A rash under breast can be caused by fungal or yeast infections. Sweating during exercise and heat can cause a rash on the breast area. While these may not be serious, other causes of a prickly, burning and recurring breast bumps and rashes such as diabetes and cancer can be worrisome. This article discusses the causes and treatments that get rid of a red, sore and itchy rash under and between breasts.
When you get a rash on your skin, especially where there are skin folds, it is likely to become sore and itchy. Such areas include the skin between thighs and underboobs. These parts of the body are not so well ventilated and are prone to sweat and heat. These conditions can encourage itchiness, rashes, and infections.
Rash Under Breast Pictures
What does a breast rash look like? According to Mayo Clinic, it is “A breast rash can also be itchy, scaly, painful or blistered. Other terms used to describe a breast rash include dermatitis and hives.” A burning rash may spread and smell bad depending on the cause.
Below are pictures of rashes under the breast to help you identify your symptoms. You will find more photos under different sections on the page as used to illustrate the different causes.
What causes a rash on breasts?
A breast rash can be a simple allergic reaction to deodorants. Eczema, shingles, scabies and other skin disorders can also cause an inflamed red rash under your breast. It is important to see a doctor as soon as you see such a symptom on your breast area. Below are the possible causes of this symptom.
1. Yeast infection under breast
Yeast rash can affect the skin. It is caused by candida, which is a yeast-like fungus. When the fungus under the breast or yeast cells grows more actively, they lead to a red, scaling, itchy rash on the skin.
The area under the breast is called the inframammary fold. This fold is prone to fungal infections due to it being moist. Body heat and darkness in this area makes the fungus to thrive in this area much more easily.
- Areas of skin that are moist or sweaty are ideal for candida to thrive. These include under large breasts, armpits and groin area or between thighs.
- The dark, moist and warm conditions below the breast are ideal for any skin fungus to grow and spread.
- Women who have pendulous breasts, are obese, pregnant or live in hot and humid areas are more likely to develop a rash under breast due to fungal or yeast infections.
Fungal infections under the breast are superficial. They do not penetrate deeper tissue in the breast. If proper hygiene is not kept on the skin below the breast, such infections are likely to occur more often. Itchy bumps under the breast and on the chest area are likely signs of fungal infections.
Other symptoms that may accompany a breast rash fungus include the following:
- Skin discoloration under your boobs. The skin is likely to turn dark.
- A thin and clear discharge under your breast. This usually occurs when there are pimple bumps under breasts due to a fungal infection.
- Cracking and peeling of the skin beneath the breast area, or on the underside of the boobs.
- Itching under the breast fold.
- An unusually bad smell from the area. Some people describe it as a bad vinegar smell.
- A red rash on the skin due to inflammation and fungal activity.
There are many other diseases that can produce similar symptoms. It is important to see a doctor to diagnose the rash on breast area first before treatment. Usually, as discussed below under treatments, yeast infections under the breast are treated with anti-fungal medications.
2. Intertrigo or skin-fold dermatitis
“Intertrigo (intertriginous dermatitis) is an inflammatory condition of skin folds, induced or aggravated by heat, moisture, maceration, friction, and lack of air circulation.” [Medscape.com]
Intertrigo simply refers to the rash on skin folds. It is sometimes referred to as skin-fold dermatitis. It is prevalent in people who are obese or overweight. Patients with excessive sweating or hyperhidrosis also have high chances of suffering from intertrigo rash. In some cases, the condition is recurrent. The rash won’t go away or heal easily. The causes of intertrigo rash under breast include:
- A moist, warm skin that is hidden.
- Friction on skin folds such as the inner thighs and even below the breast.
- Excessive sweating on parts of the skin with skin folds.
- Lack of air circulation on these areas of the skin can also lead to a skin rash.
- Poor hygiene in the breast area.
The symptoms of intertrigo rash beneath the breast include a reddish-brown rash, a foul odor, cracked or crusty skin and a raw, itchy and oozing skin or rash. In most cases, this condition is accompanied by a yeast and bacterial infection.
3. Heat rash under breast
Prickly heat rash is “a red or pink rash usually found on body areas covered by clothing. It can develop when the sweat ducts become blocked and swell and often leads to discomfort and itching.” [WebMD.com]. Heat rash is sometimes called a sweat rash. It occurs commonly during and after exercise. Heat rash produces symptoms such as the following:
- Red bumps on the skin.
- An itchy feeling or prickly feeling on the skin. This is called prickly heat.
- Tiny red blisters as a result of inflammation.
Heat rash is common in babies, usually when they are overdressed. Hot weather can also cause heat rash. In the breast area, heat rash may be due to too tight bras that do not allow the underside of your boobs to breathe. Without air circulation in this area, red dots or tiny pimples on the breast area may form.
During hot and humid months, heat rash under breasts is common. It is also prevalent during pregnancy when a woman’s breast size increases. Sometimes, during this time, hormonal changes in the body may lead to heat rashes on the chest and underneath the breast. These occur from excessive sweating or perspiration.
4. Inflammatory breast cancer rash
Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is “is THE MOST aggressive type of breast cancer in which the cancer cells block the lymph vessels in the skin of the breast. This type of breast cancer is called “inflammatory” because the breast often looks swollen and red, or “inflamed”, sometimes overnight.” [Inflammatory Breast Cancer Foundation]
Symptoms of inflammatory breast cancer rash include the following:
- Breast skin may turn dark or appear bruised. The bruise-like appearances appear in the form of dark patches on boobs.
- Persistent itching of the breasts during the early stages of IBC.
- Irritation and a small rash under the breast or different points of the breast. The rash can easily be confused with insect bites.
- Dimpling on the breast may occur.
If you suspect that your breast rash is caused by inflammatory breast cancer, see a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment. IBC is categorized as stage 3 cancer. A biopsy is usually done and treatment commenced aggressively.
5. Diabetes and painful rash under breast
Diabetes patients are prone to fungal infections. They often develop painful rashes on moist areas of the skin. The cause of this is a yeast-like fungus called Candida albicans.
The fungus “creates a red, itchy rash, frequently surrounded by small blisters and scales, that is usually found in warm, moist folds of the skin like armpits or between the toes.” Other parts that may be affected include under the breast, between thighs, and between buttocks.
- Localized itching in these areas may be experienced.
- The bumps and rash under breast may become painful due to inflammation from the fungal activity and scratching.
Diabetics are prone to such fungal infections due to the sugar problem. Yeast or fungus feeds on sugar and can thrive well in moist, warm and dark environments such as the underside of breasts. Your doctor may recommend anti-fungal medications alongside diabetes treatments to manage your sugar levels.
6. Scabies itchy rash under boobs, eczema, and shingles
An itchy rash on the breast is likely to be caused by scabies, eczema or shingles. These are all skin disorders that may produce signs similar to those of allergies or insect bites around, under and on the breast area.
- Scabies is a severe itchy skin disorder. It is contagious and is caused by scabies mite. If you have a skin rash composed of small red bumps and blisters under the breast and other parts of the body, you could be suffering from scabies.
- Eczema is also called atopic dermatitis. It is a possible cause of an itchy red rash on the breast. It is characterized by an itchy red rash that is dry.
- Shingles is caused by a viral infection. It can cause a painful rash under the breast area. Shingles bumps, chickenpox or herpes zoster bumps appear as a single stripe of blisters on the affected area.
7. Rash on the breast from an allergic reaction
Some people have allergies. Allergic dermatitis can cause a red skin rash. The rash may be localized or spread on different parts of the body depending on the irritant. The allergy causes very itchy spots and dots on the skin.
- Food allergies are common causes of skin rashes.
- You may also be allergic to some drinks such as beer (beer allergy)
- A rash on the breast may be due to deodorants and bras made of synthetic fibers.
People who are prone to eczema, seasonal allergies, as well as asthma, are more likely to develop an itchy skin rash beneath the breast due to allergens. Try to avoid the allergens especially if they are beauty products, deodorants, and underwire bras.
8. Lupus and sore rash below the breast
Another possible cause of breast rashes is lupus. Lupus is an autoimmune disease that leads to the body’s immune system attacks healthy tissue on different parts of the body. The cause is unknown but it is believed that genetic, hormonal and genetic factors contribute to it.
The lupus rash occurs symmetrically on the body. You can only expect both breasts to be affected with the lupus rash, also called the butterfly rash. According to the Smart Living Network, “The malar rash of lupus is typically red or purple and scaly.”
Lupus has no treatment. Only management medications are given. Most of these include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that reduce the effect of the immune system on the affected tissue. Pain and fever that is associated with lupus may be treated using over-the-counter NSAIDs such as naproxen sodium [Source – Mayo Clinic]
9. Sore rash between breasts from bacterial infection
Bacterial infections are more often secondary. They usually occur as a consequence of itchy intertrigo or fungal infections that encourage scratching of the skin under your boobs or bra line.
Staphylococcus aureus bacteria will cause a sore rash on breasts. The rash can also cause pus-filled blisters and sores on the underside of your breasts. The infection can spread rather fast and cause pain, itching, and oozing. Usually, an antibacterial treatment should be able to get rid of this kind of infection.
10. Breast implants, breastfeeding, and other causes
You can also get a sore breast rash as a result of breast tissue infection. Mammary tissue infections can happen in both men and women. In women, they are mostly triggered by breastfeeding or nursing. Breast implants can also lead to itchy rashes around the breast area.
- Breast tissue infection is also called mastitis. It occurs when a nipple cracks and bacteria enters the skin through the opening. A milk blister may result.
- Breast augmentation implants can also get infected. The source of infection is usually the skin and can present with a sore or painful rash below the breast.
Some women have complained of a rash under breast after a mammogram, postpartum and surgeries such as gallbladder surgery or after a hysterectomy.
Rash under Breast Treatment
Most treatments will depend on the underlying cause. Fungal infections, viral attacks on the skin and bacterial infections will all require different treatments. For the most part, a topical ointment is enough to clear a rash under your breast. Here are treatments used to get rid of a burning breast rash.
a) Anti-fungal medications for yeast rash under breast
Upon diagnosing, your doctor will prescribe a topical antifungal ointment. In other cases where the infection is too severe, your doctor may recommend oral anti-fungal tablets. Antifungal creams can get rid of the rash and infection within a week or so.
In some cases, steroid creams are given to reduce the inflammation or prevent a red rash under the breast. Some topical antifungal creams and ointments contain both the steroid and anti-fungal medication. These make it easy to apply and treat the yeast infection.
Lotrimin antifungal cream, miconazole, Nystatin, Zeasorb, Sudocrem and Desitin are some of the commonly prescribed and over-the-counter antifungal medications.
b) Steroid cream for intertrigo treatment
Since intertrigo results in skin irritation or inflammation, your doctor is likely to recommend a steroid cream. This will reduce the inflammation and allow the rash under breast to heal.
A protective barrier or cream may also be applied to reduce friction. Drying medications are also commonly given to reduce moisture build-up below the breast. An example is Domeboro soaks. In the case of an accompanying bacterial and fungal infection, antifungal medications or antibacterial ointments may be given.
c) Aerate to heal sweat rash below the breast
Heat rash does not require treatment. It will go away on its own. Proper care is however required in order to get rid of sweat rash under the breast. Allow your skin to breathe for heat rash to go away on its own.
- Avoid wearing ill-fitting bras. Bras that are too tight will cause sweat rash.
- Avoid doing strenuous exercise in hot and humid weather.
- Try to stay cool with cool showers as well as baths to prevent and heal sweat rash under breast fast.
When prickly heat rash develops an infection, it is important to seek medication. The pimples and bumps under breast may burst and become painful. Your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic or antifungal medication depending on the cause of the infection beneath your breast area.
d) Chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery
These treatments are applied when the cause of the breast rash is breast cancer. A combination of different therapies is preferred for treating and getting rid of inflammatory breast cancer rash.
Chemotherapy is used to shrink the cancerous tumor and kill cancer cells. The tumors are then removed through surgery. If any cancerous cells are left behind, radiation may be applied to kill them. Some doctors may also include hormone therapy as part of the treatment for breast cancer rash.
e) Topical ointments for scabies and eczema treatment
Topical medications are the most common prescriptions for getting rid of scabies and atopic dermatitis. Eczema occurs on an extremely dry skin. It can be relieved with a moisturizer. Your doctor may also prescribe a corticosteroid cream or ointment to reduce inflammation, redness and sore rashes under the breast.
Topical creams that kill scabies mites may also be prescribed. The most commonly used are Permethrin cream, 5 percent, Crotamiton, and Ivermectin. Consult with your doctor as some of these are not safe for children and women who are nursing or are pregnant.
f) Antibiotics, Neosporin
Antibiotics help in getting rid of bacteria on the skin. These can be in the form of an ointment or oral tablets. Such medications are only given when there is a secondary infection on the rash under the breast.
Severe infections on the breast area may leave you with open sores and pus-filled pimples and bumps on the breast. When it is not safe to apply a topical antibiotic cream or ointment, your doctor may prescribe an oral medication.
Home remedies to get rid of a rash on breast
What can you do to soothe an itchy rash on the underside of your boobs? Home remedies such as a cold compress, coconut oil, and apple cider vinegar can get rid of the irritation. Be warned – that it is important to consult a doctor even before trying any of these natural remedies.
1. Apple cider vinegar remedy for rash between breasts
Use apple cider vinegar to clean your undergarments or as a direct remedy to heal a sore rash on the skin. Apple cider vinegar has antiseptic, antifungal and antibacterial properties and can help reduce the inflammation too.
- Add one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to a cup of water.
- Mix to make a diluted solution.
- Clean the skin under your breast with cold soapy water.
- Pat dry.
- Apply the apple cider vinegar solution to the red rash.
Repeat this treatment twice a day for faster healing.
2. Use coconut oil
Coconut oil soothes the skin to help it heal fast. You can also apply it on the skin to reduce friction on the underside of your breasts.
- Get extra virgin coconut oil.
- Apply a little bit of it on the affected area of your skin.
- Allow it time to be absorbed into the skin. You can do this by lifting your left breast for some time after applying the oil and doing the same for the right breast.
Repeat this treatment twice a day to get rid of the itchy rash under the breast. Your skin will benefit from the antifungal and antibacterial properties in coconut oil.
3. Cold compress
A cold compress will soothe the skin and reduce inflammation. This might not be a complete treatment but can help reduce the itching and inflammation.
- Place ice in a plastic bag.
- Wrap it with a thin towel.
- Apply it under the breast at intervals of 5 minutes until you feel some relief.
You can also apply cold milk and water compresses directly on the skin.
Cornstarch is one of the best and most effective home remedies for breast rash. If you have a problem of excessive sweating under the breast area, it will keep the place dry and discourage the growth of bacteria.
- Clean the underside of your breasts with soapy water.
- Pat dry with a soft towel.
- Dust cornstarch on the dried skin under your breast.
Repeat this treatment twice a day to get rid of bacterial infections. If you are suffering from a fungal infection, apply talc powder instead of cornstarch. Fungus feeds on cornstarch and can aggravate the problem.
5. Aloe vera
With a fungal and bacterial infection, the skin under your breast can be itchy and highly irritated. Aloe vera gel will help soothe and reduce the burning sensation on the skin. Aloe vera contains antifungal and antibacterial properties too. Here’s how to use aloe vera to get rid of a rash between breasts.
- Get a fresh, succulent aloe vera leaf and squeeze it to extract its gel.
- Apply the gel on the skin under your breast.
- Leave it on for about 15 minutes.
- You can wash it off with cold water.
Tea tree oil remedy
Tea tree oil is a good topical home remedy for most infections on the skin. It has antifungal and antibacterial properties. Applying it daily will get rid of breast rash and prevent the overgrowth of skin fungus.
- Mix tea tree oil with olive oil in a ratio of 3:2
- Dip a cotton ball into the mixture and apply on the rash.
- Massage the oil into the skin to allow it to penetrate.
- Repeat this treatment twice a day to treat rash under breast naturally and fast.
Avoid applying tea tree oil directly on the skin. It is a strong natural ointment and can cause irritation to your breast. People with sensitive skins should also test for a reaction before using the treatment.
Sources and References
- PHAA: Breast Fungus (Itchy Fungal Rash) Causes, Pictures, Treatment
- info: Candidal Skin Infection
- WebMD: Intertrigo Risk Factors, Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
- MedicineNet: Heat Rash: Get the Facts about Symptoms and Treatment
- The IBC Foundation: What Is IBC? Inflammatory Breast Cancer
- The National Breast Cancer Foundation: Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC)
- The American Diabetes Association: Skin Complications Associated with Diabetes
- Mayo Clinic: Scabies Treatment and Drugs