Yeast Infection
Moist areas in your body are always at risk of developing a yeast infection. Your armpit is one such area where the skin is constantly sweating. It makes an ideal home for a fungus called Candida. This causes red itchy pustules on your armpits. 
- Red bumps
6. Razor Burn
Frequently shaving your armpits with a razor not only causes ingrown hair but also triggers skin irritation. The armpit has delicate skin and razor shaving makes it rough. Naturally, when you move your hand, friction between the skin folds increases.
- Sore and irritated skin
- Red itchy rashes
Hands are the most used part of your body. Be it the daily chores or hobbies, almost always you are swinging your hands back and forth. Hence, the armpit skin is constantly facing friction. The constant skin rubbing can cause irritation, injury and even skin infection. The friction can lead to skin inflammation and armpit pimples. Armpits tend to sweat the most. Moisture development is also a contributing factor for armpit pimples.
- Stinging pain
- Tender skin
How Can You Get Rid Of Armpit Pimples?
Generally, pimples do not require medical help as they tend to clear off on their own. But if you are bleeding and the pimples are causing unbearable pain, then medical attention is a must.
1. Oral Antibiotics: Your doctor would suggest you take antibiotics to reduce the pimples. Antibiotics will help to kill the bacteria that are causing pimples. Oral antibiotics such as cephalexin doxycycline or erythromycin are recommended for armpit rashes.
2. Antibacterial Washes: Antibacterial washes like chlorhexidine gluconate and benzoyl peroxide are highly beneficial for armpit pimples.
3. Antibacterial Gels And Lotions: Along with oral medication, doctors may also suggest topical antibacterial gel or lotions. You will need to apply it to the affected area till the pimples are healed completely. Erythromycin or clindamycin is known to be effective for treating bacteria-caused infections such as folliculitis.
4. Identifying & Treating Allergies: In severe cases of contact dermatitis, a patch test would be needed to identify the allergen. Otherwise, mild allergic contact dermatitis can be resolved using antihistamines. It will stop the itching and soothe your skin.
5. Steroid Creams: Topical steroid creams will help you reduce other symptoms of armpit pimples, such as inflammation, irritation etc.
6. Home Remedies: Using home remedies such as apple cider vinegar, applying honey, turmeric, aloe vera and rose water can also help in providing relief.
Tips To Prevent Armpit Pimples
1. Razor It Right
Since razor paves the way for ingrown hair and skin irritation, you may want to switch to another hair removal method to clean your armpits. In case you are more comfortable using a razor than other hair removal methods, make sure that your razor is thoroughly cleaned and rust-free. Always shave in one direction. Do not use a disposable razor for more than 5 to 7 shaves.
2. Scrubbing Your Armpit
This is the easiest way to keep pimples away. Include armpit scrubbing in your normal skincare routine. It will remove the extra sebum oil and unclog the skin pores of your underarm.
3. Avoid Friction
Constant friction can lead to skin rashes. Hence, experts suggest wearing loose clothing to avoid any such friction. Also, tight clothes make it difficult for your skin to breathe. Choose cotton clothing as it allows your skin to breathe better.
4. Skin Hygiene
Never leave your underarms dirty. Clean up after you get home from a regular day at work or whenever you are indulging in any type of physical activity such as dance, gym, running, swimming etc. Maintain basic hygiene such as showering every day, changing clothes regularly, washing your regular wear etc.
5. Avoid Allergens
Try to use natural perfumes to avoid allergic reactions. If you are allergic to certain soaps or detergents, avoid using them.
6. Use Products That Suit Your Skin Type
Avoid buying over the counter products, and consult your doctor if you suffer from armpit pimples often. Choosing products that are gentle on your skin and suit your skin type can help avoid allergies and provide comfort.
Is It Okay To Pop Armpit Pimples?
It is a bad idea to pop armpit pimples. If you try to pop the pimple and squish the pus out, there is a high chance of the bacteria going even deeper into your skin. This will worsen your skin condition by causing pain and inflammation. Popping the pimple may lead to permanent scarring as well.
Armpit pimples are not unusual but they can be stressful and discomforting. Generally, the pimples go away within a week or two with self-care at home. But bleeding drainage and throbbing pain are signs that you need medical help to get rid of it. Get in touch with your local doctor and seek medical help without any delay in case of the above-mentioned symptoms. Also, listed prevention tips will assist you to avert the pimple issue.
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