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Armpit Rash

Armpit rash can be a little distressing due to the irritation and itching that go with it. If you are down with armpit rash, the tendency is that you keep scratching your armpit in public. This, of course, keeps people’s attention focused on you all of the times. But should you continue with such embarrassment? I don’t think so.

You may have believed there is no solution to your problems. You are dead wrong! Armpit rash has a cure. And that is exactly what we are going to show you in this post. Apart from showing you the cure, we will also let you know the causes, and why you used to have armpit rash. Just relax and enjoy the post, making sure you read it to the end.

Why do I have Armpit rash?

armpit rash

You may have armpit rash whether you are an adult (male or female) or kid/child (toddler or baby). But most times, you can be prone to armpit or underarm rash if you are an active athlete who is involved regularly in physical exercises, you have a sensitive skin type, or if you work in hot/humid weather conditions.

So, if you belong to any of the above-listed groups, you suffer more from armpit rash while others may not. It is relatively normal to see people who are involved in extremely demanding physical activities developing underarm rash even though the weather may not be too hot at the time. Some of the signs and symptoms of armpit rash include itching, rash, pain, bad odor, and skin discoloration.

Causes of Armpit rash

Armpit rash or underarm rash is caused by several factors. Some of the known causes include underarm shaving, infection, deodorants, extremely hot temperatures, acne, herpes, contact dermatitis, HIV infection, ringworm, and a host of others. So, let’s look at each of them and the role they play.

Underarm shaving

underarm shaving rash

Shaving of the armpit with a razor blade can lead to skin breakage, irritation, razor burn, ingrown hair, raised skin bumps, infection, sensitive armpit which can result in an armpit shaving rash. This is particularly made worse if the razor blade is an old one. Rashes can as well occur after epilating or plucking hairs from the armpit. There could also be armpit rash after waxing. It is always better to make use of laser hair removal, short strokes, or shaving creams to reduce damage to the skin.

Deodorants and Antiperspirants

Some deodorants and antiperspirants can make you become prone to armpit rashes. They cause this in three ways. First, they can alter the nature of the resident bacteria that inhabit the skin of the armpit thereby making them cause infections (they usually don’t cause any problem if left undisturbed).

The second way they cause rash in the armpit is that antiperspirants try to block the sweat pores so as to reduce perspiration. This invariably alters the body’s natural way of getting rid of byproducts and limiting bacterial growth. Alteration in this mechanism enables the bacteria to cause problems leading to rash in the armpit.

The third way is that you may be allergic to one or more of the ingredients in the deodorant or antiperspirant. The allergic reaction often leads to the development of itchy, reddish, bumpy rashes that can be accompanied with blisters, peeling, flaking or bad odor.

If your armpit rash is traceable to deodorants and antiperspirants, it is advisable to change them. You can make use of hypoallergenic ones like Stiefel B-Drier, Almay Hypo-Allergenic Fragrance Free Roll-On, Crystal Stick Body Deodorant (for sensitive skin), or Mitchum Roll-On Unscented (antiperspirant).

Ringworms

armpit ringworm infection

Underarm rash may as well be caused by Ringworm or tinea. Tinea axillaris produces a scaly, crusted rash with round, red, skin patches, especially on the armpit area. Other symptoms may include patchy hair loss, itching, and scaly, blister-like lesions.

Lymphoma cancer

The presence of Lymphoma occasionally leads to itchy rash in skin folds, including the armpits. This rash may come with swelling of the lymph nodes usually in the underarm.

Hidradenitis Suppurativa

This condition also referred to as acne inversa is an abscess of the skin which is accompanied with severe pain and scarring. It mostly affects the armpit, anus, groin, buttocks and breasts. It can also spread to the back, neck, face or legs. The condition is believed to be caused by the inflammation of hair follicles or blockade of the apocrine sweat gland, though its actual cause is unknown.

Hidradenitis Suppurativa can be cured with the use of retinoid (Vitamin A) based medications, corticosteroids, cyclosporin, biologics infliximab, adalimumab, surgical or laser treatments.

Fungal or yeast infection

Candida or yeast infection results in fungal armpit rash, though they infect any part of the body. Candida is mostly found in places where two skin areas rub against each other or touch. Such areas include the armpits, skin folds, groins, in between the toes and the fingers.

Candida albicans which causes Candida skin rash is known to flourish in warm, sweaty and moist environments. This is why it has a particular affinity for the armpits. Other conditions that help it to proliferate and spread include hot weather, wearing restrictive or tight-fitting clothing, and poor hygiene.

Certain conditions like obesity, diabetes, compromised immunity (such as in HIV infection), antibiotics treatment, pregnancy or some inflammatory disorders can make an individual to become predisposed to Candida infection. Most of the times, the disease condition presents with itchy rashes, scaling or flaking, soreness, pimples filled with pus, red purple patches, whitish or yellowish substances on the affected area, etc.

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Heat Rash and Sweat Rash

Blocked sweat ducts can trap perspiration under the skin thereby leading to heat rash. With the increase in heat also comes an increase in moisture, friction and chafing in the armpit. These eventually result in rashes and discomfort. The rashes appear like pimples or may contain raised red bumps or even have some blisters and they are predominant during hot weathers like in the summer. Heat rash in armpits affects mainly children, though it can also affect adults.

Heat rash usually disappears on its own, when the hot temperature abates. So, you do not need any special cure for it. However, you can minimize the effect of heat rash on your skin by wearing loose and cool clothes during the hot weather. You can also apply hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion which produces a relief or soothing effect on the skin.

Contact Dermatitis

Armpit rash periodically comes as a result of allergic reaction to different chemicals like shaving cream, cosmetics, detergents, certain synthetic clothing materials, soap, body lotions or fragrances. When any of these chemicals gets in contact with the armpit, it leads to allergic rashes.

Staphylococcal infection

Staphylococcus aureus mostly infects the skin through poor hygiene, contact with contaminated surfaces, intravenous catheters or surgical procedures.

Staph usually affects areas that are scratched, rubbed or broken. It also infects areas with plenty body hairs like the armpits, beard, buttocks and back of the neck. There is red and painful swelling of the infected area, filled with yellowish or whitish fluid.

Staph infection can be prevented by regular washing of the hands, personal hygiene, proper shower after athletic events, non-sharing of personal effects (like razors, towels, athletic equipment, bed sheets), and sanitization of linens.

Seborrheic Dermatitis

The excessive production of sebum or skin oil leads to seborrheic dermatitis, which is characterized by oily patches of flakes or scales with intense irritation. The rashes are mainly found in the armpits, scalp, face and ears. The excessive oil makes the flakes to look yellow or white. Sometimes, the rash can appear in infants and they are then referred to as cradle cap.

How to get rid of Armpit Rash

There are several ways to get rid of armpit rash. We are going to take a look at a few ones that you can easily employ to bring some comfort into your life.

Over-The-Counter Medications

Heat rashes can be relieved by the use of over-the-counter medications like Hydrocortisone cream and calamine lotion. They provide a soothing effect and help to reduce skin irritation.

Antifungal cream

The use of antifungal cream can help take care of Candida infection. Antifungal creams containing Nystatin, ketoconazole or Clotrimazole are particularly helpful in combating the fungi responsible for the infection. Fungal infection treatments usually last for several weeks in order to completely get rid of the spores.

Antibiotics treatment

Since some forms of underarm rashes are caused by Staphylococcus aureus, the best way to treat them is to make use of antibiotics.

See the doctor

If the rash becomes stubborn and refuses to respond to the above measures, it is time to visit the doctor who may carry out special tests or prescribe some drugs for you. The doctor (dermatologist) knows exactly what could be the cause of the rash and the best medication to use for its treatment.

Home remedies

No matter how funny your armpit rash could be, there is certainly something you can do to alleviate the pain, itching, irritation or swelling. Some of the home remedies to use include but not limited to the following:

  • Use Baking Soda: One good way to take care of the rash and make it heal faster is to make use of baking soda. Add some baking soda to your water and use it to bathe or simply apply the baking soda to your armpit without allowing it to get wet. It helps to maintain some dryness and reduce the spread of the underarm rash.
  • Ice pack: This can produce a soothing effect on heat rashes and minimize the level of itching, pain and irritation. Apply the ice pack to the armpit and leave it there for some time. Repeat this several times daily.
  • Apply Lemon: The citrus extract in lemon squeeze helps in destroying the bacteria in your armpit. Cut a fresh lemon and wipe the juice around your armpit. This acts as a deodorant and at the same time inhibits the growth of bacteria. But avoid applying the juice immediately after shaving, though you can apply it after sweating.
  • Tea Tree Oil: This is quite helpful in getting rid of the fungus responsible for the infection. Apart from getting rid of the fungus, Tea Tree oil also assists in reducing itching thereby bringing some skin relief. Dip a cotton ball in tea tree oil that is mixed in water. Apply it to the affected skin and leave it there for some time before washing it off with water.
  • Potassium Alum: The astringent and sterilization properties of Potassium Alum help in slowing down the growth and development of the bacteria responsible for underarm rash. Potassium Alum is found in stone-form and it’s quite affordable.
  • Alcohol Spray: Fill isopropyl alcohol into a bottle and spray it lightly under your armpits. If you wish to make a fragrance of it, add a few drops of essential oil such as mint or lavender. It will help to keep the armpit dry and also inhibit bacterial growth.
  • Other home remedies you can also use include Coconut oil, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, hot compresses, Aloe Vera, good personal hygiene, Neem oil, and a host of others.

Armpit Rash and HIV

Rash in the Armpit is usually present in the early stage of HIV infection, though the rash can also spread to other parts of the body like the shoulders, chest or back. This is common in the first two months of the infection, with the rash manifesting as barely raised or flat rashes with small reddish dots or spots. This looks like eczema in light-skinned individuals, or black/dark purple in dark-skinned people.
Usually, the armpit rash caused by HIV is hardly itchy and will go away within three weeks. But whereby there is itching, the use of Benadryl or Hydrocortisone cream can go a long way in relieving the itch.

Pictures of Armpit rash

Have a look at some of the pictures of armpit rash:
armpit rash pictures

armpit rash photos

Armpit rash after Shaving

Armpit rash after shaving is usually caused by the use of dull razor blades that causes skin irritation, razor burn or minor injury to the skin thereby allowing infective organisms to gain entry through the broken skin. Epilating or plucking of the hairs can also give rise to rash in the underarm.

Conclusion

Though armpit rash has different causes, a lot of treatments and home remedies are available to provide you some respite. If you are suffering from armpit rash make sure you apply the solutions we have provided here. Your rash would be gone in a matter of days or a few weeks.


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