The prickling, tickling, and tingling feeling that makes you want to scratch your itchy armpits can be quite an embarrassment. But take comfort in the fact that almost everyone faces this embarrassment as the underarm region is prone to skin conditions. This is because the armpit consists of a large number of blood vessels, lymph, sweat glands, and nodes, though on the surface, it appears just like a few folds of skin. The blood vessels keep your underarms warm and the sweat glands ensure it is regularly damp. This makes your armpit an ideal location to develop itchy conditions.
There’s not much reason to worry. Sometimes, it can be as simple as wearing an outfit with a narrow armhole that sits too tight on your skin. Or the itch could be a result of wrong shaving technique, pregnancy, poor hygiene, or bacterial, fungal, or viral infections. Very rarely, it could indicate bigger health problems like breast cancer or psoriasis. But it’s unlikely it will be the only symptom. Here are 5 reasons of itchy armpits.
1. Poor Hygiene
Clean the armpits well every day. Keep your towels clean too. You could also air brush the armpits to improve blood circulation.
One of the most common causes of itchy underarms is not cleaning yourself well enough. When sweat and dirt combine, they form a perfect ground for bacteria to breed. This leads to an annoying itch in your underarms, especially if you sweat excessively. Showering regularly and air drying your body instead of using a towel prevents the itch and further discomfort.
2. Wrong Shaving
After shaving, rub some ice cubes on the armpits. Don’t use an antiperspirant immediately.
Shaving your underarms should not irritate your skin. However, if you experience any discomfort after a day or two, it could be because of dull razors and incorrect shaving techniques. Wrong shaving not only breaks and irritates the surface of the skin but also increases the sensitivity of hair follicles. When you shave your underarms, you may accidentally cause ingrown hair – that is a strand of hair that bends sideways and grows back into your skin. This presents itself with a raised, red bump similar to a pimple and can cause itchiness and rash.
3. Reaction To Certain Chemicals
A number of daily use items contains allergens. Certain allergens present in deodorants and antiperspirants may also result in mild irritation. Some of these products can clog sweat glands, trigger dermatitis reactions, and irritate the skin. Use a natural deodorant like apple cider vinegar. Simply dab some apple cider vinegar and water on a cotton ball and run it on your armpits. This can kill the bacteria and the yeast and neutralize odors, keeping you smelling fresh all day.
4. Pregnancy-Related Changes
If you have an underarm yeast infection, apply coconut oil or aloe vera gel directly.
Some pregnant woman suffer from itchy armpits during early pregnancy, late pregnancy, or at times even after pregnancy. This is due to the hormonal changes in the liver, which triggers skin irritation. Conditions such as eczema and impetigo cause itchy armpits which worsen during pregnancy. Moreover, pregnant women are more prone to develop yeast infections, which are also a cause of itchy armpits.
Sometimes, a change in environment or using new drugs also make the underarms feel itchy. But it may be caused by these medical conditions too, some of them easily treatable.
- Candida infection is possibly the most common medical cause of armpit itching. Add lavender or tea tree essential oil to coconut oil and apply on the armpits.
- Insect bites could also cause a rash and an itch. Apply a paste of fresh basil leaves. The camphor in it will soothe the skin.
- Swollen lymph nodes under the arms, which indicate that the body has an infection, could also cause an itch.
Though rare, breast cancer can cause itchy armpits. Palpate your breasts to check for lumps and look out for change in the shape of the breasts and nipples.
6. Certain Diseases
Some health conditions make you more prone to developing an itch in the armpit as well as other parts of the body.
- Hyperhidrosis or excessive sweating leads to bacterial overgrowth. You will need treatment to manage this condition, besides keeping yourself clean.
- Eczema or skin inflammation could be another reason. If it’s eczema, you’ll also notice rashes and flaky, dry skin. Apply coconut or castor oil.
- Psoriasis, which mostly affects the folds of the skin, could be yet another medical cause. But you would likely see scaly patches on the armpit skin. Add some oatmeal to your bath water.
- Breast cancer could have symptoms of itchy armpits. But breast cancer will probably show other signs like lumps or change in the shape of the breast and nipples. It’s unlikely that itchy armpits will be the only symptom.