Aside from your crotch, your armpits may be the most inconvenient area to suffer from itchiness.
Scratching your pits in public makes you look like a primate, which is generally frowned upon. Plus, they're trapped underneath sweaty fabric every day (unless you're a supermodel or a full-time lifeguard), making it impossible for them to breathe.
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. But you don't have time for textbook terminology. You need to tame a pair of itchy pits.
Coming up, we'll cover the top reasons why your armpits itch and how to get relief so you can stop scratching yourself like a psychopath.
Why Do Your Armpits Get So Itchy?
When it comes to itchy skin, your armpits have the odds stacked against them.
The skin there is very thin, making it vulnerable to itchiness, allergic reactions, and skin conditions like eczema. Your underarms are also home to a large number of nerves, which is why they're extra sensitive (and ticklish).
7 Common Causes of Itchy Armpits (and What to Do About Them)
Itchy underarms can be traced to your grooming habits most of the time, but other causes are more significant and could warrant a trip to the dermatologist. For instant itch relief, you can get an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream, but you're better off getting to the root cause.
You're Applying Deodorant Too Soon After Showering
Washing your armpits with warm, soapy water is necessary to conquer your disgusting body odor. But it also disrupts your skin's protective barrier, allowing irritants to invade your skin. This can cause your armpits to itch, sting, or burn like hell.
What to do: After you shower, dry off and wait about 15 minutes before applying deodorant.
Your Deodorant Is Whack
If your pits still itch after waiting to apply deodorant, your problem might be the deodorant itself. The artificial fragrances in deodorants and the aluminum salts used in antiperspirants can wreak havoc on sensitive skin, causing painful red rashes.
You're Allergic to Your Laundry Detergent
Some laundry detergents can cause allergic contact dermatitis, a condition where your skin gets inflamed after being exposed to an allergen (typically a soap, fragrance, or cosmetic). Your pits might be the first part of your body to suffer since the skin is extra sensitive.
What to do: Grab a hypoallergenic laundry detergent or at least one that's fragrance-free.
Bad Body Wash
Showering with that neon-colored gel you've used since high school might smell halfway decent. But chances are it's loaded with artificial scents and dyes concocted in a lab. This can be another source of contact dermatitis as well as dry skin around the underarm area.
A heat rash usually affects adults during hot, humid weather when sweat glands get blocked and trap sweat under your skin. The symptoms of a heat rash can include red blisters, fluid-filled bumps, and intense itching.
What to do: You can prevent heat rashes by dusting your pits with talcum-free body powder to stay dry and fresh.
This rare autoimmune disorder causes an overgrowth of surface skin cells, which results in a red, scaly, itchy, and painful rash. Psoriasis flare-ups can be caused by infections like strep throat that send your immune system into overdrive.
What to do: It's important to contact a healthcare professional about treatment options since psoriasis can negatively affect your quality of life.
You Have an Infection
Candida or candidiasis is a type of fungus or yeast infection that occurs in moist areas of the skin, like the armpits. This infection can cause swelling, itching, and red scaly rashes and can flare up in hot weather under tight clothing.
What to do: Unlike other skin infections, candida rashes respond best to antifungal cream (steroid creams can make fungal infections worse).
The Prognosis for Itchy Pits
As you can see, most instances of itchy underarms are relatively harmless. However, if you're still scratching like crazy after making lifestyle adjustments, it won't hurt to check in with your doctor. They'll be able to give you some stronger stuff than you can get over-the-counter.