More than just uncomfortable, armpit rashes can be concerning. They can occur fairly suddenly and the cause is often uncertain. This lends confusion to symptoms like redness, itching, dryness, and discomfort.
With this guide, you can learn how to easily identify and prevent armpit rashes. To start we take a look at the most common types of rash.
Types of Armpit Rash
The exact type of rash can only be definitively diagnosed by a doctor. But some key differentiators can help give you an idea of the underlying problem. If your armpit rash persists, shows signs of infection, or causes serious discomfort, you should visit a medical professional.
Contact dermatitis is a rash resulting from an allergic reaction or direct contact with an irritant. This type of rash is itchy and causes discomfort, but is not medically severe. An allergic rash is not contagious or life-threatening.
If you believe you are suffering from contact dermatitis, try to determine the source. Common irritants include soaps, jewelry, plants, cosmetics, and fabrics. If the rash is new, consider any recent changes you’ve made. Are you trying out a new deodorant, cologne, or body wash? It’s possible you are reacting to one of the ingredients. Try to avoid using the product and see if the rash dissipates.
Underarm chafing is a result of friction and moisture in your armpits. The skin rubbing against itself or the fabric of your shirt can result in an uncomfortable stinging or burning sensation. This results in a red rash. The rash is usually mild, but if it becomes swollen, crusted, or bruised, visit a doctor.
If your rash is the result of chafing, you likely began to feel the problem occurring as the rash developed. Movement of the arms may have begun to cause burning or pain in the armpits that worsened as the rash developed.
If you’re experiencing chafing rashes, there are some simple approaches you can take. Try to avoid having stubble in your pits - either let the hair grow or keep it shaved. You can use athletic lubricants before heavy arm use such as running or exercising. As well, make sure to wear well-fitted, moisture-wicking shirts.
Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is a chronic condition that can cause a red, itchy rash. Like contact dermatitis, it can result from allergic reactions or contact with irritants. Unlike contact dermatitis, eczema does not go away. Instead, it is a condition that has periodic flare-ups, with stretches of no, or minimal, symptoms in between.
Preventing armpit rashes from eczema usually involves identifying and avoiding allergens or irritants. A doctor may prescribe medications or topical creams to help alleviate eczema rashes.
Heat hives, or cholinergic urticaria, are identifiable as red patches of skin marked with hives (small bumps). The hives are often warm and are the result of an increase in body temperature. Potential causes include exercise, medications, foods, pressure, and cold weather.
This condition can be limited to a single area, like the armpits, or spread all over the body. Appearances range from a mild flushness to swollen, blotchy patches. Fortunately, this usually goes away within one hour.
A sweat rash is a common condition. It is not limited to people with hyperhidrosis, occurring as a result of anything strenuous exercise to nervous sweating at work. A sweaty armpit sets up the perfect environment for a fungal yeast infection. Friction, humidity, and poor ventilation allow the infection to grow, causing a red rash.
Managing the environment under your armpit can help to alleviate the rash. Sweat-wicking clothing wicks away the moisture and allows better ventilation. This creates an inhospitable environment for the fungus.
Underarm Rash Remedies
In addition to the suggestions above, there are other remedies that can help alleviate the appearance or discomfort of almost any underarm rash. Here we explore a few options.
A cold compress can provide rapid rash relief. You can use a compress, cool shower, or even a damp cloth. Use cold water, rather than ice for this approach. Applying an ice pack to the skin can be too harsh and may worsen the issue or make the skin more sensitive.
This approach offers relief, while also suppressing swelling and itching.
A warm oatmeal soak is another effective option for soothing your rash. As you fill your bath with lukewarm water, add one cup of oatmeal to the tub. The water should feel soft and smooth. Soak for 10-15 minutes, too long can result in dry skin.
If this approach feels like it is irritating the rash, rinse off with cool water and do not attempt the oatmeal soak again. Some people find that their skin is sensitive to oatmeal. If this is the case, stick to cold compresses, or other options.
Just like sushi chefs use citrus to kill the bacteria in raw fish, you can use lemon to kill rash-causing bacteria. Vinegar is another effective option, but it has an unpleasant odor and can cause some discomfort.
Several types of topicals can help alleviate an armpit rash. Calamine is a great option for reducing irritation with most types of rash. For sweat rashes, consider anti-itch creams.
See a Doctor
If your rash persists, changes for the worse, or causes severe discomfort, see a medical professional.
Armpit Rash Prevention
Regular showers are an effective way to prevent most armpit rashes. Avoid water that is too hot, especially if you have a rash. Hot water can act as an irritant.
As well, consider switching to a soap or body wash that is designed for sensitive skin. This may prevent reactions causing allergy or eczema rashes.
There are many products that can be used to prevent chafing. For chafing rashes, consider powders and creams designed to relieve dry skin. Or look to athletic lubricant sticks to use before running or exercising. Apply directly to the affected area.
Wear Moisture-Wicking Shirts
Wearing breathable, moisture-wicking shirts helps to prevent sweat rash, as well as allowing airflow to reduce irritation from chafing or heat. Sweat-wicking t-shirts can be worn on their own, or choose undershirts for underneath workwear.Not only do these clothes reduce rashes, but they also prevent the appearance of sweat and body odor. Shop the best moisture-wicking shirts with Neat Apparel’s advanced fabric technology.