What Causes Itchy Armpits? 5 Possibilities and How to Find Relief

By Liz Thompson in Natural Products

Itchy underarms are a common problem with a variety of possible causes. If you are wondering what causes itchy armpits and how to make your underarms feel more comfortable, here are some helpful tips.

What Causes Itchy Armpits?

Knowing what's to blame for your itchy armpits is the first step to finding a solution. You may be surprised to learn that your everyday routine could be contributing to this discomfort. If your armpit itch worsens or is accompanied by other concerning symptoms, seek advice from your medical professional.

Woman stretching arms in bed

1. Candida Infection

A yeast infection known as candida is caused by skin rubbing together in moist areas of the body, such as the underarms, and it can result in itching. To avoid this fungal infection, keep your skin as clean and dry as possible. If you need treatment, applying an antifungal cream to the area may help, as MedlinePlus suggests. For serious symptoms, contact your physician.

2. Atopic Dermatitis

This skin condition is very common and characterized by inflammation, redness, and itching (a.k.a. pruritus). There are many causes of atopic dermatitis, and it can be difficult to pinpoint. But often, as a study published in Seminars in Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery states, atopic dermatitis can be associated with soaps. If you are experiencing these symptoms in your underarms, try swapping out your soap and see if your condition improves.

3. Ingredient Sensitivity

Another common cause of underarm itchiness is sensitivity to ingredients in antiperspirant and deodorant products. According to the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, this type of reaction may be a cosmetic allergy, which can be intensely itchy. If you experience itchy armpits after using deodorant or antiperspirant, you may want to try switching your deodorant to see if the particular formula is causing a reaction. Consider a natural deodorant if it's important to you that the product's ingredients are all naturally derived. It's possible you may find that switching to a natural deodorant is the right choice for you.

Antiperspirants are designed to control wetness and typically contain aluminum, while deodorants are designed to control odor. It's important to note that, while there is a difference between the two products, both antiperspirants and deodorants can contain ingredients linked to allergic reaction.

Woman in an aerobics class with her arms stretched out

4. Heat Rash

Seen more often in hot summer months, heat rash (a.k.a. miliaria) is just what it sounds like: the body's reaction to a hot, humid environment. When pores become blocked, sweat can't escape, and raised, red, itchy bumps form. The Mayo Clinic recommends wearing loose, lightweight, cotton clothing, keeping cool, and sleeping in a well-ventilated area in order to avoid heat rash.

5. Shaving Bumps

Not only are shaving bumps unsightly, but they can sting and itch, too. Sometimes after shaving, hairs become ingrown, and shaving bumps form. This can happen on the face, bikini line, and—yes—underarms. According to research published in Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology, shaving with a sharp razor, lubricating the skin, and using warm water can help to prevent shave bumps.

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Why It's Good

Knowing the causes of itchy armpits will help you find a path forward to make your skin feel more comfortable. It may be time to switch up your personal care products, which can give you the opportunity to find a new go-to formula you'll love.