Why Your Armpits Itch: 6 Common Factors
It could be that your armpit irritants are a result of your deodorants or shaving.
Find out the source of your itch by taking a quick quiz.
To scratch your pits, take this quick test
Your armpits are especially prone to itching due to the combination of heat, moisture, and body hair.
An allergy to a common household item (like deodorant or shaving cream) is usually to blame. However, a fungal or yeast overgrowth in the hair follicles (folliculitis) can also lead to infection and irritation.
Changing soaps or applying an over-the-counter antifungal treatment is usually all that's needed to alleviate itchy armpits. Itching can be stopped with the help of medications prescribed by your doctor for more severe cases.
- Nodules that can be pink or red, forming around hair follicles.
- Scratching or hurting
- Red, pus-filled bumps
Inflammation of the hair follicle, also known as folliculitis Hair folliculitis develops when bacteria (typically staphylococcus aureus) invade the hair follicle, triggering an inflammatory response and pus production. This bacteria can enter the body through cuts, and it can even survive on an old razor. Extreme itching and/or pain may result.
Folliculitis often heals without treatment. Antibiotic creams and pills may be prescribed by your doctor for more serious cases. If you have folliculitis, you should not use a razor. Another measure you can take to avoid folliculitis is to regularly swap out your razor blade.
Find out the source of your itch by taking a quick quiz.
Try this quick test about that itch in your pits.
Laser hair removal has the potential to alleviate ingrown hairs. This will stop the hair from entering the follicle, which is what triggers the itch-inducing reaction. —M. D. Levy
- Pimples of pink or red near hair follicles.
- Pain or itch
- An under-the-skin hair coiled in the bump's center.
When hair grows back into the skin, it forms an ingrown hair. The body treats it as an invader and responds by flooding the hair with inflammatory cells. Causes a painful, itchy, red or pink bump around the hair. People with thicker or coarser hair tend to be more susceptible to them.
Ingrown hairs can be treated by skipping shaving for a few days. To reduce swelling, your doctor may recommend a steroid cream to be applied topically or perform a quick in-office procedure to remove hair from the bump.
If ingrown hairs are a problem for you, remember to always shave in the direction of hair growth and to use a fresh razor blade each time.
- Red or pink rash with itching
- Pimple-like rash with a clear edge
- Scaly rash
Psoriasis is a skin condition caused by an autoimmune reaction in which normal skin cells are targeted for destruction. It results in extremely itchy, red, thickened skin. Psoriasis is most common in the armpits, but it can also appear on the scalp, knees, and elbows. Inverse psoriasis is the name given to psoriasis that appears under the arms.
Topical treatments, oral medications, and phototherapy with either natural or artificial light are all used in treatment. Weight loss, giving up smoking, and learning to cope with stress are just some of the many life changes that can be extremely beneficial.
- A red bumpy area of skin
- Itchy underarms
- Foul odor
Candida is a type of yeast that thrives in hot, humid places like the underarm. Risk factors for this skin infection include being overweight, having diabetes, or recently using antibiotics. Red bumps (satellitosis) encircle a bright red patch on a person with a yeast infection. Aside from being extremely irritating, it could also have an unpleasant odor.
Treatment for yeast infections typically entails antifungal drugs. Treatments can be applied topically (with clotrimazole or ketoconazole) or taken orally (with fluconazole). Keeping your blood sugar under control is essential for preventing a yeast infection if you have diabetes.
- Circular rash that can be either pink or red
- With a scaly edge
- That itchy feeling in your armpits
Skin-invading dermatophytes are responsible for tinea corporis (ringworm). It is also possible to contract ringworm by touching infected skin or contaminated surfaces, such as shared towels or bedding. It can be carried by dogs and cats, and it can be spread to humans. A ring-shaped rash, usually red or pink in color, with a scale around its perimeter is the result of the fungus.
Applying a topical antifungal medication (terbinafine) to the affected area is how ringworm is treated. Oral terbinafine may be required in extreme cases.
If you have recurrent infections, you may want to check your pets for the fungus. Get rid of your razor, because the fungus can grow on the blade. Personal hygiene items should not be shared.
Find out the root of your itch by taking a quick quiz.
Learn more about that itch in your pits by taking the quiz.
Itchy armpits can be caused by a number of other conditions as well, but this symptom is usually either not present or is a secondary one.
- Body lice
- Drug reaction (i e skin rash brought on by medication)
- Infrequent skin bacterial infection known as erythrasma
- Disease with the name "Hailey-Hailey"
- Skin condition known as lichen planus
- It's called Fox Fordyce disease.
Most cases of underarm itching can be remedied with over-the-counter remedies. However, if self-care measures are ineffective, see your family doctor. If you experience any of the following, you should also see a doctor:
- Skin rash getting worse
- Dispersal of a rash throughout the body
- Restlessness caused by itching
- Lymph nodes) in the armpits become enlarged.
If you notice any of the following symptoms of a more serious condition, you should visit the emergency room immediately:
- Armpit pain that won't go away
- Continual external bleeding that does not respond to pressure
Symptoms can be greatly reduced if hair removal is avoided for a few days. When there is a rash, shaving can be very uncomfortable due to the shaving cream and the metal razor blade. Levy, M.D.
- If you suspect that the itch is caused by an allergic reaction, try using a different deodorant, soap, or laundry detergent.
- Avoid using products with fragrances.
- Hold off on the razor until the rash clears up.
- Swap out the razor blade.
- Don't wash yourself as often Constant exposure to water can cause skin dryness and irritation.
- Contact dermatitis treatment with hydrocortisone cream available without a prescription
- Topical antifungal or anti-yeast cream for treating yeast infections or fungus infections
- Bug bite relief from over-the-counter antihistamines like Benadryl
Some of the things your doctor might recommend are:
- Antifungal pills for the treatment of a serious yeast or mold infection.
- Staphylococcus-related folliculitis and folliculitis that does not clear up on its own may benefit from oral antibiotics.
- Steroid creams for eczema and psoriasis, or other forms of skin irritation
- Psoriasis treatment using light (phototherapy)
- Psoriasis medication that suppresses the immune system, either orally or intravenously
Dermatology Department, Mount Sinai Hospital; Clinical Instructor
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