What Can Cause Armpit Burning?

Madeleine A.
Madeleine A.
People who have sensitive skin may experience burning after using some deodorants.
People who have sensitive skin may experience burning after using some deodorants.

Armpit burning can be caused by an infection, razor burn, rash, or allergic reaction. In addition, exposure to chemicals in antiperspirants and deodorants can also contribute to this feeling. Burning sensations under the armpits may also be accompanied by redness, irritation, and inflammation. When these symptoms occur, refraining from shaving or removing underarm hair with a depilatory preparation may be warranted to avoid further irritation.

Using cornstarch instead of a commercial antiperspirant may help eliminate armpit irritation.
Using cornstarch instead of a commercial antiperspirant may help eliminate armpit irritation.

A fungal infection caused by a yeast organism can contribute to armpit burning, itching, and redness. Areas of the body that are prone to yeast infections such as candida include the armpits, the folds of the groin, and the skin under the breasts. By keeping these areas clean and dry, yeast proliferation is discouraged. If, however, a fungal infection does occur, a topical or oral antifungal medication may be recommended to eliminate the infection. Oral antifungal medications, however, can produce side effects such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

There are many potential causes for armpit burning.
There are many potential causes for armpit burning.

In rare occasions, armpit burning can be caused by muscle strain. Injuring a muscle can produce a burning pain, not only in the armpit area but in the neck and back areas as well. To reduce the burning pain of a muscle strain, taking an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication may be recommended. When armpit burning from a muscle injury persists despite taking medications, other causes need to be ruled out, such as a pinched nerve or herniated disc.

Shaving an armpit without any kind of moisture can cause armpit burning.
Shaving an armpit without any kind of moisture can cause armpit burning.

After shaving the armpit area, a burning sensation known as razor burn may occur. This is more common when the underarms are shaved without the benefit of a moisturizing agent, such as shaving gel or soap. Dry shaving can cause significant burning and breaks in the skin of the armpits. This method of shaving the underarms generally never recommended, however, if dry shaving is the preferred method of hair removal, shaving with an electric razor should be considered.

Shaving the armpits can cause burning afterwards.
Shaving the armpits can cause burning afterwards.

Certain perfumes and other chemicals in deodorants can occasionally contribute to armpit burning. To lessen the risk, products that are free from dyes or perfumes might be milder and less likely to cause a burning sensation under the arms. For those who are extremely sensitive to the effects of deodorants and antiperspirants, applying plain cornstarch under the arms may be a viable alternative for reducing odor and perspiration.

If armpit burning is accompanied by lumps or bumps, pain, or swelling, a health care provider should be notified. An infection or other medical condition may need to be ruled out before a treatment plan can be put into place. Although most cases of burning under the armpits are usually not serious, determining the cause is still important. If the condition is not evaluated and treated, it may become chronic and difficult to manage.

Potential Reasons for Armpit Burning

Armpit burning can be a result of different circumstances. Figuring out the cause will help a person be more successful in their treatment. 

Infections That Can Lead to Armpit Burning

Another type of infection that can cause armpit burning is ringworm. Ringworm can occur in any part of the skin’s top layer. Ringworm is an infection that produces a dry, scaly area of skin that has discoloration from the surrounding skin. 

To remove the ringworm, you need to apply antifungal ointment to the area until it heals. Ringworm is contagious, so one must avoid physical contact with others if they still have ringworm because it spreads through contact. Often, people will cover the affected area. 

By keeping these areas clean and dry, yeast proliferation is discouraged. If a fungal infection does occur, a topical or oral antifungal medication is needed to eliminate it. Oral antifungal medications, however, can produce side effects such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Can Stress Cause Armpit Burning? 

Stress can create muscle strain and unnecessary tension in the body. This will occur when using muscles, not in frequent use, or pushing muscles harder than usual without warming them up first. Muscle strain and stress are very much linked. 

Other symptoms connected to muscle strain near the armpit are redness, bruising, muscle twitching, and swelling. However, muscle strain does not always cause all of these issues. This will occur when using muscles, not in frequent use, or pushing muscles harder than usual without warming them up first. 

How Your Health Can Cause Armpit Burning

Your overall health can play a role in what is behind the armpit burning. To get to the root of the cause, you may want to rule out a few underlying issues with your health. Other causes of armpit burning could be a hormonal imbalance, eczema, or an overly high percentage of yeast in the body. 

If the armpit burning is caused by one of these reasons, it will require a deliberate strategy to reverse the effects. However, you'll need a couple of weeks to run its course and help the body return to normal. 

What Are the Symptoms of Armpit Burning?

If the area is overly irritated, the skin will deform. It will also become more cumbersome to treat because the skin is so sensitive. There may even be broken skin in the area as well. If there is an open wound, inspect the armpit to see if there is any bleeding.

The skin's condition plays a role in current and potential armpit burning. Any changes to the skin can be a symptom of burning as well. 

How Do I Get Rid of Burning in My Armpit?

The good news is that armpit burning is almost always treatable. Armpit burning does not go for an extended period, such as months or years, but there are ways to respond to the affected area to speed up the healing process. 

The first way to treat armpit burning is to rid the area of irritants. Avoid scratching the area or shaving for a few days. Read the ingredient lists of products used on the armpit. Try to use as minimal products as you can in this area. 

Ensure that the area is not submerged in water for long periods or contains moisture throughout the day. The moisture mixed with the general warmth of the human body presents a breeding ground for bacteria. This is more true if the environment outside is warm too. Wear loose shirts to prevent fabric rubbing on the area, initiating further irritation. 

You can apply products directly to the area that may be effective in taking care of armpit burning. For more holistic remedies, you can use coconut oil, sunflower oil, massage, or topical vitamin b-12. These will usually rectify the issue. However, if the armpit burning is more severe, you will need stronger topical treatments.

Antihistamine treatments can also help prevent itchiness, antifungal creams, or hydrocortisone creams. 

If you are using a topical treatment on your skin, be diligent in the first few days of application to actively fight against the infection before it becomes uncontrollable. 

The condition typically does not last for an extended time. Depending on the severity of the burning, other symptoms can accompany the burning that may persist as long as the burning does, if not longer. 

Seek Medical Attention for Serious Cases of Armpit Burning

Always take note of which remedies you tried to treat the armpit burning. Doing so will help you better communicate with a doctor who can assess the situation. 

Additionally, you need to share any other abnormal issues, such as fever and blisters, accompanying the armpit burning.

You can still utilize some of the remedies mentioned. However, this does not replace professional medical attention. Ultimately, follow what your medical provider recommends to treat armpit burning.

Discussion Comments

anon1002512

I burned my armpit after using Nair. How do I treat it?

burcinc

I had underarm burning and itching last week because of a heat/sweat rash. I was moving to another apartment and it was very hot outside. The rash showed up in the afternoon.

My doctor said that the rash shows up where there are sweat glands. That's why I had bumps, burning and itching on my armpits and my groin. I had to take cool showers and use a steroid cream for a few days. I couldn't leave my air conditioned apartment either.

ysmina

@SarahGen-- After the first round of shaving, do you apply more shaving gel?

I used to get razor burn all the time because I was not using enough shaving gel. I would apply the gel once and use the razor over and over again until I got all the hairs. I was irritating my underarms as a result. I started applying shaving gel a second time and no more razor burn!

Also make sure that you are using a new razor with a sharp blade. Dull blades cause razor burn too.

SarahGen

I use shaving gel while I shave my armpits but I still get razor burn. Isn't there any way to avoid this?

I don't want to wax because it's too painful. I want to keep shaving, but without the razor burn.

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    • People who have sensitive skin may experience burning after using some deodorants.
      By: karam miri
      People who have sensitive skin may experience burning after using some deodorants.
    • Using cornstarch instead of a commercial antiperspirant may help eliminate armpit irritation.
      By: Yuriy Afonkin
      Using cornstarch instead of a commercial antiperspirant may help eliminate armpit irritation.
    • There are many potential causes for armpit burning.
      By: Artem Furman
      There are many potential causes for armpit burning.
    • Shaving an armpit without any kind of moisture can cause armpit burning.
      By: Gennadiy Poznyakov
      Shaving an armpit without any kind of moisture can cause armpit burning.
    • Shaving the armpits can cause burning afterwards.
      By: philipus
      Shaving the armpits can cause burning afterwards.