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Why Does Someone Get Armpit Pimples?

Pimples occur as a result of accumulation of bacteria in the clogged sweat glands or pores causing the appearance of bumps on the skin (1). There are many people who have pimples in the armpit from multiple causes. However, treatment is needed for those armpit pimples that are red, painful, inflamed and oozing. Getting pimples in sensitive regions like underarms is uncomfortable; however, it is not something serious.

Underarm pimples are often harmless and resolve on their own. They can look like small, flesh-colored bumps without any symptoms or can be inflamed or red bumps with symptoms such as discomfort and itching.

If there is any pain or discharge from the armpit pimples, then you need to seek medical treatment from a specialist.

What are the Causes of Armpit Pimples?

There are many causes for formation of pimples in the armpits and some of the causes need treatment and include the following (1):

Armpit Pimples caused by Contact Dermatitis

An allergic reaction can often trigger contact dermatitis which presents as an itchy rash (2). This is not a serious condition and often clears in a few weeks. The rash develops at the part of the body that has been exposed to any allergen. Other symptoms of allergic dermatitis are: itchiness, red rash, dry skin, swelling, burning sensation and oozing blisters.

Contact dermatitis can be easily resolved with home care by avoiding the irritant that is responsible for this condition. However, in acute cases, a topical ointment will be prescribed by the doctor to alleviate the symptoms of the rash. Other medications can be prescribed to reduce itching and inflammation.

Armpit Pimples caused by Hidradenitis Suppurativa

Hidradenitis suppurativa is a medical condition characterized by painful bumps that develop under the skin, commonly in the armpits and groin (3). They may clear up on their own; however, the bumps or pimples can reappear. Additional symptoms can be seen in severe cases, such as: foul-smelling discharge, scarring, recurrent breakouts and skin cancer.

Antibiotics are prescribed for treating the symptoms of Hidradenitis suppurativa to fight infection and inflammation. Acne medicines are also given to decrease the appearance of the rash. Minor surgery may be needed in more severe cases of Hidradenitis suppurativa.

Armpit Pimples caused by Folliculitis

Folliculitis is a skin condition which causes inflammation of the hair follicle (4). Initially it can appear as white pimples or red bumps surrounding the armpit hair, but later on, it can worsen into painful sores and heal slowly. In severe cases, there can be permanent scarring and hair loss due to folliculitis.

Other than armpit pimples, associated symptoms of folliculitis consist of: burning sensation, itchiness, skin tenderness, pus-filled pimples and large bump(s).

In mild cases of folliculitis, it subsides on its own with good hygiene habits and self-care. Medication is needed in more severe cases of folliculitis.

Ingrown Hairs Causing Armpit Pimples

Removing hair from underarms, such as shaving can cause ingrown hairs, which can lead to armpit bumps or pimples. Ingrown hairs develop when the hair follicle is twisted back or bent and penetrate under the skin (5). Other reasons for development of armpit pimples are clogging of hair follicles due to dead skin and this leads the hair to grow sideways beneath the skin instead of upwards.

Ingrown hairs are common and not a cause of concern however, they can be uncomfortable if they occur in sensitive regions. Other symptoms of ingrown hairs are: soreness, itchiness, drainage/pus and inflammation.

Ingrown hairs usually resolve on their own; however, it can cause infection. If there is no improvement in the symptoms of the ingrown hair or if it still persists consult your doctor.

Prevention of Ingrown Hairs

To prevent ingrown hairs, the following methods should be adopted:

  • Always shave with fresh single-blade razors.
  • Try to gently scrub out or exfoliate the ingrown hairs.
  • Always shave in the direction of your hair growth and apply a cool washcloth after shaving on your skin to soothe the area.

What is the Prognosis of Armpit Pimples?

Armpit pimples are common and not of serious concern. However, they can cause a lot of discomfort and can be a sign of other skin conditions. Most of the times, the armpit pimples tend to clear up on their own, however, severe cases need medical treatment. If there is any bleeding, drainage or other unusual symptoms, then it is important to seek medical consultation. Self-care is beneficial; however, medical treatment by the doctor can help in effectively preventing the infection and any associated complications.


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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:May 6, 2024

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