picture of a woman touching her armpit

Armpit Rash and Irritation

Ranging from a simple and common underarm rash from shaving to a more severe fungal rash, underarms are highly-prone to being affected. In this ideal warm and dark environment, when not properly regulated, bacteria can often thrives for an unwelcome period of time.

Problems with underarm skin irritation and rashes can vary from mild cases through extremely cumbersome occurrences. With a wide variety of factors affecting the underarm skin, knowing what you are looking at is the first step to dealing with the underlying problem. Some of causes can include heat and extra sweat, allergens, immune system disorders, various infections and side effects from different medications. Many of the instances relate to body sweat and bacteria that forms in its presence. Visit Sweat and Body Odor to learn more about this process.

Paying close attention to your body and taking proper precautions is an important part of getting ahead of underarm irritation and rashes and minimizing their uninvited appearance. 

Contact Dermatitis (appears in three forms) (source)

  1. Allergic Contact Dermatitis
    Allergic reaction to an ingredient that causes an immune system to respond and affect the skin. In this instance, a person may not be able to use a product due to its composition. Allergic contact dermatitis occurs when a certain ingredient in a product comes in contact with skin, triggering an allergic reaction.

    Common culprits may include ingredients in soaps, synthetic or natural fragrances and other cosmetic compounds. If you have an allergy to a specific ingredient, you should avoid products containing it.

  2. Irritant Contact Dermatitis
    Inflammation of the skin that occurs when particular substance directly damages the outer layer of the skin or interrupts skin's pH level.

    One example that we see with natural deodorants is a skin irritation when person’s body pH reacts poorly with the products pH level. Most of the time, this is due to amounts of baking soda, which has alkaline properties. Please visit our page What's the Deal with Baking Soda and Underarms.

  3. Phototoxic Contact Dermatitis
    Presents itself after a person’s skin is exposed to light; this chemically induced reaction mimics how the body reacts when skin is sunburned.

Heat Rash (source)

Otherwise known as Miliaria or prickly heat, heat rash is a skin condition marked by small, itchy red marks occurring in hot and humid conditions. This is a common disorder of the eccrine sweat glands that occurs during times of increased humidity and heat. It can develop when sweat glands get plugged by dead skin or by infection from Staphylococcus epidermidis.

Some home remedies for heat rash (source) can include wearing loose, cotton clothing, taking a cool bath with soothing colloidal oatmeal or applying cool compresses followed by an application of Aloe Vera gel.


This can occur for a few different reasons, including friction, moisture, and clothes that are too tight or made with a fabric your skin doesn’t approve of. 

Chafing is very uncomfortable, however fairly common, so don’t feel embarrassed if this is a chronic issue for you.

Chafing happens when there is prolonged rubbing on the skin, either from moist, sweaty skin that stays that way for hours, from tight, irritating fabric or combination of both of these factors. 

Chafing may result in a mild, yet uncomfortable and itchy red rash that stings and burns. If left untreated, your skin may start to swell and even crack and bleed. 


Intertrigo is an inflammation of the body folds. Because the underarm area has skin folds and generally isn’t exposed, too much sweat can build up, causing an uncomfortable irritation. The skin-to-skin friction that takes place as you move about your day and/or your genetic predisposition can activate bacterial and yeast infections.


Also known as atopic dermatitis, eczema is an inflammatory skin condition that is characterized by inflamed, red patches of skin. In fact, affected areas of skin may even contain fluid-filled bumps. 

Eczema is incredibly itchy. However, scratching provides only temporary relief and may further aggravate the skin and put you at risk of infection. 

There are many different causes of this non-contagious condition, from hereditary factors to lifestyle factors, even stress can exacerbate it!

Tips to prevent skin irritation

Identifying offending culprits/allergens is key in maintaining healthy skin, free from irritation. Here are a few of our top tips to target the most common skin enemies!

  1. Wear loose-fitting clothes
    Loose-fitting clothes allow your skin to breathe, which is so important for healthy, happy pits. By allowing your skin to breathe, you make it easier for your armpits to eliminate toxins from your system, not to mention it helps to prevent sweat build-up, another major irritant!

  2. Avoid hot water
    Hot water is not your skin’s best friend, no matter how good it feels! Hot water strips your skin from natural, beneficial oils, needed to keep your lipid barrier strong. When you impair your skin’s natural barrier, you put it at risk for all sorts of irritation; you will know if yours is impaired!

    Keep the water lukewarm, and even consider finishing with a cool rinse to keep your underarms soothed.

  3. Use soothing ingredients
    Of course, the ingredients you use matter, especially if there is already some kind of irritation going on.

    Aloe and coconut oil are just two of our favorites when the skin needs extra love! You can also consider adding soothing colloidal oatmeal to your cool bath.

    Finding products with the right ingredients for your skin type can be a crucial step towards your overall underarm and skin health. 

    Click here to learn more about why we chose the natural route with our products, as well as to learn more about some of our signature ingredients!

  4. Manage stress
    Finding ways to manage stress helps to reduce internal inflammation, which in turn helps to turn down the intensity of external skin conditions, especially eczema.

    We know this is easier said than done, but you really are worth taking even a few moments for yourself every day!

    Here are some of our favorite ways to manage stress through holistic lifestyle changes!


These statements are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. For any medical concern you should consult with an appropriately-licensed physician or other health care worker. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. Full Medical Disclaimer.