There is not one specific treatment that will work for all cases of pimples under the arm, and most times as combination of treatments will be needed. Most underarm pimples are caused by an accumulation of oil and bacteria which clog the pores. For this, a cream or wash containing salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide may be beneficial. Washing thoroughly, especially after sweating, is also recommended.
Underarm pimples are often caused by bacteria and naturally occurring bodily oils which can clog and cause a minor infection within the pores. The first step in avoiding this is to wash regularly, once or more per day, to cut down on oil. Some individuals may have an overproduction of oils, so products which contain salicylic acid are often beneficial because they help dry the skin and draw pus from infected pores.
Sweat can also contribute to underarm pimples and should be kept at bay. Those who sweat profusely may have to wash more often than others and wear an antiperspirant. It is important to note, however, that antiperspirants can also clog pores, making the problem worse. Choosing an hypoallergenic variety may help. Avoiding products with fragrances and other skin irritants may also reduce skin reactions.
Most over the counter pimple creams and washes intended for facial use can be used under the arms. Newer varieties are available that are designed to combat body pimples. If pimples have become a serious problem, females should use separate razors for the legs and underarms, or avoid shaving altogether. Razors can spread bacteria from one area of the body to another very easily. Alternative means of removing hair are available.
In some cases, bumps and redness are not due to underarm pimples. Boils or abscesses look similar to pimples but are a more severe infection. They are often very painful and can grow larger than a typical pimple. Sometimes they drain on their own, but many times they have to be lanced and drained by a doctor. Boils are caused by staph bacteria and are usually not harmful.
It is important to avoid popping or squeezing underarm pimples because this can spread bacteria and lead to further breakouts. If pimples become severe and do not heal with washing and applying over the counter creams, a dermatologist may need to be consulted. Prescription creams can be given in severe cases.
Many pimple creams can severely dry the skin, making it more vulnerable to damage when shaving. Applying a moisturizing lotion that does not clog pores can help prevent this. These can be found at most pharmacies and department stores.