Itchy armpits can drive you crazy. And the more you scratch them, the itchier they get.

The area under the arm may even begin feeling rather painful.

One possible cause — something that may not even occur to many sufferers — is a new deodorant.

Deodorants do not have the exact same ingredients. A new deodorant can cause underarm itching.

A woman posted in an online forum that the itching occurred in only one armpit. But when she ceased using the new deodorant, the problem went away.

Allergic Contact Dermatitis

“It sounds like an allergic contact dermatitis to the deodorant,” says Dr. Dendy Engelman, a board certified dermatologic surgeon with Manhattan Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery.

Dr. Engelman explains, “It is quite strange that it persisted only in one armpit, but it can happen that we have a persistent hypersensitivity reaction in one area of exposure and not in another.

“Avoidance of the causative culprit (the new deodorant) and mild topical steroids should help the itchy, painful eruption to subside.”

So as annoying or uncomfortable that this situation may be, rest assured it’s not a sign of any serious health problem.

You don’t want to be assuming that there’s cancer in a lymph node under your arm that’s causing the painful itching.

The itching may also be from fabric contact. Keep tabs on what you wear to see if there is a pattern to the flare-ups.

Underarm Care

Make sure your armpits are always clean. Wash gently. Never scrub or aggressively rub.

You’ll also want to keep them shaved, since hairiness can contribute to itchiness.

When you shave, be very, very gentle and patient. Do not rush through it or press the razor hard into the skin.

Shaving will reveal if there are any problems that can be involved with the itching, such as a skin tag or seborrheic dermatitis — which is notorious for itching and stinging.

It appears as pink/red and sometimes flaky patches of skin.

Versed in the latest techniques and technologies, Dr. Engelman provides a wide range of services including fat removal, mole excision, Mohs surgery and skin cancer treatment.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.  


Top image: Shutterstock/Chinnapong