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Underarm Rash

An underarm rash is an eruption of the skin of the armpit affecting its appearance color or texture. It is also referred to as an armpit rash or an intertrigo. It can either be severe or mild and often goes away easily on its own without any treatment [1].


The underarm rash often occurs in people with overweight, those with diabetes, those who use medical devices or those restricted to bed rest.

Underarm Rash Pictures

Underarm rash

Picture  1: Underarm rash
Image Source : en.wikipedia.org

Underarm rash in baby, kids and children picture

  Picture  2: Underarm rash in baby, kids and children

heat rash armpit rash

Picture 3: Underarm heat rash

Hidradenitis suppurativa armpit rash picture

Picture  4 : Hidradenitis suppurativa

Underarm rash in baby, kids and children picture

Picture  5: Underarm rash in baby, kids and children

Yeast, fungal armpit rash pictures

Picture  6: Underarm rash in Yeast and fungus

Causes of Underarm Rash

  • Allergic or contact dermatitis
    An allergic skin reaction is the common cause of an armpit rash. Some of the frequent reactions include deodorant, shave gel, soap, body spray, lotion or powder. Detergent residue remaining on clothing also can result in an allergic reaction [2,4,6].
  • Heat rash
    Increased heat and sweat can cause an irritating heat rash. Friction and chaffing in hotter weather can also cause a heat rash. A heat rash is often pimply in appearance or may be bumpy like [3,5,7].
  • Razor burn
    When shaving, the razor can irritate the skin and cause redness or raised bumps. Additionally, the razor can push the follicles in the wrong direction resulting in hairs that are ingrown.
  • Occupation-induced rashes
    Various types of occupations including insulation installers may find tiny particles get embedded in moisture-prone areas such as the underarms.
  • Eczema
    A skin inflicted with eczema may be extremely sensitive and cause breakouts of rash particularly in the armpit, behind the knees and joints. A rash caused by eczema may be itchy, red and raised, and may also ooze and crust [8,9,10].
  • Parasites
    Parasites such as scabies, which thrive in warm and moist areas including armpits cause intense itching and irritating bumps. Such parasites may also cause welts in the areas that are affected.
  • Fungal infection
    The most common infections of the underarm are candidacies and tinea corpus. The two infections are characterized by extreme itching and a red and inflamed spot.
  • Lymphoma cancer
    Lymphoma can also cause an itchy rash in the armpit. It is also accompanied with lymphedema or swollen lymph nodes.
  • Armpit ringworms or tinea axillaries
    Ringworms or tinea can cause a scaly, crusted rash that is characterized by a round shape and a red patch on the skin. A patient with armpit ringworm may also suffer from scaling, patchy hair loss and blister-like lesions.
  • Armpit rash HIV
    The initial stages of HIV manifest with rashes that affect various parts of the body including the armpits. The rashes can occur within two months of the infection and are often characterized by raised rashes with small reddish spots in people with light skin and dark purple in people with dark skins [7].

Underarm rash can also be accompanied by an infection caused by

  • Bacteria
  • Yeast
  • Impetigo
  • Autoimmune disorder
  • Lack of air circulation
  • Friction between skin folds
  • Exposure to an insect sting including tick bite
  • Reactions from certain fabrics
  • Allergies to food and medications
  • Measles
  • Chickenpox
  • Dry skin
  • Q fever
  • Erythematic nodosum
  • Turcot syndrome
  • Noonan syndrome
  • Shingles
  • Pregnancy

Symptoms

Reportedly, symptoms of the underarm rash vary depending on the cause. Some of the common symptoms include:

  • Red or whitish colored rash
  • Bumpy or a pimple like appearances
  • Odor
  • Itching
  • Circular rings
  • Swelling
  • Discharge or pus
  • Warmth
  • Burning or inflaming feeling
  • Obscuring of the skin
  • flakiness
  • Tenderness
  • Pain

Sometimes underarm rash may be accompanied by

  • Armpit swelling
  • Runny nose
  • Sweating
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Cough or joint pain
  • Stiffness

In the case where the above symptoms are severe, it is advisable to seek emergency help [8].

Risk factors of underarm rashes

You are more likely to develop severe underarm rashes if you:

  • Are obese
  • Have a splint, artificial limb or brace
  • Have diabetes
  • Are often exposed to high heat and humidity
  • Incontinence
  • Experience excessive sweating
  • Have poor hygiene
  • Suffer from malnutrition

How to avoid underarm rash

  1. Underarm rash can be stopped by:
  2. Wearing clothing that is not too tight in the armpit area to allow the skin to breathe
  3. Make sure you are not allergic to any type of fabric such as wool
  4. Wash your clothes using non-irritant detergent
  5. Refrain from shaving to see if that is the cause of your irritation. You can try waxing or using hair removal agents
  6. Stop using deodorants, powders or soaps that irritate your skin. You can use no-irritating chemicals including potassium alum, baking soda, lemon as well as rubbing alcohol.
  7. Practice good hygiene to avoid armpit fungal infection.
  8. Stay in air-conditioned rooms to keep your armpits dry
  9. Regularly place a small piece of soft, thick white cloth under your armpits to keep your skin from sticking together.

How to Treat Underarm Rash : Remedies

Some of the recommended home remedies for relieving harsh symptoms related to underarm rash include:

  • Icepacks – reduces itching
  • E oil and Aloe Vera– soothes and reduces inflammation
  • Vitamin C intake – reduces skin infection
  • Lemon – helps kill bacteria and also acts as a natural deodorant
  • Diluted tee tree oil – kills fungus and reduces itchiness
  • Baking soda– dries your armpit
  • A mixture of lavender and coconut oil– reduces irritation
  • Crushed strawberries and heavy cream- reduces both irritation and visibility
  • Neem Leaves paste – comprises of antiseptic and antibacterial properties

You can also take care of the rash at home by:

  • Using gentle cleansers
  • Using warm water to bath instead of hot water
  • Patting the rash dry instead of rubbing
  • Leaving your armpits to dry
  • Refraining from using different types of cosmetics or lotions
  • Avoid scratching in the influenced area to heal armpit rash
  • Drink hydrating fluids including water and green tea to permit the body to optimally regulate its temperature
  • Avoid energy drinks, coffee, and other diuretics [9]

Medical Treatments

Underarm rashes can medically be treated using underarm rash creams including antifungal and antibacterial creams such as fluconazole, griseofulvin, and nystatin. The creams are used in the case the rash is severe and is due to a parasite, a fungal infection, or condition such as eczema.

Rashes from fungal, parasites and eczema can be extremely difficult to treat fully using home remedies. It is also advisable to seek medical attention if you cannot determine the cause of the rash.
For overweight individuals, losing weight can also help in preventing underarm rashes [10].

References :

  1. Healthy Grades. Underarm Rash [Internet].2016 [Cited 19 January 2016] Available from: http://www.rightdiagnosis.com/sym/underarm_rash.htm
  2. ILovetoKnow. Underarm Rash [Internet].2016 [Cited 19 January 2016] Available from: http://skincare.lovetoknow.com/underarm-rash
  3. Healthline. What’s Causing My Rash? [Internet].2016 [Cited 19 January 2016] Available from: [http://www.healthline.com/health/rashes
  4. WebMD. Intertrigo [Internet].2016 [Cited 19 January 2016] Available from: http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/guide/intertrigo-symptoms-causes-treatment-risk_factors_
  5. Wikipedia. Intertrigo [Internet].2016 [Cited 19 January 2016] Available from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intertrigo
  6. LetHow. How To Heal Armpit Rash? [Internet].2016 [Cited 19 January 2016] Available from: http://lethow.com/health/heal-armpit-rash/
  7. Health Cure. Underarm Rash Causes, Picture, Painful, Red & Itchy Rash Treatment [Internet].2016 [Cited 19 January 2016] Available from: http://www.healcure.org/armpit/underarm-rash/underarm-rash-causes-pictures-painful-red-itchy-rash-treatment/
  8. Wikihow. How to Heal Armpit Rash [Internet].2016 [Cited 19 January 2016] Available from: http://www.wikihow.com/Heal-Armpit-Rash
  9. Healthgrades. Underarm Rash [Internet].2016 [Cited 19 January 2016] Available from: http://www.healthgrades.com/symptoms/underarm-rash
  10. Livestrong. How to Cure an Underarm Rash [Internet].2016 [Cited 19 January 2016] Available from: http://www.livestrong.com/article/19289-cure-underarm-rash/

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