Underarm Rash Causes, Pictures, Painful, Red & Itchy Rash Treatment

Underarm rash or armpit rash can be unsightly, embarrassing, itchy, painful, cause a burning feeling or general discomfort. They affect male, female and children (baby, toddle or kids). What causes rash under armpits including the itchy, red or bumpy rashes? How do they look like (their pictures)?  What are some of the treatments (ways to heal or cure), home remedies and tips for underarm rashes?

An armpit rash refers to a change of the underarm skin that affects its appearance color or texture. When you have it, your armpit skin might become red (change color), swollen, bumpy (raised pimple-like), chapped, cracked, scaly, flaky, blistered, spotty, blotchy, pus filled, warm, painful (hurts) or painless.

In addition, you might have armpit rashes that that won’t go away, comes and goes, goes away easily own their own even without treatment or the type that need treatment to heal.

Adults (male and female) as well as children or kids (including a toddler or baby) can suffer from underarm rash with a higher prevalence in people who are active in athletic activities, work in humid or hot conditions or have a sensitive skin type.

Finally, an underarm rash can be severe or mild, on one armpit (right or left armpit), on both armpits (rash under both armpits) or on areas around your armpits including at the top of your breast or on the back side of your armpits. Sometimes it could begin at one spot and spread to other parts of your body.

What are the symptoms of armpit rashes?

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Depending on the cause, some of the common armpit rash symptoms you expect include red or white colored rash (white rash), bumpy or pimple like appearances, smell (an underarm rash could be odorous), itching, circular rings, swelling, discharge or pus, warmth, burning or inflaming feeling, tenderness or pain (painful under armpit rash), among others.

Sometimes, rash under armpits might be accompanied with symptoms such as armpit swelling, runny nose, sweating, sore throat, headache, chills and fever, cough or joint pain and stiffness.

In case of joint stiffness and pain, purple rash, breathing problems (choking, wheezing, labored breathing), face, lip or tongue swelling, throat constriction or tightness, chills and fever or a change in alertness or consciousness, seek emergency help.

Armpit rash pictures underarm rash pictures

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To help you visualize how armpit rashes might look like, we have included a few armpit rash pictures or rash under armpit photos or images below as well as many other images in this post.

These pictures of armpit rashes are only for illustration purposes. You might be suffering from the same causative reason but your rash might look slightly different depending on factors such as your skin complexion, sensitivity, etc.

Armpit rash causes or what are the underarm rash causes

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Effective rash on armpit treatment requires proper diagnosis to determine the reason for appearance of the rash. In this part, we are going to focus on underarm rash causes. However, while looking the various armpit rash causes, we will give you some ways to treat, heal or cure them.

These treatment will be specific to the cause. Later on, we will mention a few general cures that will include home remedies and underarm rash cream.  So, what causes underarm rashes?

Underarm shaving rash

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Armpit hair shaving using a razor, especially an old or dull razor can irritate, break, cause razor burn, raised red bumps, ingrown hair or even cause infections to the delicate and sensitive armpit skin leading to an armpit shaving rash. Some people will also have rashes after epilating or plucking hairs. Try waxing, laser hair removal, use shaving creams and make slow and short strokes to minimize skin damage.

Underarm heat rash and sweat rash

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Another common armpit skin rash cause is sweat rash which is primarily caused by blocked sweat ducts that “trap perspiration under your skin. Symptoms range from superficial blisters to deep, red lumps”. It commonly affects babies but can affect adults (men and women) too. See the besides heat rash in armpit picture should give you a hint on what you expect.

Besides blocked ducts, as heat increases, moisture, friction, and chafing in the underarm usually increase too, leading to discomfort and rashes. These rashes are “often pimply in appearance, or may have small raised bumps” and are common when temperatures are high especially during summer.

You do not need any heat or sweat rash treatment since it clears on its own. To help reduce the effect of heat on your armpits as well as armpit heat rash or heat rash under armpits symptoms, try to wear lose and cool clothing during hot seasons and use calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream to soothe it.

Underarm rash fungal, candida or yeast armpit rash

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Having candida (yeast infection) on your underarm can lead to fungal armpit rash. Normally, they affect, “almost any area of the body, but are more commonly found in intertriginous regions—where two skin areas may touch or rub together—such as armpits, the groin, skin folds, and the area between the fingers and toes”.

Candida albicans thrives well in sweaty, warm and moist environments, something your armpits will provide perfectly. Furthermore, a hot weather, poor hygiene and wearing tight fitting or restrictive clothing allow candida infection multiply and spread.

People who are overweight, have diabetes, have undergone antibiotic therapy, have a weak immunity e.g. suffering from HIV aids STD, work in wet conditions, have inflammatory disorders or pregnant (only during pregnancy) mothers have an increased risk of suffering from candida including underarm rash fungal infection.

When you have candida fungus infection, you will have itchy rashes, red-purple patches (i.e. red circular rings), yellow or white substances on affected area, scaling (or flakes), cracked skin, soreness, redness, pus filled pimples on margins of areas affected among other symptoms. See the fungal armpit rash picture besides for further illustration.

Treatment is by use of antifungal (OTC drugs such as ketoconazole, clotrimazole,) amphotericin B., nystatin, or anti-fungal lotions, ointments and creams.

Hidradenitis suppurativa armpit rash

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Hidradenitis suppurativa or acne inversa refers to “a painful skin disease causing abscesses and scarring of the skin” [webmd.com] that often affects the anus, buttock, groin, breast and armpit areas but can spread to neck, back, legs or face.  The cause is not clear but it is assumed to be inflamed hair follicles or apocrine sweat glands that are blocked.

This condition can be cured but corticosteroids, retinoid (vitamin A) based medications, adalimumab, biologics infliximab, ciclosporin, laser or surgical treatments among other treatments.

Armpit rash HIV

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In its initial or early stages, HIV virus manifests itself with rashes which can affect various parts of your body, including armpits, chest, shoulders, etc. This usually occurs within two months of infection where  you will have “flat or barely raised rashes with small reddish dots/ spots (i.e. spotty rash under armpit resembling eczema) in people with light skin, and dark purple/ black in people with dark skin”.

Typically, underarm rash caused by HIV is not itchy and will disappear within three weeks. However, I it is itchy, try hydrocortisone cream or Benadryl to reduce itching, avoid hot showers, direct sunlight or hot baths.

Armpit rash from deodorant and antiperspirants

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If you are a fun of deodorants and you suffer from rash under arm pit quite often, it could be from the deodorant or antiperspirant you are using.  This happens if you are allergic to some of the ingredients present. Armpit rash deodorant are often “itchy, bumpy, and red and can blister, peel, flake and ooze”.

To avoid underarm rash from deodorant, try changing your deodorant or antiperspirant, use hypoallergenic brands such as Mitchum Roll-On Unscented (antiperspirant), Almay Hypo-Allergenic Fragrance Free Roll On, Stiefel B-Drier, and Crystal Stick Body Deodorant for Sensitive Skin among others.

Contact dermatitis or armpit rashes due to allergic reactions


Allergic reactions to various chemicals such as soap, shaving creams, body lotions, cosmetics, certain synthetic clothing material, fragrances, or detergents used to clean your clothes can cause rashes especially red itchy rashes. Such rashes develop when any of things you are allergic to come in contact with your underarm skin.

Lymphoma cancer

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Lymphoma can sometimes cause an “itchy rash… in skin folds” where armpits are no exception. It could be accompanied with lymphedema or swollen lymph nodes, specifically the armpit ones.

Armpit ringworms or tinea axillaris

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Ringworm or tinea “causes a scaly, crusted rash that may appear as round, red patches on the skin” including on your underarm skin. You will also suffer from patchy hair loss, scaling, itching, blister like lesions, among other symptoms.

Staph infection

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Staph is a methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) resistant to beta-lactam antibiotic. There are two types, the CA-MRSA associated poor hygiene, contact and touching contaminated things while the HA-MRSA is associated with surgical procedures, intravenous catheters, etc.

The CA-MRSA often affects scratched, cut or rubbed areas as well as areas with more body hair “buttocks, armpits, back of the neck, and beard…yellow or white center and a central head”. The infected areas become swollen (fluid filled), red and painful if you touch them.

CA-MRSA is treated with antibiotics or draining. Keep good personal hygiene and avoid sharing personal items (towels, razors, sheets, athletic equipment), shower after athletic event, sanitize linens, wash hands regularly, etc.

Other causes of rash in armpit

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Besides the above, rashes in armpits can be due some  causes or contributing factors include shingles (characterized by patchy red blisters filled with fluid, breaks easy and are itchy), folliculitis, diabetes (makes people susceptible to fungal infection), pregnancy (most women while pregnant are vulnerable to yeast infections) disseminated granuloma annulare, and poor personal hygiene.

Other possible rash under arm pit causes include excessive sweating (axillary hyperhidrosis treated with 10-25% solution or gel of aluminum chloride hexahydrate and 1% hydrocortisone cream), dermatitis, ichthyosi, bites and stings, eczema (itchy, red and skin dryness due to inflammation common in children or kids but also adults – male and female get it), impetigo, Lyme disease, pityriasis rosea, Kawasaki disease, psoriasis, acne, cellulitis, hives, among many others.

Rash under armpit child

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If your child has underarm rashes, the common causes of underarm rashes in children i.e. baby underarm rash include heat rash, eczema, rubella, fungal or yeast infections, seborrheic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, erythrasma, acanthosis Nigricans, psoriasis, ringworms, among others

Itchy armpit rash or itchy rash under armpit

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We have seen most of the rash under armpits causes. We now want to focus on what causes itchy underarm rashes and mention something small on treatment. Some of the common itchy underarm rash include shingles, psoriasis, eczema, lymphoma (a cancer type that affects lymph nodes), ringworms, contact dermatitis, deodorant rashes, HIV rashes, fungal or yeast infections, folliculitis, among others. See itchy underarm rash picture besides for a visual impression.

To deal with itchy underarm rash, you need to treat the underlying cause i.e. the itchy armpit rash treatment will depend on what causes the rash. In addition, you can try the various tips and home remedies (discussed later) to help soothe your itchy rash under armpits  as well as  applying pastes of fruit peels, fresh basil leaves or peppermint leaves. Apple cider vinegar, aloe vera, clay and oatmeal will also be good.

Finally, avoid temptations to scratch even when the urge or burning sensation is there, try cold compresses, cold bath, use anti-inflammatory medications, antihistamines, creams such menthol, phenol camphor, pramoxine, diphenhydramine, benzocaine, etc. as well as hydrocortisone containing creams.

Red rash under armpit Red armpit rash

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Besides being itchy, your rash could also be red (dark red or brownish red). The rash around armpit or  red rash in armpit  could have burning sensation (burn), be sore, bumpy, painful or painless, affect male or female or child (toddler or baby), ooze clear or yellow discharge, and affect other areas such as buttock or groin areas. For instance, the besides red armpit rash picture illustrates disseminated granuloma annulare due to diabetes.

The exact symptoms that will be accompanied with red rash in armpit will depend on what caused it. Some of the most often causes of a rash under the armpit include shaving, fungal infection, candida or yeast, folliculitis, HIV, some deodorant, contact dermatitis, disseminated granuloma annulare, lymphoma, tinea axillaris, shingles, eczema among many others.

Painful rash under armpit or a rash in underarm that hurts

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Sometimes, rash on armpit might be tender and painful (or have a burning sensation i.e. a burning rash under armpit. The pain can be a dull, severe or a sharp and the rash could also be red, itchy, bumpy, etc.

Some of the common cause of a painful rash under armpit include hidradenitis suppurativa, staph infection, ring worms, shingles (are very painful), and cellulitis, hives, eczema, folliculitis, some allergic reactions among others.

To help relieve painful rash under armpit, try the various home remedies, as some of the general tips to get rid of armpit rashes. Furthermore, tropical creams to reduce pain, as well as prescribed medications for painful skin or armpit rash will be good. First, see a after seeing your doctor if you want prescribed medications.

Underarm rash treatment, heal, cure or get rid of armpit rash

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Having rashes under armpits is not only uncomfortable but also embarrassing and unsightly. They might cause pain, itchiness and a burning feeling.  Therefore, it is very important to ensure you get the right treatment. How you are going to treat underarm rash will depend on what caused it. While discussing each cause, we already mentioned briefly some of the ways to heal armpit rash.

In general, to treat for underarm rash caused by viruses, antivirals are used, those caused by bacterial require antibiotics while those rashes caused by fungal or yeast will require antifungals.

To help relieve some of the symptoms of underarm rashes, try home remedies, anti-inflammatories, antihistamines (in case it is due to allergies) as well as other over the counter and prescription medications.

Armpit rash treatment home remedies

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Some of the natural or home remedies for underarm rash cure as well as relieving some harsh symptoms such as inflammation, itchiness, redness, tenderness or pain include:

  • Icepacks – Applying icepacks (or ice wrapped in a clean piece of cloth) to reduce itching
  • E oil, aloe vera and tea tree oil – Apply vitamin E oil, aloe vera and tea tree oil to soothe and reducing inflammation.
  • Vitamin C intake – increase intake to reduce skin infections
  • Lemon – swipe a slice of lemon under your armpit to help kill bacteria as well as act as a natural deodorant. Don’t do this immediately after shaving.
  • Diluted tea tree oil – apply to kill fungus and reduce itchiness
  • Baking soda – add about a half teaspoon in your bathing water or dust a little baking powder on your underarm to make it drier.

Other helpful remedies for treating underarm rash include applying a mixture of lavender and coconut oil (gets rid of rash irritation), crushed fresh strawberries and heavy cream (soothes irritation and reduces visibility) and apply neem leaves paste (has antiseptic and antibacterial properties).

Underarm rash cream

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Just like underarm rash cure method depends on what actually caused it, so do creams, lotions, gels or ointments. We are not going to list any creams but let you know that antifungal creams will be used whenever the cause is yeast or fungal and antibiotic cream when cause is bacterial.

Some of the underarm rash treatment cream such as hydrocortisone, Benadryl, calamine lotion are good in soothing your skin after a mild irritation (with itching, discomfort or pain).

General tips to get rid of armpit rash

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Besides treatments, creams and home remedies, here are a few general tips that will help you get rid of underarm rashes effectively:

  • Keep proper personal hygiene and ensure you thoroughly clean the rash area (use a mild soap to clean it at least twice a day).
  • Wear lose clothing made from natural fibers.
  • Applying corn starch layer can help dry out the rash
  • Place a thick soft piece of white cloth to reduce friction as well as skin sticking together especially when sedentary.
  • For speedy recovery, stop using deodorants, antiperspirants, fragrances, body creams or lotions until you get well, unless prescribed by a dermatologists or physician.
  • Ensure your room is well conditioned, especially if you have rashes during months that have warm weather.
  • Use anti chafing powders