Read below about armpit itch, including causes, treatment options and remedies. Or get a personalized analysis of your armpit itch from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

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Armpit Itch Quiz

Armpit Itch Symptoms

Odor is not the only issue of the armpit. When you just cannot stop scratching under the arm, you have armpit itch. The condition can be both uncomfortable and awkward to deal with. We combat the armpit's propensity for perspiration with deodorant and antiperspirant and the area is often shaved to eliminate hair [6].

Armpit itch may result from a variety of factors and presents itself with the following symptoms:

The armpits are in a tricky spot. Nestled between the arm, shoulder, and chest, they are more of a location than a body part. The sweat gland for the underarm is located in the armpit causing the production of the majority of our body odor and also perspiration [7]. A large number of nerves are located in the armpit making it sensitive and sometimes ticklish. The combination of its warmth and dampness and the frequent presence of body hair makes them a prime candidate for itching. Under many circumstances, armpit itch symptoms are a product of the environment, but other causes are more significant and warrant different treatments.

Armpit Itch Causes Overview

Sometimes, even the best intentions can lead to unanticipated consequences. The way we treat our armpits can often lead a variety of symptoms, including armpit itch. Other times, however, there is more to the problem than basic bodily functions and reactions. In those cases, it is important to analyze the armpit itch symptoms to best determine the cause.

Environmental causes:

  • Trauma: Irritation to the armpit can lead to itchiness. Improper shaving or ill-fitting bras can cause such irritation.
  • Hot/Cold: The skin reacts to prolonged exposure to either hot or cold dry air. Armpit itch symptoms can be the manifestation of this reaction,
  • Allergies: Certain substances can cause a skin reaction that results in armpit itch. Laundry detergents, deodorants, or clothing materials are all known to cause itchiness [1].
  • Parasitic: Parasites are tiny organisms that live and feed on the body. Scabies [2] and lice are common parasites known the effect the armpit and cause itchiness.

Inflammatory causes:

  • Infection: While bacteria are normally found on the body, sometimes harmful bacteria can penetrate the skin and cause infection, inflammation, and itchiness. Armpit itch can result from a variety of bacteria including yeast, MRSA [3], and other fungi.
  • Autoimmune: Disorders resulting from the body attacking itself are considered autoimmune. Psoriasis is an example of an autoimmune disorder that causes armpit itch symptoms [4].

Systemic disease causes:

  • Metabolic: The body is accustomed to operating in a specific way. When daily processes are disrupted by conditions like axillary lymphadenopathy [5], armpit itch can occur.

A.I. Health Assistant Causes for Armpit Itch

The list below shows results from the use of our A.I. Health Assistant by Buoy users who experienced armpit itch. This list does not constitute medical advice.

  1. 1.Allergic Contact Dermatitis of the Armpit

    Allergic contact dermatitis is a condition in which the skin becomes irritated and inflamed following physical contact with an allergen. Common products known to cause allergic dermatitis include plants, metals, soap, fragrance, and cosmetics.

    1-2 days

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    armpit redness, armpit itch, scabbed armpit bump
    Symptoms that always occur with allergic contact dermatitis of the armpit:
    armpit redness
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  2. 2.Scabies

    Scabies is a highly contagious skin infection caused by mites that produce an itchy rash on the body.

    Rash and intense itching should subside within 2-4 days with treatment.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    vaginal itch or burning, vulvovaginal redness, feeling itchy or tingling all over, butt itch, elbow itch
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

    Armpit Itch Checker

    Take a quiz to find out why you’re having armpit itch.

    Armpit Itch Quiz
  3. 3.Folliculitis

    Folliculitis is a common skin problem where hair follicles are infected by bacteria or fungi.

    Mild cases clear in a few days. More severe ones can cause hair loss and scarring.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    small facial lump, pink or red facial bump, face itch, facial bump leaking yellow/milky fluid, yellow or white facial bump
    Symptoms that always occur with folliculitis:
    small facial lump
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  4. 4.Cellulitis

    Facial cellulitis is a skin infection that typically comes from other parts of the face like the mouth or the sinuses and needs antibiotic treatment. Symptoms can be pain, redness, warmth and swelling of the affected area.

    Dependent on severity of infection

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    fever, chills, facial redness, swollen face, face pain
    Symptoms that always occur with cellulitis:
    facial redness, area of skin redness
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  5. 5.Psoriasis

    Psoriasis is a skin disease that causes itchy or sore patches of thick, red skin with silvery scales. The patches mostly affect the elbows, knees, scalp, back, face, palms and feet.

    Psoriasis is a chronic condition. Often flare-ups come and go. In some cases, psoriasis goes away over time.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    itchy rash, red or pink, rough patch of skin, rash with well-defined border, painful rash, scaly rash
    Symptoms that never occur with psoriasis:
    fever, black-colored skin changes, brown-colored skin changes, blue-colored skin changes
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

Armpit Itch Treatments and Relief

Usually, being only itchy does not raise any alarms, but that does not mean that it should not be treated. Given the wide range of potential causes of armpit itch, taking the condition seriously will help dictate the best course of action to relieve the symptoms. Switching deodorants may be all that is required, or the diagnosis and advice of a medical professional could be necessary.

Contact your doctor if the following accompany armpit itch:

With such a wide range of armpit itch symptoms and causes, self-diagnosis may be a challenge and providing adequate treatment could be equally as challenging. That being said, the most common causes of armpit itch symptoms are treatable at home. It is time to call your doctor though when basic treatments do not work or do not seem appropriate.

At-home treatments:

  • Warm Water Compression: Applying a compress soaked with warm water can help speed recovery from boils.
  • Moisturizer: Repeated applications of lotion to the affect areas can help limit armpit itch symptoms caused by dryness.
  • Hygiene: Ironically, bathing less can sometimes be the cure. Frequent bathing can dry the skin or repeatedly introduce irritants to the skin. Avoiding certain deodorants or soaps may also help. Changing clothes frequently and washing them at high temperatures will help eliminate parasites [8].
  • Over-the-Counter Medications: Creams or ointments designed to treat fungal infections are available for use [9].

Professional treatments:

  • Prescription Medications: Oral antifungal medications or antibiotics may be necessary for more significant causes of armpit itch such as MRSA. Medication also exists to kill parasites.

At a minimum, armpit itch is an annoying nuisance. At worst, it is a sign of a far more serious condition requiring advanced medical treatment. Treating your body right and continued good hygiene practices are often positive steps towards relieving the itch, but, it is always important to remember that advanced cases of armpit itch symptoms require input from a medical professional [10].

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Armpit Itch

  • Q.Are you itchy all over?
  • Q.Are you sexually active?
  • Q.Catheterization is the insertion of a tube into the urethra to drain urine from the bladder. Have you recently been catheterized?
  • Q.Do you have a rash?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our armpit itch symptom checker to find out more.

Armpit Itch Quiz

Armpit Itch Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced armpit itch have also experienced:

    • 16% Skin Changes on Armpit
    • 11% Armpit Lump
    • 10% Armpit Pain
  • People who have experienced armpit itch had symptoms persist for:

    • 33% Over a Month
    • 21% Less Than a Week
    • 16% Less Than a Day
  • People who have experienced armpit itch were most often matched with:

    • 66% Scabies
    • 16% Allergic Contact Dermatitis of the Armpit
    • 16% Folliculitis
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

A.I. Health Assistant

Take a quiz to find out why you’re having armpit itch

Armpit Itch Quiz

References

  1. More D. Deodorant and Antiperspirant Allergy. Verywell Health. Published June 15, 2018. Verywell Health Link.
  2. Scabies. American Academy of Dermatology Association. AAD Link.
  3. Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Published June 6, 2018. CDC Link.
  4. Psoriasis. National Library of Medicine: MedLinePlus. Published October 5, 2017. MedLinePlus Link.
  5. Ferrer R. Lymphadenopathy: Differential Diagnosis and Evaluation. American Family Physician. 1998;58(6):1313-1320. American Family Physican Link.
  6. Migala J. Are Your Armpits Itching Like Crazy? Here's Why. Women'sHealth. Published January 19, 2018. Women'sHealth Link.
  7. Body Odor. Wikipedia. Wikipedia Link.
  8. Stopping the Spread of Germs and Parasites. Australian Goverment Department of Health. Published November 2010. Department of Health Link.
  9. Terrie YC. Comabting Fungal Skin Infections. Pharmacy Times. Published May 24, 2012. Pharmacy Times Link.
  10. Itchy Armpits. New Health Guide. New Health Guide Link.