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How Do I Treat Armpit Peeling?

By Madeleine A.
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Armpit peeling can generally be treated with hydrocortisone cream or a mild moisturizing cream. Sometimes, it is caused by dry skin, rashes, or shaving. Sometimes, allergic reactions to products such as antiperspirants and depilatory preparations can be to blame for armpit peeing. Using a hypoallergenic deodorant or antiperspirant can reduce the likelihood of irritation and subsequent peeling. In addition, using products containing moisturizers can restore moisture and help reduce skin dryness and peeling.

Getting sunburned in the armpits can also cause peeling. Typically, the skin will blister first and then armpit peeling will occur. To avoid sunburn in the armpit area, sunscreen should be used. In addition, to discourage peeling, moisturizer should be applied liberally after taking a shower, while pores are still open. If sunburn causes irritation, shaving the underarms should be avoided until the skin heals. This will discourage peeling and hasten the healing process.

People who suffer from a condition called hyperhidrosis are prone to armpit peeling. Hyperhidrosis is a condition that causes sweat glands work overtime, causing excessive perspiration of the hands, feet, and underarms. When this occurs, a dermatologist can recommend an effective treatment plan to discourage excessive sweating and subsequent armpit peeling. Prescription-strength underarm antiperspirants are very effective in combating excessive sweating. They may also be used on the feet and hands.

Scratching the underarm area can also promote armpit peeling and also cause an infection. The underarms are a breeding ground for bacteria because of the moist environment, and when breaks in the skin occur as a result of scratching or shaving, the risk of infection escalates. Signs of an underarm infection include a bumps under the arm, redness, swelling, and persistent itching. When this occurs, an antibiotic or antifungal medication may be needed to resolve the infection.

Peeling skin under the arms and other parts of the body can be caused by a dermatological condition known as eczema. Treatment for eczema includes corticosteroids, anti-inflammatory medications and medications known as biologics. Taking oatmeal baths can soothe itching and irritation from eczema. An oatmeal bath can be prepared by pouring regular oatmeal into a bathtub of warm water, or a commercial oatmeal bath preparation can be purchased at the drug store. The oatmeal is very soothing and restores moisture to dry and peeling skin.

Can You Treat Armpit Peeling With Home Remedies?

Several home remedies can soothe and treat peeling skin under the arms. Coconut oil is very moisturizing and can be applied liberally to the underarm area. Vitamin E is also very moisturizing and can be applied topically or taken as a supplement.

Using a mixture of baking soda and water on the underarms can also help to soothe and treat peeling skin. This mixture should be applied with a cotton ball and allowed to dry before rinsing. Doing this once or twice a week can help moisturize the skin and reduce irritation.

How To Prevent Armpit Peeling From Reoccurring

Suppose you've successfully treated your peeling armpits; congratulations! But now, it's time to focus on preventing the problem from coming back.

The first and most crucial step to keeping your armpits healthy is to watch your hygiene. Otherwise, your armpits will become a breeding ground for bacteria and infections. And no matter what treatment you invest in, the itchiness will return.

Invest in an Antiperspirant 

One of the leading causes of peeling armpits is excessive sweating. So make sure to use an antiperspirant every day. Antiperspirants not only reduce sweating but also contain ingredients that can soothe and protect your skin.

Be cautious with the kind of deodorant you use. Deodorants come in different formulations, so choosing one that won't irritate your skin is essential. If you have sensitive skin, look for a hypoallergenic deodorant without fragrances or dyes.

Consider a Natural Deodorant

You might also want to try a natural deodorant with ingredients like baking soda or essential oils. But ensure to conduct thorough research on the products contained in deodorant to understand their pros and potential side effects.

Some ingredients commonly found in skin care products can irritate the skin, so it's essential to read labels carefully. In addition, avoid products with alcohol, fragrances, dyes, and other harsh chemicals. If you're unsure whether a product is safe for your skin, ask your doctor or dermatologist.

Use a Moisturizer

To help keep your skin hydrated and healthy, use a moisturizer on your armpits daily. Choose a product suitable for your skin type and won't clog your pores. For extra protection against irritation, look for a moisturizer with built-in sunscreen.

Keep Armpits Dry

However, it would help if you didn't leave your armpits with moisture, as that only does more harm than good. After you shower or sweat, make sure to dry your armpits thoroughly. Leaving moisture on your skin can lead to irritation and peeling. If your armpits are particularly sweaty, you might want to try using body powder to absorb excess moisture.

Avoid Wearing Tight Clothing

The reason is that tight clothing can rub against your skin and irritate it. To prevent this, wear loose-fitting shirts, dresses, and tank tops. In addition, natural fabrics like cotton are less likely to irritate your skin than synthetic materials.

Don’t Scratch

If you have an itch, resist the urge to scratch. Scratching can irritate the skin and cause further peeling. If you must, do so gently with your fingers.

Can Armpit Peeling Signify Cancer?

While armpit peeling can be a nuisance, it isn't always a call for alarm. However, there are some instances in which armpit peeling can signify skin cancer. Some signs to look out for include:

  • A new mole or growth on the skin
  • A change in an existing mole, such as changes in size, shape, or color
  • Skin that is red, swollen, or crusted
  • Skin that bleeds easily or doesn't heal

You must see a doctor immediately if you experience any of these symptoms. Early detection is the key to effectively handling skin cancer. It can mean the difference between life and death.

When To Worry

If you notice that your skin is peeling more than usual, you should pay attention to other symptoms you might be experiencing. For example, peeling skin can sometimes signify a more serious underlying condition, such as a skin infection or cancer.

See your doctor immediately if you have any other symptoms, such as a fever, fatigue, or weight loss. They can determine if your peeling skin is due to something serious and provide the appropriate treatment.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By serenesurface — On Jan 11, 2014

Itchy, scaly skin is a sign of psoriasis and it can affect the armpits. My sister has psoriasis and she does experience armpit peeling sometimes. She has several prescription creams that she uses when it happens.

Psoriasis is caused by the immune system so there isn't a cure. Treating the symptoms is the most that can be done. We have noticed though that my sister's psoriasis worsens when she is stressed. So avoiding stress is a good idea.

By burcidi — On Jan 10, 2014

@fBoyle-- I think you should see a doctor for a diagnosis. The article went through the possible causes of armpit peeling and the treatment depends on the cause. Hydrocortisone cream may give you relief until you can see a doctor. It's a type of steroid, so it will relieve inflammation and itching but you can't use it indefinitely, so you have to figure out the cause.

Are you using any products on your armpit right now? I recommend stopping all products, including shower gels and lotions. If the peeling goes away after this, you can bet that it's an allergic reaction to a product.

If it doesn't go away, then it might be dermatitis due to dry skin or another skin condition. It could also be a fungal infection. It can be a guessing game to figure out the cause, so it's best to see a doctor and let an expert handle it.

By fBoyle — On Jan 10, 2014

My armpits have been peeling for the past three days and I'm freaking out. It started suddenly and I have never experienced something like this before. I waited to see if it would go away but it's not. I'm off to the pharmacy for hydrocortisone cream. Will this cream treat the peeling right away?

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