There are many reasons that can cause itchy armpits. Some of them are completely harmless and the discomfort caused by them is easy to treat. However, a few of these conditions are serious and will require medical attention. The sooner you receive the necessary treatment for this problem, the better your chances of a complete recovery.
Why Are My Armpits So Itchy?
The first thing you need to do in order to get rid of this highly unpleasant feeling is to determine the cause of the problem.
Medical conditions that can lead to itchy armpits and rash are:
- Allergic contact dermatitis – This condition occurs when something that touches your skin causes an allergic reaction. It is usually characterized by redness, itchiness and blisters. It should be treated by using specialized allergy medications.
- Irritant contact dermatitis – This is similar to allergic contact dermatitis, but it’s actually “lighter” than allergy. It rarely causes blisters and should heal on its own if you stop using the product that causes this reaction. Usually, those are soaps, deodorants, or perfume. If your skin is very sensitive, this reaction can occur due to dry air or clothes that rub against your armpits.
- Hyperhidrosis – This condition is also known as excessive sweating. The cause of it is unknown, so there is no effective treatment for it. If you are diagnosed with hyperhidrosis, you will have to rely on various antiperspirant products to alleviate the problem.
- Psoriasis – This is a skin problem that is characterized by the appearance of red plaques with silvery scales. Psoriasis is caused by your immune system attacking your cells and must be treated as any other autoimmune condition. There are also several homemade remedies that can be efficient in dealing with the skin irritation caused by this condition.
- Candidiasis – It’s a type of skin infection caused by yeast. Its symptoms are extreme itchiness, irritation, redness and appearance of white plaques. This infection will require specialized topical treatment. In severe cases, you may also be prescribed oral medications.
- Acanthosis nigricans – This is a type of skin disorder that is characterized by brownish spots appearing in the armpits, groin area, under the breasts or on your neck. Itchiness is not a common symptom for this condition, but it may occur in some cases.
- Ringworm – This is a very common and extremely unpleasant fungal infection that doesn’t actually involve any worms. It causes itchiness, redness and a special ring-shaped type of rash. You will need to use both topical treatments and specialized medication for infection in order to get rid of them.
- Armpit abscess – This type of abscess appears when infected fluid collects in your armpit. The pus which fills the abscess is usually tainted by staphylococcus. Infections caused by this type of bacteria are very common. They can be difficult to treat due to the fact that some staphylococcus strains are resistant to antibiotics. An abscess of any kind is a serious problem that must be dealt with immediately.
- Intertrigo – This condition occurs when the moist and warm skin of your armpits becomes irritated by external factors. Its symptoms are redness, itchiness and burning. It should be easy to treat using topical antiseptic and antiperspirant.
- Hidradenitis suppurativa – This is a long-term skin problem that causes red tender bumps to appear in your armpits or groin. It is chronic and will require specialized treatment. The bumps may become inflamed and turn into abscesses.
- Armpit folliculitis – This occurs when the hair follicles in your armpits become inflamed. It is caused by a bacterial infection. Folliculitis is easily treated by applying topical medication. If the case isn’t severe, the problem can disappear on its own when your immune system gets stronger.
- Erythrasma – This is a chronic problem that leads to the appearance of red-brown patches of skin in your armpits and groin. In severe cases, it can spread to other moist areas of your skin.
- Armpit furuncles – Furuncles appear when hair follicles become inflamed due to bacterial infection. They need to be treated topically by applying special medication and keeping your skin as clean and dry as possible.
- Axillary lymphadenopathy – This is a serious problem that causes your lymph nodes to become enlarged. The affected lymph nodes can cause a great deal of pain and the skin around them will become tender. It can be caused by an infection, cancer, or other causes. It’s imperative to seek medical attention immediately after you notice an enlargement in your armpits.
Apart from the medical reasons, the most common factor that can make your armpits itchy is a lack of proper hygiene. Keep your armpits clean at all times and use a suitable deodorant or antiperspirant product that will prevent excessive sweating. Avoid alcohol-based deodorants as they can cause irritation.
Homemade Treatments for Itchy Armpits
The vast majority of conditions that cause your armpits to become itchy and irritated can be cured by changing your personal hygiene habits and using some simple homemade remedies.
The best natural treatments for this problem are:
- Aloe gel – If you have an aloe vera plant in your home, you can crush a few of its leaves and apply the mush to the affected area and leave it there for about 10-15 minutes. This will allow your skin to absorb the juice. Clean it off using warm water and a soft towel.
- Cold water/milk and turmeric – Make a cold compress soaked in water or milk with a teaspoon of turmeric mixed in it. The cold will soothe the irritated skin. The antibacterial properties of turmeric will help deal with the infection.
- Baking soda – Apply a bit of baking soda to your armpits every time after you take a shower. This will help prevent infections as this soft scrub will remove all the dead skin cells as well as microscopic parts of dirt and sweat.
- Cucumber juice and lime – Mix together one part of cucumber juice and one part of lime juice. You can also add a teaspoon of turmeric and make a paste that can be applied to the top of the inflamed area. This treatment will not only soothe pain and itchiness and deal with infection, but it can also lighten the skin of your armpits.
Remember the basic prevention rules that will ensure that you don’t suffer any of the unpleasant conditions caused by bacteria or fungi.
- Wash your armpits at least twice a day: in the morning and before bed.
- Wear loose fitting clothes made from natural fabric. Of course, it will be impossible to follow this rule all the time. However, you should keep it in mind when shopping for clothes.
- Use an antiperspirant product that fits your skin type and reapply it every time after you wash the area.
If the irritation doesn’t disappear after a few days of “home treatment”, you should consult a doctor. As the majority of the conditions that affect armpits are indicators of your immune system malfunction, you may require a comprehensive treatment program to deal with the issue.
It’s imperative to contact a medical specialist immediately if you notice any enlargement in your armpits.