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Irritated Underarms, Help??
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Irritated Underarms, Help??

I'm a 19 year old female and the only prescription I'm on is birth control (microgestin). I have no known allergies, but for the past week or so my underarms (armpits) have been undescribably and painfully itchy. I scratch and scratch and scratch and I don't know why. The skin gets red after I scratch it, and the more I scratch, the more it seems to itch. I've really never even had an allergic reaction to anything so I'm not sure what to expect. Really, the only thing even close to allergies is that sometimes I sneeze when there is a lot of pollen and other dust things in the air.

I cannot figure out what has caused this because I have literally changed nothing in my daily routine. I have used the same deodorant brand for at least 3 months with no negative effects. I've used the same razor blade type for when I shave once or twice a week, the same body soap, the same shampoo, same conditioner, same diet, same laundry detergent. I can literally think of nothing wrong. Not only are my armpits itchy, I also have very very very tiny, very hard to see bumps on my chest. Not on my breasts, but on the part between breasts and neck, they are very small, not red, and you can only feel them. My  eyes are also pink but not irritated or itchy. I have decided to stop using this deodorant but the cortizone creams I've been trying only stop the problem for a few hours at best. I simply can't figure out what's wrong with me and what to do to stop it!

The only thing I have changed even in the slightest, is that because I am at home for the christmas break, I've been washing my clothes with the available oxi clean my mother has, which I don't normally use when I'm at college. Do you think maybe I could be allergic to oxi clean? The only active ingredients I can find in oxi clean are sodium carbonate and sodium percarbonate, which are used in creating baking soda. There is also sodium silicate in very small amounts which are used to create scent, but I cannot find any cases of anyone mentioning these ingredients or oxi clean in terms of being allergic. In fact, most that I've read about oxi clean is that it uses chemical free ingredients and just about everyone seems to love it. What should I do? :( This really itches!!

I would really appreciate any and all input, thanks!
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2 Comments Post a Comment
Thanks for writing to the forum!
Yes, oxi clean could be the reason of the itch. Also it could be dermatitis or eczema. It can also be fungal infection called tinea corporis. The small swellings on your chest could be lymph nodes due to infection. Examine your breast too for lumps.

It is difficult to comment beyond this without examining. Please discuss this with your doctor (preferably skin specialist) and get yourself investigated accordingly.  Please let me know if there is any thing else and do keep me posted. Take care!

I strongly suggest that you STOP using the antiperspirant.  Then, don't use ANY antiperspirant after this.  Even if this proves to be fungus or an allergy to the oxygen cleaner.  There are natural deodorants available these days that you can use when your rash disappears.  Tom's of Maine makes some that are affordable and more widely available.  I go for the unscented one they make, when I do use a deodorant.  But, don't use anything right now.

The reason for avoiding antiperspirants is because your armpits are so close to major lymph nodes in your body, so anything you use in your armpits goes into your blood stream and your lymph nodes.  

Do not fear about body odor being an issue.  There are still things people can do to remain hygenic.  After I made a complete overhaul of my diet, it did take a while to get rid of the returning toxic smell under the arms, so I totally understand the issue people have here.  If you don't want to take so many showers it makes your skin on your whole body too dry, which you shouldn't be doing this time of the year anyway, there are still things you can do.  You know you need to be gentle on your rash, and you know you need to be careful about which soaps you use.  Right now, while this rash is raw, you need to be especially careful.  Try "washing" or rinsing under your arms with no soap and only some gentle patting with the washcloth.  When the rash is gone, you can use a mild soap.  

I have a lot of allergies myself and I found an unscented soap made by a company called Sappo Hill.  They use only natural products and they don't use soy, which is highly allergenic for many people.  This is a great soap you can try once that rash has disappeared.  I use this soap for those times I shave under my arms, too.

Also, DON'T shave under your arms for a while, until this rash disappears.  Shaving is an obvious culprit, because it irritates the skin.  Then, when you do shave after the rash is gone, shave as infrequently as possible.  If you have someone who is intimate in your life, hopefully this person will be understanding and supportive.  Because, other than that, who is going to see your underarms this time of the year anyway?

One other thing to try, which is critical for sensitive skin.  When you wash your clothes and you're sure that the soap or detergent you're using is not something you're allergic to, once the washer has finished it's cycle, send them through the rinse cycle a second time.  In my apartment building, this means that I have to first wash my clothes with the product I'm using, then send the clothes through an entire second cycle with no soaps or detergents, because the machines don't have a rinse only option.

Then, when you go to dry your clothes, wipe out the dryer basin using a spray bottle filled with undiluted white vinegar and a damp cleaning rag.  The reason for this is because the vinegar will disolve the residues left by the fabric softeners that people have been using in the dryer.  They are petroleum based products, laced with a lot of other chemicals.  Do not fear the smell of the vinegar.  Vinegar will not linger on your clothes.

In fact, if you still want fabric softening without chemicals, you can add a cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle when you're washing your clothes.  I don't do this, but I read about doing this on a website called  Go to healthy living and type in vinegar in the search bar.

Now, you can add your clothes to the dryer as usual.  I hang up my light delicates, so they don't get static cling or wear out from being in the dryer heat.  Everything else goes in the dryer.  Also, don't over dry your clothes.  That's one thing that creates static cling.  Once they're dry, then take them out of the dryer right away and hang up the clothes that go in the closet right away.  This will prevent wrinkles, saving you from more work later with an iron.  

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