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.
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.
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.
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.
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.