Why You May Have Allergic Contact Dermatitis In Your Armpits

Contact dermatitis is a type of skin irritation that occurs when the skin comes into contact with an allergen, a substance that triggers an allergic reaction (via the Mayo Clinic). According to a 2021 article published on the JAMA Dermatology Patient Page, it's a common condition that affects 1 in 5 people. It can happen to people of all ages but occurs often in children. The severity of allergic contact dermatitis can range from mild to severe, says the article. 

Contact dermatitis can also occur under the armpits. Common symptoms of allergic contact dermatitis in the armpits may include redness, itching, dryness, and blistering in the affected area, says MedicalNewsToday. These symptoms usually develop in a few hours says the source.

If you suspect that you have allergic contact dermatitis in your armpits, it's important to see a dermatologist or other medical professional for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. They can help identify the specific allergen that is causing your reaction and recommend ways to avoid exposure to it in the future.

Causes of allergic contact dermatitis in the armpits

There are several factors that can increase the risk of developing allergic contact dermatitis in the armpits. They include having a family history of allergies, having atopic dermatitis (eczema), and being exposed to certain chemicals or materials in the environment (via the Cleveland Clinic). An armpit rash is also common in people who shave their armpits regularly, says MedicalNewsToday.

In the armpits, common allergens that can cause allergic contact dermatitis include deodorants and antiperspirants (via Healthline). According to a 2011 study published in the journal Contact Dermatitis, deodorants accounted for 25% of cosmetic product allergies associated with fragrances. Additionally, some people are allergic to other ingredients in these personal care products, such as preservatives, dyes, or metals (like aluminum), says Healthline.

To prevent allergic contact dermatitis in the armpits, there are some suggested steps that you can take, including the following measures.

How to prevent allergic contact dermatitis in the armpits

To prevent allergic contact dermatitis in the armpits, it's important to carefully check the labels on your personal care products, such as deodorants and antiperspirants, advises Healthline

It's also a good idea to do a patch test to see if it causes any irritation. To do a patch test, MedicalNewsToday recommends applying a small amount of the product to a patch of skin on your inner arm for as long as it should generally be on the skin to see if any irritation occurs. According to the source, you should repeat the process twice daily for up to 10 days. If you do not experience any irritation, it might be safe to use the product. However, it's still best to consult with a dermatologist first.

If you are unsure which ingredients may be causing a reaction, you can try using hypoallergenic products, says MedicalNewsToday. It is also a good idea to switch to a fragrance-free product. If you have already developed allergic contact dermatitis in the armpits, the best course of action is to avoid further exposure to the allergen. Some dermatologists also prescribe topical corticosteroid creams that reduce inflammation and itching, per MedicalNewsToday.

If the symptoms are severe or do not improve with these measures, it is important to consult a dermatologist or other healthcare professional for further evaluation and treatment.