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Armpit rash: 6 causes and how to treat it

If your underarms are itchy and look reddish, you might have armpit rash. Check out the causes of armpit rash and how to prevent it.
What causes armpit rash
Know what causes an armpit rash! Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Natalia Ningthoujam Published: 29 Jul 2023, 04:30 pm IST
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If you can’t stop scratching your underarms and they appear reddish, you might have armpit rash. They can be really uncomfortable and even painful at times. With all the heat and humidity, armpit rash shouldn’t come as a surprise to you. There are many causes of armpit rash and also ways to prevent the underarm itching and redness.

To know about armpit rash, Health Shots connected with Dr Urvi Panchal, a dermatologist and cosmetologist based in Gurugram.

Armpit rash can be due to many reasons. Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

Causes of armpit rash

It’s not always about the heat and humidity. There are many causes of rashes in the underarm area. Here are some of the most common causes of armpit rash:

1. Intertrigo

It is an inflammatory skin condition that is caused when your skin gets rubbed. It gets intensified by heat and moisture and usually looks like a reddish rash, says Dr Panchal. Moisture gets trapped, which is usually due to sweating. It makes the surfaces of your skin to stick together in your skin folds. The moisture increases the friction, which further leads to skin inflammation and damage.

2. Allergic contact dermatitis

Contact dermatitis happens when your skin comes in contact with an allergen or irritant. This allergic reaction usually develops within a few hours of exposure to allergens or irritants. They are usually itchy, red and irritable to the skin.

Some of the causes of contact dermatitis are:

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• Chemicals found in cleaning detergents and personal care products like deodorants and talcum powder.
• Environmental allergens.
• Medicines.
• Insect stings or bites.

Armpit rash feels itchy and may appear reddish. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

3. Ringworm infection

Ringworm on your body is a rash that is caused by a fungal infection, says the expert. It’s usually an itchy, circular rash with clearer skin in the middle, and that’s why it’s called ringworm. No worm is involved though! It’s just a scaly ring-shaped lesion in the armpits. And sweating is the most common cause behind it.

4. Seborrheic dermatitis

It is an inflammation of the upper layers of skin. You will know it is seborrheic dermatitis if your skin is red and itchy and sheds scales. It might be a hereditary condition and is often aggravated by hormonal changes and cold weather conditions, says Dr Panchal.

5. Mililria

It is a common skin problem that is caused by blockage or inflammation of eccrine sweat ducts. Miliaria is frequently seen in hot, humid or tropical climates. We know it as heat rash or prickly heat.

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6. Hidradenitis suppurativa

It is a skin condition that causes painful lumps deep in your skin. These lumps usually develop on parts of the body where skin touches skin like armpits. It is usually a bacterial infection.

Tips to treat armpit rash

You need to first visit a dermatologist to identify and diagnose the cause of underarm rash. If it’s a fungal infection, start applying antifungal creams. In case of allergies, the treatment will be mostly soothing lotions, says the expert. As for bacterial infections, you will be given antibiotics. Sometimes even doing something as simple as changing your deodorant can help to get rid of armpit rash. You can always prevent armpit rash with these ways:

• Identify and avoid allergens whenever possible.
• Use unscented and fragrance-free personal care products.
• Bath regularly in lukewarm water and maintain hygiene.
• Use anti-chafing powders when it gets hot or you are exercising.
• Wear clothes and undergarments that fit properly, they shouldn’t be too tight.
• Wash clothes, bedding and towels frequently.
• Wash your hands after being around soil, animals and plants.

Armpit rash can happen to anyone. Find out about the cause and then go for the appropriate treatment.

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About the Author

Natalia Ningthoujam has written on various subjects - from music to films and fashion to lifestyle - as a journalist in her career that started in 2010. After getting stories from the crime scene, police headquarters, and conducting interviews with celebrities, she is now writing on health and wellness which has become her focus area. ...Read More

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