An armpit rash is a change in the skin under the arm that impacts the color and texture of the underarm. When you have an underarm rash, it can be uncomfortable, unsightly, and embarrassing, but in many cases, home remedies can provide relief.
People of all ages can experience an underarm rash. The symptoms of the rash can vary depending on the person and the cause. Some people have armpit rashes that come and go quickly, while others have rashes in the underarm area that just won’t go away.
A rash is a condition that causes the affected skin to turn red, blotchy, and to swell in some cases. While rashes vary in location, pattern, and extent, an armpit rash can be an indication that something is irritating that specific area or it could be a sign of a body-wide condition.
Many armpit rashes can be itchy and difficult to ignore or hide, so it’s important to figure out what is causing the problem and how to address it.
Symptoms of Underarm Rash
In most cases, red blotches appear to indicate that you have a rash. In some situations, small red bumps or white bumps will also appear on the skin along with red patches.
Some of the other common symptoms of armpit rash are:
- Warmth or swelling
- Tenderness or pain
Other symptoms may occur along with the rash that could be related to a bigger issue that is happening within the body. A cough, fever and chills, headache, joint stiffness, and sore throat are signs that something more than just a rash may be involved.
A person should seek immediate medical attention if they have a rash and have a change in consciousness, have difficulty breathing, feel tightness or constriction in the throat, experience sudden swelling of the face, lips, or tongue, or if they observe worsening of symptoms despite treating the rash.
Types of Armpit Rash
There are a few different types of armpit rashes and uncovering the type you have can help you receive the best treatment.
Eczema is a common condition that produces an itchy, crusty rash. It is commonly found in the body folds like armpits. Since the rash is very itchy and people can’t resist scratching, bleeding can occur.
Another skin irritation called seborrheic dermatitis, which creates oily patches of flakes and is also itchy, can show up on the armpits. A good example of this is cradle cap in infants – it is a form of seborrheic dermatitis.
Candida is a yeast infection and commonly occurs in moist areas, like the armpit. It can cause swelling, itching, scaling, and red rashes. Candida can worsen in hotter weather, wearing tight clothing, or due to poor hygiene.
Lastly, there is contact dermatitis. This is a common rash that happens when a person comes in contact with an allergen or irritant.
What are causes of armpit rash?
The causes of underarm rash are vast. Common causes of armpit rash are:
- Contact dermatitis – allergy to agents such as cosmetics, dyes, or detergents
- Industrial chemical allergies – including elastic, rubber, or latex
- Reaction to metal – copper, wire
- Poison ivy or oak
- Folliculitis – inflammation of hair follicles that happens after shaving
- Food allergies
- Insect bite allergy
- Candida – yeast infection due to poor hygiene
An underarm rash can also be caused by the following infections:
- Shingles or chickenpox
- Lyme disease
- Measles, mumps, rubella, roseola, or scarlet fever
- Pityriasis rosea
- Strep throat
- Autoimmune diseases
In certain circumstances, the rash can be caused by acne, extreme cold, extreme heat, or medications. While these situations are not life-threatening, there are some cases where a rash may be a symptom of a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention.
For instance, someone who is experiencing a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) needs to get to the emergency department. It is a matter of life and death. There is also a condition called allergic purpura that requires serious attention. Allergic purpura is a skin disease that affects the organs. Mostly affecting children, allergic purpura causes small hemorrhages and comes with joint and abdominal pain as well as kidney problems.
Home Remedies to Heal Armpit Rash
The majority of armpit rashes are certainly nothing to panic about. Underarm rash home treatment remedies are known to clear up the irritating and unsightly signs and symptoms for many people.
Let’s take a look at some armpit rash treatments for different scenarios.
- Folliculitis – stop shaving and try waxing or using hair removal agent until the rash clears.
- Contact dermatitis – avoid using detergents, deodorants, soaps that irritate your skin. Wipe a slice of lemon on your underarm as a natural deodorant.
- Candida – practice good hygiene to avoid a fungal infection. Wipe properly under the arms after showering.
- Poison ivy or oak – rinse skin in warm water to remove plant oil, also clean clothing or objects that may have come in contact with the plant.
- Food allergies – avoid eating or even touching the food that you discover you are allergic to.
- Insect bite allergy – apply ice, elevate arm to reduce swelling, apply calamine lotion, or go to the emergency room if the reaction is severe.
There are a number of home remedies for armpit rash that you can try should you find yourself in a situation where your underarm is red, itchy, and irritated. If one doesn’t work, try another method. The following list includes some of the most widely used home remedies for armpit rashes.
- Aloe Vera – leave on for a few minutes, then remove with cold water.
- Baking soda – you can put it in your bath water or directly on the armpit.
- Ice – placing it directly on the rash for a few minutes may help eliminate itchiness.
- Vitamin E – massage a little vitamin E oil into the skin to help with itchiness and help promote the production of new skin cells.
- Coconut oil – mix the oil with baking soda to form a paste and put it directly on the rash. Leave it for about 5 minutes.
- Potassium alum – place powder directly on armpits as it contains antiseptic properties to ward off bacteria and can help with the itching.
- Tea tree oil – dip a cotton ball in a mixture of water and tea tree oil, and apply it directly to the rash.
- Move to a cooler area – some armpit rashes worsen in the heat, so staying in cooler areas can help relieve symptoms.
- Stay hydrated – staying hydrated helps keep the body cool.
- Take a warm (not hot) bath – add ground rolled oats to a warm bath – not hot! – and soak and submerge your armpits.
- Relax – finding techniques to promote relaxation can help clear your mind from focusing on the rash. Meditation, listening to calming music, or finding a hobby you enjoy can all help you relax.
How to Prevent Armpit Rash
Home remedies are also a good way of preventing armpit rash flare-ups and future irritations to the armpits. You can try some of these armpit rash prevention tips to reduce your risk.
- Use baby powder or talcum powder – using baby powder or talcum powder can help absorb moisture in the armpits along with reducing friction.
- Wear loose-fitting clothes from natural materials – clothing that is tight around the armpits can allow sweat to linger along with increase friction which can increase armpit irritation causing a rash.
- Use a mild laundry detergent and fabric softener – some laundry detergents and fabric softeners can irritate the skin.
- Wash armpits daily with a mild soap – soaps with a fragrance can irritate the armpit so using a mild soap to wash away bacteria and sweat is advised.
- Swap out your deodorant – Finding the right deodorant can help prevent future armpit rashes. Some brands contain ingredients which can irritate the sensitive skin of the armpits.
Complications of Underarm Rash
If left untreated, the complications of an underarm rash can be serious. Bacteria and fungus can continue to grow, which can cause bumps known as pustules which are itchy, inflamed, and filled with puss. Other symptoms include warmth, tenderness, swelling, and redness. Getting your armpit rash treated will prevent complications.
As you can see, there are many reasons a person can get an armpit rash and many ways to go about treating it. If you ever get an underarm rash. it is useful to know that the vast majority of these rashes are due to irritants of some sort. This means avoiding certain care products, such as deodorants, soaps, detergents, or avoiding solvents and airborne substances like sawdust and wool dust to prevent you from having a repeat rash.
Once you can pinpoint the cause of your armpit irritation, treating and preventing it is a lot easier. Remember though, if you have a severe rash, see a doctor instead of taking matters into your own hands.