Itchy Armpits: Causes and Treatments

Itchy armpits can be discomforting as well as embarrassing. It can often be avoided by maintain a good hygiene. Itchiness caused by various factors should be treated differently, based on the root cause.

Itching under the armpits is common in many men and women. Such a condition can be extremely discomforting and irritating. This sensation is medically known as pruritus. The symptoms experienced due to itchy armpits vary according to the underlying condition. In most cases you may experience itching accompanied with redness, soreness, swelling and scarring. Scratching the itch may temporarily relieve the symptoms, although it can cause an infection through the lacerations caused by scratching. The best method of preventing infection and getting rid of itchiness is to visit a doctor. Any underarm itching that occurs for more than two weeks should be inspected by a doctor and prescribed with medications.

Causes of Itchy Armpits

Itchy armpits can be a source of distress and discomfort, to those suffering from the condition. Certain causes can be cured by general measures, but others need medical treatment. This is why you need to get a proper diagnosis of the exact cause of the underarm itching. Itchy armpits result due to allergy, infections, heat rashes and various other dermatological diseases. As there are several causes associated with itchy armpits, understanding various root causes leading to the situation will be important if you are to find a proper cure.

  • Lack of Hygiene – Armpits are extremely susceptive to bacteria build up resulting from sweat and dirt. One of the most variable causes of underarm itching is lack of hygiene. People who do not clean their underarms more than once a day are more at risk of experiencing underarm itching than those who do.
  • Candida Yeast Infection – Candida Albicans is yeast commonly present within the body. However, decreased immunity can cause an overgrowth of yeast especially in moist areas. Yeast infections are extremely common in the groin, armpit and mouth. This fungus may cause the skin under the armpit to peel and itch. A red rash may also be present.
  • Axillary Hyperhidrosis– This is a condition that causes excessive sweating for no apparent reason. It is an extremely socially embarrassing condition that can result in stained armpits in clothing and excessive body odor and itching. This condition occurs due to the overstimulation of the sweat glands.
  • Miliaria Rubra – This is heat rash that causes itching after exposure to hot and humid environments. Heat rash occurs when the sweat glands are blocked. Miliaria Rubra may also cause red bumps to appear on the armpit.
  • Inverse Psoriasis – This is a condition that causes the overgrowth of skin cells. This causes symptoms such as, smooth, thick, scaly skin and dry or red patches. Inverse psoriasis under the arm can cause pain, as well as, itching. Obesity is one reason that can increase the onset of inverse psoriasis.
  • Dermatitis – This condition causes inflammation and itching of the skin under the arms. Skin lesions and redness are common symptoms of dermatitis. This may occur due to an allergic reaction to antibiotics, perfume, laundry soap and detergents.
  • Deodorants and Antiperspirants – Sometimes, items used for hygienic purposes may also cause itching under the arms. Deodorants and antiperspirants clog sweat glands and leads to Miliaria Rubra and another condition known as, Hidradenitis suppurativa. This condition causes itchiness, blackheads and abscesses.

Treatment for Itchy Armpits

Treatment of the itchy armpits will include general measures that are aimed at improved hygiene and more specific measures that involve medications. In order to avoid excessive perspiring under the armpits, it is advisable to avoid hot and humid conditions and to wear cotton clothes. Some people are allergic to certain deodorants and cosmetics and hence, these should be avoided as well, if suspected of causing irritations and itching. Specific treatment of itchy armpits rash involves diagnosis and treatment of any specific dermatological conditions causing the itching.

Continued itching under the arms can be extremely uncomfortable. Therefore, it should be checked by a doctor. The treatment will depend on the root cause of the itching. Here are some treatments for itchy armpits caused by different reasons.

  • If the itchiness is caused by lack of hygiene, the doctor may advice the patient to practice good, personal hygiene. They may also be prescribed with a mild anti-bacterial soap.
  • Candida yeast infections of the armpit may require oral or topical anti-fungal medication.
  • The most effective method of treating axillary hyperhidrosis is with aluminum chloride hexahydrate 10-25% solution or gel. However, if symptoms persist, 1% hydrocortisone cream can be used twice daily for a few days.
  • Most cases of heat rash or miliaria rubra and inverse psoriasis can be treated with calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream.
  • Itchy armpits due to an allergic reaction can be managed by avoiding coming into contact with the item or product that causes the allergy.
  • Itching caused by deodorants and antiperspirants can be avoided by using roll-on products with mild, natural ingredients.

Itching under the armpits is not natural and should not be ignored. As it is treatable, there is no reason for you to suffer in silence. Therefore, if you are suffering from this condition, it is best that you seek medical treatment to prevent discomfort associated with this irritation.


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