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Burning Sensation in the Armpit

Burning Sensation in the Armpit

Wondering what causes a burning sensation in the armpit? Scroll down to find out more on what causes this underarm burning sensation and how it can be treated.
Smita Pandit
Pain, soreness or a burning sensation in the axillary cavity (armpit) can be caused due to a wide range of reasons. Our skin is constantly exposed to disease-causing bacteria, allergens or environmental pollutants and this is the reason why skin infections are so common. Since warm and moist skin folds encourage the growth of bacteria, certain parts of the body are more prone to skin infections. For people who sweat profusely, warm and sweaty skin folds in the armpit or the groin region often become the breeding grounds for bacteria. Burning sensation and soreness in the armpit is often a sign of infection, but it could also be attributed to serious medical conditions. In this article, we will find out what causes soreness or burning sensation in the armpit and how it can be treated.

Burning Sensation in Axillary Cavity


Allergic Reaction to Deodorants: The human body has its own mechanism of regulating the body temperature. The inner layer of the skin comprises many tubular glands that connect to ducts, which in turn, are connected to the pores located on the surface of the skin. These glands are referred to as the sweat glands. Sweat glands are categorized into eccrine sweat glands and apocrine sweat glands. While eccrine glands secrete clear aqueous secretion that helps in cooling off the body, it is only after one hits puberty that the apocrine glands start working. Apocrine glands secrete a fatty substance called sebum. Since these glands are present in large numbers in the armpit region, we sweat a lot when it's hot. The body emits a bad odor when bacteria act on secretions present on the skin folds in the armpit. Though most of us use antiperspirants and deodorants to counter the problem of bad odor, those with sensitive skin may experience a burning sensation, if they develop an allergic reaction to the chemicals used in these products.

Hidradenitis Suppurativa: Hidradenitis suppurativa refers to the inflammation of the apocrine glands. This condition figures in the list of possible causes of burning sensation in axillary cavity. Those who suffer from frequent acne outbreaks are believed to be more susceptible to this skin condition. Acne is one of the most common skin conditions that affects boys and girls after they hit puberty. It occurs when the pores as well the hair follicles get clogged with sebum. Hidradenitis suppurativa is referred to as a severe form of acne, which occurs when the secretions from apocrine glands get trapped under the surface of the skin. This leads to the formation of fluid-filled cysts or lumps. Pain, burning sensation, swelling or redness in the armpits may be caused by abscesses in the armpit area.

Razor Bumps: We all want our skin to be smooth and soft to touch. While some people use waxing strips to get rid of body hair, some people are comfortable with shaving off their hair with a razor. Those who use a razor to shave off the armpit hair, must, however, be very careful. Using a dull or rusted blade or running the razor very quickly on the skin can cause ingrown hair, rashes or razor bumps. One might end up with pus-filled bumps, which if left untreated, may even become infected. Under such circumstances, one is most likely to suffer from sore armpits.

Swollen Lymph Nodes: Lymph nodes are small bean-shaped glands that contain immune cells that trap and destroy the disease-causing agents present in the lymph fluid. Lymph glands located in the armpit are referred to as axillary lymph nodes. These lymph nodes may swell up due to an injury or infection in the arm. In case of women, a lump or swelling in the armpit can also be indicative of breast cancer. Swollen lymph nodes may sometimes occur due to lymphoma or cancer, and there is a great need to identify the underlying cause of the swelling at the earliest. A lump in the armpit could also occur due to an allergic reaction to drugs or vaccinations.


If your skin is sensitive and you feel a burning sensation every time you use the deodorant or antiperspirant, you must try switching brands. Harsh chemicals can harm sensitive skin and the wise thing to do would be to use a mild deodorant that contains natural ingredients. There is also a great need to be very careful while using hair removal products. Make sure that you use a new razor and move it in the direction of hair growth. Don't use a razor if there is a rash or boil in the armpit area. Let the rash heal completely. Scratching on the affected skin can make one susceptible to secondary infections. One must, therefore, refrain from scratching on the affected skin.

People who live in hot or humid areas, must wear loose clothing. This will help in preventing sweat rash in the armpit. One may pay attention to personal hygiene. Sometimes soreness may even be attributed to pulled muscles. So, take rest and refrain from any physical activity that may worsen the condition. Besides following these preventive measures, one can also try some home remedies. Application of rose water or aloe vera gel can soothe the irritated skin and will surely help in alleviating the burning sensation.

Application of ice packs will also help. Since serious medical conditions can also lead to the development of lumps or cysts, it would be better to consult a doctor soon. Topical application of antibiotic creams or ointments may be recommended in order to kill bacteria or prevent bacteria from growing any further. If the cyst is filled with fluid, doctors may drain off the fluid. Drug therapy would certainly be required for treating inflammatory skin conditions. If one has developed a lump in the armpit, certain tests would be required to see if the growth is benign or cancerous.

On a concluding note, burning sensation in the underarm region could be caused due to a wide range of reasons. It is therefore, essential that the underlying cause be determined soon. While home remedies may help in reducing the burning sensation, it's extremely important that the condition responsible for causing armpit soreness is resolved soon.