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Redness under the breasts

A red ‘sweat rash’ under the breasts is called intertrigo. It may be sore and itchy, and you may have it in your armpits as well. The rash has a definite edge, and there may be some whitish material on it. It is usually caused by skin-on-skin friction and by Candida fungus or Corynebacterium bacteria, both of which like to live in warm, moist places. If you are overweight as well as having large breasts, the skin crease underneath them is ideal for Candida. Candida also likes skin that has been slightly damaged; this makes it easier for the fungus to take hold.

What you can do

Get a supportive bra to lift your breasts up. Although underwired styles give good support, they tend to trap sweat under the breasts so choose a non-wired style. Cotton is better than a synthetic fibre, because it allows sweat to evaporate. Wash it in a non-biological (non-enzyme) detergent and do not use a perfumed fabric conditioner.
Wash carefully under the breasts with a non-perfumed soap (some perfumes can damage the skin). Do not put any disinfectants in the water. Rinse well to ensure no lather remains in the skin crease. Dry thoroughly but gently – pat dry with a soft towel or use a hairdryer. Do not wash your hair with shampoo in the shower – the shampoo may contain perfume that trickles down and irritates the area under your breasts.
Stop applying creams. If you have been applying creams from the chemist, stop using them, even if they say ‘for Candida’ on the label. You could have become sensitized to one of the ingredients, and the cream could be making it worse. Instead, simply follow the instructions above for 2 weeks. If at the end of that time the rash is no better, see your doctor, who will be able to prescribe a different cream.
Lose weight, if you need to. If you are obese, you may find the rash difficult to eliminate completely unless you lose some weight.
See your doctor to check it is not eczema or psoriasis.

Written by: Dr Margaret Stearn
Edited by: Dr Margaret Stearn
Last updated: Thursday, September 6th 2012


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Comments on this article

Posted by Vee on 16/08/2017 at 12:18

Hi there I have rash under my breast its very itches and try cream which I founds it may it worse

Posted by Kathy on 30/06/2017 at 01:36

I agree with other comments about losing weight. It really isn't the holy grail. I have been well endowed since I was 13 yrs old ( I hate the well endowed term but it best describes my situation). Over the last year or so with steroid meds I have been getting hot sweats and the sweat rash at times has become like an open sore. I now follow this ritual. 1. Wash gently with organic or PH neutral soap. 2. Dry gently and apply light talc free powder (I use NYR Lavender & Aloe powder) 3. When home I go without a bra but have a folded handkerchief under each breast to help absorb sweat. 4. If wearing a bra, no wire and handkerchief again between my skin and the bra.

Posted by Optional on 24/12/2016 at 08:36

Losing weight is not the answer for everything! I think it's a go to answer for doctors who are too lazy to search for real answers!

Posted by Optional on 22/10/2016 at 07:02

Candida powders did nothing along with other applications, esp when speedy relief was desperate. First I used Neosporin until healed. Then,  after EVERY shower,  I massage a cream. (jergens/ nivea,....) and that's it. Keeping the area clean and dry, and washing bras in hot water helps greatly. I live in the Caribbean, with 90% avg humidity. Everyone sweats here. So there's my simple unfailing method for the past 6 yrs. GL.

Posted by C.H. on 21/06/2016 at 04:22


Posted by Optional on 25/07/2015 at 06:10

Have large breasts and for about the last 4 mos., have developed red skin under both breasts. It does not itch and the doctor prescribed Econazole. Can that affect my breasts? She also said Tinactin could be an alternative.

Posted by jane on 27/06/2015 at 01:45

I had this before was more like a color change in skin and was more brown but it itched and started at armpit then as time went it ended up under breast. I found if I added alcohol to it it would burn. I Started using the gel deoderant by secret everyday to all areas and it finally after 2 years started to go away took about 2 wks but it went away

Posted by Optional on 24/06/2015 at 07:11

My dad has a very red rash under his chest . Raw looking . His head is all itchs . Any ideas on what it could be , he did get a bite on his ear from something and it swelled up. After the bit the rash came up and itchs head .....

Posted by sarah on 30/12/2014 at 10:02

Hi i Have 4 itchy red mark underneath my breast and a whiteish raises lump the skin around this area is quite numb and thick but the itchyness can drive me crazy noy all day and it my right breast. my mum is in remission for breast cancer so very vigilante

Posted by Optional on 23/12/2014 at 04:43

I recently noticed a rash under my left breast I am slightly overweight it won,t go away

Posted by Optional on 17/11/2014 at 11:17

Problem under breasts: try Dr Scholl's athlete's foot powder each day. This is better than creams as it is dry.

Posted by eliz on 28/08/2014 at 03:48

If you are large-breasted and have a persistent rash beneath your breasts - which I did for five years - I have found amazing relief by wearing a BreastComfort double sling. It's an extremely soft cushion with wicking and antimicrobial fabric which elevates the skin so it doesn't rub against itself. I have no need for cortisone creams or lotions any longer. I feel so blessed to have found this product.

Posted by Susan on 15/03/2013 at 05:04

My nipple is brownish red please tell me what to do becouse am very woried about it

Posted by Optional on 13/03/2013 at 09:49

I have red veins on my breast around the nipple area. Is this a problem a d what is it ?

Posted by Optional on 26/11/2010 at 09:34

it is very useful to me thank u lot

Posted by Optional on 30/08/2010 at 04:50

Have raw patches under and on the under part of my breasts and also a rash// dr. gave me a pill,one, and an anti-fungal cream. it is as bad or worse than it was It seemed better when i used caladryl on seemed to dryphyllis a bauerit up/ i give up it is very painful phyllis a bauer

Posted by Teresa on 06/11/2009 at 04:23

I had this problem but I found the solution.

Posted by Anonymous on 13/02/2009 at 01:59

I seem to have had tender breasts for the last 3 months usually around my cycle but lasting a lot longer sometimes 3 wks at a time, sometimes it is painful and sometimes twinges also a little itchy more than painful, also it seems under one there is a whitish patchiness to the skin and lower part of the nipple. I am being checked but have to wait 2 wks obviously a concern, what are you views please? No lumps or bumps felt by doc.


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