Rash under armpit is usually a mild and harmless condition. It can however cause increased irritation, discomfort, and sometimes pain. Hence, most patients wish to get rid of it at the earliest.
A rash under armpit may occur due to many different causes. Most cases of rash under armpit vanish on their own. Patients only need to eat healthy, exercise daily, and go for lifestyle changes to boost the immune system and avoid such rashes. Good personal hygiene, reducing sweating, and avoidance of allergic underarm deodorants and other cosmetics can also help get rid of the rash under armpit.
Severe and chronic cases of rash under armpit may require the attention of a doctor. Treatment of the condition is dependent on diagnosing the underlying cause and then treating it with medications. Scratching of rash under armpit to alleviate the itching may cause skin injuries which are then prone to secondary infections. Such infections are treated with antibiotics or antifungal creams.
Some of the common signs and symptoms of a rash under armpit are listed below:
- A rash under armpit may develop in different shapes, forms, and sizes. It may occur as reddened blotches or abnormal patches on the skin; or as irregular areas with dry skin; or as raised bumps or itchy pimples.
- The areas surrounding a rash under armpit may elicit redness.
- Most forms of rash under armpit do not cause itching or pain. However, some rashes may be marked by pain and severe itchiness.
It may be noted that the skin on the armpit is sensitive and prone to easy injury. It is also very vulnerable to varied infections. Hence, patients are advised to go for medical treatment if the rash under armpit lasts for more than a couple of days, even if it does not cause any pain or discomfort.
A rash under armpit may occur due to several different causes and adverse factors. The most prevalent causes tend to be increased perspiration, excess heat in the armpit area, friction, and contact with allergic substances.
Some of the common causes of rash under armpit are listed below:
- The armpit is typically a warm, moist, and dark area. Such an environment is ideal for the growth of bacteria and other germs. Proliferation of such pathogens, often triggered by poor personal hygiene, can result in formation of rash under armpit.
- Shaving the armpit hair can irritate the skin, thereby triggering the formation of rash under armpit.
- The armpit is prone to sweating excessively, especially after a workout or under hot weather conditions. This can cause the armpit to become smelly and emit foul odors. Hence, people use deodorants, talcum powders, etc. to avoid a smelly armpit. However, it is possible for the chemicals present in perfumes and other fragrances to react with the delicate skin of the armpit and cause allergic reactions. This can then result in the development of a rash under armpit.
- Use of drying soaps during a bath or showers can cause the skin to become dry, thereby causing rash under armpit.
- The armpit is an area of the body that is under constant threat to rubbing or friction against the surrounding skin and/or clothes. Such friction can easily irritate the fragile skin. The combination of excess heat and perspiration along with constant friction can tear the epidermis or the upper skin layer and cause inflammation of armpit skin. Such damaged skin is then susceptible to secondary infections by bacteria and other microorganisms, thereby resulting in formation of rash under armpit.
- One of the most common types of armpit infections that occurs due to the above discussed process is candidiasis, a type of yeast infection.
- Contact dermatitis is a skin condition which occurs due to an allergic reaction to varied irritants, including the allergens and chemicals present in deodorants and antiperspirants. It is regarded as one of the most prevalent causes of skin irritation and rash under armpit. The skin condition is marked by development of bumps or blisters.
- Heat rash is a skin condition which occurs due to occurrence of blockages in the sweat ducts present under the skin. Such clogging causes the sweat to get trapped below the skin surface which then triggers the development rashes featuring raised itchy bumps. On occasions, heat rashes may cause pain. Doctors are not aware of the exact factors which trigger clogging of the sweat ducts. However, certain kinds of fabrics, tight-fitting clothes, and excessive perspiration, etc. may increase the risk to development of heat rash under armpit.
Most cases of rash under armpit tend to clear out on their own without treatment in a couple of days or a week. In cases where a rash under armpit occurs along with pain, itchiness, and discomfort, patients may seek medical treatment as enduring such symptoms for a week or more may not be possible.
Some common treatment options and home remedies for rash under armpit are listed below:
- Ensure that the armpits are kept dry at all time. You may do this by wearing loose clothes made of porous fabrics; staying in cool environments and avoiding the hot outdoors; and application of absorbent talcum powder on the armpits.
- Pain medications can help alleviate pain and inflammation.
- Take a long oatmeal bath to find relief from itchiness. It can also be reduced via use of topical antihistamines. Severe itchiness may need treatment with oral antihistamines.
- Hydrocortisone cream, calamine lotion, etc. can help ease irritation of the skin.
- Doctors may prescribe topical steroids to decrease severe inflammation of a rash under armpit.
- Avoid excessive use of creams, powders, and other cosmetics on the armpits if it is affected by heat rash, as doing so will only aggravate an underlying condition of clogged pores and sweat glands.
- Identify and subsequently avoid the deodorant, lotion, shampoo, etc. that triggers allergic reactions and formation of contact dermatitis rash under armpit.
In case the above remedies and preventive measures do not help get rid of rash under armpit, then patients may visit a dermatologist and get checked for presence of any skin allergies.