ZocdocAnswersCan dry shaving irritate the armpits?

Question

Can dry shaving irritate the armpits?

How badly can dry shaving irritate the skin? I shaved my armpits this morning in the shower, and the water wasn't running but I still felt wet enough to pull it off without a problem. By now, 12 hours later, though, my whole armpits are breaking out in this horrible red rash. Could it be caused by the shaving?

Answer

There are several causes of rashes in the armpits. Fortunately most are not serious and do not require medical treatment. The doctors who could discuss this issue in greater detail with you include your primary care doctor. Shaving is often associated with rash and irritation of the skin. This is even more common with dry skin. Shaving without first putting on a lubricating shaving cream can worsen this problem by essentially causing more trauma to the skin than would occur with the shaving cream. Most cases of shaving irritation will improve over a day or two and can be managed with the application of a moisturizing cream or an over the counter anti itch cream. Occasionally, the 'red rash' can progress to actually infection of the affected hair shafts, called folliculitis. Often with folliculitis, the bumps are pronounced and may even for whiteheads on the base of the hair shafts. This too can usually be managed just with good skin care, but more serious cases or cases that do not resolve may require an antibiotic as prescribed by your physician. As always the diagnosis and management of your particular skin concern would require a physical examination by your personal physician. Scheduling a visit with your primary care doctor if symptoms persist may be indicated.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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