Bumps on Armpits: Arms Up

The Ultimate Guide to
Treating Bumps on Armpits

Clean beauty industry maven Mary Futher founded kaia naturals® after spending 20 years working for global beauty companies. Mary now shares her weekly content series, delivering a quick fix, home remedy, or clean beauty product suggestion for a variety of human discomforts that some may find too embarrassing to discuss.

Trust me when I say I’ve seen and heard it all when it comes to underarm woes. Everything from odor and sweat issues, to rashes and hyperpigmentation. One thing many people notice is bumps on their armpits. The skin on the underarms is vastly different from the skin on other areas of the body, such as the arms and legs. This means you may notice a different texture that includes bumps, similar to a “chicken skin” condition. So, what’s the real culprit of this unwanted texture? Read on to find out.

What Are The Bumps On My Armpits?

Bumps on Armpits

As I mentioned, the skin on the underarms is vastly different from the rest of the body and armpit bumps can be largely attributed to the abundance of hair follicles in this area. When these follicles are irritated, clogged or infected, the skin texture can change, resulting in bumps. Bumps on the armpits can also be caused by reactions to the products you are using, your hair removal method and technique, or your skin’s overall condition.

Clogged Hair Follicles From Ingrown Hair and Dead Skin

Ingrown hairs caused by shaving are a common cause of armpit bumps. When a hair follicle is bent or twisted back and grows into the skin instead of outwards, this results in ingrown hairs.   

In some cases, dead skin can clog hair follicles leading to ingrown hairs. These armpit bumps can be quite uncomfortable, especially if they become infected or inflamed. 

Bumps From Waxing, Plucking or Razor Burn

Waxing or plucking can cause tiny, rough bumps on the armpit due to these techniques’ pulling method. The pulling causes irritation in the hair follicle leading to bumps on the armpits. 

Dull razors causing razor burn can also lead to bumps on armpits and even further irritation.

Irritation From Natural Deodorants

There are several ingredients in deodorant products that could cause bumps on your armpits.

COCONUT (COCOS NUCIFERA) OIL  

Coconut oil-based natural deodorants are very common; however, this comedogenic ingredient is not an armpit-friendly ingredient, often leading to clogged hair follicles = ingrown hairs. Not only that, but it can stain your clothes! 

BAKING SODA (SODIUM BICARBONATE) 

Another very common ingredient in natural deodorants is baking soda; however, I always recommend staying very far away from it. It is a highly alkaline ingredient that can cause rashes, armpit bumps and irritation. 

HIGH FRAGRANCE LEVELS 

Is any fragrance in deodorant bad? No, deodorants with a light fragrance can be a great option for most; however, many natural deodorants use fragrance to mask body odor, loading their products up with the maximum level of fragrance. These high levels lead to irritation and rashes.

fragrance-closeup
fragrance-closeup

COCONUT (COCOS NUCIFERA) OIL  

Coconut oil-based natural deodorants are very common; however, this comedogenic ingredient is not an armpit-friendly ingredient, often leading to clogged hair follicles = ingrown hairs. Not only that, but it can stain your clothes! 

BAKING SODA (SODIUM BICARBONATE) 

Another very common ingredient in natural deodorants is baking soda; however, I always recommend staying very far away from it. It is a highly alkaline ingredient that can cause rashes, armpit bumps and irritation. 

HIGH FRAGRANCE LEVELS 

Is any fragrance in deodorant bad? No, deodorants with a light fragrance can be a great option for most; however, many natural deodorants use fragrance to mask body odor, loading their products up with the maximum level of fragrance. These high levels lead to irritation and rashes.

How Do I Treat The Bumps On My Armpits?

There are several ways to prevent and treat the bumps on your armpits.

Begin Each Day With a Proper Underarm Cleanse

Since we apply deodorant on the underarms, sometimes several times a day, the hair follicles are prone to building up with deodorant residue that leads to ingrown hairs and irritated or infected hair follicles. I developed a product called the underarm bar, which is designed to remove this deodorant buildup and pull impurities with activated charcoal. It also has apple cider vinegar and sea salt to help eliminate odor-causing bacteria and will not only help prevent bumps on the armpits but will help you stay odor-free for much longer. Simply lather for 20-30 seconds on each underarm, rinse and follow with my charcoal deodorant.

Bumps on Armpits: Charcoal Deodorant kaia naturals

Use a Deodorant Without Irritating Ingredients

I always recommend using a natural deodorant, but it’s important to avoid the irritating ingredients I mentioned above. Look for a baking soda-free, coconut oil-free and naturally but lightly fragranced deodorant. I developed a charcoal deodorant formulated without these ingredients as I learned so many people experienced rashes, clogged hair follicles and ingrown hairs from their natural deodorant and were looking for an alternative. It’s called the takesumi detox charcoal deodorant; check it out.

Use a Deodorant Without Irritating Ingredients

Bumps on Armpits: Charcoal Deodorant kaia naturals

I always recommend using a natural deodorant, but it’s important to avoid the irritating ingredients I mentioned above. Look for a baking soda-free, coconut oil-free and naturally but lightly fragranced deodorant. I developed a charcoal deodorant formulated without these ingredients as I learned so many people experienced rashes, clogged hair follicles and ingrown hairs from their natural deodorant and were looking for an alternative. It’s called the takesumi detox charcoal deodorant; check it out.

Exfoliate Regularly – But Gently

Gently exfoliating the underarms 1-2 times a week will help remove dead skin cells and deodorant residue that could be clogging your hair follicles. Use a gentle washcloth and my underarm bar in the area to give your underarms extra TLC. Be sure not to exfoliate every day or use aggressive scrubs or vigorous motions as this can lead to more issues such as hyperpigmentation and irritation. 

Don’t exfoliate on the same day you will shave; wait 12-24 hours following exfoliation to shave or apply products.

Take Steps to Prevent Ingrown Hairs

If ingrown hairs cause your bumps, there are steps to take to help prevent them. 

  • Use a shave oil instead of soap or cream to soften the hairs prior to shaving 
  • Ensure you are shaving with a sharp razor blade 
  • Shave in the direction of hair growth 
  • Apply a warm washcloth to your skin post-shave  
  • Avoid applying products for 12-24 hours following shaving or waxing 
Bumps on Armpits: Oil

Take Steps to Prevent Ingrown Hairs

Bumps on Armpits: Oil

If ingrown hairs cause your bumps, there are steps to take to help prevent them. 

  • Use a shave oil instead of soap or cream to soften the hairs prior to shaving 
  • Ensure you are shaving with a sharp razor blade 
  • Shave in the direction of hair growth 
  • Apply a warm washcloth to your skin post-shave  
  • Avoid applying products for 12-24 hours following shaving or waxing 

Moisturize Your Underarms

Dry skin conditions can lead to armpit bumps, so it’s important to keep your underarms moisturized. If you suffer from this, use a lightweight, oil-free lotion to help keep the skin soft and comfortable.

Avoiding these irritating ingredients and incorporating these simple steps into your underarm care routine can effectively reduce armpit bumps. Trust me, your underarms will thank you. 

Each week on my blog The Little Book of Human Discomforts I share clever solutions for seemingly embarrassing skin, body, and hair issues. Consider subscribing below to be the first to know when new content is live! I also share lots of body and skincare tips on Instagram @kaianaturals and on my TikTok page @madamesweat.

All content found on this website is created for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Website. 

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