Last reviewed by Editorial Team on August 13th, 2018.
Having itchy underarms is not a comfortable sensation to experience and, plus, it is quite embarrassing. In most situations, itchy underarms can be avoided by having a good hygiene and taken all the necessary measures to maintain the armpit area clean. However, there are many medical conditions that can lead to the appearance of itchiness in your armpits, regardless of the good hygiene. In these cases, it is important to treat not only the symptoms but also the root cause that has led to the problem in the first place.
Itchy underarms are common in both genders and, as the name suggests it, pruritus is the most encountered symptom. Depending on the underlying condition that has caused the itchiness, one might also suffer from other symptoms, including redness, soreness or swelling. Because the itchiness can get pretty intense, there are a lot of people who scratch themselves in order to relieve it. However, you should refrain from doing that as much as possible. Scratching the skin only makes room for infection to come in, as the armpit area is often times moist and warm.
Causes of Itchy Underarms
When it comes to itchy underarms, it is important to understand that in some cases taking the necessary hygiene measures might be enough to solve the problem, while in more serious cases when there is an underlying condition involved, medical treatment will be required.
These are the most common causes of itchy underarms:
The armpit area is moist and permanently warm, representing the perfect place for bacteria or fungus to settle in. This is why good hygiene is important, to eliminate the sweat and dirt buildup.
Deodorants and antiperspirants
While the main purpose behind such products is to reduce sweating, sometimes these can actually clog the sweat glands. When sweat glands are clogged, itchiness is bound to appear.
Infection with Candida
This is a microorganism that is normally present in the body. However, in people who suffer from immune-deficiency, it tends to grow excessively in areas that are moist. It leads to skin peeling, itchiness and red rashes.
If you are allergic to your deodorant, for example, you will notice the affected area (armpit) becoming red and pruritus will bother you. Allergic reactions can also appear to perfumes, laundry detergents of even antibiotics.
This is a medical condition also known as axillary hyperhidrosis. This happens because the sweat glands are overstimulated, leading to body odor and itching.
Skin cell turnover is reduced and this condition causes armpit itchiness, being aggravated in obese people.
Exposure to moist and hot environments leads to the appearance of this rash, accompanied by itching armpits.
When it comes to the treatment of itchy armpits, you have to understand that in a lot of cases improving your general hygiene is enough for the symptoms to subside. On the other hand, in case there is an underlying condition, you will have to take the medication prescribed by a specialist. In case of excessive sweating, it is recommended that you avoid the environments that might favor this to happen and that you only wear clothes that are made from cotton, staying away from those that are synthetic.
These are the most common courses of treatment for itchy underarms:
- Anti-bacterial soap is one of the most important things to use in order to improve body hygiene.
- In the situation the problem is caused by the usage of a certain deodorant or antiperspirant, it is recommend that you stop from using that product and choosing one that contains only natural ingredients.
- Anti-fungal medication is recommended for Candida infections – there are oral and topical medications available on the market.
- In the situation of contact dermatitis, it is enough to remove the allergen and you can also use a topical cream with menthol or camphor in order to alleviate the itchiness.
- Excessive sweating benefits the most from the usage of special treatments, such as aluminum chloride hexahydrate. In more serious cases, the doctor might recommend you to take hydrocortisone.
- Both inverse psoriasis and Miliaria Rubra can benefit from the usage of anti-itching creams and hydrocortisone in more serious cases.