How to Get Rid of Boil under Armpit, Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

What causes boils under armpit?  Having boils in the armpits can be painful and embarrassing. Besides it could be  a sign of an underlying medical condition. Please read through to find more insight about the symptoms, treatment and how best to get rid of the boils in your armpits. The article will also provide you with pictures for visual aid.

A boil under armpit is a skin abscess that forms at hair follicle infected with pus-forming bacteria. Also called furuncle, an armpit boil is an infection of the hair follicle filled with pus-forming bacteria. The common cause is by a bacterium staphylococcus aureus, the result is a painful swollen area under your armpit skin caused by the accumulation of pus and dead tissue.

The germs can enter the body through tiny nicks or cuts in the skin or can travel down the hair follicle. The skin turns red in the area of the infection, and a tender lump develops. After some two to three days, the lump will start to turn white as pus collects under the skin.

The main treatment would include

  • A hot packs
  • Draining (lancing) the boil when it softens

Antibiotics are usually not very helpful to treating boils, if you have a fever or long illness such as cancer or diabetes or other medication that suppress the immune system should contact your health care provider once you develop the boils and it fails to go away.

Pictures, images

What do boils under the armpits look like? Below, find an image of armpit boil. In the post, we have provided more pictures for better understanding of each cause and symptoms.


What are the symptoms of a boil under armpit? Once the boil has start to develop, it will start as a hard, red, painful lump about half an itch in size. The lump becomes softer, larger and more painful, and finally a pocket of pus is formed on top of the boil. In cases of severe infection, you will experience the following signs:

  • The skin around the boil becomes infected and may turns red, painful, warm, and swollen.
  • More boils may start to develop around the original one.
  • You may develop a fever.
  • Your Lymph nodes may become swollen.
  • Your armpits start to itch.
  • The boil may fail to drain

You need to see your doctor to avoid further infection and reduce the irritation.

Possible Causes:

What causes boil under armpits? As we have already establish above, the most common cause of boil under armpits is by germ (staphylococcal bacteria). The germ enters the body through tiny cuts in the skin especially those caused after shaving your armpits.  The germ travels down to the hair follicles. The other causes that may led to the development of boils under armpit will include:

1. Staph infection

Staphylococcus (staph) is a group of bacteria that can cause a multiple of diseases. This diseases will include boils, impetigo, and toxic shock syndrome. Anyone can develop staph infection, but some groups are more prone to the infection. The disease suppresses the immune system making them prone to staph infection, the group includes:

  • Newborns
  • Lactating mothers
  • People with chronic condition such as diabetes, vascular disease and lung diseases.

Staphylococcal disease under armpits is a skin results in a localized collection of pus (abscess, boil or furuncle). The symptoms vary from person to person, but the most common symptom will include a red, swollen, and tender to painful boil.

How do I treat a boil under armpit as result of staph infection? If your doctor diagnoses you with staph infection, your doctor may prescribe;


Depending on the type of staph bacteria causing the boil, your doctor might prescribe antibiotics such as cephalosporins nafcillin or sulfa drug or vancomycin. Due to the high resistance of the staph bacteria, you need to ovoid over the counter prescriptions and let your doctor prescribe the medication for you.

Draining the boil

It is also possible for your doctor to make an incursion in your skin and drain the pus from the boil using a syringe. This is a painful procedure, and if not well done it could develop into a wound and cause transmission of other germs to your armpit.

2. Hidradenitis suppurativa underarm

Hidradenitis suppurativa or HS is another disease associated with sweat glands. If you have this condition, it will trigger the inflammation of apocrine glands as a result of clogging and formation of cysts after an infection. This could cause you to develop a boil under your armpits.

Apart from the underarms, other parts of your body most likely to be affected by the condition include the groin and under breast. The common symptom for the condition includes:

  • Itching
  • Enlarge bumps beneath the arms
  • Pain and tenderness I the skin underarms.

Hidradenitis suppurativa is treatable, if you have the condition, you could take same over the counter antibiotics or anti-inflammatory injections. Depending on the extent of the cyst formed, your doctor may prescribe draining or removing the cyst by surgery

3. Diabetes

Boils under armpit can also be caused by diabetes. Diabetics is a complex medical condition that can affect your entire body. When you have diabetics, the body can’t maintain healthy glucose level in the blood. Glucose is a form of sugar that is the main source of energy for your body. If your body has unhealthy levels of glucose in the blood, it can lead to long and short term health complication.

Diabetics can be managed well but the potential health complication for different type of diabetics. This could include complication such as heart attack, stroke, kidney disease and depression. Common symptoms for diabetics would include:

If you notice the symptoms persist, please visit your health care provider. The symptoms are:

  • Being more thirsty than usual.
  • More urine
  • Always feeling hungry
  • Itching kin infection
  • Weight loss
  • headaches

4. Armpit ingrown hair

Ingrown hair in the armpit is most likely as a result of poor shaving methods. When the skin hair is growing, it may fail to break through the skin, it therefore grows sideways into the skin resulting into an ingrown hair. Though common in people with tight-curly hair, an ingrown hair is more likely to because by hair removal.

As you shave the hair in your armpits, the sharp edge grows back into the skin leading to inflammation and formation of rash in your armpits. Poor shaving is the main cause of ingrown hair, otherwise other factors such as waxing and having a dry or too much oil on your skin. When this happens, the hair follicles that fail to grow out may develop a packet that is latter filled with pus forming a boil.

Although not harmful, consistent scratching the rash can lead cause an infection. Some over the counter anti-inflammatory and anti-itching creams will help soothe your skin and reduce the itching.

5.  Underarm boils after shaving

Improper shaving techniques can make you develop rashes on your underarms. Poor shaving causes irritation due to damage of the skin, due to scratching or cut form the shaving razor. The small bumps formed after shaving can be aggravated by sweating and body sprays and deodorants.  The bumps formed are usually small in size and could cause slight itching which may last up to a few hours or days. When the bumps are filled with pus and other dead tissue it may develop into a boil.

Continuous scratching can easily result in an infection. The hair follicles get more irritated and can lead to swelling or serous itching. You would use some home remedies to soothe the skin and reduce the irritation. Common plants such as aloe Vera can be helpful. If this does not help please see your doctor as soon as possible.

To avoid this kind of occurrence, you could apply new ways of getting rid of underarms hair, this would include methods such as waxing.

6. Underarm boils breast cancer sign?

Breast cancer is an abnormal growth of breast cells. According to research, there are more than 100 types of cancer including skin, lung cancer, prostate cancer, lymphoma and many others.

Symptoms vary depending on the causes of the cancer. Swelling can develop around your collarbone and armpits as a result of breast cancer. This is due to the spread of the cancer to the lymph glands in this area of the body. The armpits may develop boils which are pus filled causing you a lot discomfort.

For effective medication, you need to see your doctor as soon as you can. Treatment option will depend on the stage and extent of the breast cancer, the option include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

7. Boils under armpit HIV

Is a boil in my armpit a sign of HIV? Yes there exist some possibility that the boil in your armpit could be as a result of HIV infection. This is a condition known as acute retroviral syndrome or primary HIV. It is the primary stage of infection and last just until the body has created antibodies to fight the infection.

You should avoid self-diagnosis, you need to get yourself tested to avoid wrong medication and do away with the doubt.

8. Poor armpit hygiene

Boils caused due to poor hygiene is due to the dirt trapped within the hair follicle in the armpits. Failure to regularly bathe causes excess dirt, sweat and bacteria to collect under the armpit, this can cause a painful boil to appear in the armpit.

The boil will be red or dark in color and is usually sensitive to touch. According to better health, armpits boil may also occur due to buildup of dead skin cells and bacteria on the skin under the arm. If the armpit has a cut, mainly due to shaving, the bacteria may spread into the armpits causing a boil to develop.

Recurring boils under armpits, won’t go away

I have a boil under my armpits that won’t go away. What could cause a boil to recur after you pop to drain it? Even though most boils go away after a warm compress and antibiotics, it is possible for them to reappear. The main reason for this condition is failure to treat the underlying cause of the boil leaving you prone to future attack of the same infection.

It is very common for a boil to reappear in another part of your body after you pop it from another part of your body.

Please visit you doctor for effective diagnosis and treatment. Completely treating the underlying cause of the boil under armpits, is key to treating the boil and making sure the boil does not recur in the future.

Underarm boils swollen and painful

Does swollen and painful boils in my armpit mean am suffering from cancer? As we have already established, a boil in your underarm is a good sign of an underlying health complication. As the boil grow and pus continues to fill it, it begins to swell and become painful.

To help you reduce the pain and swelling you could do the following:

  • avoid wearing too tight fitting clothing’s
  • avoid scratching the boils
  • do not pop the boils
  • maintain good hygiene by wiping your armpits

Boil under child’s armpit

A boil on your baby’s armpit is a tender and red lump on the skin. It is not serious condition but you need to get your kid tested to establish the underlying medical cause of the boil. It is more common for the boil to appear on the face, neck, shoulders and armpits. At times the boil causing infection will spread to other body parts.

Boils occurs when your baby sweat pores get infected with bacteria staphylococcus aureus, it is also possible for your child to develop underarms boils due to other health condition like:

  • Diabetes
  • Problems related to the immune system
  • Poor hygiene
  • Poor nutrition
  • Exposure to chemicals that cause skin irritation
  • Eczema
  • Iron deficiency or anemia

Apart from noticing a hard lump on your kid you may also develop the following symptoms:

  • Your baby’s skin become red and start to itch.
  • More boils may came up.
  • Your baby may develop a temperature or run a high fever.
  • Nearby lymph nodes will get swollen.

Hard boil under armpit

A boil under armpits can be painful and cause a lot of discomfort. As the boils develop they start to get hard as the pus continue to fill. This may also result in lymph nodes to swell and begin to feel hard when touched.

A lifestyle change can help reduce the chances of getting the boil in the armpits. Regular shower and good shaving techniques are what you need to do. A warm compress can help soothe the skin and reduce the irritation.

Deep boil under armpit smells

It is very embarrassing to have your armpit smell in public. But, t it normal to have smelly armpit when I have boils? What do I need to get rid of the smell I my armpits?

Having smelly armpits lowers your general self-esteem.  The condition can worsen when you apply a lot of deodorant and body lotion. When you pop the boils and the content mix with the sweat, the result is a strong pungent smell in your underarms.

You could avoid this kind of situation by regularly having your armpits washed and rinsed with warm water. Keeping your armpits dry and maintain free flow of air in your armpits.

Red small boils under armpit

Red small boil is a sign of an underlying health complication.  The development of the boil may lead to the swelling of the lymph nodes in your armpits. If you notice some boil developing in your armpits you need to get yourself diagnosed by a health care provider for effective medication.

Having a lifestyle change to maintain high hygiene is key to alleviating the pain caused by the boils under your armpits. Apart from being red the boils maybe be itchy and swollen.

Armpit boils treatment, medicine to cure

The medication and treatment of armpits start with treating the underlying cause of the boil. Depending on the cause, your doctor will prescribe the best medication for you.

If there exist concerns about seriousness of the infection, your doctor may request some additional test. The doctor is more likely to prescribe antibiotics when the infection is severe. When the boil is drained, a culture may be done to determine the type of bacteria causing the boil.

How to get rid naturally at home

You should avoid self-diagnosing yourself, because this could be dangerous. You need to see your doctor as soon as you notice the boil in your armpits. The following home remedies will only help reduce the itching and pain caused by the boil. If the boil fails to go away please visit your health care provider. You could use the following:

Warm compress

Applying a warm compress to the boil increases the circulation of blood and helps activate the body’s immune response this brings antibodies and white blood cells to the infected area of your armpit.

Dip a rag in mixture of warm water and olive or salt and gently rub your armpits

Pop to drain the boil

You should not pop the boil if it is still small and firm. Most boils are likely to drain on their own with continuous hot soak. Draining the pop can lead to prolonged infection and inflammation.

You only pop the boil when it becomes soft and develops a visible pustule. You can do this with your figures or with the help a sharp object.

Olive oil

Applying olive oil on the armpits on the parts with the rash. Olive oil is rich in vitamin E and antioxidants, which help soothe your skin and reduce itching. You could also use a combination of olive oil and honey. Simply rub the mixture a few times daily until the rash heal completely.

Castor oil and coconut oil also help heal rashes naturally. A combination of vitamin E oil and liver oil is thus a good remedy.

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera has anti-inflammatory, emollient, antibacterial and antifungal properties. It’s excellent for treating number of skin ailments including rashes. Apart from healing, it also soothes the skin, relieves itching and reduce redness.

  1. Extract fresh Aloe Vera gel from an aloe leaf.
  2. Apply it on the affected area.
  3. Leave it on for at least 20 minutes, and then rinse it off.
  4. Do this at least three times a day until the rash clears.

If you do not have fresh aloe Vera gel, you can buy aloe Vera gel or extract from any retail store near you.


Due to the soothing and anti-inflammatory properties of oatmeal, it’s good for alleviating skin irritation and inflammation. It’s thus excellent for rashes caused by eczema, sun burn, chicken pox and allergies. What you need to do is;

  • Grind oatmeal in a blender, combine one-half cup of oatmeal, a quarter cup of milk powder and two tea spoon of honey.
  • Put this mixture in a muslin cloth, tie and place it in a bath tab filled with warm water. Soak in the milky bath water for 20 minutes.
  • Pat dry and moisturize your skin, repeat daily for a few days.

Further references.


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