Warmth, moisture, and the presence of body hair can all cause your armpits to itch regularly.
It results from a common cause, such as an allergy to any type of deodorant, roll-on, or shaving cream. Infected hair follicles and fungal or yeast overgrowth can cause infection and irritation.
There are many approaches for treating that you can try and test. Switching soaps or using an over-the-counter antifungal treatment can help relieve irritated armpits. In more extreme situations, your doctor may prescribe medicines or ointments to reduce the itching.
In this article, we will tell you some of the causes that may cause itching over the armpits. Also, we will discuss some at-home and doctor-prescribed treatments for solving your problem.
What are the Common Causes of Itchy Armpits
- Contact Dermatitis
Contact Dermatitis is the situation when the skin becomes allergic or an irritant. You can see scaly red or pink bumps on the skin. It may be due to fragrances from body wash, soap, detergent, or razor metal. This is because a product that contains a lot of alcohol is quite sensitive to the armpit region.
Folliculitis is a situation that occurs when bacteria gets into the hair follicles and causes pus. The bacteria may be lying on an old razor. It heals on its own but needs medical attention in severe cases. Thus, doctors recommend changing your razor blades every 2-3 months.
- Ingrown hair
Sometimes, the hair grows back into the skin that sauces inflammation to the hair cells. This results in a red or pink lump around the hair region that can be uncomfortable and unpleasant. The problem of ingrown hair is more common in people with thicker or coarser hair.
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder that attacks healthy cells. It can cause scaly red skin, and it occurs on the armpits. Treatment consists of a variety of topical and oral drugs and phototherapy with natural or artificial light. Weight loss, stopping smoking, and stress management are examples of lifestyle changes that can be beneficial.
Candida is a yeast infection that happens in warm and moist environments. It forms a bright red patch around the armpits, followed by smaller red bumps that smell bad. Controlling your blood sugar levels will help prevent yeast infections from recurring.
- Other Possible Causes
Many illnesses can produce itchy armpits. But, these are either uncommon or the distinguishing symptom is not generally armpit itch.
- Hailey-Hailey syndrome
- Lichen planus
- Body lice
- Medication Reaction
Can Itchy Armpits be a Symptom of Cancer?
Itchy armpits result from a non-cancerous ailment like staying unhygienic or dermatitis. But, the itch might be a sign of lymphoma or inflammatory breast cancer in some severe circumstances.
It is the cancer of the lymphatic system that causes swelling of the lymph nodes in the underarms region. It can cause severe swelling to the area. Lymphoma is of 2 types –
- Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
Itching affects approximately 30% of persons with Hodgkin’s lymphoma and 15% of people with non-lymphoma. This disease is also known as Hodgkin’s itch or paraneoplastic pruritus. A visible skin rash does not always accompany this disease.
- T-cell and B-cell skin Lymphoma
T-cell and B-cell skin lymphoma can also cause some rashes to the skin and itching. T-cell and B-cell can have the following characteristics:
- Mycosis fungoides is small and dry red skin patches that look like psoriasis, eczema, and dermatitis.
- Skin hardness and thickening and the growth of plaques can cause itch and ulceration.
- Papules patches of skin have the potential to develop into nodules or cancers.
- Inflammatory Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the breast cells. Itching is one of the signs of inflammatory breast cancer, a rare type of breast cancer.
If your breast feels sensitive, swollen, red, or itches, your doctor may first rule out inflammatory breast cancer. Doctors prescribe antibiotics to treat such inflammation in the breast.
If antibiotics do not relieve your symptoms within a week to ten days, your doctor may order cancer screening procedures. Further treatment will be done after mammography or breast ultrasound.
Although itching, particularly itching in your armpit, might be a marker of inflammatory breast cancer, it is usually accompanied by other visible signs and symptoms.
- Thickening of skin like an orange peel.
- Severe swelling of one breast.
- Severe redness of one breast.
Treatments For Itchy Armpits
- What to do at Home?
If the problem is not severe, there is no need to visit a doctor. You can try and test the mentioned tips for getting faster relief.
- Itchy armpits might be due to your deodorant, soap, or laundry detergent. Try to switch it as it might prevent you from an allergic reaction.
- Stop shaving till the time you have itchy armpits.
- Change your razor blades to prevent bacterial infection.
- Apply OTC hydrocortisone cream to treat contact Dermatitis at home.
- For treating Candida or fungal infection, apply antifungal cream over the area.
- For instant relieving itch, apply Benadryl over the affected area.
- Keep the area clean and moisturized daily.
- What Might Doctors Prescribe?
If none of the home care advice helps you, you can try out the common medicines and ointments that doctors usually prescribe. Although, try to avoid taking them independently without a brief consultation.
- Antifungal drugs to treat more severe fungal or yeast infections.
- Oral antibiotics for staphylococcal folliculitis or folliculitis that is not resolving on its own.
- Topical steroids to treat contact dermatitis and psoriasis.
- Psoriasis phototherapy.
- Immunosuppressant medicine, either oral or injectable, for severe psoriasis.
If your armpits are itching, the culprit is most likely a non-cancerous issue such as poor hygiene, dermatitis, or an allergic reaction.
In most cases, if cancer is the cause of the itch, it is accompanied by more symptoms. Swelling, redness, warmth, and skin alterations such as thickening and pitting are examples of this.
Consult your doctor if you suspect your itchy armpits are caused by cancer. Following a diagnosis, your doctor will be able to offer treatment to address any underlying issues that are irritating.