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Armpit folliculitis: symptoms, causes & best at-home treatments


The armpit is one of the warmest areas of our body. Your armpits have a high concentration of hair follicles and sweat glands, making them prone to bacterial growth. 

Although you may be maintaining personal hygiene, bathing regularly, keeping your armpits dry, and so on, you may still notice some breakouts in your armpits often. 

These little pimple-like bumps in your armpits are caused by bacterial infection of the follicles. This condition is called armpit folliculitis.

Thankfully, such infection is usually mild and can be easily treated at home in most cases. 

We’ll be discussing everything you need to know about armpit folliculitis, including its symptoms, causes, and home remedies to get rid of it. 

So, sit tight and read on.

Table of Contents:

  • What is armpit folliculitis?
  • What cause armpit folliculitis?
  • What does armpit folliculitis look like?
  • What are the different types of folliculitis?
  • How do you treat armpit folliculitis?
  • Warm compress
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Aloe vera gel
  • How to avoid armpit folliculitis?
  • Wash your armpits well at bath time
  • Use a good body scrub on your armpit
  • Use essential oils to reduce the appearance of pimples

What is armpit folliculitis?

Armpit folliculitis is a common skin condition caused by the bacterial infection of the hair follicles in your armpit. 

The infection causes inflammation of the follicles, making the condition look very similar to acne. 

Mild armpit folliculitis may be painless though it can sometimes cause discomfort and itching.

What cause armpit folliculitis?

The skin in your armpits is very delicate and is easily irritated by various irritants. Armpit folliculitis may occur because of such irritation caused by shaving with an old razor that produces friction. 

It may also result from excessive sweating during exercise or physical activity every day if not dried off or cleaned afterward. 

Folliculitis can sometimes result from using a hot tub that is not clean, causing bacterial infection of the follicles. This is why it is also called hot tub folliculitis.

Other causes of armpit folliculitis include friction in the armpits caused by obesity, prolonged consumption of an oral antibiotic, or a history of diabetes that escalates infections.

What does armpit folliculitis look like?

Mild armpit folliculitis, during its initial stages, looks like small red bumps in the armpit. They may or may not be painful and itchy. 

Sometimes, folliculitis may also look like white-headed pimples formed at the hair follicles.

If the condition aggravates, these little red bumps may turn into pus-filled blisters that feel itchy and uncomfortable. 


But, itching may worsen the folliculitis by breaking the blisters. So, you should avoid scratching as far as possible.

In any case, armpit folliculitis is not a very serious health concern. It can be easily cured with home remedies at the initial stages itself. 

If your symptoms of folliculitis have aggravated, you should consult a dermatologist who can prescribe medication to reduce the infection.

What are the different types of folliculitis?

Several types of folliculitis exist, which are classified based on the cause or source of the infection. Some of the common types include:

  • Staphylococcus aureus folliculitis, caused by the Staphylococcus aureus bacteria.
  • Malassezia folliculitis, caused by Malassezia which a family of yeast that can infect hair follicles.
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa folliculitis or hot tub folliculitis, caused by Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria which thrives in hot, flowing/moving water.
  • Pseudofolliculitis barbae or razor bumps, caused by shaved hair turning back into the skin, irritating it. Usually occurs in the beard area for men.
  • Sycosis barbae, which is another type of folliculitis caused by shaving.
  • Gram-negative folliculitis, caused by prolonged use of antibiotics, primarily for treating acne, which makes certain bacteria resistant.
  • Furuncles and carbuncles are deeply infected hair follicles resulting in painful, pus-filled boils. Carbuncles occur when several boils appear together, turning into a bigger painful, tender boil.

How do you treat armpit folliculitis?

If you are suffering from armpit folliculitis, there is nothing much to worry about here. You can treat mild symptoms at home by simply using home remedies and maintaining better hygiene. 

Here are some easy at-home treatments for your armpit folliculitis.

Warm compress

This method is effective if your armpit pimples are still in their initial stage. Sometimes the rashes or bumps you notice after shaving your armpits may be pseudo-folliculitis. 

In such cases, applying a warm compress to the area should help ease the discomfort. Dip a soft cloth in warm water, squeeze it out and press it on the affected area. Dry the area well and apply an antibacterial powder to keep it dry and disinfected.

Repeat this two to three times a day till the symptoms are relieved.

Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is known to be a good home remedy for acne. It has antibacterial properties that allow pimples to shrink faster. It can provide the same benefits with armpit pimples too.

Mix one part of apple cider vinegar in two parts of water to create a diluted solution. Dip a cotton ball in the solution and gently dab it over the affected area. Let it stay for a maximum of 5 minutes. Then wipe it off with a damp, soft cloth. 

Repeat this twice a day if your folliculitis is a little severe.

Aloe vera gel

Aloe vera is an incredible remedy for all kinds of skin problems. Its antifungal and antibacterial properties make it a perfect treatment for fighting acne-causing bacteria, similar to folliculitis.

Extract about two tablespoons of fresh aloe vera gel from the aloe vera leaf. Mix this with one tablespoon of rosewater and blend well to create a paste. Apply this paste on the armpit area and massage gently. Leave it on for about 10 mins and then wash it off with cold water. Pat dry with a soft, clean towel. 

Repeat this twice a day for best results.

How to avoid armpit folliculitis?

What’s better than treating armpit folliculitis at home? Avoiding it. 

With some self-care, armpit folliculitis can be prevented. So, save yourself from discomfort by following these simple skin care tips.

Wash your armpits well at bath time

The only way to avoid infections is to keep your skin clean and dry. During physical activity, your armpits tend to sweat the most. 

To prevent bacteria from thriving in this moist area, you need to keep it clean. Take a bath with a nice foaming body wash. 

Don’t neglect your armpits. Make sure to dry your armpits well after a bath and wear fresh, clean clothes.

You can try the clarifying Tea Tree & Mint Foaming Body Wash by WOW Skin Science. Tea Tree Oil is known to reduce acne and pimples, clearing your skin. Mint is also an equally effective ingredient in fighting bacteria.

Use a good body scrub on your armpit

Scrubbing is an effective way to exfoliate and remove dead skin. Armpit folliculitis is also sometimes caused by follicles clogged by dead skin or dirt. 

Scrubbing with a mild body scrub can get rid of such irritants and keep your armpit skin healthy. Avoid scrubbing if you already have breakouts in the area, though.

The WOW Skin Science Ubtan Face and Body Scrub enriched with turmeric, sandalwood, chickpea flour, and more is a perfect solution for you. Turmeric has antibacterial properties, sandalwood gets rid of oil and grime to reduce pimples, and the other active ingredients nourish to give you soft, supple skin.

Use essential oils to reduce the appearance of pimples

Certain essential oils are known to have medicinal properties that help tackle skin problems very effectively.

 Tea Tree oil is great for fighting acne. Lemon essential oil reduces signs of aging, and so on. Use a good, pure essential oil on your armpits after washing and drying to prevent skin problems in the area.

Try the WOW Skin Science Tea Tree Essential Oil, which helps fight acne, dandruff, and a host of other skin issues.

Explore our range of natural skincare products for healthier, brighter, and smoother skin.

Dorothy Clifton

Dorothy Clifton is a beauty blogger specializing in haircare and skincare. She has reviewed hundreds of beauty products as a blogger and a guest writer for other blogs and websites in her domain. Dorothy loves to stay current with the latest trends in the world of beauty and fashion. Her honest reviews and opinions are loved by readers and brands alike.

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