Red, Itchy or Non-Itchy Underarm Rash: Causes, In Babies, Treatments & Remedies 

The answer to a widely asked question: why do my armpits have a rash and itch. Generally, any type of rash lowers quality of life: whether it is prevalent on face, neck, arms, buttocks, in one or under both armpits. Apparently, the problem may not be a treatment for underarm rash and how to heal. The real issue seems to begin with identifying what causes them.

A human armpit is a dark warm yet a sensitive area that easily attracts germs and microbes. There are a handful varying reasons why your underarms itch. A rash is one of them. Unexpectedly, you can have itchy armpits without rash. We will cover an itchy armpit in a different post. This post will focus on underarm or armpit rash.


Defining rash is something that entirely relies on how noticeable the changes skin become – depending on the causes of that rash. For instance, these changes may be marked by bumps, scales, skin patches which could be itchy, irritating et cetera.


Can HIV virus be what causes an underarm rash? What about a fungal infection, heat or dermatitis? Let us now comprehensively look at what causes armpit rash? Of course, we may not cover everything but we will have sufficient causes plus pictures to assist you to capture the symptoms.

Intertrigo (underarms or around armpits)

This is a rash that that develops from “mechanical factors and secondary infection,” [] whose results converge to skin areas with folds. Some of the mechanical processes include rubbing surfaces especially folds. Other factors that worsen this condition in both children and adults are excessive sweating, vaginal discharges.

In adults rubbing causes wearing of skin under arms hence inflammation and itching (particularly after sweating). In case itching intensifies this sets a stage for fungal, or sometimes bacterial attack (secondary infection).

Individuals associated with intertrigo are obese.

Miliaria rubra, prickly or heat rash

Going on, miliaria or sweat rash is one that develops in certain individuals who release more sweat but have blocked of sweat ducts. If these secretory ducts are blocked, seeping occurs meaning that sweat is forced into nearby tissues under skin in arms.

The major cause of this blocking is due to a bacteria – Staphylococcus epidermidis. And, that is what results to formation of swollen pockets, eventually causing the rash to appear.

What are its symptoms?

  • Presence of tiny red bumpy spots that look like tiny blisters. (They can appear on different body parts)
  • These red spots also be itchy with an intense prickling sensation hence “prickly rash”.

Who gets heat rush or Miliaria? Anyone can get this rash. But newborns and toddlers are at the highest risk as their sweat glands are prone to blockage. It can also occur in bedridden or patients who lie on their back for a longer time. For instance, in New Zealand miliaria is common during the weather conditions of humid summer.


Another cause of rash in human skin is largely due to dermatitis. Since dermatitis can have so many causes we shall briefly look at types associated with problems on the armpits other body parts such as the scalp, face and ears.

a.      Atopic dermatitis or Eczema

It is the most common eczema, a condition that can run across different members of the same family. It affects more majorly children since it begins at childhood.

Basically, eczema as condition causes a red and itchy and dry patches especially in children who are 1 year and below. Mild cases cause a slight itching and will go away with applying moisturisers.

If it is severe, the intensity of itching is high leading to a flare-up in both children and adults. This may encourage scratching, and when scratching the patches start to bleed.

b.      Seborrheic dermatitis

This kind of dermatitis is a skin irritation caused partly by overproduction of sebum. In contrast to eczema, seborrheic dermatitis is characterized by oily flaky or scaly patches. Due to the excess oils, the flakes usually appear and look yellow or white.

c.       Contact Dermatitis allergic reaction

Contact dermatitis refers to inflammation of the skin that occurs when you come into contact with a particular substance” [] usually an allergen or an irritant. You need some examples of irritants? They include harsh soaps, chemical acids, hard water containing chlorine, certain plants e.g. mustards, Ranunculus, spurge; cement, etc.

From deodorants and anti-perspirants

Most of these spray products contain fragrance, alcohol, and aluminum all of which trigger a rash. In fact, these chemicals are sources of allergens which produce such reactions. Usually, people with different skin types and textures will react in various manners. If you have itchy small bumps after substituting your previous deodorant with another, chances are you have a chemical allergic reaction to certain products.

Red rash candida yeast infection

Armpit fungal rashes usually root from the causative agents. But people who suffer from hyperhidrosis show a tendency to get underarm rashes. There are two main causes or agents that is armpit ringworm and candida.

The mode of feeding of armpit fungus (dermatophytes) causes damage to superficial layer of skin. Anyone can be a culprit of Candida albican sp. Moreover, diabetic patients tend to be less fortunate because of elevated glucose levels in blood. Similarly patients with compromised immunity including HIV Aids victims, those undergoing chemotherapy, etc. may often be affected by candida

Tinea Axillaris

Tinea axillaris or armpit ringworm simply means fungal infection of the underarm area. Typically, this rash is caused by the “family of dermatophyte fungi such as Trichophyton, Microsporum, and Epidermophyton,” [] that thrive on keratin and stratum of skin under armpits.

Armpit ringworms are characteristic of the following:

  • Formation of scaly dry skin with circular lesions except for the centre of the rash,
  • Reddened, itching or burning underarms or where they have appeared,
  • Dandruff flakes on clothes or skin,
  • Foul smelling armpits

Tinea corporis

If the fungal infection spreads to the other areas especially around under the arms, the medical term used is normally tinea corporis. This form of infection also involves both underarms (axillae). This implies that if you have tinea corporis rash under one armpit, you could end up with the same symptoms on the other arm or under.  The problem with tinea corporis is that, it can occur in any part of the skin including the arms and legs.

What causes tinea corporis? In most instances the main contributing factors are similar to those of any other fungal infections. They comprise:

  • Living in humid conditions,
  • Excessive sweating,
  • Activities that engage a lot of contact such as rugby, and wrestling,
  • Continuous use of constrictive clothing whose quality limit aeration,

Note: “Tinea corporis is moderately contagious and can affect both humans and pets.” []


Folliculitis means inflammation or “infection of the hair follicles in the skin” [] due to germ (bacterium) called Staphylococcus aureus. This condition normally affects hair follicles where friction occurs such as under arms. Sometimes hair follicles can be damaged while shaving, or use of facial steroid creams.

Mild infections of Folliculitis may not require medication but in any circumstance it is curable. It is preventable too. Individuals with diabetes can prevent occurrence of Folliculitis by keeping their skin clean, and dry but moisturized. Diabetics are also not encouraged to get used to antiseptic washes.

Multiple eruptive (cystic) milia

They are usually small bumps considered cystic. Many people confuse it with a condition known as Epstein pearls (also harmless). If your skin gets damaged by injuries, sunburn or blisters you can get milia.

There are about 10 types of milia in humans: neonatal, juvenile, traumatic, etc. but multiple eruptive milia is associated with small cystic bumps on upper arms.

Are they a HIV symptom

According to UC San Diego Healthcare Clinic (UCSD) report, nearly 90 percent of persons living with HIV, (PLWHIV) have a skin rash as the most common and early symptom (first 2 months or primary HIV infection). Even though, it is not always the case as it is easy to mistake it for a certain viral disease whose symptoms marry. Be sure to confirm from a health centre or clinic before drawing such conclusions.

During the third phase of HIV infection, pinkish or reddish bumps/rashes symptomatic of this viral STD are found in “groin, underarms, chest, scalp, face and back.” [][

Other causes

There are more reasons as to why you are a victim of rashes. Here are more considerable causative factors that may be you did not know because of not being aware.

  1. Food allergies and medicines that cause reactions as side effects,
  2. Severe insect bites,
  3. Poisoning such as ivy and poison oak,
  4. Viral diseases like chicken pox,
  5. A compromised immunity due to STDs (HIV) and drugs,
  6. Resistant staph infections,
  7. Stress factors,

Red, itchy painful ones

In most instances a red rash under armpits likely ‘arouse’ painful signs and bleeding may occur in case there is scratching or attempts to itch with finger nails. Following our discussion, these are possible causes of getting an itchy rash with red bumps, spots or red armpit rash.

  • Candida or fungal infection under armpit,
  • Dermatitis – seborrhea and atopic dermatitis,
  • Folliculitis,
  • Tinea Axillaris,

Red, Itchy in toddlers

Besides the troublesome diaper rash, your baby can catch an armpit rash.  This problem in toddlers can be a serious thing because it comes up and perseveres throughout your childhood life. A typical rash affecting the skin and around armpit in children goes by the name intertrigo.

Basically, intertrigo also (intertriginous dermatitis) is a condition mostly occurring in skin folds inclusive of areas around underarm (in armpits). It is normally triggered by heat, presence of moisture, lack of air circulation and ‘friction’ in between fold under skin.

What do you look for? According to Web MD, the following are observable effects of intertrigo to take note of.

  • Itchy skin,
  • Red to brown rash,
  • Cracks or a crusty skin,

But if your baby shows signs of being overweight or diabetes, and these symptoms of intertrigo come up may be a complication due to diabetes or obesity.

Treatment or How to heal underarm rash

To enable doctors determine the right treatment plan for rash under arms, a great detail of diagnosis should be supportive. Common treatments that dermatologists recommend are prescription topical medicines, creams, etc. the following treatments involve categories according to mode of administration and action.

Topical creams

This is the most common treatment for most mild form of fungal armpit rash in both babies and adults. Topical creams help in dealing with itching hence very crucial in controlling the spread of contagious rash to other target areas. They include:

  • Fucidin cream containing Fusidic acid,
  • Hydrocortisone creams,
  • Benadryl

Other treatment options are use of over the counter medications containing benzoyl peroxide. These medications may encounter resistance from bacteria causing Folliculitis. In that respect, pills

Should I see a doctor?

It is not easy for us to recommend any specialized treatment unless we know what the cause is. It is therefore advisable to see a doctor to confirm the cause before recommending any treatment.

Good home remedies

What do you do yourself when the itching and burning becomes unbearable? Unless it is something else that exclusively needs a professional intervention, learn how to get rid of mild symptoms with the help of the following home friendly, simple procedures.

Take caution while carrying them out and not that most of these remedies will work to reduce symptoms of your armpit rash.

Apply coconut oil

Coconut oil leaves a perfect soothing of the itching while promoting healing. It also increases arm movement by reducing friction around your armpit ease ensuring you are even free to move with ease and this boosts social confidence in you.

For a beneficial you need extra virgin coconut oil but any coconut oil works. Dub it on armpits and wait for it to be absorbed. You need not to wash.

You can also mix 1 tablespoonful of lavender oil and a few more of extra virgin oil to use in the same procedure. If you feel there is a residual after 15 minutes you may gently rinse and then pat lightly with a cotton material. Repeat at least once or twice every day.


The reason why you essentially need this natural cure is because of the ability to regulate pH under skin. Additionally, it softens and maintains your moisture needed to keep it healthy. The procedure is relaxing and would surely make you feel wow.

In order to make use of the anti-irritation property of oatmeal this is what you have to do. You need lavender oil, warm water ready, a bath tub or large bowl enough to immerse your whole body. As Top10 home remedy puts it.

  1. Mix 1 cup of colloidal oatmeal in a bathtub filled with warm water.
  2. Add a few drops of lavender essential oil or any other essential oil of your choice.
  3. Soak in this relaxing solution for at least 15 to 20 minutes. Make sure the affected area is completely immersed in the water.
  4. Do this once daily until the rash heals.

Neem plant leaves

Going on with natural treatments, neem leaves extracts are not only good for tackling rash but other skin problems especially bacterial infections.

  • Heat neem leaves to simmer. Filter the solution then leave it cool.
  • Wash the areas affected even the skin in other areas.
  • Emphasize on redoing this a good number of times a single day.
  • If the armpit rash takes long to start disappearing, try to concentrate more on it. Afterwards, apply non-alcoholic moisturisers to avoid your armpits from drying out.

Tree oil + extra-virgin olive oil

After a careful examination of fungal infection under armpit or fungal rash, you need tea tree to take extra care of post-psoriasis or eczema. Prepare a mixture of tea tree essential and olive oil. Clean the infected area before applying.

Turmeric + Aloe gel solution

  1. Extract aloe gel and put it in a wide bowl.
  2. Add a little (1 -2 table spoonful) turmeric powder to a handful fresh aloe Vera gel then mix thoroughly.
  3. Clean your hands and wipe dry them. Ensures your armpits are also dry and clean too.
  4. Pat in the mixture and apply to the affected area. If you have rash under both armpits turn to the other hand and repeat the same.

Cold compress

A cold compress is a perfect symptom reliever for itching and burning or heat in armpits. You may need more than three cloth material for holding the cubes if it takes longer to have relieving effect.

Caution: Do NOT place the ice cubes directly because flakes can make small cuts. The danger with this is easy bacterial infection on already skin rash under arm. Furthermore, the symptoms may easily aggravate due to sweat.

Avoid tight tops

Wear lose garments to aid dryness in armpits while discouraging accumulation of sweat on the go. Select god material allows aeration and evaporation. In that respect keep far away from nylons and other clothes made of synthetic.

Stop applying deodorants

We earlier saw that certain deodorants can aggravate armpit rash. The best thing you have to do for yourself is throw them or put them away until the rash is cleared. It is better to go for an alternative but not lotions or creams and sprays with fragrance.

Keep off allergens

To help you understand the type of items, wears, antidepressants, etc. culpable of an allergic reaction on your skin, talk to your doctor to take all measures and tests on you. Anyway, use natural fabrics.

Avoid scratching

Scratching brings more woes to the rash as it may cause spreading of the armpit fungal spores to other areas which they could reproduce and thrive. Instead, apply a prescription corticosteroid cream. Make sure the medical rules concerning period limitations of corticosteroids.

Learn relaxation Techniques

If you are stress-prone, talk to your ENT or begin sessions in psychotherapy. Meanwhile, at home get used to techniques such as calming breathing technique to help manage stress, control anxiety and panic. Get enough sleep, engage in problem-solving, humor psyching with friends among other techniques.

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