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What Can Cause Armpit Burning?

There are many potential causes for armpit burning.
Using cornstarch instead of a commercial antiperspirant may help eliminate armpit irritation.
People who have sensitive skin may experience burning after using some deodorants.
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  • Written By: Madeleine A.
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 17 April 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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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.

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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.

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Discuss this Article

burcinc
Post 3

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
Post 2

@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
Post 1

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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