Rash Under Armpit

Rash under armpit can be embarrassing and painful. Sometimes it becomes itchy and elicits a burning sensation, causing a little discomfort in a patient and the whole experience can be rather hurtful.

An underarm rash can happen to anyone and can easily be spotted due its color and texture. Many people usually experience a swollen, pimply bump with cracked and chapped skin under the armpit which can be blotchy, flaky, blistered or painless. An official diagnosis of rash under armpit can establish the real cause of the problem and proper treatment can be administered to ease and suppress symptoms while treating the rash.

Common causes of underarm rash

Fungal infection

A fungal infection may produce a Candida underarm rash or yeast infection. The "Candida albicans" attacker thrives in dark, warm areas such as the armpit and in areas where the skin rubs together. Fungus in the armpit of a patient may occur due to hot and humid temperatures, improper hygiene habits, or the friction arising from the clothes rubbing against the skin. All these create a warm, moist zone suitable for a fungus to grow.

Diabetic, pregnant, and obese patients are at a high risk for contracting a fungal or yeast infection, including those with a weakened immune system or an inflammatory disease, and working in damp conditions. Doctors often prescribe patients antifungal creams, lotions, and a combination of other medications to treat and clear the rash.

Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis can develop under armpits as an itchy, red rash. Many times it results from skin contact with an allergen or irritant, such as plants or chemical substances. The rash usually fades on its own after stopping the use of certain detergents, soaps, perfumes, or cosmetics that trigger a skin reaction. Some clothing material, jewelry, and contact with some wild and house plants can also influence an outbreak of the rash.

Seborrheic Dermatitis

Although very much widespread in the scalp, seborrheic dermatitis can also develop under the armpit with oily, scaly skin patches due to excessive production of sebum in the sebaceous glands. The armpit rash may appear white or yellow, with a greasy surface sidelined with a burning or itchy sensation. This condition may occur from stress, illness, chemical irritants, or cold weather temperatures.

Hidradenitis Suppurativa

A severe skin rash under the arms may be the hidradenitis suppurativa condition. It mostly attacks hair follicles with tiny, red, and inflamed bumps that bring much discomfort and pain in a patient. The rash may appear as boils, blackheads, or folliculitis with a hair in the middle.

Frequently seen in obese patients and at the early stages of puberty, these pimple-like bumps may discharge some foul-smelling fluid that oozes and forms scars. Depending on the severeness of the scars, sometimes it can be difficult for a person to move the arm. Surgical operation and medications may be required for effective treatment.

Sweat rash and heat rash

A heat rash under the arms (Miliaria), arising from extremely hot or humid temperatures may appear as a red inflammation in a person's underarms, particularly in those with blocked sweat glands. The skin rash may feel itchy characterized by small burning bumps that may easily blister. After the body cools down, the rash usually clears on its own.

Underarm Shaving

People who frequently shave their armpits will usually experience underarm rashes. This occurs due to shaving the hairs with a dull razor blade or not pampering the follicles with a lathering cream before shaving. The underarm may appear red with tiny and raised, itchy bumps arising from the irritation of the hair follicles.

Sometimes rashes may occur because of shaving against the hair growth direction, or because of the excessive pressure on the hair follicles by the razor blade. Other times, the hair that remains behind after shaving can curl into the skin pores and become inflamed. People with sensitive skin suffer from this problem a lot.

HIV-Related Underarm Rash

An armpit rash linked to HIV may appear at any stage of the infectious disease, though it's frequently reported as one of the first symptoms. The rash may appear as small, red bumps or as a red rash, particularly within the first two months of becoming sick.

The pink or red-colored rash is very much widespread among patients already in the third stage. The underarm rash may fade on its own without treatment and usually doesn't cause any itchiness or a burning sensation.

Underarm Rash Symptoms

Because an armpit rash may occur from different causes, it's important to know the signs and symptoms to check for in the underarm region.

  • Red rash
  • Burning sensation
  • Itchiness
  • Red or white bumps
  • Discharge
  • Awful odor
  • Circular rings
  • Armpit swelling
  • Tenderness
  • Pain or discomfort

Other opportunistic symptoms may occur from the underlying cause—runny nose, joint pain, sore throat, fatigue, nasal congestion, chills, fever, drowsiness, headache, and body pains. Any symptoms such as difficulty breathing or swelling of the tongue or face require immediate medical care.

Treating Underarm Rashes

When it comes to armpit rash treatment, the best way is to figure out the actual cause and address the symptoms right away. Follow the steps below to treat any stage of a severe skin condition:

#1 Determine the irritant. The widespread contact dermatitis may occur from a laundry detergent, harsh chemicals in the soap, or from other skincare products a person normally uses. After finding the irritant, a person should stop using the product immediately. The rash may subside and disappear eventually after a few days.

#2 Treat the rash. Treat any itchy or burning sensations with an oatmeal bath using a moisturizing agent on the dry skin, or by applying cool compresses.

#3 Avoid scratching. Lower the occasion of an infection by not scratching or touching the armpit rash. Try some home remedies like aloe vera gel, tea tree oil, and oatmeal to relieve the itch.

#4 Relax. Sometimes a rash can occur from chronic stress a person may be experiencing. Try some relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing and shifting the mind to other tasks that somehow limit a person’s tendency to scratch.

How to Prevent Rash Under Armpit

  • Maintain proper hygiene by taking regular baths and showers, paying close attention while cleaning around the armpit region
  • Instead of drying with a towel, allow the underarms to air dry after the shower
  • Avoid the use of skin care products, deodorants, and laundry detergents with a high volume of chemicals and perfumes
  • Wear breathable, loose outfits to allow any sweat to escape seamlessly and prevent it from clogging the skin pores
  • Apply aloe vera gel to the underarms after shaving to restore moisture and prevent dryness that may cause a rash
  • Stay cool with the use of air conditioners or fans


Underarm rashes can be rather hurtful and a stressful experience for everyone. It's very important to first get a proper diagnosis to reach the bottom line of what's causing the severe rashes before taking any treatment. The rashes could occur from shaving, fungus, blocked sweat glands, severe heat, and health implications among other factors. Patients should make sure to have the area checked by an experienced healthcare provider in order to get an accurate diagnosis and treatment to eliminate the rashes, and also prevent repeat outbreaks.