Rash Under Breast: Causes, Symptoms, Treatments, How to Avoid It

Causes, Symptoms and Effective Treatments for Rashes Under Breast
Written and edited by: Author
Medically reviewed by: Medical Reviewer

A rash under the breast is not just a mere skin irritation as you might think at first; it’s a condition that has worried a lot of people, primarily due to its discomfort and the distress it can cause. While it’s pretty common, understanding its intricacies can help in its effective management and prevention.

This article aims to shed light on this prevalent condition, exploring its causes, symptoms, and the various ways to address it.

What does it look like?

Rash Breast man

A rash under the breast often presents itself as a reddened area, which can be intensely itchy.  The manifestation of the rash can vary based on its cause, but some general symptoms include:

  • Redness: A common sign of irritation or inflammation.
  • Itching: Often the first and most persistent symptom.
  • Pain or burning sensation: Common with infections or severe inflammation that can cause underarm pain.
  • Soreness: The affected area may feel tender to touch.
  • Weeping or oozing: Sign of an active infection or severe irritation.
  • Crusty skin: Often a result of dried oozing or weeping.
  • Odor: Especially if there’s a bacterial or fungal infection, an unpleasant smell may emanate from the rash.

Underlying causes

Rash Breast itch

The skin beneath our breasts provides a warm, moist environment, especially for those with larger breasts. This environment is conducive to the development of rashes due to several reasons:

1. Intertrigo

Intertrigo tops the list as the most common cause. As explained by Cleveland Clinic, it’s a skin irritation that predominantly occurs in areas where skin folds over itself, such as under the breasts, armpits, and groin. The main culprits behind intertrigo are:

  • Moisture: Excessive sweating or lack of proper air circulation can lead to moisture buildup, creating a perfect environment for skin irritation.
  • Friction: Continuous rubbing of skin against the skin can exacerbate the irritation.
  • Heat: Warm environments can intensify the moisture and friction, worsening the condition.

2. Allergic Reactions

Certain products that come into contact with the skin can trigger allergic reactions. Common allergens include:

  • Laundry detergents
  • Soaps
  • Lotions or other skincare products

3. Yeast Infection

As stated in the NCBI study, an overgrowth of the Candida yeast can lead to fungal infections. The warm and moist environment under the breast is conducive to yeast proliferation.

4. Bacterial Infection

Bacteria can enter through tiny cracks in the skin, especially in a moist environment, leading to infections.

5. Eczema

Breast rash prevention

Also known as atopic dermatitis, eczema results in itchy, inflamed skin. According to the National Eczema Association, it can be triggered by various factors, including environmental irritants or stress.

6. Psoriasis

This autoimmune condition causes the rapid buildup of skin cells, leading to red, scaly patches that can be itchy and painful.

7. Contact Dermatitis

This is a direct reaction to something that irritates the skin or an allergic response to an allergen. Common culprits include fragrances, fabrics, and cosmetics.

8. Heat Rash

Also known as prickly heat, this rash occurs when sweat ducts become blocked and sweat cannot get to the skin’s surface.

9. Hidradenitis Suppurativa

This is a painful condition where small lumps form under the skin, often in areas where skin rubs together.

Who is at risk?

While it’s a misconception that only individuals with larger breasts are prone to this condition, they are indeed at a higher risk due to the increased skin-to-skin contact and potential for sweat accumulation. However, anyone, irrespective of their breast size, can develop a rash under the breast.

Factors like living in humid environments, frequent vigorous activities, or having a compromised immune system can increase the likelihood of experiencing this condition.


Rash Breast moisturizer

“Treatment involves reducing the friction, the moisture, and the heat. Those of you who suffer from this issue already have your own strategy. In talking to patients this will often involve putting tissues in the fold to stop the moisture build-up and prevent the rubbing. This usually allows you to continue wearing a bra which socially is a saviour. Other people will use barrier creams like zinc cream, sometimes with topical steroid creams successfully.” says Dr Jamie Burt.

1. Prioritize hygiene

Keep the area beneath the breast clean and dry. Gently cleanse the area with mild soap and water, pat dry thoroughly, and ensure proper air circulation to keep the skin dry.

“As a dermatologist and skincare expert, I would recommend that bras be washed after every few wears to maintain proper hygiene and skin health,” says Dr. Mokaya.

2. Antifungal creams

  • For: Yeast infections, which are caused by an overgrowth of the Candida fungus.
  • Examples: Clotrimazole, miconazole, and other over-the-counter antifungal creams.
  • Application: Apply as directed, usually once or twice daily until the rash subsides.

3. Antibiotic creams

  • For: Bacterial infections.
  • Examples: Bacitracin, polysporin, and other topical antibiotics.
  • Application: Use as per the instructions, ensuring the entire affected area is covered.

4. Hydrocortisone cream

  • For: Reducing itching, inflammation, and redness.
  • Application: Apply a thin layer to the affected area, usually up to twice daily or as directed by a physician.

5. Oral antibiotics

  • For: Severe rashes or those that don’t respond to topical treatments.
  • Prescription: Always consult with a healthcare professional before starting oral antibiotics.

How to avoid this condition?

Rash Breast clean

1. Opt for breathable clothing

To reduce moisture buildup and friction, choose loose-fitting clothes made from natural fibers like cotton, which allow the skin to breathe.

2. Control sweating

Excessive sweating can exacerbate rashes. Stay in cool environments, use fans, and avoid strenuous activities in hot weather.

3. Maintain regular hygiene

Clean skin is less prone to rashes. Shower regularly, especially after activities that cause sweating. Dry the under-breast area thoroughly.

4. Use absorbent powders

To absorb excess moisture, apply a thin layer of talc-free powder under the breasts.

5. Rotate and clean bras

Damp bras can be a breeding ground for fungi and bacteria. Change bras if they become damp from sweat and wash them regularly.


What is the difference between a rash under the breast and breast cancer?
Rash under breast is a common skin condition that can cause redness, itching, and pain. Breast cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the breast tissue. While the two conditions can share some symptoms, such as redness and itching, there are some key differences. Breast cancer is usually accompanied by other symptoms, such as a lump in the breast, a change in the shape or size of the breast, or nipple discharge.
What are the signs of a serious rash under the breast?
There are several signs to look out for in a serious rash under the breast. These include a rash accompanied by symptoms like fever, chills, or other systemic issues. Additionally, if the rash is spreading, getting worse, or causing pain or itching, it is considered serious. If home treatment is not effective in treating the rash, it is crucial to seek medical attention promptly.
Is rash under the breast contagious?
The rash under the breast is not contagious. However, the underlying cause of the rash, such as a fungal infection, could be contagious.
Can I get a rash under my breast again?
Yes, you can get a rash under your breast again. If you are prone to getting rashes, there are things you can do to help prevent it, such as wearing loose-fitting clothing, keeping the area clean and dry, and avoiding scratching the area.
What is the best time to see a doctor for a rash under the breast?
If you have a rash under the breast that is severe or does not improve with home treatment, you should see a doctor. You should also see a doctor if the rash is accompanied by fever, chills, or other systemic symptoms.

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