Itchy armpit is very irritating and disturbing.
The underarm itchiness is accompanied by irksome sensations like tingling, tickling or prickling which can make you pick and scratch the armpit. It is quite embarrassing for you to do such things in public.
It is not a serious health issue. People in any age group can get a tickle in the armpit for many reasons.
However, persistent itching and prickling in the underarm region can develop into severe dermatological conditions depending on the reasons for it.
The armpit region of our body is both unique and delicate for many reasons. It is more than few folds of skin and strands of hair. The armpit contains a large number of sweat gland, lymph nodes and blood vessels .
The presence of numerous blood vessels in the underarm region makes this region warmer than other external parts of the body. A large number of sweat glands present in the armpit to keep it damp and resist the excess warmth.
Symptoms Of An Itchy Underarms
An itchy underarm has a large number of triggers; however, most of them have common symptoms.
Usually, the itching in the armpit is accompanied by other external and internal symptoms depending on the particular reason for the itching.
The itching area of the skin witnesses symptoms like discoloration (redness), swelling, bumps, rashes, scaling, tenderness, warmth, flaking or crusting.
What Causes Of Itchy Armpits?
There are several reasons that trigger the occurrence of itching in the armpit.
Generally, personal hygiene and microbial infections are the biggest culprits of prickly underarms.
There are also different types of infections, allergies and other dermatological conditions that give rise to persistent itching and irritation in the armpit.
Now let us look at some of the possible reasons for underarms itching and soreness:
1. Shaving Bumps
Why do my armpits itch after shaving? It’s a commonly heard question.
Using blunt or dull razors hurts the delicate skin in the armpits and causes razor bumps that itch .
Wrong shaving techniques like shaving in the opposite direction of hair growth cut the hair follicles and skin which cause inflammation. Septic caused by the razors can result in itching and swelling as well.
2. Poor Hygiene
The warm and damp environment in the armpit is a conducive place for the breeding of bacteria.
Accumulation of dirt and sweat in the underarms makes the situation even more congenial for bacterial infections. Poor personal hygiene is the No.1 reason for itching and bad odor in the armpit.
3 Miliaria Rubra
Miliaria Rubra or heat rash is the derma condition caused by the blockage of the sweat glands. It gives rise to itches and red bumps in the armpit.
If this skin condition is not treated on time, the red rashes can spread to the surrounding areas of the body.
4 Candida Infection
Candida Albicans is the most common type of yeast infection found in the mouth, intestinal tract and vagina.
This infection can also affect the skin and other mucous membranes. Skin in the armpits, in the groin, between the fingers, and under the breasts is most susceptible to Candida Albicans attack.
If you have an optimal immune system this type of infection is rarely serious.
Candia infection causes red and itchy rashes in the armpit.
Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that results in the formation of abnormal patches caused by an overgrowth of skin cells.
Inverse psoriasis mostly affects folds of skin in areas like armpit, chin, groin, posterior knee. Psoriasis makes the affected areas of the skin scaly, itchy, dry, and painful with white or pink patches.
Dermatitis or eczema is a common skin disease that has symptoms like itching, scaling, redness, or blisters.
Most common reasons for the occurrence of eczema are allergy and dry skin. If your armpits develop eczema disease, this can result in itching, scaling, and burns.
Deodorants and antiperspirants can cause skin irritation in the armpits which leads to allergic reactions and itching.
Deodorants can also clog the sweat glands leading to skin irritation and dermatitis reactions.
8. Ingrown Hair
Ingrown hair in the armpit is usually caused by shaving or razor burns. The cut ends of the hair at the root bends inward and begin to grow under the skin.
9. Swollen Lymph Nodes
The armpits have a large number of lymph nodes in them.
The lymph nodes can swell and cause itching when your body is fighting off an infection.
10. Itchy Armpits During Pregnancy
Some of the pregnant women do experience persistent itching and irritation in the armpit. This is said to be a physical reaction caused by quick hormonal changes taking place in the body during the pregnancy period.
According to Dr. Morris Westfried, a Dermatology “hormones changes in liver contribute to itching… several rashes are associated with pregnancy, papular pruritic pupp, impetigo herpetiformis, as well as eczema which can worsen in pregnancy.”
A pregnant woman is also vulnerable to impetigo, yeast infection, and eczema in the armpit that causes itching and rashes.
11. Itchy Armpits Cancer
Some of the cancer variants like the lymphoma and breast cancer could cause itching in the armpit. Lymphoma is a type of cancer that affects the lymph nodes. Obviously, lymph nodes in large numbers are present in the armpit.
However, itchy underarm is not a regular symptom of cancer. Any type of itching in the underarms should not send you into a panic with fear of cancer.
12. Keratosis Pilaris
Keratosis Pilaris is a skin condition resulting from the excess accumulation of keratin which can give rise to pimple-like bumps or rough patches in the face, leg or armpit. Its symptoms include irritated armpits, rough skin, itchy underarms, and inflamed skin.
Fox-Fordyce disease is a rare skin disorder that primarily affects young women.
The clogged sweat glands, especially in the groin and underarms, form small itchy bumps.
14. Excessive Sweating
Moist and damp environment resulting from excessive sweating in the armpit area can cause the overgrowth of bacteria.
Microbial infections in the armpit cause irritation, itching, and inflammation.
Obese persons are generally more prone to excessive sweating in the underarms region. Persons who involve in regular physical activities or under medications might experience heavy sweating in the armpit.
The itchiness in the armpit caused by the excessive dryness of the skin is called xerosis.
The symptoms of dry armpit are peeling, flaking, and scaling accompanied by itching.
Folded or wrinkled skin in the armpit is highly susceptible to xerosis.
16. Other Causes Of Itchy Armpits
We have already discussed the major reasons for underarms itching. Here are a few more other rare reasons for irritation and itching:
- Insect bites
- Heat rash
- Kidney and liver diseases
- Skin parasites
- Allergies from dress materials
When to See a Doctor?
As we have already discussed there are different reasons that result in itchy and irritating underarms.
If you do not succeed to cure the persistent itching problem with natural remedies or OTC products within a week, it is better to consult a doctor.
You should look out for symptoms like swelling on the mouth or face, joint pain, chills, fever, stiffness, breathing difficulties, or giddiness. If any of such symptoms exist along with itching, you should immediately seek the opinion of a doctor to manage the itching and other symptoms.
Severe and intense itches in the underarm area can be also caused by serious underlying diseases or side effects of other medications.
How To Stop Itchy Armpits?
If you are wondering how to get rid of itchy underarms, your problem can be solved by taking recourse to home remedies and regular treatments itching.
The first step to treating the itchy underarm is the identification of the actual reason for it. You have to use the right treatment to control the cause and symptoms of the itching.
Here are some of the regular treatments that usually recommended for itching in the underarm area:
Hydrocortisone Cream: This cream is used for reducing itching, redness, and swelling associated with different dermal conditions. Hydrocortisone cream is a topical corticosteroid. It is excellent for managing skin inflammation symptoms like redness, itching, swelling, and irritation .
Claritin (loratadine): It is an antihistamine that removes the adverse effects of natural chemical histamine in the body. Claritin is popularly used to treat skin rash, itching, sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, hives, and other allergic reactions .
Antihistamines: The antihistamines medicines such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton) are most beneficial as a treatment for eczema and itchy skin .
Lidocaine: It is commonly used prescription medicine for severe and persistent itches and irritation in the armpit. You can use lidocaine cream, injection or patches as recommended by your physician .
Calamine Lotion: Calamine is good for soothing itchiness. Before applying the lotion, you should cleanse your armpit with an oil-free natural body wash solution and lukewarm water .
Selenium Sulfide: Soothes irritated underarms, reduces inflammation and itchiness .
Top 5 Home Remedies For Itchy Armpits
It is always better to use natural remedies to get rid of skin conditions like itching and scaling. Most of the OTC of products contain chemical substances which can have side effects if used for a long time.
Let us look at some of the best natural remedies for itches and skin irritation:
1. Colloidal Oatmeal
The soothing properties of the oatmeal are beneficial for reducing skin irritation and itching.
Soak the oatmeal in the warm water for 10 minutes and apply it in the armpit using a washcloth. Rinse off the application after 20 minutes and repeat the treatment twice a day.
2. Witch Hazel
Apply diluted witch hazel with a cotton ball on the irritated area of the skin.
The effectiveness of Witch hazel is great when it is combined with aloe, glycerine or petroleum jelly and rub it on the affected area for getting rid of the itches quickly.
However, if you have cuts or exposed rashes in the armpit avoid using witch hazel.
3. Cold Compress
Applying ice packs or a compress with ice cold water is excellent for soothing the irritated skin. It makes the area numb and instantly reduces itching and irritation.
4. Aloe Vera Gel
Aloe vera is a fantastic natural moisturizer for the skin. This natural remedy also contains excellent anti-itch and anti-inflammatory properties.
Apply the Aloe vera gel on the itching area of the skin. Repeat the treatment thrice a day to get fat relief from itches and skin rashes.
5. Tea Tree Oil
Few of the studies in the past have found that tea tree oil is as effective as an over-the-counter remedy for relieving burning, itching, scaling, and inflammation.
For fast relief from itching armpits, add few drops of tree oil in diluted witch hazel extract and apply it on the affected area of the skin. Repeat the treatment three times a day.
Tips For Preventing Itching And Soothing Itchy Underarms
Most of the skin issues related to itching, rashes, and infections can be prevented by following simple skin care steps.
You can get fast relief from itches, irritation, and rashes on the skin by adopting healthy steps to soothe them. Here are a few important guidelines worth noting:
- Resist from scratching the armpit as it hurts the skin and increases irritation and itching;
- Wear loose clothing made of natural cotton fibers that easily absorb sweat and keeps the skin cool;
- Consume foods rich in skin Vitamins like Vitamin E, C, A, and amino acids;
- Keep your armpits clean and healthy through proper hygiene;
- Use only and chemical free deodorants, antiperspirants, and other skincare products – if possible avoid them completely;
- Refrain from shaving the armpit; instead, opt for trimming or laser removal of the hair if needed;
- Try hot or cold compress to get rid of irritation and itching;
- Consult dermatologists if the itching continues for more than 3-4 days – track down what triggers the itching
- Pluck out the ingrown hairs with tweezers.
How To Stop Itchy Armpits After Shaving
Most of the incidences of itching underarms happen after shaving the armpit. To prevent itching and irritation in the armpit do the following:
- Do not shave when you have inflamed or irritated armpit;
- Moisturize armpit within 15 minutes after shaving;
- Use good quality shaving gel;
- Do not overuse the shaving razors; change them before turning blunt;
- Do not use deodorants or antiperspirants immediately after shaving;
- Use alternative methods to razor shavings like waxing or laser hair removal;
- Use hydrocortisone cream or selenium sulfide in the armpit to prevent itching after shave;
- Do not use tight dresses with sleeves;
- Consult a dermatologist to get rid of recurring itchy armpit issues.