Due to being a dark, sweaty area and prone to irritation and friction, armpits are particularly vulnerable to rashes. A rash in this sensitive skin area can be really irritating as well as unbearable.
Common symptoms of an armpit rash include itching, small bumps on the skin, redness or darkening of the skin, flakiness, pain and increased odor.
More severe armpit rashes can cause dryness, cracking, pain and blistering of the skin, leading to fever in some cases.
Several factors can cause your armpits to break out in a rash. Some common causes include improper shaving methods, excessive use of chemical-based products, excessive sweating, regularly wearing tight and synthetic clothes, exposure to a hot climate, friction and poor personal hygiene.
It can even result from some fungal, viral or bacterial infections or some type of allergic reaction.
Rashes caused by allergies can be very dangerous. If you see a purple rash or other symptoms, such as swelling of the face or throat, breathing problems or loss of consciousness, see a doctor immediately.
Minor armpit rashes can be treated by maintaining proper hygiene and some simple home remedies.
Here are the top 10 ways to get rid of an armpit rash.
1. Cold Compresses
You can use cold compresses to reduce itching and burning sensations, two of the most common symptoms of an armpit rash.
The cold temperature will also reduce irritation caused by excessive heat. It will even prevent the rash from developing into blisters.
- Wrap a few ice cubes in a thin cotton towel and hold it on the affected area for a couple of minutes.
- Take a break and then repeat.
- Do this for 10 minutes, a few times daily.
You can also wash the area with cold water a few times a day. Make sure to pat dry the area completely after doing so.
Note: Never apply ice directly on the skin.
2. Coconut Oil
Extra-virgin coconut oil can help get rid of the irritation caused by an underarm rash. Its healthy fats and vitamin E content help keep the area moisturized, calms itching and facilitates healing. It even reduces friction that can worsen the condition and prevents infection.
- Dab some extra-virgin coconut oil on your armpits and allow it to absorb completely into the skin. Do this a few times daily until the rash is gone.
- Alternatively, prepare a solution with 4 tablespoons of extra-virgin coconut oil and 1 teaspoon of lavender essential oil. Dip a cotton ball in this solution and apply it on the affected area. Allow it to sit for 10 to 15 minutes, then rinse it off with cool water and pat dry with a clean towel. Repeat 2 times daily for a few days.
3. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is another home treatment for skin rashes due to its antibacterial and antifungal properties. Its soothing nature relieves itching and reduces redness.
- Cut off a thick aloe vera leaf and slit it open. Scoop out the gel and apply it directly on the affected area. Allow it to sit for 20 to 30 minutes, then rinse it off with cool water. Use this simple remedy 3 or 4 times a day until the rash clears.
- Alternatively, mix a little turmeric in 1 to 3 tablespoons of aloe vera gel. Rub this solution on your armpits. Wait 30 minutes before rinsing it off with cool water. Do this twice daily for a week or so.
4. Tea Tree Oil
If you have armpit rashes due to a skin fungal infection like ringworm, psoriasis or eczema, treat it with tea tree oil.
Tea tree oil has antifungal as well as antiseptic properties that help soothe the red spots and sores. It will even prevent the growth of the fungus and infection.
- Mix 5 or 6 drops of tea tree essential oil in 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil.
- Clean the infected area with water and pat dry, then apply this mixture on it.
- Wait 10 minutes before rinsing it off with cool water.
- Repeat 2 or 3 times daily until your skin looks healthy again.
Oatmeal is great for alleviating irritation and itching due to a rash on your armpit. It even helps normalize your skin’s pH level and also keeps the skin soft and moisturized. For rashes, use colloidal oatmeal (finely ground oatmeal).
A 2012 study published in The Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprology points out that antioxidant phenolic compounds in oats are responsible for the potent anti-inflammatory and anti-irritant properties.
- Mix 1 cup of colloidal oatmeal in a bathtub filled with warm water.
- Add a few drops of lavender essential oil or any other essential oil of your choice.
- Soak in this relaxing solution for at least 15 to 20 minutes. Make sure the affected area is completely immersed in the water.
- Do this once daily until the rash heals.
6. Indian Lilac or Neem
Indian lilac, also known as neem, is a popular Ayurvedic remedy for various skin problems due to its anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-irritant, antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial properties.
Both the leaves and its oil are used to treat skin problems, including armpit rashes.
A 2013 study published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine states that high quality, organic neem oil is a remarkable home remedy for skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, acne, ringworm and their associated symptoms.
- Simmer a handful of neem leaves in a pot of water for 20 minutes. Strain the solution, allow it to cool and then use it to wash the affected area. Use this treatment 2 or 3 times daily for a few days.
- Alternatively, mix 5 or 6 drops of neem oil in a cup of lukewarm water. Use a cotton ball to apply this solution on the affected area a few times daily, until the rash is gone completely.
7. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is an effective antifungal and antibacterial agent. It can help reduce inflammation, soothe itching and support healing of your armpit rash. Its acetic acid content prevents infection and helps rebalance your skin’s pH level.
- Put 1 teaspoon of raw, organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar in a cup.
- Add ½ cup of water to dilute it.
- Dab this mixture on the affected area and rinse it off after 5 to 10 minutes.
- Do this a few times daily for a few weeks.
If it causes discomfort, stop using it.
Note: Being acidic in nature, apple cider vinegar could irritate your skin if not diluted by water.
8. Baking Soda
You can use baking soda to treat an armpit rash caused by dermatitis or swimmer’s itch. Baking soda is alkaline in nature and can help balance the pH of the skin, thus helping dry out rashes and relieving itching and inflammation.
- Prepare a solution with 1 part baking soda and 3 parts water.
- Apply it on the affected area and wait for a couple of minutes.
- Rinse it off with cool water.
- Use this remedy once daily for a few days.
Note: Avoid leaving baking soda on your armpit for longer than a couple of minutes as it may cause further irritation.
Lemon is wonderful for relieving itching caused by an armpit rash. Its citric acid helps fight infections that cause skin rashes. It also has powerful antioxidant properties that speed up the healing process.
It even keeps body odor at bay.
- Gently rub a slice of lemon on your armpits. Wait 5 minutes, then rinse it off with cool water. Do this 2 or 3 times daily for several days. If you have sensitive skin, dilute lemon juice in water and then use it on the skin.
- Alternatively, prepare a solution with 2 parts lemon juice and 1 part raw honey. Apply it on the rash, wait 15 to 20 minutes and then rinse it off with cool water. Do this twice daily for a few days.
Note: Do not use lemon right after shaving or if you have open wounds on the skin.
10. Shea Butter
Shea butter has antioxidant, antifungal, anti-inflammatory and skin-protecting properties that can help get rid of an armpit rash. Its deep moisturizing and healing nature calms skin irritation, reduces itching and promotes healing.
- Wash the affected area with mild antiseptic soap and lukewarm water.
- Pat dry with a soft towel and do not rub the skin.
- Rub some shea butter on the affected area.
- Repeat several times a day.
- Increase your vitamin C intake to prevent infections that can worsen the problem.
- Apply calamine lotion on the rash a few times daily to relieve itching and speed up the healing process.
- Do not use petroleum jelly or mineral oil on the affected area as it can block the pores.
- Maintain proper hygiene to promote healing.
- Do not wear tight-fitting clothes. Opt for loose-fitting clothing made from natural fibers (cotton, jute) to allow your skin to breathe properly. Avoid fabrics that your skin is sensitive to or that cause an allergic reaction.
- Do not use chemical-based deodorants, fragrances, antiperspirants or body lotions unless they are prescribed by a dermatologist.
- Use air conditioning in your home, especially when you have rashes in the summer months.
- Use a non-irritating detergent to wash your clothes. Avoid any fabric softeners.
- Stop shaving your underarms, which can ingrown hair and even infection of the hair follicles. Instead, try waxing or some other hair removal agent until the rash is healed.
- Drink enough fluids and water to help your body regulate its temperature. Water and green tea are best. Avoid energy drinks, coffee and other diuretics.
- Take a cool water bath or shower daily, and allow your skin to air-dry.
- Sleep in a cool and well-ventilated area.
- Avoid scratching the affected area as much as possible. It can increase the risk of infection.
- Reduce stress, which can aggravate some forms of dermatitis.