Common Causes Of Underarm Bumps And How To Get Rid Of Them

Common Causes Of Underarm Bumps And How To Get Rid Of Them

As the body’s largest organ, the skin provides a physical barrier that protects you from the outside world. If the skin isn’t functioning optimally, you may notice irregular or unpleasant symptoms, including pimples, lumps, bumps, and infections. You may not need to worry about some symptoms, while others may be cause for concern. Some may even require medical treatment to prevent symptoms from worsening. 

Underarm bumps, for example, are one such symptom that can be quite annoying. There are several cases to these bumps, so understanding how they came to be is integral to getting rid of them. To get to the root cause of symptoms and find the right course of action to take care of the issue, continue reading. 


If you have had acne before, you know that it typically occurs on the face, chest, back, and arms. Those little blemishes can rear their heads under the arms too, according to dermatologists. Acne has several causes, the most common of which include clogged hair follicles, excess oil, skin inflammation, or bacteria. Because the armpits have oil glands, you may see blemishes in those areas. Dermatologists recommend seeking out washes with active ingredients that fight acne. If you cannot clear up underarm pimples with an acne wash, a topic cream or oral medication may be necessary. 

Ingrown Hairs

Certain cultures, especially here in the United States, have normalized getting rid of body hair. If you shave, wax, or move your armpit hair in other ways, you increase the risk of ingrown hairs. Commonly associated with shaving, ingrown hairs, or razor bumps, resemble small pimples. As the hair grows between shaves, the hair shaft can curl back and penetrate the skin. That causes red, irritated skin and the pimple-like appearance. Although anyone who shaves can experience ingrown hairs, they are more common in people with curly or coarse hair. You can click here to learn about a lot of home remedies for razor bumps, which tend to clear up on their own. In some instances, you may need to treat ingrown hairs with dermatologist-recommended products. Word to the shavers out there: replace your blades because shaving with dull blades can easily cause ingrown hairs. 

Hidradenitis Suppurativa

The what now? Commonly known as HS, hidradenitis suppurativa is a lesser-known cause of underarm bumps. This commonly occurs where skin touches skin, making the armpits a prime spot for the issue to occur. HS also goes by acne inversa, which can be mistaken for acne, even though it is not a type of acne. The underarm bumps are similar to lumps, but they can appear painful and drain pus, according to experts. Failure to treat them can result in scarring. HS is a chronic skin condition and there is no cure, unfortunately. Consult your dermatologist to determine the best course of action to take, i.e. antibacterial creams, oral antibiotics, or medical cleansers.

Swollen Lymph Nodes

If you notice a lump or swollen area in your armpit area, you may have swollen lymph nodes. The lymphatic system’s primary functions are to filter out foreign substances and fight off infection. You have hundreds of lymph nodes throughout the body, some of which are under your arms. Swollen lymph nodes in the underarm area can cause bumps or lumps, which you may be able to move with your fingers. There is always an underlying cause to swollen lymph nodes, as they don’t swell up on their own. Certain cancers, autoimmune disorders, and medications can cause lymph nodes to swell up. Because swollen lymph nodes are common, they aren’t always cause for concern. Your immune system may not be in its best working order and the swelling will calm down once it fights off the infection. Should swollen lymph nodes persist, especially if they are hard or tender to the touch, you may want to consult your healthcare professional.


If you suspect that acne is the cause of your underarm bumps but the pimples don’t go away with over-the-counter treatments, folliculitis may be the culprit. Folliculitis is a common skin infection of the hair follicles, and the pus-filled bumps resemble acne. Bacteria can get into damaged hair follicles and cause folliculitis bumps, which mimic ingrown hairs. Hair follicles are easily damaged by shaving, wearing tight clothing that causes friction, or spending too much time in sweaty clothes after a workout. In mild cases, folliculitis will go away on its own. You can apply a warm compress to your underarms several times per day to help accelerate hair follicle recovery. You can also experiment with peroxide washes or antibacterial treatments, should folliculitis persist.



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