How To Deal With Armpit Chafing

by Courtney Leiva

While we tend to think painful and irritating skin conditions like chafing solely affect areas like our thighs, the skin under our arms is definitely not off the hook. Areas like these are often subjected to friction, one of the principal causes of chafing. And if not treated properly, infection can definitely arise from this environment, being that armpits can be a breeding ground of yeast and bacteria.

“Armpit chafing is caused by a combination of friction, dry skin and sweat,” says Board Certified Dermatologist and advisor Michele Green. “Yeast and bacteria tend to colonize the armpits as a byproduct of perspiration.”

Like eczema, which can often times can have no mercy, chafing can pretty darn annoying, especially when it wreaks havoc on our skin. And causing uncomfortable rashes and searing pain in the process, often at times we seems like we just can’t get a break, once those bumps and blisters start to appear.

But like other skin conditions which don’t seem to let up, chafing is definitely treatable, if you simply incorporate some preventive measures into your everyday routine of course. To build your own treatment strategy, here’s how to deal with armpit chafing if the irritable and raw skin has become too much to handle.

1. Understand What Causes It

Friction is definitely one of the key factors that causes chafing to occur, but it can also be caused by a variety of other factors such as skin injuries, types of fabrics, and frequent shaving as well. But no matter what the cause, chafing can still be painful and extremely hard to deal with altogether.

"Chafing is a friction induced skin injury where the outer layer of the skin is rubbed off leaving it red, raw and irritated,” explains Francine Krenicki, SVP of Product Development at Skinfix, a dermatologist recommended skincare brand.

In addition, the fabrics used in the clothes we wear can often contribute to chafing, being that irritating fabrics can often leave the skin sore and beyond irritated. “Chafing can happen because of moisture, skin rubbing against skin or against irritating fabric or the seam in a fabric,” says Dr. Debra Jaliman, MD board certified dermatologist, and author of Skin Rules , an informative skincare guide. “With the combination of friction, irritating fabrics and moisture, the skin becomes irritated and sore.

Skin Rules: Trade Secrets from a Top New York Dermatologist , $13, Amazon

Another cause of armpit chafing comes frequent shaving, which experts like Dr. David Bank note as a big cause of underarm irritation.

“Armpit chafing is an irritation due to a variety of things that we do to eliminate hair under the arms,” says Dr. David Bank, a board certified dermatologist based in New York City. “Shaving, depilatories, friction from clothing, deodorants, fragrance and sweating all can cause chafing to form.”

2. Soothe It At Home

Treating chafing may seem hopeless, but with the right preventative measures, you can easily take the reigns back on your skin. To keep armpit chafing at bay, it’s always important to opt for breathable fabrics like cotton. and to keep the area dry and clean. Secondly, using infection preventing tools like antibacterial soap and rich moisturizing cream can also work wonders too.

“The best solution is to apply a rich moisturizing barrier cream like Skinfix Rash Repair Balm a few times a day to protect the injured skin and allow it to heal,” says Francine Krenicki. “Rash Repair Balm is jammed packed with natural ingredients like aloe vera to soothe the redness, zinc oxide to create a protective shield and jojoba and sunflower oils which promote skin barrier healing.”

Skinfix Rash Repair Balm, $36, Amazon

3. Treat It At The Doctor's Office

But if at home treatments don’t do the trick, seeking the medical advice of your doctor is another option to consider. In office treatments like laser hair removal is definitely recommended, as well as over the counter cortisone creams, which can help soothe the inflamed area.

“Laser hair removal is the number one method used to get rid of hair and prevent the chafing,” suggests Dr. David Bank. “If you use shaving cream, try not to shave everyday as that can easily cause chafing. If it does, you can apply an over the counter cortisone to help soothe the area.”

4. Don't Freak Out

Wherever there is moisture and friction, chances are chafing is sure to follow. But instead of freaking out and abandoning all hope that nothing will end the sores and blistering, opting for a preventative routine will definitely ease your chafing worries. In switching to more breathable fabrics, moisturizing and cleansing more, you can surely expect chafing to become more manageable. But if alternatives like these don’t work, seeking the expert opinion of your doctor also proves to be a worthwhile course of action too.

Images: Jean Gerber (2), Larisa Birta, Bảo-Quân Nguyễn, Brooke Cagle/Unsplash