An important part of most people's daily regimen is the use of deodorant and antiperspirant products designed to get a person through the day smelling and feeling fresh 1. But unfortunately, sometimes these products can trigger skin reactions, leading to embarrassment, discomfort and, in some cases, intense pain.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
One of the leading causes of armpit pain associated with deodorant products occurs when the product is used shortly after shaving. Even the best razor can nick and scrape your skin, and these small injuries will be extremely sensitive to the touch for some time afterward. If your pain occurs mostly after shaving, you might try allowing more time before applying deodorant, or using a shaving cream specifically designed for sensitive skin.
Another one of the most common causes of pain associated with deodorant products is an allergy to one of the components. Allergic reactions can happen due to a variety of compounds, including many that are commonly used in these types of products. Signs of an allergic reaction can include swelling, reddening of the skin, pain and itching, and even hives or skin eruptions in the affected area.
Deodorant and Antiperspirant
An important distinction to make is whether a product is a deodorant, an antiperspirant or both. While deodorants fight bacteria that cause odor as well as cover up odor with fragrance, antiperspirants use chemical compounds (many of which contain aluminum) to actually block and close pores and sweat glands, reducing moisture and odor. These aluminum compounds, in particular, can trigger sensitivities.
First and foremost, you should try switching brands or fragrances to see if the problem goes away. Changing from an antiperspirant product to one that is simply a deodorant might also help, if the aluminum compounds are the substances triggering your reaction. In extreme cases, switching to an all-natural product might be your best option; many such brands have found their way into the mainstream market in recent years.
However, if the armpit pain you may be suffering is accompanied by localized swelling or feels as though it’s coming from a non-surface source, it could be a sign of something more severe than an allergic reaction. For instance, lymph nodes located in the armpits can swell and become tender in the presence of a severe illness. In addition, many types of muscle strains involving the chest wall can produce pain in this area; if pain intensifies when moving or breathing, it could indicate an injury.
See Your Doctor
Should you experience recurring pain in your armpit area, it’s always a good idea to check with your physician for solutions. At the very least, discussing the matter with your doctor can help you rule out any major illnesses and possibly identify the cause of your pain and discomfort without leaving you guessing.
- Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Gregg O'Connell