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Itchy armpits: 4 reasons for the itching

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Sweaty armpits alone can be uncomfortable. But when your armpits also itch or burn, it’s hard to stop thinking about it – especially when you’re trying to scratch yourself in public as inconspicuously as possible. Luckily, armpit itching can usually be easily remedied. How do we explain here.

What makes the armpit so sensitive?

Human skin is particularly sensitive, especially under the armpits. On the one hand, the skin here is relatively thin. On the other hand, there are not only sweat glands in the armpits. Lymph nodes and blood vessels also run here. In addition, this area of ​​the body is almost always covered by clothing. Armpits are one of the wettest and warmest places on the body and are particularly sensitive to itching – also due to hair growth.

What causes itching under the armpits?

These are the 4 most common triggers:

1. Vocabulary

“Heat rash is caused by increased sweating at high temperatures,” explains Dr. med. Ulrike Poliza from Dermatologicum Hamburg. “The build-up of heat causes the sweat glands to become blocked.” The blocked sweat seeps into the surrounding tissue and irritates the skin.

While a heat rash in the armpits isn’t always noticeable at first glance, it’s definitely accompanied by almost unbearable irritation and itching. Even if the temptation to scratch is great, you should definitely refrain from doing so. Because, on the one hand, it doesn’t really help – and only increases the itching. On the other hand, scratching can lead to an infection of the already sensitive skin or make the rash become a bigger problem.

Instead, use over-the-counter healing ointments and cold compresses to soothe the area. Wearing loose or light clothing can help keep skin dry. However, if the rash worsens or lasts longer than a few days, you should see a dermatologist to determine whether you need additional treatment.

2. Ingrown hairs

Ingrown hairs occur when the hair that has been cut retreats back under the skin, curls up and continues to grow beneath the surface of the skin. This causes red or pink bumps and inflammation around the hair, which can be both painful and itchy. Ingrown hairs typically worsen in people who shave their armpits or have very thick and curly hair.

Shaving with a sharp razor, exfoliating the skin, and using warm water can help prevent bumps and ingrown hairs. If they do occur, you should stop shaving for a few days and use an anti-inflammatory cream to reduce the inflammation.

A long-term method to combat ingrown hairs is laser epilation. “In the best case scenario, this permanently reduces hair growth and thus prevents recurring inflammation,” says dermatologist Dr. Police.

3. Sensitivity to ingredients

The armpits are a very sensitive area of ​​the body. You should pay even more attention to which care products you use. This is because certain types of deodorants, such as antiperspirants or heavily scented deodorants, can sometimes cause irritation or allergic contact dermatitis in people with sensitive skin, resulting in bumps, redness and itching in the underarm area. You can find out how to recognize a good deodorant here. Therefore, you could use a deodorant without artificial fragrances and without aluminum salts for a certain period of time – and after a few weeks see whether the change has the desired effect. According to recent studies, the suspicion that aluminum salts in deodorants can cause health risks such as cancer is rather unlikely.

Also remember that when you wash your armpits, you break down the skin’s protective barriers. This allows irritants to penetrate the skin and cause itching. Men with sensitive skin should therefore avoid washing gels that are overly scented and switch to pH-neutral shower gels. You should also wait 15 minutes after showering before applying deodorant.

4. Intertrigo

“Intertrigo is an inflammatory skin disease that can occur anywhere where skin rubs against skin or skin sweats particularly heavily,” says dermatologist Dr. Police. It is most commonly caused by a combination of friction, high temperatures and humidity and typically presents as a red and inflammatory rash surrounded by scaly and bumpy skin. Intertrigo can cause itching, burning, and sometimes even a musty smell. Because the skin folds are warm, moist and damaged, fungal or bacterial infections, known as secondary infections, can also occur.

Fortunately, there are effective remedies for this inflammation: “Depending on the severity of the infection, therapy consists of drying zinc pastes through to ointments or pastes containing cortisone. The secondary infection is treated accordingly with antimycotics or antibiotics,” explains expert Dr. Police.

To prevent the rash or infection, it helps to keep the area as dry as possible and avoid tight clothing. Applying a greasy ointment like petroleum jelly to your armpits will prevent chafing, especially before physical activity. However, if an infection occurs or the symptoms persist, a doctor should be consulted.

Good skin care, wearing breathable clothing and using mild deodorants will prevent most armpit problems. If you still have a burn under your arms, our tips are guaranteed to help.

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