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Causes and How to get Rid of Blackheads on Underarms

June 20, 2018

Many of you already know what blackheads are. These are small black-headed bumps that may occur on various body parts, including shoulders, back, neck, nose, underarms, arms, and back other body parts.

The appearance of these bumps is attributed to clogged hair follicles. This makes blackheads on underarms common since the place is hairy. However, they are not as common in this area as they are on the nose, chin, and mouth area.

Although blackheads are small bumps, they can be bigger lumps and even form pimples and other forms of acne if they get infected. Sometimes, they also form big bumps on armpits even without them being infected.

What are blackheads?

Blackheads anywhere including the armpits are a form or type of acne. This is a common skin disease that is likely to get you, when your hair follicles are clogged but remains open (open comedones). Although acne is common on the face, it can also affect other parts such as:

  • Your back
  • The upper chest region
  • Underarms
  • Arms

All these body parts have a high number of oil glands that produce a lot of oil (sebum). The hair follicles are mainly clogged by:

  • Dead skin cells
  • Oil produced by oil glands
  • sweat

When the hair follicles get clogged, the skin around the underarms develops a bump that is initially white or yellowish but later turns black due to oxidation by air.

Is it an underarm pimple or blackhead?

According to healthline.com, symptoms of blackheads are easy to identify. However, some people can’t tell whether what they are having is a pimple or these open comedones. What would be your conclusion if you note a painful bump in the armpit?

Below are some of the distinct features of all blackheads:

  • A blackhead looks like a small dark bump/lesion
  • They are painless this is the main difference between them and pimples
  • The bumps have a rough texture
  • In extreme cases, they cover a wide area of the affected region
  • In some cases, you will note big bump under the armpit
  • If you note a painful bump on the armpit, then that is not a blackhead

If you note one or a few of the above symptoms, then know that your armpits are having blackheads.

Why am I having blackheads on underarms?

Blackheads or open comedones are caused by many factors, most of which are associated with our lifestyle. However, at times they can be because of a disease or a change in hormones.

Basically, those on underarms are attributed to the following:

Diabetes

When you are having diabetes type 2, there is increased sweating. As usual, this sweating is more on your underarms. Because of this sweating, hair follicles get clogged. What follows is a breakout of blackheads.

Change in hormones

Some people complain of blackheads on underarms during specific periods of life such as periods, puberty, menopause, and perimenopause. During these times, the body is stimulated to produce a lot of sebum. They can appear anywhere on the body including your armpits.

Hygiene Issues

Like earlier noted hair follicles get clogged by dirt. If you don’t clean your underarms regularly, there is an accumulation of sweat, oil, and dirt. The result is this kind of acne. However, dirt alone cannot cause them.

Stress, depression, and anxiety

When you are stressed or depressed, the stress hormones produced encourages excessive production of sebum hence you may end up with blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, and other forms of acne.

Also, if you are over-anxious or nervous, you will tend to sweat a lot. This excessive sweating together with other factors may contribute to the formation of plugs on hair follicles.

Fabrics

Some types of fabric will irritate your underarms. For example, wearing polyester and rayon fabrics inhibits the free flow of air into your skin. As a result, you may increase the chance of getting this form of acne. Friction from the fabrics can also cause acne mechanica.

Armpit hair

People with underarm hair are at a higher risk of getting blackheads than those who don’t have. Long underarm hair creates a favorable environment for the hair follicles to get clogged due to the accumulation of dirt and sweat.

Shaving

Some people like shaving their underarms. Wrong shaving techniques irritate hair follicles. As a result, it may get irritated, develop ingrown hairs as well as blackheads and whiteheads.

Crutches

As you all know, crutches usually touch with your underarms always. This is likely to cause irritation. The condition is made worse if the crutches have dirty handles. You may end up with acne mechanica which may include these open comedones.

Skin Products

Some oil-based products are likely to clog the hair follicles and encourage the development of the various types of acne including blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, and so on.

Blackheads on underarms removal

To help you get rid of blackheads underarms fast, we can consider some of the recommendations by Livestrong.com which notes that one can easily manage and heal this mild form of acne. The healing/management involves a couple of Do and Don’ts.

Below are some of the most effective ways of managing blackheads on underarms:

Armpit Hygiene

This is the primary way of ensuring that your hair follicles don’t get clogged. From what is discussed above, sebum, dirt, and sweat are the leading causes of clogged hair follicles.

Warm water compression

All you need is warm water and a clean piece of cloth. Dip the piece of cloth in warm water and massage your underarms. This is effective in unclogging hair follicles.

Apply some ointments

In case of severe blackheads; some over-the-counter ointments can be of some help. Any ointment or cream containing ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide salicylic acid works perfectly well on this type of acne.

Chemical peels

This is an effective way of eliminating dead skin cells in your armpits. Chemical peeling involves the application of a chemical of the affected area to peel the other skin layer.

Remove them manually

You can’t do this on your own. You will need a dermatologist to do this. In most cases, a loop extractor effectively removes the blackheads. This is not a permanent solution.

Exfoliation

Any product that acts as an exfoliation agent can help in opening the clogged hair follicles. However, take care that you don’t use any product that is likely to irritate your already affected underarms.

Laser Therapy

Laser beams are directed on your underarms. The beams work on the oil glands in treating any infection and reduce the overproduction of sebum.

Keep calm and relax

Try as much as you can to keep calm. Avoid stress and anxiety. Keeping calm and being relaxed is one of the best ways of having healthy skin. As earlier noted, your emotional state is likely to trigger hormones that may irritate the increased production of sebum.

Check your diet

Check what you take. Avoid alcohol, smoking, and fatty foods. Furthermore, avoid sugary substances. Instead, take a lot of water, eat fruits and greens.

Don’t touch the blackheads

Just leave them alone. Some people just like squeezing them. This will only make things worse. Even when they become itchy, resist the temptation of picking on them as it may make it swell and cause infections.

Change your body care products

Don’t use any makeup or cosmetic that comes your way. Avoid oil-based products while embracing the water-based ones.