What is Armpit Rash?
An armpit rash affects the skin in your underarm and can cause changes in color, texture, smell, and feel of the underarm. The armpit is a spot that is susceptible to rash. Its delicate skin, the folds, and the heat can contribute to rash. The armpit rash may be itchy and difficult to hide or ignore.
If your underarm is itching, irritative, or looks like it has developed a rash, you want to know what’s the cause and the treatment option available. This kind of rash can affect people of all ages from children to adults and the symptoms may vary depending on the cause and the individual.
In some people an armpit rash comes and goes away quickly but in others, it can be nasty and won’t just go away. A rash causes the affected skin to be blotchy, red, and swollen in some cases. And while rashes vary in their location, extent, pattern, and feel, the armpit rash may indicate that there is something irritating in that area or it could mean a sign of a condition that affects the body.
Types of Armpit Rash
Armpit rash may be of different types and so are the symptoms. The various types of armpit rash include:
This is also known as eczema, and begins in childhood. Atopic dermatitis occurs in folds of the body such as in the backs of knees, inside the elbows, and in armpits. Atopic dermatitis is itchy, red, and can have crusts. Since atopic dermatitis causes intense itching, the rash can bleed if you continuously scratch it. At times, you may find that the eczema rashes are oozing or releasing clear fluid. People who have eczema tend to have flare-ups during certain periods of the year.
This is a skin irritation that is partly caused by the excessive production of sebum or the skin oils. Seborrheic dermatitis appears to have oily patches of scales or flakes unlike eczema, which has dry patches. Cradle cap is a form of seborrheic dermatitis experienced by infants. Seborrheic dermatitis mainly appears in face, armpits, scalp, and ears.
This skin condition is caused by irritants and allergens. It can occur under the armpits when the skin reacts to fragrances found in lotions and deodorants. It can also occur in armpits if the skin is reacting to new laundry detergents or a fabric.
This is a yeast or fungus infection. Candida or candidiasis occurs in moist areas of skin such as the underarms and fold areas. Candida infection can cause itching, swelling, scaling, and red rashes on the skin. In hot weather, Candida tends to worsen. It can also become worse when you are under tight clothing or due to poor hygiene. Candida is best treated and managed by use of antifungal creams. Using steroid creams could make the fungal infection to worsen.
Depending on the type of armpit rash and its cause, the symptoms may vary. Among the common symptoms include:
- Inflamed feeling
- Pus or discharge
- White or red rash
- Circular rings
- An underarm odor
- Burning sensation1,2
Causes of Armpit Rash
Sometimes, you may have a rash in armpits, which is accompanied by other symptoms such as chills, fever, cough, sore throat, swelling, runny nose, stiffness and painful joints. If you have the rash and is comes alongside other symptoms like face or lip and tongue swelling, choking, wheezing, difficulty breathing, a purple-colored rash, constriction or tightness in throat, chills, fever, and change in alertness and consciousness, you may want to seek immediate medical help.
Sweat and heat
An armpit rash may be caused by heat and sweat. The rash occurs when sweat ducts block and sweat is trapped beneath the skin. With this rash, the symptoms may be in form of deep color red lumps and superficial red blisters.
Heat and sweat rash will clean on its own. However, you may use calamine lotion or hydrocortisone to help soothe the symptoms. You may want to wear loose clothing to allow circulation of air and ensure there is reduced amount of sweat being trapped on body.
Fungus, yeast, and Candida
Armpit rash may be as a result of infections such as yeast, Candida, or fungus. Rashes caused by infections like these may be common in areas of the body where the skin rubs together including the armpits, skin folds, groin, and between the toes and fingers.
Candida albicans can easily grow in warm, sweaty, moist environments and that is why you find it occurring in armpit, which provides these conditions for growth of Candida. A Candida fungus infection is going to have pus-filled pimples, soreness, redness, flaking, scales, cracked skin, circular rings, and itchy rash.
To treat Candida fungus rash, a doctor may use antifungal medications. The prescription and OTC drugs for treating Candida fungus infection and rash include ketoconazole, clotrimazole, and Nystatin.
Hidradenitis suppurativa disease
This disease can cause armpit rash. Also referred to as acne inversa, hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) starts with pimple-like bumps appearing on the skin. The bumps may develop in areas such as the groin and underarms. The skin condition may look like boils, pimples, folliculitis, or deep acne like cysts or blackheads. The bumps could worsen and grow deeper into the skin causing more pain.
If you shave the underarms using something like a razor, it may break or cause irritation to the skin, cause ingrown hair, razor burn or red bumps. Shaving can also cause infection to the delicate skin of the underarms.
You may want to try laser hair removal, shaving creams, or waxing to prevent armpit rash.
During the initial stages of HIV virus infection, rashes may appear in different parts of the body including the chest, shoulders, or armpits. In two months following an infection, you will have a rash that has flat, lightly raised bumps. The rash may also have small, red spots or dots in people having light colored skin. The rash related to HIV is itchy and it will disappear on its own in about three weeks.
In the event that a HIV rash is itchy, you may use medications like Benadryl or hydrocortisone cream that help in reducing the itchiness. You should also avoid direct sunlight, hot showers, or hot baths because they tend to worsen the rash.
People allergic to substances such as body lotions, cosmetic, fragrances, detergents, soaps, and shaving cream may experience a rash when they come in contact with these products. If you use a deodorant and antiperspirant products, you may develop a rash. The rash may be itchy and red.
You may want to change from these products and use the ones that are hypoallergenic.
Other causes of armpit rash include:
- Staph infection
- Armpit ringworm
- Lymphoma cancer
- Pityriasis rosea
- Kawasaki disease
- Lyme disease
- Stings and bites
- Disseminated granuloma annulare
- Shingles, a medical condition that causes red, patchy blisters having fluids. The blisters can break and itch.
- Diabetes makes people vulnerable to fungal infections
- Pregnancy makes a woman vulnerable to yeast infection, which can spread to the armpits.1,4,3
Treatment of armpit rash depends on the cause and the severity. Some rash such as that caused by HIV during the initial stages of the infections may disappear, however, sometimes, you may need to use medications like Benadryl or hydrocortisone cream. If the rash has been caused by Candida fungal infection, an antifungal medication may be applied on the affected area or taken orally. Candida fungal infection may be treated using medications such as ketoconazole, clotrimazole, and Nystatin.
Other medications that may be used to treat itchy armpit rash include:
- Anti-inflammatory medicines
- Creams with hydrocortisone
- Phenol camphor
Home remedies may also help in treating armpit rash. These include 4,3,2:
- Tea tree oil, aloe Vera, and vitamin E oil – which help reduce inflammation and sooth itching and pain
- Ice packs can help reduce pain and itchiness
- Taking vitamin C helps reduce skin infections
- Baking soda can help you feel drier if you apply on the armpit. When you add it in bathing water, it helps clear the skin and improve its health.
How to Prevent?
There are tips that can help you prevent and get rid of armpit rash and they include:
- Wearing loose clothing that are designed of natural fibers
- Keeping a high level of personal hygiene by cleaning the rash areas and other moist and folded parts of the body
- Properly drying the skin
- Staying in a well conditioned room, especially in times of warm weather.
Below are pictures, images of armpit rash
- How to Treat an Armpit Rash. http://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-get-rid-of-an-armpit-rash
- Armpit Rash. https://www.medhealthdaily.com/armpit-rash/
- Armpit rash causes, symptoms, and home remedies. http://www.belmarrahealth.com/armpit-rash-causes-symptoms-and-home-remedies/
- Underarm Rash Causes, Pictures, Painful, Red & Itchy Rash Treatment. http://www.healcure.org/armpit/underarm-rash/underarm-rash-causes-pictures-painful-red-itchy-rash-treatment/