Because the skin under the breasts is often warm and moist, similar to other skin folds in the body, it is often a place where rashes can develop. The cause of the rash drastically varies the preferred treatment, but in most cases applying fragrance-free moisturizers, cortisone creams, or antibiotic creams or taking antihistamines can help address most causes of rashes under the breast.
Some serious conditions may cause a rash to develop under the breast, such as inflammatory breast cancer, and treatment for this involves radiation therapy, chemotherapy, surgery, or a combination. Visiting a doctor is the only true way to determine the cause of your rash under the breasts.
Symptoms of Under-Breast Rash
Many different types of rashes can develop under the breast, and some may appear:
- dry and flaky
What Can Cause a Rash Under Your Breast?
There are multiple conditions and scenarios that can cause a rash to develop under the breast. Some are common and easy to remedy, while others signify a more serious condition.
Bacterial, fungal, and yeast infections may develop under the breast because this area is commonly a source of warm, moist skin, creating an environment in which these infections thrive and breed. Below are some common infections that affect the under-breast area.
Ringworm is a type of fungal infection called tinea. The fungus responsible for ringworm also causes conditions such as athlete’s foot and is a type of parasite that feeds on dead keratin, which is the protein that makes up your hair, skin, and nails.
Ringworm has a distinct appearance of round, red patches of skin with a prominent red ring. It is highly contagious and can spread to others via shared sheets, towels, and showers. In some cases, your pets may even be what spread ringworm to you.
The most effective treatment for ringworm is antifungal creams, which can be bought over-the-counter (OTC).
Candidiasis is caused by the same fungi or yeasts responsible for oral thrush infections, vaginal yeast infections, and diaper rash. Those most susceptible to this type of fungal infection include individuals taking antibiotics and those with a weakened immune system.
While candida yeasts can thrive in the skin under the breasts, they prefer any skin folds that create warm, moist environments, and the area under the breasts is just one example. Those with candidiasis have a rash that can develop small cracks and uncomfortable blisters, and it may also be itchy.
When it comes to treating candidiasis, antifungal creams are the most effective for infections contained to one area. However, a doctor may instead prescribe an oral medication for more widespread infections.
Another essential aspect of healing candidiasis infections is keeping the skin dry because this helps create an unfavorable environment for the candida yeasts.
Autoimmune disorders are chronic conditions in which the body’s immune system attacks itself. For some of these disorders, a rash that develops under the breasts may develop.
One type of autoimmune disease is psoriasis, which is a chronic skin disorder that causes thick patches of red, itchy, and scaly skin. While these patches can develop anywhere on the body, including under the breasts, they are most common on the knees, elbows, hands, back, and face.
Psoriasis severity varies from person to person, and the symptoms often appear as flare-ups that come and go.
The type of psoriasis most common under the breasts is inverse psoriasis, which appears as smooth, red patches of skin in the body’s skin folds. Unlike other types of psoriasis, inverse psoriasis does not cause flaky patches.
Treatment for psoriasis may include light therapy, topical medications, and systemic drugs.
Eczema is an autoimmune disease that forms small, fluid-filled bumps that ooze and crust over. These patches of inflamed skin are very itchy and can become more prone to irritation and itching preceding another flare-up.
There is no cure for eczema, and management includes keeping the skin moisturized with non-irritating, fragrance-free moisturizers. Cortisone creams or gels can help control any itching.
Scabies is a condition where parasitic mites burrow into the skin, creating an itchy rash of tiny red spots. One of the most common areas for scabies to develop is the skin folds under the breast. It is a contagious condition, and there are no effective over-the-counter medications, necessitating a doctor’s visit. A doctor can prescribe medicated creams or lotions to kill the mites and reduce symptom severity.
Hives are an allergic reaction that can mimic a rash. They look like red or skin-colored bumps that may become itchy and can occur on any part of the skin, including under the breasts.
Many things can cause an allergic reaction, including:
- insect stings
The recommended treatment for hives is antihistamines, which helps tame the allergic reaction. Additional treatments include cold compresses to reduce swelling and applying cortisone cream or calamine lotion to tame the itchiness.
Those who get hives frequently would benefit from a visit to an allergist to determine what allergen is causing their hives.
Hives may also signify a severe allergic reaction, which can have additional symptoms of:
- swelling of the face, hands, and feet
- difficulty breathing
A severe allergic reaction, called anaphylaxis, requires immediate medical attention.
Heat rash occurs when the sweat glands become blocked, inhibiting your ability to sweat through the pores. Instead of sweating through the skin, the sweat pools under the skin, which causes inflammation and a rash.
If you are experiencing heat rash, your first course of action should be to cool off. Heat rash often develops when sweat increases from increasing heat and humidity, and simply cooling off is usually enough to clear it up.
Inflammatory breast cancer is a rare type of rapidly spreading cancer. Symptoms of this cancer include:
- Pitted skin
- Skin discoloration
- Pimple-like rash
- An inverted nipple that points inward instead of outward
Despite how rare this cancer is, it’s crucial to see a doctor immediately if any of these symptoms are present due to how quickly this cancer can spread.
Treatment for inflammatory breast cancer may include a combination of radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and surgery.
How to Treat an Itchy Rash Under the Breast?
Treatment for an itchy rash under the breast will vary significantly based on what is causing the rash. In most scenarios, treating the itchy rash with cortisone cream or calamine lotion can help relieve the itch, while applying fragrance-free moisturizers can help relieve dry skin without further irritating it.
In instances where this does not help the rash, the cause may be an infection that requires prescription medication to treat the cause of the infection.
When to See a Doctor?
If cortisone cream and calamine lotion do not remedy the itch, you should visit a doctor as the cause of the rash may be an infection, which will require an antibiotic cream or pill. A doctor can help determine the cause of the infection (e.g., fungal, bacterial, yeast), which impacts the medication you need.
If you exhibit any signs of an allergic reaction, such as swelling in the face or difficulty breathing, seek immediate medical attention.
If the rash is accompanied by any symptoms of inflammatory breast cancer, such as pitted skin or inverted nipple, be sure to visit a doctor right away as this cancer can spread quickly.
Get Help from an Online Doctor
If you are unsure of the cause of your under-breast rash, an online doctor is a valuable resource to get a medical opinion. With DrHouse, you can meet with a doctor through an easy-to-use app in as little as 15 minutes. Doctors on DrHouse can prescribe medication to treat your under-breast rash or recommend additional examinations.
For those who prefer in-person doctor’s visits, with DrHouse you can also schedule an in-person, same-day visit where a doctor can complete any necessary tests and examinations.
Rashes are never pleasant, and the under-breast area is one area where you may find a rash developing. There are many causes of these rashes, some that are minor and easy to treat, such as heat rash, while others are more serious and require prompt medical attention, such as inflammatory breast cancer.
Treatment for rashes under the breast also varies considerably, with infections benefitting from antibiotic creams, while autoimmune disorders such as eczema have no cure and instead require management through fragrance-free moisturizers.
If any concerning symptoms accompany the rash, such as difficulty breathing, swelling in the face, or inverted nipples, be sure to seek immediate medical attention. An online doctor is an excellent resource to quickly meet with a doctor and determine the cause and treatment of your rash under the breasts.
- Rash under the breast: Causes and when to see a doctor. (2022). Retrieved 18 February 2022, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325783
- Armstrong, A., & Read, C. (2020). Pathophysiology, Clinical Presentation, and Treatment of Psoriasis. JAMA, 323(19), 1945. doi: https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2020.4006
- Sohn, A., Frankel, A., Patel, R., & Goldenberg, G. (2011). Eczema. Mount Sinai Journal Of Medicine: A Journal Of Translational And Personalized Medicine, 78(5), 730-739. doi: https://doi.org/10.1002/msj.20289
- Inflammatory Breast Cancer | Details, Diagnosis, and Signs. (2022). Retrieved 18 February 2022, from https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer/about/types-of-breast-cancer/inflammatory-breast-cancer.html
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