How to Get Rid of Armpit Rash: Natural Remedies That Really Work

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How to Get Rid of Armpit Rash

Having an armpit rash may cause a lot of itching, pain, and discomfort and be difficult to treat. Underarm rashes are very common and can affect adults and children alike. Because the armpits are generally dark, moist and sweaty, they can be a breeding ground for germs which can infect and irritate the skin. Also, chaffing from moving your arms can be a cause of a rash in your underarm that results in itchy red patches. The rubbing in your armpits can also make getting rid of the armpit rash more difficult.

A rash in your left or right armpit is usually caused by irritation from deodorant, shaving your armpits, a fungal or bacterial infection, or eczema. These conditions can result in an itchy red rash that might be sore and become more painful if you scratch it. Sometimes, the underarm rash in one or both of your armpits can become scaly and cracked and may bleed if the skin becomes dry and irritated. If bacteria get into the damaged skin, you might see some pus-filled bumps.


In this article, I will discuss what medical research has revealed about the causes of armpit rashes. You will also find out the best natural home remedies to treat the red itchy patches of skin that can appear in your underarm area.

Symptoms of a Rash in Your Armpit

Conditions that cause armpit rashes can produce a range of symptoms and can affect one or both of your armpits. For some people, a reaction to hygiene products or clothing can cause mild itching with or without a red patch of skin. If you suffer from dermatitis you might find that you have a severe reaction causing a very itchy rash that may leak fluid and crust over.

Getting rid of the effects of an armpit fungal infection can be more difficult. Yeast or fungal armpit infections will cause patches of skin in your armpit to flare up with intense itching. You may notice small bumps or pustules appear around the edge of the armpit rash.

Some armpit conditions cause patches of red, tender bumps or pimples that may become filled with pus and have a bad smell. Of course, in these situations, putting on deodorant or constant rubbing of your skin as you move can just aggravate the symptoms.

Causes of Armpit Rash

Let’s look in more detail at the many reasons why you have a rash in your underarm area.

Deodorants that cause irritation

A very common reason for an itchy patch of red skin in one or both armpits is deodorant or antiperspirant.

Deodorants and antiperspirants contain various chemicals to mask the smell that bacteria in old sweat causes. Also, antiperspirants are designed to control sweat by plugging the sweat glands. One or more of these factors could be why your underarm itches throughout the day.

According to research published in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology on antiperspirants and deodorants, many of these products contain potential allergens. Some of these allergens are fragrance, propylene glycol, parabens, and even some essential oils can cause an allergic armpit skin reaction. The study reported that when looking for the reason for an underarm rash, you should consider your deodorant or antiperspirant as a possible cause.1

An allergic reaction to underarm hygiene products can cause a rash that is very itchy and causes irritation. Excessive scratching the armpit rash could cause secondary bacterial infections.

If you think that your deodorant or antiperspirant is to blame for the irritated skin under your arms, you should try switching to another product. You can also make your own homemade deodorant using coconut oil and baking soda. Lavender is an essential oil that has deodorizing properties because it kills bacteria and can be also used to prepare DIY natural deodorant.

Armpit rash from shaving

If you shave your armpits, you might find that you get red bumpy rashes from time to time because of skin irritation or ingrown hairs.

Dr. Gary Cole, a dermatologist who has authored over 30 articles in medical journals, says that inflamed hair follicles are common in shaved areas. Shaving your armpits can cause razor burn that results in inflammation because bacteria get into the skin. A collection of tiny bumps that may be pus-filled can form rash after shaving.2

Another result of shaving your armpits could be itchy infected bumps caused by ingrown hairs. Doctors from the NYC Langone Medical Center say that plucking, shaving, or waxing the armpit can result in ingrown hairs. Sometimes, this can cause skin bumps that are seriously irritated and infected.3

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To get rid of an underarm rash caused by hair removal, Dr. Cole suggests stopping shaving with a razor for a time. You can also find helpful information in my article about how to naturally get rid of razor burns. You should also know the best way to remove ingrown hairs without causing further infection.

Underarm fungal rash

A fungal infection caused by strains of candida yeast could be a reason for armpits that have a red rash that is irritatingly itchy.

According to physician Dr. Denise Aaron, candida infections occur in moist areas of the skin. Candida typically affects the armpits, mouth, groin, and can be a reason for itching under your breasts. Poor hygiene, wearing tight clothing, pregnancy, or a weakened immune system could cause candida yeast to overgrow and cause a burning rash.4

Another cause of armpit candidiasis could be using antibiotics. Antibiotics also kill off good bacteria as well as bad bacteria in your gut which can result in an increase of fungal infections in your body. If you have recently finished a course of antibiotics, please read my article on what you should do after taking antibiotics.

To help get rid of a burning rash under your armpit caused by candida, you should keep your armpits as dry as possible. Or you can use diluted apple cider vinegar as per the instructions in my article on how to effectively use apple cider vinegar for yeast infection.

Ringworm

Ringworm is another type of fungal infection that can result in a reddish patch of skin with a dark red border on your underarm skin.

Chronic underarm skin itching with red scaly patches is a common symptom of ringworm. Dermatologists say that the most common places where chronic ringworm occurs are in folds of skin that are moist and dark. The red rash usually has a ring-like appearance that is inflamed and itchy.5

Ringworm can also cause itching between your legs and at the top of your inner thighs. If you are bothered by a round circular rash in your armpit, check out the home remedies at the end of this article or find more home remedies to get rid of ringworm quickly.

Heat or sweat rash

Sweating in your armpits and warmth could lead to a heat rash that looks like prickly bumps in your underarm area.

Dr. Benjamin Wedro on MedicineNet explains that heat rashes are caused when sweat glands get blocked and become inflamed. The rash usually looks like reddened skin with tiny inflamed blisters. Because it’s difficult for air to circulate in the armpit, heat rashes in the underarm area often occur and become very itchy. Armpit heat rashes can also affect babies because it’s difficult for them to move.

To prevent heat rashes causing red skin and irritation in your armpit, try to avoid wearing tight clothing. You should also avoid antiperspirants if you are bothered by recurring armpit rashes as they block the sweat ducts.6

Intertrigo

Red inflammation that causes an itchy armpit could be a condition called intertrigo.

Expert in dermatology Dr. Gary Cole says that intertrigo is an inflammatory skin condition that commonly occurs in areas where skin rubs together. The underarm inflammation can cause itching and burning and may give off a musty smell. The most common areas of the body that intertrigo affects are the armpits, under the breasts, and in the groin.7

Armpit eczema

A red rash with a scaly look under your armpit may be a classic symptom of eczema.

If itching in your armpit occurs before the rash appears, it could be eczema that is causing it. The red rash may start off as dry flaky skin and eventually take on a leathery look.

Renowned dermatologist, Dr. Debra Jaliman says that atopic dermatitis (eczema) makes the skin itchy, red, and scaly. You may notice that bumps appear on your armpit rash that start to ooze fluid and form crusts. Atopic dermatitis can affect any area of the body.8

It can be difficult to completely get rid of eczema for good, however, natural remedies like coconut oil and many essentials oils help to manage symptoms of dermatitis.

Contact dermatitis

Another form of eczema that causes dry red itchy marks in the armpit is contact dermatitis.

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Doctors from the National Health Service report that contact dermatitis is an inflammatory skin rash caused by substances that irritate the skin. Common culprits for dermatitis in your armpit are harsh soaps, allergy to deodorants, or skin that is constantly moist. Pictures of contact dermatitis armpit rashes look like a collection of tiny bumps.9

In many cases, avoiding the substance causing the contact dermatitis is enough to get rid of the armpit rash for good.

Psoriasis

Psoriasis can cause itchy patches of skin under your armpit that look scaly and flare up when you sweat more.

According to doctors from the Mayo Clinic, psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that can affect any area of the body. Inverse psoriasis is usually the type that affects the armpits and top of your breast. The red armpit rash usually has a smooth feel to it. Sweating or friction usually irritates the underarm skin which causes the symptoms of psoriasis to worsen.10

Fungus in the armpit can further complicate psoriasis symptoms and cause burning red patches in your underarm that itch terribly.

It’s not possible to completely cure psoriasis. Doctors recommend avoiding stress, stopping smoking, and regularly moisturizing your inflamed skin to soothe the symptoms.

Some research has shown that capsaicin cream can help to treat psoriasis symptoms naturally. You should also make sure you are getting enough vitamins and minerals because vitamin D deficiency can also cause psoriasis flare-ups.

Hidradenitis suppurativa

Hidradenitis suppurativa can cause red raised rash in your right or left armpit with painful lumps that sometimes ooze pus.

Hidradenitis suppurativa often affects the underarm areas and can affect just one or both armpits. Doctors from the Mayo Clinic say that the underarm skin inflammation is caused because hair follicles and oil and sweat glands get blocked for some reason. The result is patches of tender red bumps that itch and may break open if your armpits chaff.11

Hidradenitis suppurativa can also cause bumps on your inner thigh along with an irritation and uncomfortable rash.

Bacterial armpit skin infection

Scratching a red itchy patch under your armpit could also cause a bacterial Staph infection under your arm.

Doctors from the National Health Service report that Staph infections can be caused by impetigo, a skin abscess, infection of hair follicles, or cutting your skin. Depending on the type of bacterial infection, a bacterial armpit skin infection could result in red, painful, swollen patches of skin that fill with pus.12

Many of the home remedies mentioned at the end of this article will help clear up a mild Staph infection in your armpit in no time at all.

Lymphoma

A rare, but serious cause of a red rash under your armpit is lymphoma, which is a type of cancer.

Of course, allergies, eczema, razor burns or fungal infections are the most common cause of an itchy armpit rash. However, the American Cancer Society says that the first signs of lymphoma often resemble common skin problems. A doctor will thoroughly check the skin lesion and check for other signs like enlarged lymph nodes.13

If you have a persistent rash in your left or right armpit that doesn’t go away with home remedies or other treatment, it’s best to visit your doctor to put your mind at rest.

HIV

If you have been infected with HIV, you may notice that the virus causes an armpit rash.

According to doctors from UC San Diego Health, skin rashes affect about 90% of people living with HIV. An HIV armpit rash looks like a flat red patch of skin covered with small bumps. Sometimes, the skin rash in your underarm area or another part of your body could be an allergic reaction to antivirals.14

How to Treat Armpit Rashes with Home Remedies

Apart from the discomfort that armpit rashes cause, they can also be a source of embarrassment if you wear dresses with strappy tops, work out at the gym, go swimming, or spend time at the beach. So, knowing how to treat any kind of itchy red rash in under your armpit is essential.

The following home remedies will help to soothe the underarm skin irritation that is resulting in reddened patches of itchy skin. In most cases, you should try to address the underlying reasons why you develop armpit rashes.

Even in cases of chronic underarm rashes caused by eczema or psoriasis, many lifestyle changes can help to manage the condition and prevent flare-ups.

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Here are some of the best home remedies to get rid of armpit rash:

Coconut Oil and Tea Tree Oil

Combining the anti-inflammatory properties of coconut oil with the antibacterial power of tea tree oil makes an amazing home cure for armpit rash. This remedy can help to reduce redness on the skin and prevent bacteria from causing infection in your underarm area.

A study published in the journal Pharmaceutical Biology reported on the fact that coconut oil helps to reduce chronic skin inflammation because of the anti-inflammatory compounds it contains.15 Other studies have shown that virgin coconut oil is effective in treating dermatitis because it destroys bacteria which are often present in broken, scaling skin.

It has also been well documented that tea tree oil kills off various strains of fungi and bacteria. For example, the journal Clinical Microbiology Reviews reported on various studies showing that tea tree oil is a broad-spectrum antibacterial and antifungal agent and is an effective remedy to treat different types of skin lesions and infections.16

To speed up the healing of rash in your armpit with virgin coconut oil and tea tree oil, you should do the following:

  • Mix 4 tbsp. virgin coconut oil with 6-8 drops of tea tree oil.
  • Using a cotton ball, apply the coconut oil and tea tree oil remedy to the red patch of irritated skin in your armpit.
  • Repeat this after showering, before going to bed, and after you wash your underarm area to help the red rash heal fast.

The coconut oil remedy is also an excellent treatment for itchy breasts.

If you suspect that your deodorant is the cause of your underarm rash, why not try my great recipe to make your own natural deodorant using coconut oil? This will not only kill off bacteria that cause armpit odor, but you can add your favorite essential oils like geranium, sandalwood, sweet orange, or lavender to give it a nice scent.

Aloe Vera

If you have an itchy armpit rash, you can use aloe vera to get rid of the itch and soothe red, inflamed skin. Aloe vera is a wonderful natural remedy for all types of skin complaints and it is especially effective in healing irritated skin.

In order to treat itchy skin and heal dermatitis, doctors usually recommend applying a hydrocortisone ointment. However, aloe vera is just as effective as any anti-inflammatory hydrocortisone cream. A study published in the Pharmacognosy Magazine showed that aloe vera contains anti-inflammatory components that treat reddening of the skin just as effectively as 1% hydrocortisone creams.17 After 6 days of treatment, patients found that their skin condition had improved significantly.

Most people find that it is easier to buy pure aloe vera gel rather than extract it from the plant. All you have to do to get rid of a red rash in your armpit is to apply aloe vera gel 2-3 times a day until the skin irritation has disappeared.

To prevent an underarm itchy rash or razor burn after shaving, you can make a soothing ointment with some coconut oil and aloe vera. You should apply this remedy to your armpit after shaving to keep your armpits moisturized and avoid a rash.

Oatmeal

Oatmeal is a great home treatment to heal a rash in your armpit that is red and itchy. Oatmeal’s anti-inflammatory properties don’t just soothe itchy skin, it also contains antioxidant compounds which cleanse and rid the skin of bacteria and other impurities.

There are actually many reasons to use oatmeal to get and maintain healthy skin. A report in the Journal of Drugs and Dermatology found that oatmeal contains a chemical called polymorphism which protects, soothes, and cleanses all areas of skin. It is also an anti-irritant which can help alleviate the discomfort caused by an itchy rash. Oatmeal also helps to treat eczema, contact dermatitis, and fungal skin infections.

So, if you have any kind of rash in your armpit or anywhere else on your body, use oatmeal as a natural remedy to get a quick relief.

This is what you should do.

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  • Fill a bathtub with warm water and add 1 to 2 cups rolled oats.
  • Swish the oats around the bathwater to help release the compounds from the oats.
  • If you want, you can add a few drops of lavender oil to your bath. Studies show that lavender oil is also antibacterial and can soothe dry, itchy skin.
  • Soak for around 20 minutes.
  • While in your bath, you can take some handfuls of oatmeal in your bath and gently press it onto the underarm rash to reduce the redness on the skin and get relief from itchiness.
  • Rinse off in the shower with warm water and pat your skin dry.

Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)

If you think that your armpit rash is the result of a bacterial or fungal infection, you can use raw apple cider vinegar to treat the infection and soothe the itchy rash.

The acidic content in ACV helps to balance the pH levels on the skin. Many soaps have a high pH level which can strip the skin of its protective barrier and cause inflammation. This can lead to dry, itchy skin with red patches and, in some cases, dermatitis.

Research into the effects of ACV on fungal infections has also found that it is effective against Candida fungus. Applying ACV to an infected rash can help kill off the infections that are causing discomfort.

To use apple cider vinegar as a topical application to get instant relief from an itchy rash, you should dilute equal parts of raw ACV and water. Use a cotton ball to apply the ACV remedy to the affected area a few times each day until the rash is gone completely.

You can also soak a cotton pad in the ACV mixture to make a compress and gently press on the inflamed red skin in your armpit. Hold for 5-10 minutes before rinsing and patting dry with a clean towel. For more information, read my article on why you should wash your face with ACV.

Witch Hazel

Witch hazel is another natural home remedy to reduce the redness of a rash in your armpit and it is very effective at soothing skin irritations. Witch hazel can be used for any kind of rash, including heat rashes, sweat rashes, and allergic rashes.

Being a natural astringent, witch hazel makes the skin contract and can help to reduce skin redness and treat minor skin infections and wounds. A study from 2002 also found that witch hazel is an effective remedy to treat eczema and intertrigo because of its antimicrobial activity. Witch hazel also hydrates the skin, which provides an important protective barrier against further skin infections.18

To speed up the healing process and treat an itchy rash, soak a cotton ball in 100% witch hazel and gently apply to the affected skin in your armpit. Repeat this 2-3 times a day until the irritating rash is gone completely.

Essential Oils to Treat Armpit Rash

There are a number of very effective essential oils that you can use to clear up a rash in your armpit fast. These essential oils have antibacterial activities to help kill off infections and armpit odor and help to keep your skin moist and well hydrated.

To use these essential oils to soothe a rash, you should mix 2-3 drops of essential oil with 1 tablespoon of carrier oil (such as almond oil, olive oil, jojoba oil or coconut oil).

Lavender

Lavender essential oil has many uses and its antibacterial properties make it perfect for treating irritating rashes and soothing itchy patches of skin. If you use lavender oil in your armpit, you will also give your body a nice scent and the aroma will help calm your nerves.

Chamomile

Many people know that chamomile is a natural soothing agent when consumed as tea. However, studies also show that chamomile can be used to soothe red, itchy skin.19 You can use a few drops of chamomile oil together with a carrier oil and apply to the inflamed skin. Or you can make a compress from a chamomile tea bag and press on the rash for 10 minutes to help reduce the redness.

Geranium

You can use geranium oil to heal itchy rashes that are caused by fungal infection. Geranium oil works as an anti-inflammatory on the skin and it can destroy infections that cause itching.20 Geranium oil is also one of the best essential oils for skincare.

Calendula

To treat a rash in your armpit, calendula oil (sometimes called pot marigold) can be used to treat fungal infections and soothe itchy skin. Studies have shown that it is an effective natural antifungal agent which reduces inflammation in the skin.

Cold Compress

To get instant relief from a rash that causes an intense itch, you can use a cold compress to soothe the skin and avoid the need to scratch the itch.

Take ice and place it in a plastic bag and wrap the bag in a towel. Place the ice pack on the itchy rash for a few minutes until you no longer feel the need to scratch the itch.

How to Prevent Armpit Rash

It is usually possible to prevent rashes from occurring in your armpit by taking a few measures to practice good personal hygiene and avoid wearing tight clothing that could irritate your skin.

For example, you can prevent allergic rashes in your armpits by avoiding soaps, laundry detergents, and deodorants that irritate your skin. Some people have sensitive skin that reacts to synthetic material clothing causing a sweat rash. So, wearing loose fitting clothing made from natural materials is one way to prevent irritating armpit rashes from occurring.

To prevent heat rash from causing you discomfort, you should make sure that in hot weather you keep your armpits as cool as possible by wearing loose-fitting cotton clothes. If you use the natural coconut oil deodorant mentioned in this article, the arrowroot powder in the homemade recipe will also help to prevent a heat rash from occurring.

To avoid drying out your skin which could cause an itchy red rash to develop in your armpit, the Mayo Clinic recommends taking shorter showers and baths and using warm rather than hot water. Gently pat your skin dry with a soft towel and moisturize your skin after bathing to prevent any kind of rash.21

Read these related articles:

1. Itchy Armpits: Causes and Effective Natural Treatments
2. Armpit Pain – Causes and Effective Natural Treatments
3. Itchy Skin After Shower – Causes and Treatments
4. Cyst in Armpit – Causes, Treatments And When To See a Doctor

Article Sources

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  3. ScienceDaily. Best practices for ingrown hair.
  4. MerckManuals. Candidiasis.
  5. DermNetNZ. Tinea corporis.
  6. MedicineNet. Heat rash.
  7. MedicineNet. Intertrigo.
  8. WebMD. Eczema.
  9. NHS. Contact dermatitis.
  10. MayoClinic. Psoriasis.
  11. MayoClinic. Hidradenitis suppurativa.
  12. NHS. Staphylococcal infections.
  13. CancerOrg. How is lymphoma of the skin diagnosed?
  14. UCSD. HIV-related skin and complexion conditions.
  15. 2010 Feb;48(2):151-7.
  16. . 2006 Jan; 19(1): 50–62.
  17. . 2014 Apr-Jun; 10(Suppl 2): S392–S403.
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  21. Mayo Clinic. Dermatitis.
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