The official term for itchy armpits is intertrigo, which is a fancy name for a rash that shows up between the folds of skin, most notably the underarms. Armpit itching can be quite a nuisance. Coming up, we'll cover the top causes  why your armpits itch and how to get relief so you can stop scratching yourself like a monkey. 

Symptoms of an Itchy Armpit

The symptoms of an itchy armpit generally include discomfort, irritation, and burning. Depending on the underlying cause, other symptoms can include:

  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Warmth
  • Bumpy skin
  • Blisters
  • Flaking
  • Scaling
  • Plaques
  • Erosions
  • Oozing

Why do armpits itch?

It can be difficult to determine the root of the problem, but there are some common reasons that can be causing itchy armpits:

1.Heat rash

Heat rash or miliaria, is an itchy skin rash that can occur from sweating and the heat. It usually occurs on the arms, but it can also be found on other parts of the body. The rash may be red, itchy, and bumps may be visible. You might need to use topical ointments to relieve itchiness or see a doctor if the rash is severe. Drinking plenty of water will help reduce sweating and help alleviate itchiness in some cases.


Hyperhidrosis is a condition that causes excessive sweating on the face, armpits, hands and feet. It can be very itchy and cause social embarrassment.  Some solutions include using a topical cream, antiperspirants and using a sweat blocker at night.

3. Dry skin

One of the most common reasons why people develop an itchy rash on their arms is due to dryness or lack of moisture. Addressing dry skin issues with a good moisturizer and correcting any underlying malnutrition will often resolve the problem quickly.

4.Poor hygiene

Poor hygiene is the number one cause of itchiness, bad armpit smell, and skin infections. Follow these simple tips to help you achieve better hygiene: 1. Always keep an antiperspirant or deodorant on hand in case of an underarm emergency. 2. Keep your armpit area clean by washing it thoroughly with soap and water at least once a day. For extreme cases, use a mild detergent or anti- bacterial shampoo that contains aloe vera juice or witch hazel extract to fight bacteria growth effectively. 3 Avoid scratching the area excessively – this only aggravates itching and irritation. You can also apply an anti-itch cream or lotion if it becomes unbearable to scratch constantly! 

Itchy Armpits? Top Causes And Possible Solutions

5. Contact dermatitis

Contact dermatitis can cause irritation, itching, or a rash, which can vary in presentation depending on the individual and amount of exposure. It is mediated by an allergic reaction to an allergen that comes in direct contact with the axillary skin.

Contact dermatitis can be caused by deodorant, soap, or lotion, fabric texture, certain detergents, or fabric softeners. Poison ivy rash is a common form of contact dermatitis.

6. Folliculitis

Folliculitis is an infection of the hair follicles in your armpit. The hair follicles become irritated and can even get infected. It usually produces red itchy bumps and blisters. Warm compresses or showers can relieve symptoms quickly, while over-the-counter cream treatments are available to soothe itching and inflammation for short periods of time. 

7. Ingrown hairs

If you're experiencing itchy underarm skin, it's likely because of an ingrown hair. Ingrown hairs are caused when hair grows back into the skin too deep, and they're most common under your arms. To prevent them from happening, avoid scratching or picking at your skin. If you do get an ingrown hair, try to remove it as soon as possible using a soap and water solution or a dermatologist appointment.

8. Psoriasis

 This skin disease causes itchy, red patches on the skin, and can be caused by many different factors. This rare autoimmune disorder causes an overgrowth of surface skin cells, which results in a red, scaly, itchy, and painful rash. If you're experiencing severe itching under your arms, it's best to see your doctor for an evaluation and treatment plan. 

9. Yeast infection (Candida)

Yeast infections are caused by the overgrowth of yeast in your body, and can be managed by taking over-the-counter antifungal creams. If antibiotics are needed, it's important to consult your doctor first as it is not always necessary or recommended. Topical steroid ointments (such as hydrocortisone) are also often used for more severe cases of fungal skin infections.

10. Tinea corporis (ringworm)

This fungal infection is most often found on the skin around the neck, chest, and arms, and it can be caused by contact with infected clothing or bedding, or from spending too much time in close quarters with an affected person.Luckily, ringworm is relatively easy to treat with prescribed medications and topical treatments. Prevention includes avoiding exposure to known risk factors for infection, such as contact with someone who has ringworm. 

11. Razor burn

Shaving can be a itchy experience, but it's not always cause for alarm. In fact, shaving may cause razor burn, which is the result of friction between the blade and your skin. If you're experiencing razor burn regularly, it might be a good idea to switch to a non-grip razor or an electric shaver. Additionally, make sure to apply moisturizer to reduce dryness and redness from shaving. Lastly, make sure to replace your blades every few months to minimize irritation.


Another potential source of acute arm pit itching comes from parasites like lice or mites. If these critters have settled down into dense populations near your under arm pits, then it can be difficult to  fight them off on your own. In cases like this, seeking professional help may be the best course of action.

Itchy Armpits? Top Causes And Possible Solutions

What are other common symptoms that occur with itchy armpits?

There are many common symptoms that can occur with itchy armpits, but the most common ones include sweating and a bacterial infection. To reduce itching, try using deodorant or topical cream that contains antiperspirants. Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration - this will help wash away the sweat and bacteria that can cause irritation. Applying icepacks or taking over-the-counter antihistamines may also work in reducing itching.

Other possible causes

Armpit itching is usually due to a benign cause, but it can sometimes be a rare sign of a serious underlying issue, such as:

Inflammatory breast cancer

If you are experiencing breast itchiness, it is important to get it checked out as soon as possible. This could be an indication of a more serious health issue such as inflammatory breast cancer. To find out if you have this condition, it is best to check for hormonal imbalance and see if you are taking any medications that might be causing the skin irritation. 


These are cancers of the lymphatic system and can result in itching. Depending on the type, a rash may not be present. The itching can affect many parts of the body, especially areas with a high concentration of lymph nodes such as the axilla.

Inverse psoriasis

It´s a form of psoriasis that affects intertriginous areas, such as the armpit, the groin, and under the breasts. It can cause itching, but some type of skin involvement may occur as well.

How to prevent Itchy Armpits?

Tips for preventing itchy armpits

Itchy underarm can be really frustrating, especially when it's constant and interferes with your daily activities. The good news is that it's not impossible to get rid of it. Here are five tips that will help you prevent itchy armpits:

1. Sweat and bacteria buildup are the most common causes of itchy underarm, so make sure to wash your body regularly and avoid using harsh soaps. Try to keep your under arms dry by using antiperspirants or deodorants that inhibits bacteria overgrowth.

2.Stop shaving until the symptoms resolve, and use a new razor and shaving cream.

3. Make sure you're wearing the right clothes that absorb sweat and moisture.

4. Apply aloe vera or calamine lotion.

5. Use anti-chafing powder.

3. If topical cream or lotion isn't resolving the issue, try using a dermatologist-prescribed anti-inflammatory cream.

4. Reduce stress by taking some time for yourself each day - squeezing in a bath, reading a book, or spending time with friends can help reduce anxiety levels and improve skin health overall!

5. Start using a moisturizer or anti-itch cream daily to reduce irritation. If the itching is severe, see a doctor who will prescribe an antifungal agent such as ketoconazole or itraconazole.

6.Do not scratch!


Itchy armpits can be embarrassing an a real pain. A lot of times, the only way to solve this problem is by addressing its root cause. However, it’s good to know that there are solutions for some of these causes and it's usually manageable with some simple steps so you don’t have to live with itching all day long.