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  5. How To Treat Itchy Underarms In Simple Ways?

Are itchy underarms causing you embarrassment in public? Yes, the tickling, irritating sensation on your underarm can be a real source of frustration.

So, here we shed light on the reasons that are probably causing you underarm itching and how you can get rid of it easily.

What Causes Itchy Underarms?

Underarm itching can happen due to various reasons starting from your daily lifestyle to certain medical conditions. An itchy underarm comes with redness, irritation and a burning sensation. This skin condition is known as pruritus. [1]

You may also experience skin inflammation, soreness and flaky skin in your underarms. While you may feel like scratching your skin for some relief, this would only worsen the situation. Understanding the causes of underarm itching will help know how to prevent it.

1. Deodorant

While using a deodorant under your arms after a refreshing shower or before going out, seems like a basic hygiene routine, deodorant can cause armpit rashes. If you feel irritation, redness and itching after applying deodorant, you may be allergic to that particular product.

According to the FDA [2] (Food & Drug Administration), four ingredients in deodorants that can trigger allergy include aluminium, fragrances, preservatives and dyes.

2. Shaving

While many find it convenient to use a razor to remove underarm hair, razors may cause rashes and itchiness. Using an old razor blade, dry shaving, and not using a moisturizer after shaving can cause skin irritation and lead to armpit rashes.

3. Yeast Infection

If you have a tendency to not dry your underarm after showering or if you sweat a lot, there is a chance of bacterial infection. Yeast infection is one of the examples of fungal infections. Yeast or bacterial growth happens on the body part where the skin folds. This includes areas like armpit, groin etc.

4. Weather

Extreme weather conditions can cause armpit rashes. In summer, the heat makes you sweat. This sweat mixes up with the dirt accumulated in your armpit throughout the day. This in turn causes your underarm to start itching. Similarly, extreme cold can make your underarm dry and itchy.

5. Allergies

Just like deodorants, there are other things that can trigger an allergic reaction in your armpit. Laundry detergent powders, certain kinds of fabrics, using a product that has ingredients you are allergic to, leads to armpit rashes.

6. Poor Hygiene

One of the biggest reasons behind skin rashes is poor hygiene. Not showering regularly, wearing dirty clothes, and not keeping your underarms clean can trigger armpit rashes.

7. Parasites

Parasites are tiny organisms that feed on your body and cause several issues. Lice is one such example and can cause you itchy underarms.

8. Soap

Over the counter soaps have strong chemicals and are harsh in nature. They make your armpit dry and flaky. As the armpit region is very sensitive in general, harsh chemical-based soaps can cause rashes there.

9. Stress

When you go through anxiety, your stress level increases. It affects your nervous system and causes a few physical reactions such as skin itching. It can happen anywhere in your body, especially in the delicate areas like armpit, groin, etc.

allergic rash dermatitis eczema skin of patient armpit

Types Of Armpit Rashes

1. Atopic Dermatitis

Your armpit rashes can be due to atopic dermatitis which is also known as eczema. Atopic dermatitis usually happens from childhood itself. It is common in areas where your skin folds. For example elbow area, armpit, groin, back of your knees etc.

Atopic dermatitis is red, itchy and may cause extreme discomfort. In a few cases, these itchy rashes secrete fluid. You may experience bleeding due to severe atopic dermatitis on your armpit. [3]

2. Contact dermatitis

This rash appears when you come in contact with the allergen. Some ingredients in your deodorants or lotion may cause allergic reactions under your arms. Wearing a certain type of fabric and usage of certain laundry detergents for your clothes may also trigger contact dermatitis. [4]

3. Seborrheic dermatitis

This rash occurs due to over secretion of sebum oil. Seborrheic dermatitis is quite different from atopic dermatitis as it does not dry out your skin, rather it makes your skin oily. You may notice white or yellow oily patches on your armpits. [5]

4. Candidiasis

Candidiasis or Candida is a fungal infection that occurs due to poor hygiene, scorching weather, or extremely tight clothes. Candida happens mostly in the moist area of your body such as underarms. You may experience skin inflammation, scaling, red rashes etc. [6]

How To Get Rid Of Itchy Underarms?

Home Remedies

1. Warm compress :

If your underarm is constantly itching and you have developed boils, a warm water compress will help. It will speed up the recovery process.

2. Moisturizer :

Moisturize your underarm repeatedly in case it is drying up. Use a moisturizer that is fragrance-free to avoid any allergic reactions.

3. Ice Cubes :

Ice cubes are another great option to deal with itchy underarms. It will soothe your skin and also give some relief from the constant itching.

4. Vitamin C :

Consumption of vitamin C can help you with underarm itching. Add vitamin C enriched fruits and vegetables in your diet. Add oranges, tomatoes, lemon and broccoli that will fight against the infection that is causing the underarm itching. You can also apply lemon juice on your armpit to kill the bacteria.

5. Essential Oil :

Essential oils like coconut oil, tea tree oil and lavender oil are useful to treat itchy underarms. The essential oil will reduce the irritation and inflammation of your armpit. You can directly apply the oil on your skin when it feels itchy.

Over The Counter Treatments

1. Hydrocortisone Cream/Calamine Lotion :

Topical hydrocortisone and calamine lotions are great for skin rashes. If you have armpit rashes, these OTC products will reduce irritation and skin inflammation.

2. Anti-chafing powder :

Anti-chafing powders are meant to kill the bacteria from delicate body parts such as the armpit. Mostly these rashes happen due to the constant friction of the skin. Anti-chafing powder lessens the pain and friction of the skin.

3. Anti-fungal ointment :

If your armpit has a bacterial infection or yeast infection, going for anti-fungal ointment or gel is a great option. These creams usually contain ingredients like nystatin, ketoconazole or clotrimazole that can fight against the fungal infection.

Professional Treatments

1. Phototherapy :

Phototherapy or ultraviolet light is used to stimulate vitamin D production in your skin and treat the armpit rashes.

2. Calcineurin Inhibitors :

Calcineurin inhibitors have three ingredients that are cyclosporine, tacrolimus, and pimecrolimus. These ingredients boost your immune system to fight against infections that causes armpit rashes. [7]

skin care hair removal concept by woman

How To Prevent Armpit Rashes?

1. Scratching the dry skin is a big no if you want to stop itchy underarms. Scratching with your nails will worsen your skin condition and may even cause bleeding.

2. Avoid coming in contact with allergens as much as possible.

3. Try using a product that is fragrance and harsh-chemical-free.

4. Do not wear uncomfortable or extremely tight clothing.

5. Shower regularly and clean your underarms with gentle soap.

6. Wash your clothes and towel frequently to avoid infections.

7. Do not share your personal things like towels, loofah, razor with other people.

What Complications Can You Face Due To Armpit Rashes?

If you have untreated itchy underarms for a long period, it may cause complications. Untreated armpit rashes will eventually lead to severe bacterial infections. You may also get pustules (pus-filled bumps) in your armpit. Symptoms that warn you of serious underlying conditions include:

  • Spreading of the armpit rashes to other parts of your body
  • Pain and swelling in rashes
  • Rashes that appear suddenly and spread fast
  • Boil/blisters filled with pus
  • Bleeding
  • High fever
  • Nausea, diarrhoea and constipation
  • Rashes that do not improve despite using over the counter products
  • Flaky and crusty skin patches
  • Dizziness

Are Itchy Underarms A Sign Of Diabetes?

Itchy armpits can be a sign of diabetes. Localized itching due to fungal infection is common among diabetes patients. Many diabetes patients also experience blisters on their skin as a sign of the underlying disease.

In a few cases, people who are undergoing diabetes treatment, may experience allergic reactions from the medication. Insulin injection causes rashes on your skin and it may spread to other body parts such as the armpit.

Diabetes can trigger another similar skin condition called Acanthosis Nigricans that makes your armpit skin dark and thick. It will feel velvety and itchy.

Wrapping Up

Underarm itching can be extremely frustrating and uncomfortable. Armpit rashes are mostly responsible for itchy underarms. These rashes happen due to many reasons like allergic reactions, lifestyle habits and environmental factors. Even though underarm itching is easily treatable, in some cases it may stay for a long time and lead to several complications. If your itchy underarm is not resolving with over the counter products, get it checked by a doctor.

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