Rashes Under the Breasts

A rash under the breast is a common thing among women. While this is often harmless, most of us might confuse it with eczema or psoriasis. However, a breast rash is not a dreadful skin disease, but it would be smart not to ignore it. Remember: treating rashes on time can prevent subsequent complications such as blisters and skin infection.

What causes it

Breast rashes are actually a form of dermatitis called intertrigo, a condition characterised by inflammation of the skin folds. Hot and humid weather conditions can complicate the symptoms and encourage yeast and fungal infections. Breast rashes commonly occur among women who wear tight fitting inner wear, and this causes friction. Bacterial or fungal infection on the skin, known allergies, poor hygiene, and use of clothing made of synthetic fabrics are other factors that contribute to the development of a breast rash.


Women who have breast rashes experience the following symptoms:

  • red and tender skin
  • itching
  • stinging sensation
  • bumps on the skin 
  • blisters
  • scaling of the skin

Are breast rashes related to cancer?

Most of the time, rashes are not cancer. But rashes and other skin changes should be examined by a doctor thoroughly, because detecting possible breast cancer early increases the chance of a successful treatment or cure.

Cancer-related breast rashes

Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC)

One reason to take breast rashes to the doctor is the possibility of inflammatory breast cancer. This is a rare form of breast cancer that grows and spreads quickly, and one of its symptoms appear like a rash or skin irritation. Other symptoms include breast swelling, thickening of the skin on the breast, small indents, redness, pain, tenderness, and itching, warm heavy feeling in one breast, and nipple changes.

Paget’s Disease

Paget’s disease of the breast is another type of breast cancer wherein the areola, or the skin around the nipple, gets affected. Aside from itching, the areola shows redness, crusting, flaking, and even yellow or bloody discharge from the nipple.

Are there other breast conditions that cause rashes?

There are some conditions and skin rashes that affect the breast area specifically. While they are not cancerous, they need medical attention. These conditions are:

Breast abscess 

This is an infection caused by bacteria that enter the breast through the nipple. It is often seen among breastfeeding women who may get cracked or irritated nipples. But it may also be seen among non-breastfeeding women who have injured nipples or if they have undergone nipple piercing.


Mastitis is simply an infection caused by a blocked milk duct in breastfeeding women. The stagnant milk allows the bacteria to grow, causing a painful, hard, swollen lump.

Mammary duct ectasia

This condition is common among women over the age 50. It occurs when the milk duct’s walls becomes thick and wider, which lead to a build up of fluid. The fluid discharge is thick and is sometimes black or green. It is usually painful, but it goes away on its own but other cases may require antibiotic treatment.