Itchy pits are no fun. It’s uncomfortable, it hurts, and it can be embarrassing. Nobody likes showing up at the beach with unsightly red bumps on the skin. But what causes itchy underarms?
Itchy armpits can be caused by a several things, from heat to dirt to allergies. If you’ve been wondering, “how can I get rid of my itchy underarms” you’re in the right place!
There are common home remedies for itchy armpits that can bring relief. Please remember to always consult your doctor before attempting any remedies on your own.
Cause: Contact Dermatitis
If your rash is caused by an irritant, either in your deodorant, soap, or even your laundry detergent, discontinue its use immediately. It can be difficult to determine what the irritant is. Try discontinuing use of all of them, and then slowly introducing each one back, one at a time. If no rash occurs after three days, you can rule it out. Consider switching to soaps and deodorants without added chemicals and other irritants like synthetic fragrance.
Cause: Heat Rash
Excessive heat can also cause itchy, painful bumps under the arms. Wearing tight clothing can make it worse. The best way to treat a heat rash is to cool off, keep the area dry, and reduce rubbing and friction in the area.
Cause: Razor Burn
This is another type of rash that’s extremely common in those who use a razor to shave their armpits. Make sure to shave with a sharp razor - a dull razor is usually the culprit of razor burn. Try and replace your razor every one to two weeks. If you do end up with razor burn, give your armpits a break - don’t shave for a few days, and let your skin heal.
Cause: Atopic Dermatitis
Otherwise known as eczema, atopic dermatitis is common in areas where there are folds in the skin, like behind the knees, elbows, and yep… the armpits. Don’t scratch the area (we know it’s hard!) because that can cause bleeding and for the rash to get worse. Antihistamines, hydrocortisone cream, and calamine lotion can help, as does a soothing oatmeal bath, bathing regularly, and using a mild soap and deodorant.
Cause: Seborrheic Dermatitis
Caused by an overproduction of oils in the skin, seborrheic dermatitis is common in babies (known as cradle cap). However, sometimes adults experience oily, scaly, and itchy patches in their armpits. Wash the area regularly with mild fragrance free soap. Don’t use products that contain irritants.
Also known as a yeast or fungal infection, Candida is caused by the overproduction of yeast. Keep the affected area as cool as you can and avoid tight clothing - the key is to let your pits breathe! Don’t use a steroid cream, as this can make the infection worse. To prevent itchy armpits due to candida, wear loose clothes, practice good hygiene, and ingest beneficial bacteria, found in yogurt with live cultures. Avoid commercial soaps and deodorants. Consult your doctor for prescription strength products.
DIYs for itchy armpits
Several home remedies can help calm the fire in your pits. Here are some of our favorites.
Aloe Vera. The juices from the aloe vera plant help soothe and calm irritated skin. If you have a plant, break a leaf off and directly apply the oozy juice to your skin. Don’t have a plant? Aloe vera gel is available at your local health food market.
Natural Oils. Olive, coconut, sweet almond, and avocado oils are mild and work wonders to help hydrate dry, itchy skin. Apply directly to the armpits, and then let them breathe as the oil soaks in.
Cold Compress. Cool off your itchy armpits with a clean cold rag or an ice pack.
Oatmeal Bath. Research shows that oatmeal has anti-inflammatory properties that help soothe rashes and razor burns. Pick up an oatmeal bath pack in the bath and body section of your local health food store.
Vitamin C. Increase your intake of vitamin C with oranges, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, broccoli, and berries.
Take a Break. Give your skin and hair a few days to heal. Stop shaving until the rash subsides.
Choose your underarm products carefully. Mainstream deodorants contain many ingredients that can potentially irritate skin, especially underarm skin. Certain alcohols, aluminum, synthetic fragrance, and parabens, are common irritants and should be avoided. For an all-in-one underarm brightening and deodorant cream that targets all your pit problems at once, try The Original.