Identifying an Underarm Rash From Pictures

<p>mapo / Getty Images</p>

mapo / Getty Images

Medically reviewed by William Truswell, MD

If you or someone you know has ever dealt with an underarm rash, feeling concerned is natural. In this article, we'll discuss different types of underarm rashes, their signs, symptoms, and how they may feel. We'll also include images to help you recognize these rashes more easily.

<p>mapo / Getty Images</p>

mapo / Getty Images

Underarm Rash: Visual Clues

Identifying an underarm rash can be crucial for effective management and treatment. Here are some visual clues to help you recognize common types of underarm rashes:

  • Redness, discoloration, or signs of inflammation

  • Bumps or pimples

  • Blistering

  • Scaling or flaking

  • Itching, burning, or pain sensations

  • Rash borders: some rashes may have well-defined borders, while others may appear more spread out

Types of Underarm Rashes: Pictures

The following are pictures of underarm rashes:

Contact Dermatitis

<p>Reproduced with permission from © DermNet and © Raimo Suhonen 2023</p>

Reproduced with permission from © DermNet and © Raimo Suhonen 2023


Contact dermatitis is a skin condition wherein the skin gets irritated or inflamed from coming into direct contact with things like soaps, cosmetics, or specific fabrics. It happens when your skin reacts to irritants or allergens, causing a rash that may include the following symptoms:

  • Redness

  • Itching

  • Warmth and tenderness

  • Weeping blisters

Treatment usually involves avoiding the substance that triggers it and applying creams with corticosteroids to calm down the inflammation.

Atopic Dermatitis

<p>Reproduced with permission from © DermNet 2023</p>

Reproduced with permission from © DermNet 2023


Atopic dermatitis is a type of eczema wherein the skin becomes inflamed due to a combination of genetic, environmental, and immune system factors. This inflammation leads to skin symptoms such as:

  • Dry, itchy patches on the skin

  • Crusting or oozing blisters

  • Raw skin from scratching

  • Skin redness and inflammation

  • Thickened skin areas, from long-term irritation

Triggers can include irritants like soaps and detergents as well as allergens like pollen and pet dander.

Allergic Reaction (Fragrance)

<p>Reproduced with permission from © DermNet and © Te Whatu Ora Waikato 2023</p>

Reproduced with permission from © DermNet and © Te Whatu Ora Waikato 2023

An allergic reaction to fragrance occurs when the body's immune system overreacts to certain ingredients in perfumes, scented products, deodorants, or antiperspirants. This reaction can lead to symptoms such as:

  • Redness

  • Itching

  • Bumps

  • Hot and tender skin

  • Blisters and oozing

  • Swelling

Various compounds found in deodorants can trigger fragrance allergies. Avoiding products containing these ingredients can prevent further reactions.

Hidradenitis Suppurativa

<p>Reproduced with permission from © DermNet 2023</p>

Reproduced with permission from © DermNet 2023


Hidradenitis suppurativa, also called acne inversa, is a chronic skin condition characterized by painful red lumps that form in areas where skin rubs together, like the armpits or groin area. These lumps can break open and leak pus, leading to tunnels under the skin and scarring over time.

The lumps develop due to blockages in the hair follicles, which then trap bacteria, causing the inflammation and eventual rupture of the follicles. Treatment typically involves antibiotics, anti-inflammatory medications, and in severe cases, surgery to remove affected tissue.

Candida Intertrigo

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Reproduced with permission from © DermNet 2023.

Candida intertrigo is a fungal skin infection that occurs in warm, moist areas where skin folds and traps wetness, such as the underarms. It is caused by an overgrowth of Candida yeast, fungus, or bacteria. Symptoms typically include:

  • Red or reddish-brown rash

  • Itching

  • A burning sensation

  • Raw skin

Treatment usually involves antifungal medications and keeping the affected area clean and dry to prevent further irritation.

Inverse/Flexural Psoriasis

<p>Reproduced with permission from © DermNet 2023</p>

Reproduced with permission from © DermNet 2023


Inverse or flexural psoriasis is a type of psoriasis that affects skin folds, including the underarms. It may appear shiny and smooth. But the appearance of the rash may vary depending on the individual's skin tone:

  • Skin of color may exhibit purplish-brown or darker patches compared to the surrounding skin.

  • Caucasian skin may develop bright red lesions.

Unlike typical psoriasis, these patches lack the thick scales commonly associated with the condition because the environment is moist.

Treatment often involves topical or oral medications to reduce inflammation and discomfort, along with powders to keep the skin folds dry.

Acanthosis Nigricans

<p>Reproduced with permission from © DermNet 2023</p>

Reproduced with permission from © DermNet 2023

Acanthosis nigricans is a skin condition characterized by dark, thickened patches of skin, often found in body folds like the underarms. People with this condition may observe that their affected skin:

  • Has a brown or black discoloration

  • Is itchy

  • Has a bad odor

  • Feels velvety and thicker compared to the surrounding skin texture

  • Develops skin tags

Acanthosis nigricans may be associated with insulin resistance, obesity, or hormonal conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) or thyroid disease. However, very healthy people can also get acanthosis nigricans.


<p>Reproduced with permission from © DermNet 2023</p>

Reproduced with permission from © DermNet 2023

Folliculitis is a common skin condition caused by the inflammation of hair follicles, most commonly due to Staphylococci (staph) bacteria. Symptoms typically include:

  • A rash

  • Itching

  • Pimples or pustules

It can occur anywhere on the body, including the underarms, and is typically caused by bacteria, fungi, or irritation from shaving or friction.

Treatment usually involves warm compresses to help drain the follicles or topical or oral antibiotics.

Cutaneous Lymphoma

<p>Reproduced with permission from © DermNet 2023</p>

Reproduced with permission from © DermNet 2023

Cutaneous lymphoma is a type of cancer that can affect any area of the skin. Symptoms depend on the type and stage of the condition but may include:

  • Patchy, dry, discolored skin

  • Can present as patches of lighter or darker skin tone, particularly on Asian or black skin

  • A generalized reddening on the skin

  • Itchiness

  • Small, raised areas of skin (papules) or flat and thick areas of skin (plaques)

  • Swollen lymph nodes

  • Nodules or tumors on the skin

Cutaneous lymphoma originates in the lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell. Treatment options depend on the type and stage of the lymphoma and may include topical treatments, oral medications, phototherapy, or radiation.

How to Soothe an Underarm Rash

If you have an underarm rash, see a dermatologist to find out what is causing the rash and help guide you toward appropriate treatment options. Some options they suggest may include:

  • An antihistamine such as Benadryl

  • Hydrocortisone cream or ointment

  • An oatmeal bath product to use while soaking in a lukewarm bath

  • A gentle body wash

  • A cream, oil, or petroleum-based moisturizer

They may also suggest avoiding products such as bar soap, rubbing alcohol, or hydrogen peroxide, which can make rashes even worse. Be sure to follow the advice of your healthcare provider.


Identifying an underarm rash is crucial for effective management and treatment. By recognizing visual clues such as redness, bumps, blistering, scaling, and itching, individuals can better understand the nature of their rashes. Consult with a healthcare provider for an accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment plan as well as optimal care and relief from discomfort.

Read the original article on Verywell Health.