A rash on the underarm isn't an uncommon occurrence. Many times, it is also accompanied with pain, odor, swelling, and itching. The causes for its emergence include allergies, heat, sweat, tight clothing, poisoning, fungus, or some underlying health condition. It is important to determine the causal trigger before resorting to medication or home remedies to cure this ailment. If you are confident about the underlying reason behind the rash, some lifestyle changes and basic remedies may prove to be of great help. However, if symptoms persist or worsen over time, professional help must be sought immediately.
Treatment Options for an Underarm Rash
For an Allergic Reaction
The underarm skin is exposed to irritants in the form of deodorants, soaps, or fragrant oils, thereby making it prone to allergic reactions. In some cases, clothes tend to rub against the skin and trigger the development of a rash. Sometimes, even detergents that have stayed on the clothes long after they have been rinsed, can aggravate the skin irritation. Medical experts usually suggest to stop the use of the personal care products that may have triggered this skin problem. For treating such allergy-induced rashes, it is advisable to use an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream or lotion.
For a Heat Rash
A heat rash produces clusters of small, painless, red bumps on the skin. For such rashes, the first and foremost step is to keep the armpits clean and dry. This can be done by wiping them with a clean cotton cloth, five to six times in a day. Using mild or medicated talcum powder would also help in keeping the area dry. In addition to that, repeated application of topical corticosteroids would be helpful.
In some cases, infection of the hair follicles, or folliculitis, can lead to this problem. Daily friction in the area, or shaving with unclean shaving instruments can cause bruises on the armpits (around the hair follicles), and make the region prone to infection. In this case, the underarm will have tiny pimples. To get rid of this infection, one must avoid shaving the area until it has been healed completely. Doctors mostly prescribe an antibiotic ointment for treating the same.
For Fungal Infection
Fungal infections may cause patchy, flaky, and inflamed skin on the underarm. Since this area is often moist, damp, and has minimal exposure to air and sunlight, it forms an ideal environment for yeast and other fungi to thrive. You will have to clean and dry off the area thoroughly, and apply an antifungal clotrimazole cream a few times a day. If this doesn't seem to help, you may need to consult a doctor for a stronger antifungal cream.
Do not attempt to treat this rash through self-diagnosis. It is always better to get a complete and thorough medical examination done from a qualified doctor, and get a relevant treatment before the situation worsens. At all times, it is important to maintain proper hygiene and keep the underarm clean and dry. Avoid the use of cosmetics, perfumes, harsh soaps, or deodorants until the rash has healed. To enable maximum ventilation and drying, wear loose clothes made from natural fabrics, preferably cotton, rather than synthetic clothes.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only and should not be considered as a replacement for expert medical advice.