Lensa Welch has been writing online for over nine years. Her articles typically focus on the medical sciences.
Skin Rashes in Damp Places
Many people get skin rashes on areas of their bodies that stay damp. This can be especially problematic in the summer when people are hot and sweaty. These rashes are often itchy and may also be painful or cause peeling or blistered skin. They are common under the arm in the armpit area, under women's breasts, in skin folds, and in any other place that stays damp.
These rashes are likely caused by a fungus (Yeast, also known as candida, is a common culprit.) and can often be very stubborn. The first step to healing them is to speak with your doctor to see if there are underlying problems causing the rash. People who have high blood sugar tend to get these rashes more often as fungus-like sugar. Rashes like this can also be a sign of immune problems. The doctor can also recommend possible over-the-counter or prescription treatments for your rash.
If you have already consulted your doctor and would like some home remedies to try out, this article will give you some ideas of things that you can try at home to prevent or treat these common fungal skin infections.
The biggest way to prevent fungal skin infections and rashes is to keep an area clean and dry. Take a shower before bed and, if possible, after activities that involve heavy sweating. Make sure to carefully wash any problem areas. Once out of the shower, dry the areas with a clean towel. Make sure that it hasn't dried other areas of your body that have fungal infections. After drying off, apply powder. Consider using an antiperspirant or diaper rash cream over the irritated areas. If it is itchy, a cortisone cream may help.
If you notice a lot of infections in your arm pits, your deodorant may be carrying the fungal infection. Try a cream or spray deodorant if this seems to be the problem. Also, don't use a stick or roll on deodorant in and area that gets fungal infections and then under your arms. You will likely spread the infection and develop a rash.
Make sure to change after exercising or sweating heavily. Dry, clean clothes will help. Make sure to wear loose fitting clothes made out of natural, breathing fibers. Wash everything well to kill any fungus.
Change What You Wear
If you are having problems with fungal infections, clothing can be part of your treatment. Fabrics made of wicking materials like cotton are able to pull moisture away from the body. If you have an area that is prone to infection, try to wear a breathable, wicking fabric. Make sure that you change this clothing frequently. If you are having severe problems, you will want to change your wicking clothing multiple times a day to maintain dry skin. Once you wear your wicking clothing, wash it well so that the fungus is removed from the fabric. Cotton is a good, inexpensive fabric choice. You can also look for newer fabrics that were designed to wick. If you search for "wicking underwear" or "wicking pajamas" you will find what you are looking for. Ideas of useful clothing to use to prevent or treat a rash include socks, panties, underwear, shirts, and bra liners.
Over-the-Counter Medications for Fungal Skin Infections
There are a number of over the counter anti fungal medications that are available. Go to a store and look in the sections that cary foot, women's health, or first aid products.
- The foot health section will have anti fungal treatments for athletes foot. These will come in cream, spray, and powder forms.
- The women's health section with have yeast infection creams and suppositories. Look for the cream suppositories as these can be used on the skin as well.
- The first aid area will have ringworm and jock itch treatments. These will often be in creams, sprays, and powders.
Spray powders or loose powder are often good choices as they will help to keep the area dry. Spray powders will stick a bit better and are less noticeable on. If one form is causing skin irritation, try another. Some people have noted that they have better luck with the vaginal yeast infection products. The different brands also use different anti fungals. Clotrimazole, butoconazole, miconazole nitrate, and ticonozole are some names of over the counter anti fungal medications.
Here is a list of home remedies that I have heard of for under arm, under breast, and skin fold fungal infections (avoid application on broken skin):
- Original, brown formula Listerine
- Zinc oxide powder
- Diluted rubbing alcohol
- Desitin diaper rash cream
Here is a list of natural antifungals. I recommend researching all of these, as natural remedies can have side effects. HealthNotes is a great source of information on alternative medicine.
- Tea tree oil
- Grapefruit seed extract
- Caprylic acid
Dr. Bronner's tea tree liquid soap can be very useful. Washing with this before applying an antifungal treatment seems to speed recovery time and help stubborn rashes. It also is a great way to prevent infections. Just shower with this soap.
Desert Essence Tea Tree Oil Facial Pads are a good way to wipe down a problem area before bed or first thing in the morning.
Indigo Wild's Zum Mist lavender scent is another good treatment and preventative. Lavender seems to have anti fungal properties.
Hopefully one of these tips will be useful in treating or preventing skin rashes in the under breast, under arm, or skin fold areas. Again, speak with your doctor as he or she may be able to treat an underlying cause and prevent future infections. Also, stronger medications are available by prescription and may be of use to you.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
Cris on September 03, 2017:
Very informative article. I really needed this advice. How stupid can we be to allow ourselves to be so overweight to get yeast infection in the armpits? (Speaking about myself) Today is the day that I will not touch anymore carbohydrates and fat and sweets.
NYCMommaBear on October 20, 2016:
Wow this article was so incredibly helpful! Finally after months of itchy, irritated underarm rash, my rash is completely gone. Using a yeast infection cream was the magic elixir! I had tried numerous anti-fungal creams and powders and nothing was working. My skin was so red and irritated. But after reading this I tried yeast infection cream (who would have thought!), and it my skin is 100% healed. I bought a 3 day vaginal yeast infection medicine, and each suppository lasted several days. I applied it morning and night and after a week or so my rash was gone. I am continuing to use it just at night for a few more weeks just to make sure it doesn't return. Very happy to have found this article. Thank you!
slinguser on August 10, 2014:
Having had under breast problems for years, I found remarkable relief by wearing a BreastComfort Sling (www.breastcomfortslings.com) - an extremely soft cushion with wicking fabric which elevates the breast to keep the irritated skin from reinfecting itself. I wear it as often as I can, particularly when I sleep. I can't recommend it enough!
You must try it!
Lena Welch (author) from USA on May 29, 2012:
I have found that washing well with the Dr Bronner's tea tree soap then using an anti fungal powder or cream really helps. The tea tree pads are great when I can't drag myself into the shower before bed. It shouldn't be so bad now that I am not outside as much for work, but not taking chances.
northlandws from Fargo, North Dakota on May 29, 2012:
It is important to keep oneself clean to avoid skin rashes. This has been helpful!