Armpit Rash: 7 Causes and How to Treat It

Armpit rashes can take on various appearances, such as bumpy, smooth, or dry, and are often caused by different factors. Understanding the cause of your rash is essential in determining the appropriate treatment. 

In this article, we’ll discuss the types of armpit rashes and how to treat them effectively.

Armpit Rash

Each type of armpit rash requires a specific treatment strategy. We’ll help you identify the source of your rash and provide guidance for prevention.

What Is an Armpit Rash?

An armpit rash is a skin condition that occurs in the underarm area, causing irritation and discomfort. This rash can appear in various forms, such as red, bumpy, or smooth, and is often accompanied by itchiness and inflammation. 

What Is an Armpit Rash

Causes of Armpit Rashes

Understanding the root causes of armpit rashes is essential for targeted treatment. Armpit rashes can manifest for a variety of reasons, ranging from skin irritants and allergies to more complex underlying conditions. 

Factors like sweat, friction, and personal care products often contribute to these rashes.

Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis is a type of armpit rash often resulting from allergic reactions. This may be due to deodorants, soaps, detergents, or fabrics that irritate the skin.

Contact Dermatitis

Symptoms typically vary from dry, itchy skin to severe inflammation. Identifying and avoiding the irritant is an essential first step in treatment.

Sweat and Bacteria Buildup

Sweat and bacteria buildup is another common cause of armpit rashes. The warm, moist environment of the armpit is ideal for bacterial overgrowth, which can lead to skin irritation.

Sweat and Bacteria Buildup

Regular hygiene practices can help control sweat and bacteria buildup. However, ignoring it can lead to armpit discomfort and even infections.

Allergic Reaction

An allergic reaction could result in an armpit rash. This reaction could be triggered by substances like certain types of fabric, cosmetic products, detergents, or foods.

Allergic Reaction

Symptoms include redness, itchiness, and swelling. Identifying and avoiding the allergy-causing substance aids in alleviating this type of rash.

Other Dermatological Conditions

Skin conditions like Seborrheic Dermatitis, Eczema, and Psoriasis can manifest as armpit rashes. These chronic diseases lead to inflammation and scaling of the skin, respectively.

Other Dermatological Conditions

Treatment usually includes topical creams or light therapy. Since these conditions often cycle through flare-ups and remission, a long-term management plan is generally necessary.

Heat Rash and Chafing

Heat rash and chafing are typically linked to hot and sweaty conditions. These cause irritation and redness in the armpits, often following repetitive skin friction or prolonged exposure to heat and humidity.

Heat Rash and Chafing

Prompt cooling of the skin, ample hydration, and wearing loose clothing are effective initial remedies to alleviate these conditions.


Infections are a significant cause of armpit rashes. Yeast or fungal infections are common, as these organisms thrive in the warm, humid environment of the armpit.

Bacterial infections can also occur, often as a result of poor hygiene or a compromised immune system. Both types generally necessitate medical treatment.


Home Remedies

Home remedies offer an accessible alternative for managing mild armpit rashes. While these remedies can be helpful, they are not a substitute for medical advice. For severe or persistent rashes, consultation with a healthcare provider is essential to rule out more problematic underlying conditions. 


Moisturizing is an easy and effective home remedy for some types of armpit rashes, especially those caused by dry skin. It can help soothe the irritated area and replenish the skin’s natural oils.


Choose a fragrance-free, hypoallergenic moisturizer suitable for sensitive skin to avoid exacerbating the rash. Always apply on clean, dry skin.

Antifungal Creams

Antifungal creams are over-the-counter medications that can treat mild fungal armpit rashes at home. They work by killing the fungus causing the rash and often also contain ingredients to soothe irritation.

Antifungal Creams

Follow the instructions on the packaging for proper usage. For persistent rashes, consult a healthcare professional to ensure appropriate treatment.

Warm Compress

A warm compress is a simple home remedy that can provide relief from an itchy, inflamed armpit rash. The warmth can help increase blood circulation, promoting faster healing.

Just be careful with the temperature of the compress – excessive heat might exacerbate the rash. It should feel warm, not hot, on the skin.

Warm Compress

Medical Treatments for Armpit Rash

Medical treatments for armpit rashes are often contingent on the underlying cause. Options range from topical creams and antifungals to oral medications, depending on the severity and type of rash involved.

Consulting a healthcare provider for an accurate diagnosis is crucial for effective treatment. 

Antifungal Medication

Antifungal medications are often prescribed for treating armpit rashes caused by fungal infections. These may come in the form of creams, powders, or oral drugs, depending on infection severity.

Antifungal Medication

While mild rashes may clear up with over-the-counter remedies, more severe cases generally require prescription-strength antifungals. Always consult a healthcare provider for appropriate treatment.


Antibiotics are prescribed to treat rashes in the armpit caused by bacterial infections. They can come in topical forms like creams or as oral medicine.


While topical antibiotics are often used for minor infections, oral antibiotics might be necessary for more extensive or persistent rashes. Always follow the advice of your healthcare provider.

Topical Steroids

Topical steroids can alleviate itching and inflammation associated with atopic dermatitis or tinea corporis. Be sure to follow your prescribed treatment plan to promote effective healing. 

For painful, chronic conditions like hidradenitis suppurativa, your healthcare provider may suggest more specialized treatment options.

Topical Steroids

Preventing Armpit Rashes in the Future

Prevention is often the best approach to avoid the discomfort associated with armpit rashes. Simple changes in hygiene practices and choice of personal care products can make a significant difference.

Maintain Good Hygiene

To prevent armpit rashes, maintain good hygiene by regularly washing your underarms with a mild soap.

Maintain Good Hygiene

Keep the area dry, as excessive sweating can lead to irritation and rashes. If you are prone to sweating, use antiperspirants to control perspiration.

Choose Hypo-allergenic, Fragrance-Free Products

Choose hypo-allergenic, fragrance-free deodorants and lotions to avoid skin irritation. Be cautious with hair removal, as it can cause ingrown hairs and follicle inflammation. Trim your armpit hair instead of shaving, if possible.

Choose Hypo-allergenic, Fragrance-Free Products

Opt for gentle detergents to wash your clothes, as harsh chemicals can cause allergic reactions or irritant contact dermatitis. Avoid scratching your armpits, as it can worsen the rash and potentially lead to an infection.

Wearing Breathable Clothing

Choosing breathable fabrics like cotton can significantly aid in preventing armpit rashes. These materials allow for better air circulation, reducing moisture and friction that often trigger skin irritation.

Wearing Breathable Clothing

Avoiding tight or synthetic clothing, especially during physical activities, can further minimize the risk. Loose-fitting clothes can help keep the armpit area dry and less susceptible to rash development.

Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet rich in vitamin C, can help bolster your immune system. This is especially important as factors like obesity and poor nutrition can contribute to skin conditions like hidradenitis suppurativa (HS).

Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle

Regular exercise can also help manage your weight and improve your overall skin health.

Frequently Asked Questions

What causes rashes in the underarm area?

Rashes in the underarm area can be caused by various factors, such as chafing, eczema, heat rash, allergic reactions, and infections.

What causes rashes in the underarm area

The skin in the armpit is thin, folds, and can be hairy, making it a suitable environment for moisture buildup and irritation.

How to diagnose a fungal armpit rash?

To diagnose a fungal armpit rash, a healthcare professional may examine the affected area visually and ask about your symptoms.

How to diagnose a fungal armpit rash

In some cases, they may take a skin scraping or sample to be examined under a microscope or cultured to identify the specific fungus causing the rash.

What are the symptoms of a deodorant-induced rash?

A deodorant-induced rash can cause symptoms such as redness, itching, burning or stinging sensations, and skin peeling.

What are the symptoms of a deodorant-induced rash

It may happen due to an allergic reaction or irritation from the ingredients in the deodorant.

How do temperature-related armpit rashes present?

Temperature-related armpit rashes, such as heat rash, can appear as small red bumps, blisters, or patches of red, irritated skin.

How do temperature-related armpit rashes present

These rashes usually develop when the sweat glands become blocked, and sweat is trapped beneath the skin, causing inflammation and irritation.

What over-the-counter treatments are effective for armpit rash?

Over-the-counter treatments for armpit rash may include hydrocortisone creams, antifungal ointments, and anti-itch lotions.

What over-the-counter treatments are effective for armpit rash

Keeping the affected area clean and dry, applying a cool compress, and wearing loose-fitting, breathable clothing can also help alleviate symptoms.

When should you consult a doctor for an underarm rash?

You should consult a doctor for an underarm rash if it does not improve with over-the-counter treatments, worsens, or if you develop severe symptoms such as fever, oozing, or spreading of the rash.

When should you consult a doctor for an underarm rash

A healthcare professional can provide a proper diagnosis and recommend appropriate treatments for your specific condition.