Photo: Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images
Acne on the underarms? It's the pits, plain and simple. This unsightly problem can make you self-conscious and force you to struggle with your wardrobe to find an outfit that will hide your bumpy little secret. Worse, though, is the pain. The underarms sport sensitive skin, so irritation there is a major ouch. Depending on the cause, your underarm acne could have a simple and easy solution, or it might be a bit more complicated.
Many times underarm acne is nothing more than pesky ingrown hairs -- hairs that have curled over and are growing tip-first back into your skin. When this happens, the resulting sores can get big enough to look like pimples and they often contain puss. You must find a tool, like a needle or tweezers, to bring the ingrown hairs to the surface. Sanitize the tool, pull out the hair and clean the area thoroughly. Removing the hair should make the sore shrink and ultimately disappear. To prevent ingrowns, exfoliate your underarm prior to shaving. If you don't want to get a fancy exfoliant, scrubbing really well with your fingernails and soap can work. This removes deodorant residue as well dead skin cells. Practice this type of cleaning frequently as ingrown hairs can reoccur.
Clogged pores also can be a major contributor to underarm acne. Your pores under there can clog up due to sweat, deodorant and even dull razor blades. If your main suspect is your deodorant, buy various brands of the mini-sized deodorants and see which one works the best with your body. And don't neglect your armpits; staying on top of your hygiene is vital unless you want to wear long sleeves year-round. Finally, stick with new blades for a clean shave and clear underarms.
Fungus Among Us
If your underarm pimples look more like a rash or feel like cysts under the skin, it's time to see the doctor. These types of acne can be caused by fungal infections or allergic reactions and should be treated. In the meantime, keep the area extra dry. Any time you're feeling a little moist, step into the restroom and pat dry your underarms to prevent your sweat from clogging pores.
In some cases, you might find yourself with a case of hidradenitis suppurativa. Oh yeah, it's a toughie not just to pronounce but to deal with as well. This condition occurs in areas that are closed off and prone to sweat like armpits and the groin. Hidradenitis suppurativa causes acne-like lesions on your underarms that require antibiotics to heal. Keeping the area clean and dry can also improve the condition.