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Boil under Armpit Causes, with no Head, Painful, How to Get Rid of it, Home Remedy

Boils are often an embarrassing problem; Get a detailed overview of symptoms, causes for boils and home remedies that can be used to get rid of boil under armpit. Also covered are boils with no heads and whether boils in the armpit could be a sign of cancer.

Boil under Armpit

Boil underarm

A boil is also known as furuncle which is a skin infection that begins in an oil gland or hair follicle. Mostly, boils are majorly caused by usually caused by bacteria staphylococcus aureus. Other bacteria or fungi found on the skin’s surface can also cause boils.

A boil or furuncle is a type of abscess. An abscess is defined as a painful collection of pus, usually caused by a bacterial infection.

A boil is typically round in shape and raised from the skin surface. Boils are tender to the touch. When one first appears, the skin turns pinkish red in that area, and a tender bump arises from the skin’s surface.

After four to seven days, the boil will start turning white as pus collects under the skin. It’s very tempting to want to ‘’pop’’ the boil at this point, but hands off because you can spread the infection and make things even worse.

Boil underarm is a condition known to affect about 6% of the population. A research by university of Birmingham, show that if you have had boils in your armpits more than 3 times within a short period of time for instance within 3 to 5 month  it is likely to be hidradenitis.

Symptoms of boils in the armpits

  • Swollen, red lump deep in the skin.
  • Pain, especially when touched.
  • Size can vary from the size of a pea to larger than a golf ball.
  • May develop a central, whitish-yellow ‘’head’’ that may break and release pus.
  • May ‘’weep’’ or ooze clear fluid, or develop a crust.
  • As the infection get worse, a whitish point or head can appear at the center of the boil- this is where the boil’s pus will drain from if it begins to drain on its own.
  • May spread to surrounding skin, creating carbuncle.

Signs of a more severe infection

  • The skin surrounding the boil becomes infected and turns red, painful, warm and swollen.
  • A fever develops.
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Additional boils pop up around original one

 What cause boils under your Armpit?

Below are 9 causes of boils in the armpits as explained by Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

  1. Use of deodorants

Some deodorants have ingredients that might irritate the skin, for people who are allergic to everything. Try to be careful and avoid products that irritate your skin, as they can result in outbreak of boils.

  1. Folliculitis

This is a condition whereby the hair follicles are infected due to poor hygiene. Folliculitis under armpits arises due to excessive sweating, that cause blockage of sweat ducts that connect to sweat glands to the hair follicles. After sweating the residue left behind can increase the chances of infections resulting in boils in the armpits.

Also the sebaceous glands present in the underarm region can get infected, this leads to accumulation of impurities in the tract connecting the glands and the hair follicles thus resulting to boils.

  1. Changes in Hormonal levels

Change in hormonal level is known to facilitate production of excess oil on the skin which in turn results to formation of bumps on the body.  Research has revealed that people with stress tend to develop more bumps on the skin. This is because stress propagates hormones in the body causing them to rise above the normal level.

  1. Hidradenitis Suppurativa Underarm

Hidradenitis suppurativa or HS is another disease associated with sweat glands. If you have this condition, it will trigger the inflammation of apocrine glands as a result of clogging and formation of cysts after an infection. This could result into development of boil under your armpits.

Hidradenitis suppurativa is treatable. If you have the condition, you could take some over the counter antibiotics or anti-inflammatory injections. Depending on the extend of the cyst formed, your doctor may prescribe draining or removing the cyst by surgery.

  1. Poor armpit hygiene

Boils that arise due to poor hygiene are due to dirt trapped within the hair follicle in the armpits. Failure to regularly bathe causes excess dirt, sweat and bacteria to collect under armpit, this can cause a painful boil to appear in the armpit.

The boil will be red or dark in color and is usually sensitive to touch. According to Mayoclinic , armpit boils may occur due to build up of dead skin cells, and bacteria on the skin under arm. If the armpit has a cut mainly due to shaving, the bacteria may spread into the armpits, causing a boil under arm to develop.

  1. Ingrown Hair

When the skin hair is growing, it may fail to break through the skin, it therefore grows sideways into the skin resulting to ingrown hair. Though common in people with tight curly hair, an ingrown hair is more likely to result due to poor shaving methods.

As you shave your hair in the armpits, the sharp edge grows back into the skin leading to inflammation and formation of rash in your armpits. Poor shaving is the main cause of ingrown hair, otherwise other factors such as waxing and having a dry or too much oil on your skin.

  1. Cancerous sign

Breast cancer is an abnormal growth of breast cells. According to research, there are more than 90 types of cancer, including lung cancer, skin cancer, prostate cancer, lymphoma and many others. Symptoms vary depending on the causes of the cancer. Swelling can develop around your collarbone and armpits. This is due to the spread of the cancer to the lymph glands in this area of the body. The armpits may develop boils which are pus filled causing you a lot discomfort.

  1. Yeast infection

Candida albicans is one of yeast varieties present in our body. When the immune system gets weakened, these organisms outgrow in number multiplying rapidly. The areas like armpits, groin and mouth are prone to yeast infection. Fungal infections are also common under the armpit causing severe itching and redness.

  1. Miliaria rubra

This is a condition in which sweat glands are blocked due to sweat, hence causing red bumps on the armpits that further results to boil development. This condition can also occur when the body is exposed to humid climate or hot environments.

  1. Armpit fungus

There are more than 90 species of fungus, according to the center for disease control and prevention CDC.  Normally, your skin acts as an effective barrier against infection. However, any cuts or breakdown in the superficial layer of the skin may allow the fungus to cause boil or any other infection. According to the CDC- center for disease control and prevention, there are about 50000 cases of boils in United States each year.

 Boils in Armpit with No head

Boils that have no head are very painful as the pain is usually deep in the skin tissue. They are usually deep in the skin tissue. They are usually felt with a sharp throbbing pain under the skin.

For a deep armpit boil with no head or which do not pop, you should strive get it comes up of the skin. In this case you can treat it by washing your armpit with salt water and pat it dry at least twice a day until the head comes to the surface of the skin.

Boil in Armpit Cancer

According to DR. Robert Henderson a dermatologist, and a prolific health write, boils in the armpit can be a sign of cancer. However it is important to keep up to date with your breast health more often.

Take note of how your breast feel, look and note changes. Finding breast cancer as early as possible is the key to successful treatment. Lump or mass in the breast is the most common symptom of cancer of the breast. The bumps are usually hard and painless, though some may be painful.

Be informed, not all bumps in the armpits are cancer. There are a number of benign breast conditions like cyst or boils that cause lumps underarm. It is therefore important to check out any lump, boil or mass right away. The sooner you identify it to be cancer, the better it’s diagnosed.

The symptoms to check for breast cancer are as follow:

  • A lump in breast.
  • Swelling in or around armpit, breast or collarbone.
  • Itching and breast warmth.
  • Nipple changes and discharge.

How to get Rid of Boil under Armpit- Home Remedies

Below are 9 home remedies that have proven for a very long time, to get rid of armpit boils:



Onions have antiseptic chemicals that act as effective antimicrobial when used for boil treatment.

  • Just take a thick slice of onion and place it over the boil.
  • Wrap it with a cloth to draw blood and heat to the boil and leave it on for a few hours.
  • Repeat the process three to four times a day until the boil comes to the head and drains.


Garlic can be used in variety of ways to treat boils and abscesses, thanks to its antibacterial, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.

  • Make a paste from two to three fresh garlic cloves and apply it onto the boil.
  • Heat one garlic clove and place it onto the boil for about 20 minutes several times as you can per day.
  • Eating two to three raw garlic cloves a day also can produce good results.


Cornmeal can be used as a natural absorbent to help treat boils.

  • Bring half a cup of water to a boil, and then add cornmeal to make a thick paste.
  • Apply the paste to the boil and cover with cloth.
  • Repeat the process several times a day until the boil becomes soft and the infection drains.


Milk has been used as a treatment for boils for centuries. It helps to speed up the healing process and give you relief from the pain.

  • Heat one cup of milk and add three teaspoons of salt, mix it thoroughly. Add some flour or crumbled bread pieces to thicken the boil. Apply a portion of the process several times a day.
  • Milk cream also can be used to treat boils. Mix a teaspoon of milk cream with vinegar and some turmeric powder and apply it directly on the boil.

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil has antibacterial, antifungal, and antiseptic properties. Regular use of tea tree oil will speed up the healing process and give you relief from the discomfort caused by skin abscesses and boils.

  • Dip a clean cotton swab in the oil and then gently dab it directly on the boil.
  • Do this a few times a day for several days until the boil is gone.


Turmeric is a natural blood purifier and has anti-inflammatory properties that can be very helpful in the treatment of boils.

  • Boil one teaspoon of turmeric powder in a glass of water or milk. Drink it three times a day for four to five days.
  • Also, you can make a paste out of equal amounts of fresh ginger and turmeric and apply it onto the boil and cover the boil with a clean cloth.

Warm compress

Apply a warm washcloth compress is the easiest way to reduce pain and increase circulation to help heal a boil.

  • Dip a clean washcloth in warm water and place it over the boil for about ten minutes. You can also use warm salt water. Make sure the compress is wet and warm.
  • Repeat the process three or four times a day.


Black seed

Black seed is one of the most popular natural cures for various types of skin infections including boils. The medicinal properties of black seed can give some relief from the pain caused by boils.

  • Take some black seeds [ kalonji]. Grind them to get a paste. Apply this paste on the affected area.
  • You can also apply black seed oil on the boil.
  • Add one half teaspoon of black seed oil to a cup of hot or cold drink. Drink the mixture twice a day for several days.

Neem oil

The antiseptic, anti-microbial and anti-bacterial properties of neem oil help treat boils and many other types of skin infections.

Grind a handful of neem leaves to get a paste. Apply it on the affected area.

You could also boil neem leaves in water until the quantity of water reduces to one-third. Now use this water to rinse the affected area.

Bread poultice

Bread poultice is quite beneficial in home treatment of boils. Take a piece of bread and soak it in warm milk or warm water. Now put the soaked bread on to the boil for a few minutes.

This will help bring a boil to the head and reduce inflammation. The heat from this compress will also help increase circulation, sending more infection-fighting white blood cells to the site of infection. Repeat twice daily until the boil is healed completely.

What do you do to Treat Boils-Boil in Armpit Treatment

Below are 5 ways of treating boils in the armpit as explained in some articles in the JOURNAL OF AMERICAN ACADEMY OF DERMATOLOGY, and HUFFINGTON POST.

  1. Ibuprofen

Consider taking ibuprofen. If your boil is painful, consider taking ibuprofen or acetaminophen to help reduce the pain. Make sure you read the directions on the packaging for the correct dose.

  1. Over-the-counter antibiotic ointment

Over-the-counter ointments such as Neosporin are effective in soothing and massaging the boil especially if the boil has no head. Just apply the ointment to the boil at least twice a day until the boil is gone.

  1. Epsom salt

Epsom salt isn’t just relaxing, it has numerous health benefits, including the ability to treat boils, the salt can actually help to dry out the pus, causing the boil drain.

Dissolve Epsom salt in water and soak a compress in it. Apply the compress to the area for 20 minutes at a time. Do this at least three times daily until the boil is gone.

  1. Homeopathy

Homeopathy can be used to naturally treat boils at home. There is a really long list of possible homeopathic remedies for boils. The best homeopathic remedies to treat boils include:

  • Belladonna-for the early stages of inflammation, before significant pus formation. Commonly used when the area is red, hot, throbbing and tender, often with intense or stabbing pains.
  • Hepar sulphuris calcareum- it is known for speeding up the collection of pus and typically taken once the boil opens, to speed up drainage of the wound and healing.

Dosing suggestions are typically included on the label. Consult a homeopathic physician for suggestions and dosing if needed

  1. Reduce sugar intake

According to Dr. Gregory Bourgeois ,  a dermatologist  and prolific health writer in the Journal of American Academy of Dermatology ,diets play a part in boil formation and healing. Decreasing or cutting out sugar in your diet may help prevent boils before they start. If you have a boil especially if you have reoccurring boils [ furunculosis], it’s important to know that this disease is said to affect people who consume large amounts of sweets or sugar. However, watching your intake and sources of sugar will help when it comes to preventing and healing boils, as well as your overall health since high sugar intake is linked to so many serious health problems.

Further references:

  1. Armpit boils:
  2. What causes armpit boils:
  3. Boil under armpits:
  4. Causes of armpit boils

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