Itchy Armpits | Causes, Symptoms, Removal, Prevention

The itchy armpit is very irritating and disturbing.

The underarm itchiness is accompanied by annoying sensations like tingling, tickling, or prickling, which can make you pick and scratch the armpit. It isn’t very comfortable 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.

Our body’s armpit region is unique and delicate for many reasons. It is more than a few folds of skin and strands of hair. The armpit contains many sweat glands, lymph nodes, and blood vessels.

Numerous blood vessels in the underarm region make this region warmer than other external parts of the body. Many sweat glands are present in the armpit to keep it damp and resist the excess warmth.

The combination of warmth and dampness makes this body part prone to dermatological conditions that cause itching and tickling.

Symptoms of an Itchy Underarms

An itchy underarm has many triggers, but most have common symptoms.

Usually, the itching in the armpit is accompanied by other external and internal symptoms depending on the particular reason.

The itching area of the skin witnesses symptoms like discoloration (redness), swelling, bumps, rashes, scaling, tenderness, warmth, flaking, or crusting.

The severe itches or rashes in the armpit can also give rise to other mild health issues like a runny nose, nausea, fever, cough, headache, sweating, sore throatjoint pain, or body pain.

What Causes of Itchy Armpits?

Several reasons trigger the occurrence of itching in the armpit.

Generally, personal hygiene and microbial infections are the biggest culprits of prickly underarms.

Different types of infections, allergies, and other dermatological conditions also give rise to persistent itching and irritation in the armpit.

Now let us look at some of the possible reasons for underarm 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 causes 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.

Accumulating 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 a 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 promptly, the red rashes can spread to the surrounding body areas.

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.

This type of infection is rarely serious if you have an optimal immune system.

Candia infection causes red and itchy rashes in the armpit.

5. Psoriasis

Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that results in the formation of abnormal patches caused by an overgrowth of skin cells.

Inverse psoriasis mostly affects skin folds in areas like the armpit, chin, groin, and posterior knee. Psoriasis makes the affected areas of the skin scaly, itchy, dry, and painful with white or pink patches.

6. Dermatitis

Dermatitis or eczema is a common skin disease with symptoms like itching, scaling, redness, or blisters.

The most common reasons for eczema are allergy and dry skin. If your armpits develop eczema disease, this can result in itching, scaling, and burns.

7. Deodorant

Deodorants and antiperspirants can cause skin irritation in the armpits, leading 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 bend inward and grow under the skin.

Ingrown hair creates raised bumps on the skin, similar to blackheads or whiteheads, with itchiness and rashes.

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 fights off an infection.

10. Itchy Armpits During Pregnancy

Some pregnant women do experience persistent itching and irritation in the armpit. This is said to be a physical reaction caused by quick hormonal changes in the body during pregnancy.

According to Dr. Morris Westfried, a Dermatology “hormone changes in the liver contribute to itching… several rashes are associated with pregnancy, papular pruritic puppy, 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 lymphoma and breast cancer, could cause itching in the armpit. Lymphoma is a type of cancer that affects the lymph nodes. 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 the 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.

13. Fox-Fordyce

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

A 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. In regular physical activities or under medications, people might experience heavy sweating in the armpit.

15. Xerosis

The itchiness in the armpit caused by the excessive dryness of the skin is called xerosis.

The symptoms of the 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 underarm itching. Here are a few other rare reasons for irritation and itching:

  • Folliculitis
  • Insect bites
  • Heat rash
  • Cellulitis
  • Pinworm,
  • Scabies
  • Kidney and liver diseases
  • Skin parasites
  • Allergies from dress materials

When to See a Doctor?

As we have already discussed different reasons result in itchy and irritating underarms.

If you do not succeed in curing the persistent itching problem with natural remedies or OTC products within a week, it is better to consult a doctor.

It would help if you looked 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 also be 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 recourse to home remedies and regular treatments for itching.

The first step to treating the itchy underarm is identifying its actual reason. You have to use the right treatment to control the cause and symptoms of the itching.

Here are some of the regular treatments that are usually recommended for itching in the underarm area:

Hydrocortisone Cream

This cream reduces itching, redness, and swelling associated with 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 the 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.


Antihistamine medicines such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton) are most beneficial as a treatment for eczema and itchy skin.


It is a commonly used prescription medicine for severe and persistent itches and irritation in the armpit. You can use lidocaine cream, injections, or patches as recommended by your physician.

Calamine Lotion

Calamine is good for soothing itchiness. Before applying the lotion, cleanse your armpit with an oil-free natural body wash solution and lukewarm water.

Selenium Sulfide

It Soothes irritated underarms and reduces inflammation and itchiness.

5 DIY Solutions for Itchy Armpits

Using natural remedies to eliminate skin conditions like itching and scaling is always better. Most OTC products contain chemical substances that 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 oatmeal are beneficial for reducing skin irritation and itching.

Soak the oatmeal in warm water for 10 minutes and apply it to 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 skin area.

The effectiveness of Witch hazel is great when it is combined with aloe, glycerine, or petroleum jelly and rubbed on the affected area to get rid of the itches quickly.

However, avoid using witch hazel if you have cuts or exposed rashes in the armpit.

3. Cold Compress

Applying ice packs or a compress with ice-cold water is excellent for soothing 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 to the itching area of the skin. Repeat the treatment thrice daily to get fast relief from itches and skin rashes.

5. Tea Tree Oil

Few past studies have found that tea tree oil is as effective as an over-the-counter remedy for relieving burning, itching, scaling, and inflammation.

Add a few drops of tree oil in diluted witch hazel extract to the affected skin area for fast relief from itching armpits. Repeat the treatment three times a day.

Tips for Preventing Itching

Simple skincare steps can prevent most skin issues related to itching, rashes, and infections.

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 keep 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 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.

Ways to Manage Itchy Underarm

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 an 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 aftershave;
  • Do not wear tight dresses with sleeves;
  • Consult a dermatologist to get rid of recurring itchy armpit issues.