According to MedlinePlus, folliculitis, or inflammation of the hair follicles, can occur anywhere on the body where there are hair follicles, and is a common problem under the arm. Folliculitis can be an irritation caused by shaving, friction or blockage of the follicles. It can be uncomfortable and unsightly, and has the potential to develop into an infection. Folliculitis usually appears as bumps that may be reddened; there may be drainage if there is an infection. Sometimes pustules, or pimples, appear in the affected area.
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Use warm compresses in the area. Wet a towel with warm water and place it on the area for a few minutes. This helps to open up the follicle and promote drainage. Be careful that the towel is not too hot so it does not burn the skin.
Take antibiotics or other medications as directed by your doctor. Sometimes the doctor will need to do a culture of the affected area to determine what the appropriate antibiotic is to treat the area. Ask your doctor if a hydrocortisone cream is appropriate to use for decreasing itching and inflammation.
Prevent a recurrence of folliculitis or an exacerbation of the current condition. Avoid friction from clothing as much as possible by wearing loose clothing. Do not use lotions or deodorants since they can cause irritation. Avoid shaving the area.
Use good hygiene. It is important to wash hands frequently and change clothing appropriately so that the area does not become contaminated. Wash the area twice a day with a mild soap and water. Keep the area dry and clean as much as possible.