Underarm Rash: Causes, Prevention, Symptoms And Treatment

Underarm Rash: Causes, Prevention, Symptoms And Treatment


An underarm rash or armpit rash is an uncomfortable, itchy and sometimes, even painful skin condition occurring in the folds of the skin. You can self-diagnose it by examining your armpit before a mirror. If the skin appears unnaturally red, white or bumpy, it is highly likely to be a skin rash. Depending on the causes of an underarm rash, the appearance and level of discomfort can vary.

This article highlights the key elements defining an underarm rash and suggests treatment and care options. However, if the rash seems too severe for home care, it is better to seek help from a medical practitioner or dermatologist.

Underarm rash symptoms

As stated above, the symptoms and appearance of the rash varies according to the reasons that led to it. However, a few common signs to identify such a condition are:

  • Pimple-like growth on the skin
  • Swelling and sensitivity in the armpit
  • Tenderness or pain
  • Circular rings, discharge and pus


Causes of an armpit rash

Following are the major causes of an armpit rash. These also correspond to the type of rash with which you might be dealing.

Friction: Chafing or rubbing

Areas of the body where the skin folds over itself or rubs against itself frequently, such as the armpit, are especially prone to chafing. This constant friction of skin on skin or skin on clothing and vice versa leads to sensitivity, tenderness and often, a rash-like reaction.

Skin irritation or allergies to new products

Skin irritation is also caused by new types of deodorants, cosmetics, perfumes and other products with which the skin is not familiar. Procedures like hair removal and detan can also cause unexpected reactions in some people.


Heat rashes generally happen when you sweat more than you usually would. They are more common in the summer months and in areas that have a hotter climate. Though they are most prevalent on the back and neck, they can also affect the underarm skin.


This section paints an overview of the most common infections that cause an underarm rash.


Eczema is a non-contagious, chronic condition characterized by skin inflammation and a scaly patch.


Commonly known as an infection caused by the Staph bacteria (one that lives in our nostrils), this infection is marked by the eruption of painful, pus-filled boils.


Ringworm is a prevalent type of fungal infection that causes a red or silver ring-like rash.

Blisters, scabs, swelling, dryness, scaliness and itchiness are the most common symptoms of ringworm.


Psoriasis is a chronic skin rash that results from an overactive immune response. It causes flaky, inflamed skin that often presents as thick white patches.


A yeast infection, Candida is a result of poor hygiene and hot weather. It usually has a red skin rash, scaly appearance and may also itch.


Underarm rash treatment

There are several effective underarm rash treatment options you can try at home. Home remedies

Simple home remedies to relieve underarm rash include:

  • Applying ice packs to reduce itching.
  • Using lemon juice to kill bacteria.
  • Increasing the intake of vitamin C to reduce skin infections.
  • Applying Aloe Vera Gel, vitamin E oil and tea tree oil to soothe the skin.
  • Keeping the armpits dry by dusting the area with baking soda.
  • Applying a paste of Neem leaves that has natural antiseptic and antibacterial properties.

However, these are extremely temporary solutions that do not ensure prevention, relief or reducing the risk of any further infection

There are two very efficient over-the-counter solutions that help treat and prevent underarm rashes.

Anti-chafing gel

An anti-chafing gel or a preventative cream for underarm rash is a silicone formula that helps prevent irritation caused by chafing. It is ideal for hot and humid climate and is very comfortable because of its non-greasy formula.

Anti-rash gel

In addition to a cream for underarm rash, you can also pick a gel-based solution that also prevents rashes caused by tight inner clothing or rashes caused by sports and other heavy activities.

Underarm rash prevention

Not all underarm rashes are preventable. However, there are ways that you can help prevent some causes of a rash.

  • Maintaining excellent personal hygiene.

  • Avoiding substances, plants, or chemicals that may trigger a reaction (Always do a patch test before introducing your armpit skin to a new product or treatment.)

  • Keeping your skin moisturized but well ventilated by wearing loose fitting garments. It is also vital to keep your body at a healthy weight to avoid unnecessary skin folds that end up turning into breeding grounds for bacteria and infection-causing organisms.

Paul Proulx