Are you silently suffering from tiny and painful pimples in the armpits? No matter where you get pimples, they are never fun. And, it becomes even more annoying if pimples occur at your armpits.
But don't worry! We bring you the most effective treatments to deal with armpit pimples while understanding what causes the problem.
Our Ayurvedic Doctor Speaks
“Skin is the first barrier between our environment and us. This body-limiting structure defines our individuality. Maintaining skin integrity is a hard job for the body, especially the areas that remain dark and moist, like our armpits and groins. Breaches can lead to various infections by opportunistic pathogens that naturally thrive on our skin, resulting in boils or rashes.‘’
Dr. Zeel Gandhi (Bachelor of Ayurveda, Medicine & Surgery), Chief Ayurvedic Doctor, Vedix
What Is An Armpit Pimple?
When the pores of your underarm skin become clogged with sweat, sebum, dirt, and bacteria built-up, then it results in armpit pimples. Though armpit pimples are harmless, they can cause pain and irritation, making your day frustrating.
‘’Underarms are one of the warmest areas of the body. This makes the sweat take a longer time to dry up in the armpits while providing a thriving environment for bacteria growth,” says Dr. Zeel Gandhi, Chief Ayurvedic Doctor at Vedix. Hence, armpit pimples are most common and more likely to appear in armpits, than anywhere else on the body.
Armpits contain a certain type of sweat glands called 'apocrine' glands, which produce thicker fluid than the 'eccrine sweat glands' present in other regions of the body.
What Does An Armpit Pimple Look Like?
Armpit pimples appear as tiny bumps that feel painful, itchy, and irritated. Some pimples may even pop and ooze out pus due to rupturing caused by the arm movement.
Why Do You Have Armpit Pimples?
Dr. Zeel says that, “Skin is the first barrier between our environment and us. This body-limiting structure defines our individuality. Maintaining skin integrity is a hard job for the body, especially the areas that remain dark and moist, like our armpits and groins. Breaches can lead to various infections by opportunistic pathogens that naturally thrive on our skin, resulting in boils or rashes.‘’
Some of the main causes that can trigger armpit pimples include the following:
1. Ingrown Hair
Ingrown hair  usually develops when you do not shave your underarm hair properly or shave it in all directions. In some cases, the clogged dead skin in the hair follicles blocks the hair from growing upwards, resulting in ingrown hair. In any case, if the ingrown hair follicles are infected with acne-causing bacteria, then it can lead to the formation of armpit pimples.
When your arms swing back and forth, a lot of friction is caused in the armpit area. Excessive and vigorous arm movements can increase skin friction, which can eventually lead to irritation, injury, and even infection, resulting in armpit pimples. ‘’Also, tight clothing can cause friction in the armpits, leading to inflammation, clogged skin pores, and pimples,” says Dr. Zeel.
3. Yeast Infection
Your armpits often tend to constantly sweat and become an ideal home for a variety of infection-causing yeast. Certain yeast infections such as candida  can result in red and itchy bumps in the armpits.
4. Razor burns
Armpits have delicate skin and shaving it frequently using a razor can increase friction, roughness, and irritation, resulting in a red, itchy, and bumpy rash . Also, using old or dull razors can make the bacteria from the old blades enter the small breaks in the underarm skin, which can lead to skin infections such as folliculitis.
Folliculitis  is an infection in the inflamed hair follicle, which appears as red and pus-filled blisters in the armpits. Eventually, folliculitis can progress into slow-healing and painful sores.
6. Contact Dermatitis
Contact dermatitis is caused when your underarm skin is exposed to an allergen that triggers a reaction, resulting in an itchy and bumpy rash in the armpits. Sometimes, it can also cause swelling and draining blisters with a burning sensation.
7. Hidradenitis Suppurativa
Hidradenitis suppurativa  is a skin condition that appears commonly in armpits and groin areas. It causes recurrent pimples or lumps in the skin which have a tendency to break open and discharge smelly fluid. Eventually, it may lead to scarring in the armpits.
How Do You Get Rid Of Armpit Pimples?
1. Ayurvedic Herbs
A. Tulsi (Basil)
Clean 5-10 tulsi leaves and crush them into a fine paste. Apply it on the armpit pimple and rinse it off after 15-20 minutes. Repeat this on alternate days. Tulsi not only heals armpit pimples with its antibacterial and antiseptic properties but also helps in reducing pigmentation in the armpits.
Researchers from the Institute of Agricultural Science, Siksha 'O' Anusandhan University, Odisha, claimed that tulsi is an excellent natural therapy for acne.
B. Amla (Indian Gooseberry)
Prepare a fine paste by adding sufficient water into a spoon of amla powder. Apply it to your armpits and scrub gently for 5 minutes. Wash the armpits after half an hour. Do this once daily. Amla is a natural blood-purifier that detoxes your skin effectively. Thus, it helps to control and prevent pimples in the armpits.
Researchers from DAV College, Jalandhar, India, found that amla juice is very effective in treating acne and pimples.
C. Haridra (Turmeric)
Add water into a spoon of turmeric powder to form a thick paste. Apply it to your armpit pimples and wash it off after 15-20 minutes. Repeat this twice a day. With effective anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, turmeric works best to treat armpit pimples and soothe your skin. Also, it helps to reduce scarring in the underarm skin.
Studies found that turmeric has significantly improved the acne condition.
Add a spoon of Triphala powder into a glass of warm water. Drink it on an empty stomach every morning.
Triphala works to balance all the three doshas in your skin, thus controlling a variety of skin problems. It is very effective in fighting the oxidative damage and inflammation caused by armpit pimples.
Researchers reviewed that Sookshma Triphala is an effective Ayurvedic herbal remedy to treat acne.
E. Nimba (Neem)
Boil 10-15 neem leaves and crush them into a fine paste. Apply it to your armpit pimples and wash it off after half an hour. Repeat this on alternate days.
Neem can be your go-to herbal acne treatment anywhere on the body as it has the most powerful anti-bacterial properties. Besides controlling the excessive sebum production in the armpit skin, neem helps to control the inflammation and irritation.
Scientists found that neem oil-loaded solid lipid nanoparticles produced significant antibacterial action on acne microbes.
2. Home Remedies
Apply raw honey directly to your armpit pimples and wash it off after 10-15 minutes. Besides benefiting your skin in numerous ways, honey can be very effective in treating and preventing acne in the underarms.
Apply lemon juice to your armpit pimples and leave it overnight. Lemon has strong acne-fighting qualities which help in the quick healing of your armpit pimples.
C. Bottle Gourd
Blend a few small pieces of bottle gourd into a smooth paste. Apply it to your armpits and rinse it off after half an hour. Bottle gourd helps in eliminating dead skin, dirt, and other toxin build-up from your armpit skin, thus controlling the acne.
Massage the armpit area in circular motions using a thin slice of potato for 5-10 minutes. Later, rinse it off with normal water. Potato not only helps in tackling acne-causing bacteria but also enhances the skin tone in the armpits.
Prepare a smooth paste by grinding a few papaya pieces. Apply it to your underarms and wash it off after 20-30 minutes. Papaya contains enzymes such as chymopapain and papain, which help in controlling the inflammation caused by pimples in the armpits.
3. Other Treatments
A. Topical Anti-Bacterial Gels Or Lotions
Applying antibacterial gel or lotion such as clindamycin on the armpit pimples helps to heal them effectively and quickly.
B. Oral Antibiotics
Doctors may recommend oral antibiotics such as erythromycin or cephalexin doxycycline to control rash in the armpits.
C. Steroid Creams
Doctors may prescribe hydrocortisone-based steroidal creams for armpit pimples in cases of severe symptoms such as deep and hard lesions or pus-oozing cysts.
D. Antibacterial Washes
Antibacterial washes containing benzoyl peroxide and chlorhexidine can help in controlling the inflammation and irritation caused by armpit pimples.
Doctors may prescribe antihistamines to resolve the armpit allergies caused due to contact dermatitis. This helps in controlling the itching and inflammation in the armpits.
Take the medications mentioned above only under the guidance of a certified doctor.
How To Prevent Armpit Pimples?
Regular armpit hygiene is of utmost importance to prevent the occurrence of pimples in that area. Here are some important tips to keep your underarms clean and prevent pimples:
- Do not repeat wearing clothes with sleeves without washing them.
- Avoid wearing clothing that is tight at the underarms, as it can trap the sweat and moisture in the armpits and promote the development of pimples. Instead, prefer wearing cotton clothing that is loose and comfortable.
- Add a pinch of salt to a bowl of lukewarm water and let your armpits soak in it for a few minutes before shaving. This prevents razor burns and inflamed underarms.
- Apply an ample amount of shaving cream to your underarms before shaving to avoid skin irritation.
- Always shave your armpits in the direction of hair growth.
- Change your razor blades every week. Make sure to use a sharp and clean razor blade always. If you are prone to armpit pimples, it is best to use a new disposable razor every time you shave your underarms.
- Do not opt for waxing if you have sensitive underarm skin.
- Avoid shaving when you have severely dry skin in the armpits.
- Always take a bath after your workout session. And, use a clean towel to pat dry your underarms after washing.
- Avoid your underarm skin from getting in contact with any allergen. Certain types of allergens may also be present in deodorants, soaps, or detergents, which you should identify and avoid using.
Vedix Tip: Do not pick on your armpit pimples as it can lead to the spread of infection to other surrounding skin pores. Also, it causes increased inflammation and permanent scarring.
How Long Do Underarm Pimples Last?
In most cases, armpit pimples disappear within 1-2 weeks. However, it takes some more time to resolve if there is a serious infection associated with the armpit pimples.
Consult your dermatologist before applying any of the treatment methods mentioned in this article for armpit pimples.
The Last Word
Armpit pimple is a common condition and there is no reason to be embarrassed about it. Ayurvedic and home remedies can be helpful to resolve the condition in most cases. However, seek medical help immediately if you experience unusual symptoms such as pus drainage or bleeding from the armpit pimple.
At Vedix, we customize an Ayurvedic skincare regimen for you by evaluating your skin concerns and needs.Know Your Dosha Now
1. Ingrowing Hair (May-2016), Medicine
2. Candida infection of the skin, National Library of Medicine
3. Pseudofolliculitis barbae; current treatment options (Apr-2019), Dovepress Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology
4. Folliculitis (Aug-2021), Statpearls
5. Acne inversa (Hidradenitis suppurativa): A review with a focus on pathogenesis and treatment (Mar-2013), Indian Dermatology Online Journal
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