With the armpit skin being much thinner, the area gets easily irritated and can break out into rashes. They can either be scaly and whitish or bumpy and reddish and can range from lasting for a few hours to a few months.
The itch and irritation can sometimes drive you nuts and you may be tempted to get an easy fix. The most important thing to do in the case of armpit rashes and irritation is to identify the cause. Different kinds of rashes require different treatments, which is why you need to know the issue.
Why do you get armpit rashes and irritation?
There can be several reasons for a sudden, itchy rash developing in your armpits. Sometimes, you may get an itch and irritation before you begin to see a rash. But, whatever the case, it’s important to identify the cause, which can be among the follows:
- Contact dermatitis - Contact dermatitis arises when an allergen or irritant comes into contact with the skin or body, triggering an immunological reaction. This allergic response occurs within hours of being exposed to allergens or irritants. You may be allergic to your deodorant, perfume, detergent or fabric softener, which may be giving you the rash.
- Chafing - Irritation is likely to develop when skin rubs too forcefully against itself or clothing for an extended period of time. Chafing is most common in areas of the body where the skin folds over or scrapes against itself often, such as the armpit. Wearing ill-fitting clothing during exercise, or unbreathable fabric during summer can make you more prone to chafing.
- Eczema - Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is a persistent, non-contagious skin disorder marked by inflammation. It is most frequent in the body's folds, such as the armpits, insides of elbows, and backs of knees. It's often red, scratchy, and crusty. If the region fractures due to drying or if you scratch them too much, they may start to bleed. Eczema flare-ups are common at particular periods of the year for many people. Their skin may seem normal otherwise.
- Seborrheic dermatitis - The overproduction of sebum, or skin oils, causes seborrheic dermatitis, a type of skin inflammatory reaction. Seborrheic dermatitis presents as oily areas of flakes or scales, which are different from the dry patches of eczema. Due to the extra oil, the flakes might be white or yellow.
- Heat rash - Heat may induce an irritant rash known as heat rash when it mixes with sweat on the skin. Because the armpits contain a lot of sweat glands, many people have heat rash in their armpits during the summer or in hot locations.
- Hair removal - After shaving or waxing the underarms, many people acquire regions of small, red, stinging pimples, which commonly occur in and near hair follicles.
Fungal infections - Candida, often known as candidiasis, is a fungal or yeast infection that is especially common in moist regions of skin, such as the underarms. Due to tight clothes or improper hygiene, Candida can worsen in warm climates. Candida rashes, unlike other underarm rashes, are best treated with an antifungal lotion or cream. There is another fungal infection called ringworm, which causes a red or silver ring of rashes and blistered or scabbed skin.
What can you do about it?
The treatment plan usually depends on the type of rash you have developed, but these are the most common ways in which you can address an armpit rash:
- Identify and eliminate the irritant - Identify the irritant and cease using it right away if you have contact dermatitis. This might be the end of the rash and may also help with flare-ups of eczema and seborrheic dermatitis.
- Ice it - Putting ice cubes on the rash may soothe it and reduce itching.
- Try citrus therapy - Consuming foods rich in vitamin C, like lemons, oranges, tomatoes and broccoli can help you fight against skin infections causing rashes. You can also rub a sliced piece of lemon on your armpit as the citric acid in lemons is capable of killing the armpit bacteria.
- Use an essential oil - Lavender, tea tree and coconut essential oils can be beneficial in treating an armpit rash, causing itchiness or irritation. They work best against fungal rashes when you dab a cotton swab in the oil and apply it on the affected area.
Try topical medicines - You have many over the counter (OTC) creams, lotions and powders that work quite well against armpit rashes.
Can you prevent them?
- Avoid hot showers - Avoid spending too much time in hot water, such as extended showers or baths. Instead, take a lukewarm bath and add vinegar, oatmeal, baking soda or salt to your shower routine to keep your skin exfoliated and healthy.
- Don’t share clothing - If you are prone to developing rashes, it’s best to avoid sharing clothes with other people since you don’t know how they maintain their clothes. In the case of contact dermatitis, they may be using a certain thing that can cause a flare-up in your case.
- Wear more natural fibres - Armpit rashes can be caused by wearing tight garments made of synthetic materials. This is due to the fact that perspiration cannot exit from the armpit. Wear loose, cotton clothes to allow your armpit to get some air and prevent perspiration from pooling on your delicate armpit skin.
- Use anti-chafing powders - When exercising or in hot weather, apply anti-chafing powders to avoid rashes caused by chafing.
- Use proper razors - It is important to avoid using old razors when shaving your armpits. Use a sharp razor with a lubrication strip to reduce friction and avoid going over the same area multiple times. Try the Carmesi Body Razor for an irritation-free shaving experience that delivers in a single stroke.
Switch to natural deodorants - Traditional deodorants made from synthetic ingredients usually contain aluminium, which essentially clogs your pores to prevent sweating. This can lead to rashes, which is why it’s a good idea to make a switch. Start using natural deodorants like the Carmesi Natural Deodorant Roll-on to take care of your underarms without clogging pores or causing irritation.
When should you see a doctor?
People who have a severe or persistent rash, or one that occurs for no apparent reason, should see a doctor as soon as possible to find out what's causing it and what treatment options are available. Certain forms of rashes are caused by significant medical disorders that need immediate medical attention, such as a severe infection or allergic responses. However, these rashes are uncommon. If you see profuse bleeding, pus or any other abnormal symptom accompanying your rash, it’s time to go for a doctor visit.