What is Armpit Rash?
Armpit rash is considered a skin change under the arm, which will change the color and even the texture of the underarm. This armpit rash can be quite embarrassing and uncomfortable, but luckily it is easily treated even with at home remedies.
Armpit rash can affect everyone, both male and female of any ages. The signs and symptoms of this armpit rash differ from one person to the other, mainly based on its underlying cause. In some cases, the armpit rash starts immediately and resolves quickly, with a tendency for recurrence from time to time, while in other cases the armpit rash tends to last for weeks and even months.
Due to armpit rash, the skin under the arm will become red and swollen, accompanied by mild, moderate and sometimes even severe rash. If an armpit rash appears, in general, it is a sign of an irritation of the specific area under the arm. However, it could be a sign of a medical condition affecting the human body.
As armpit rashes are embarrassing, quite uncomfortable and difficult to hide it is very important to determine the real cause behind this armpit rash and treat it correctly as soon as possible. (1)
Signs & Symptoms of armpit rash
Armpit rash varies in its location, extension, and pattern from one person to the other based on the underlying cause. However, common signs and symptoms of an armpit rash include
- Skin redness under the arms,
- Red blotches,
- Red patches,
- Red or white bumps, usually small in size,
- Presence of pus, etc.
Other signs and symptoms that are often noticed in cases of an armpit rash and which are indicators of a health condition affecting the human body include fever, chills, cough, sore throat, joint stiffness, headache, etc. (1,2)
If despite the treatment of the armpit rash, the situation tends to persist or even get worse, a person should seek professional medical help.
Many medical conditions can lead to an armpit rash, making the diagnosis very difficult sometimes. In certain cases, people tend to know what have caused the irritation of their armpit area and what could be the possible cause of their armpit rash. In this cases, the diagnosis is easy and the treatment as well.
The most common causes of armpit rash include: (2,3)
- Food allergies,
- Allergies from an insect bite,
- Contact dermatitis – an allergy to various chemical products used by people worldwide such as deodorants, detergents, dyes, etc.
- Seborrheic dermatitis – an irritation of the skin due to excessive production of the sebum. Due to excessive oil, these oily patches or flakes tend to be yellow or white.
- Eczema – commonly known also as atopic dermatitis, is a skin rash which usually starts during childhood and which can affect the area under the arms, as well as, other folds of the body such as inside the elbows, the back area of the knees, etc. Eczema is characterized by skin redness, itchiness, and even crusts can appear. Due to continuous scratching of the affected area, bleedings are common as well, which will just increase the possibility of getting an infection. Eczema is also characterized by flare – ups and periods of remission where the skin may appear totally normal.
- Allergies to industrial chemicals – such as in latex, rubber, elastic, etc.
- Folliculitis – an inflammation of the hair follicles under the arms, usually occurring in people who shave their armpits,
- Candida infection – a yeast infection with Candida mostly occurring due to poor personal hygiene,
- Lyme disease – a bacterial infection caused by Borrelia. This disease is transmitted to humans from tick bites and is characterized by a skin rash, known as erythema migrans, which can affect the armpit area as well. The skin rash starts at the site of the tick bite about one week after.
Armpit rash caused by Lyme disease
- Pityriasis rosea – is a common skin condition characterized by an oval or round pink patch, usually single with raised borders, which can last for at least 6 weeks and even months.
- Ringworm – also known as tinea, causes a round crusty and red rash under the armpit.
- Scarlet fever – is a bacterial infection occurring in people who have a strep throat. The skin rash in scarlet fever usually covers the entire body, including the armpit area. This rash looks like a sunburn, starting from the face and neck, spreading to other body parts gradually as well.
- Meningitis – can cause a faint skin rash which can appear anywhere in the body, including the armpit area. These tiny pinpricks can be red, pink or purple.
- Autoimmune diseases – like psoriasis, epidermolysis bullosa, etc.
- Extreme cold,
- Extreme heat,
- Acne, etc.
Treatment & Home Remedies
In many cases, armpit rash can be easily treated with at home remedies. First of all, if you know that a certain irritant is causing your armpit rash, you should avoid this irritant in the future. This is especially true for cosmetic products such as deodorants, various skin creams or lotions, etc. If you shave your armpit area constantly which is followed by a skin irritation of this area, you should try other methods for getting rid of your body hair and avoid shaving the area under your arms in the future. If you tend to wear tight clothes, try switching to loose cotton clothes instead, and you will soon notice the desired changes. (1,2,3,4)
- Ice cubes, when placed on the affected area, can help eliminate the skin rash and itchiness.
- Lemon slices will help eliminate any bacteria due to its citric acid. If you use lemon slices, you will not need a deodorant.
- Coconut oil, tea tree oil, and even lavender are great against skin irritation, redness, itchiness and fungal infections.
If home remedies can’t help resolve your problem and your armpit rash still persists, you can always try over the counter medications such as hydrocortisone creams or over the counter antifungal creams in cases of a fungal infection.
If nothing of the above – mentioned treatments work, you should seek professional medical help and get the right diagnosis and the necessary treatment.
When left untreated, armpit rash can lead to serious complications, mostly bacterial or fungal infections of the affected area. Bacterial or fungal infections are characterized by pustules, which are red bumps in the skin filled with fluid. They are inflamed and itchy, often leaving scars when scratched.
The most important thing when it comes to the prevention of armpit rash is maintaining a good personal hygiene.
In cases when you notice that certain cosmetic products irritate your skin, including your armpit skin you should avoid using them in the future.
If your rash does not seem to be caused by a specific cause, then it is smart to seek professional medical help and get the right diagnosis and treatment, especially in cases when the armpit rash tends to last for weeks and even months, or when the armpit rash tends to get worse over time.
Try to wear cotton clothing and avoid wearing tight clothes, especially those made of synthetic materials as the skin under the armpit can’t breathe correctly and the sweat can’t escape.
In cases when your armpit rash is caused by heat or cold, commonly during summer and winter, use talcum powder during the hot days and try to stay in cool and air – conditioned places as well. This will stop your rash from occurring and even make it better within a very short period of time. (4)
If the armpit rash does not resolve with at home remedies, as well as, over the counter medications, you should seek medical help and get the necessary medical treatment.
- Underarm Rash Causes, Pictures, Treatment and Remedies, Retrieve from: http://www.health.knowfacts.org/armpit/underarm-rash-causes-pictures-toddlers-treatment-remedies/
- Underarm Rash Causes, Pictures, Painful, Red & Itchy Rash Treatment, Retrieve from: http://www.healcure.org/armpit/underarm-rash/underarm-rash-causes-pictures-painful-red-itchy-rash-treatment/
- Underarm Rashes, Retrieve from: http://www.health.howstuffworks.com/skin-care/underarm-care/problems/underarm-rashes1.htm
- How to Treat an Armpit Rash, Retrieve from: http://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-get-rid-of-armpit-rash#Types3