What are warts in the armpits?

These types of warts or lesions arecalled cutaneous fibroepithelial polyps or acrochordons, and are very frequent benign tumors that are located mainly in the neck and armpit.

They have a high rate of occurrences in people with metabolic syndrome and are characterized by being skin conditions on raised,flesh or brownish, soft. Due to their morphological similarity, they are often confused with warts, but in reality they are polypoid lesions, with differentiated characteristics.

Although theydo not represent a health risk, the concern of patients is mainlyaesthetic, so it encourages the fact of eliminating them in consultation with a dermatologist.

Note: TheSpanish Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, states that the word wart should only be occupied by those skin lesions caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). (1)

Causes of warts in the armpits

The causes of the appearance of these lesions in the armpits, are given by factors external to the individual and others by the same health situation. Here are the most relevant ones:

Rubbing of clothes or objects

It has been popularly said that wearing very tight clothes, chains and necklaces that cause rubbing against the skin, can cause the appearance of these skin lesions. Science has not yet confirmed this.

Genetic predisposition

In correspondence to the previous point, it is also believed that the appearance of acrochordons or misnamed warts in the armpits, is associated with acertain genetic predisposition, but there are no scientific studies that support this statement.

Hormonal alterations

Hormonal factors may be relevant, as these lesions often occur in pregnant women and in some patients suffering from acromegaly (gigantism).

To highlight: In a study on “Acromegaly”, where people suffering from gigantism were followed for 20 years, it was detected that among the conditions presented during that period, was the appearance of pigmented acrochordons(2)

Overweight and diabetes

Obesityis a health problemof considerable magnitude in the world. In it converge a series of pathologies, including in the skin, with multiple manifestations. A very common manifestation is theappearance of warts in the armpitsor correctly called acrochordons.

In a study whose objective was “To study the frequency of various dermatoses in obese patients and their comparison with the control group of normal weight individuals”, it was found that acrochordons are a very common manifestation in the group of obese people. (3)

As for diabetes, this is a disease characterized by hyperglycemia and alterations in carbohydrateand lipid metabolism, due to a deficient action and / or secretion of insulin.

This disease is associated with several pathologies in the body, including the skin. An article on “Dermatological Markers of Metabolic Diseases” describes thatacrochordons are common manifestations of diabetes(4)

Note: A scientific review article on “Metabolic syndrome in dermatology” establishes the relationship between the appearance of acrochordons and the suffering of metabolic syndrome. (5)

Types of warts in the armpits

These lesions that appear frequently in the armpits, have their typology and whose identification is performed by a dermatologist with asimple exploration, to avoid doubts. We mention the most common:


Fibroids aresoft formations, in the form of a small lump, normal or brown color, which are often located in the armpits, the lateral faces of the neck and the groin. They are also called acrochordons.


Molluscum isa rash formed by one or more small growthsthat look like wart-like lumps, and is caused by an unrelated viral infection, which causes these manifestations on the skin.

Note: They are usuallypink, white or skin colored, smooth and shiny or pearly in appearance, and may have a small hole in the center. It is caused by themolluscum contagiosum virus, and is spread by direct or indirect contact through a wound or skin injury.


They are literallywarts or hanging fibroids, as their lump is attached to the skin by a peduncle. Nearlyfour out of 10 people have one or more ofthese warts. Its origin can also be hereditary. They can be removed, tying a surgical silk around the peduncle to strangle it, it should only be left until it dries.

Note: These lesions are identified by other names such as teats or skin marks.


They are characterized by having an elongated and thin appearance, finger-shaped and are thesame color as the skin. These are true warts because they come from the human papillomavirus (HPV).

They are frequently located in the neck, eyelids and armpits and have rapid development. They are attached to the skin by a small area that resembles a peduncle.

Note: They often peel off on their own or by strangling them with surgical floss.

Treatment to remove warts in the armpits

Being the area where these lesions appear very delicate, there are several specialized proceduresto eliminate them. Here we mention the most used, which require the supervision of a dermatologist:


This is anon-invasive surgical procedure, in which an electrocautery is used, which generates heat allowing to remove lesions or cut tissues and at the same time, performs a hemostasis by cauterizing the capillaries and small blood vessels. This limits local bleeding, minimizing healing time.

Note: Treatment may cause some pain.


Cryotherapyis a procedure that consists ofthe application of cold on the skin of the wartor acrochordons, which produces a local destruction of tissue in an effective and controlled way.

Here, the doctor freezes the wart with liquid nitrogenin several sessions until the lesion detaches. This treatment is usually done in the doctor’s office.


In this case, the specialist uses surgical tools to cut the wartsor acrochordons, such as a scalpel. Local anesthesia is used to perform the procedure, however the patient may request general anesthesia if desired. It should be noted that this procedureis already very little used.


This method isan electrosurgical technique, in which electricity is used tocoagulate tissuesthat need to be removed. These can be seborrheic keratosis, warts among others.

Note: This procedure is rarely used.


Laser surgery uses a device that emits a beam of intense light, or laser, which burns and destroys the wart tissue. It is usually done on an outpatient basis. Local or general anesthesia may be used, depending on the specialist’s assessment.

Patches or topicals

These were used for a while andare considered quite effectivein terms of results. Its use is based on theapplication on the lesion of salicylic acid or another medicationand then covered with a patch to protect healthy skin.

Thisrequires a lot of discipline and patience of the patient, as well as being orderly and very hygienic, because the warts will take a few days to detach with salicylic acid.

Note: All these procedures should be performed by professionals.

Key Findings

  • The real term for these armpitlesions is cutaneous fibroepithelial polyps.
  • They are generally benign and pose no healthhazards.
  • They are notcontagious.
  • They are associated with underlying diseases such asobesity or diabetes.
  • The most effective treatment issurgical.
  • It is advisableto consult a dermatologist.

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