It is not uncommon for women with large breasts to have itchy rashes on the skin under them. These rashes may be caused by inflammation of the skin (dermatitis), which leads to symptoms such as itching, redness, soreness, oozing, cracking, scaly or crusty skin, and foul odor. This condition is also called intertrigo, but it is not limited to these areas.
Intertrigo is a very common skin rash that can develop anywhere between the folds of skin such as your armpits, the genital area, the abdomen, between the buttocks, the inner thighs, and beneath your breasts. These areas tend to be moist, and where skin rubs against skin, irritation can develop.
These areas are also more likely to harbor and encourage the growth of bacteria, yeast, or fungi, since an infection can develop when there is interruption of the integrity of the skin barrier. Factors that can increase your risk of developing intertrigo under the breast or other parts of the body include obesity, diabetes, poor nutrition, poor hygiene, excessive sweating, exposure to heat and humidity, and lack of air circulation.
Although intertrigo is a very common cause of rashes under the breast, other causes of skin irritation under the breast include candidiasis, atopic dermatitis (eczema), cellulitis, hives, psoriasis, scabies, and seborrheic dermatitis. These are usually not serious, but it is best to make an appointment with your doctor if you have any of these symptoms:
- your breast rash does not improve with self-care within two weeks
- severe pain
- sores do not heal
- symptoms worsen in spite of home care
Remedies For Rashes Under The Breast
Simple cases of intertrigo can be prevented by generously applying a bland topical substance such as petroleum jelly or zinc oxide paste/ointment on the skin prior to physical activity. This serves as a barrier cream, which can prevent irritation from skin rubbing against skin. Other measures include:
- Taking a warm bath.
- Placing a moist, warm washcloth over the rashes for a few minutes.
- Applying a fragrance-free moisturizer on the affected area.
- Avoid scratching the rash.
- Avoid stress, which can make rashes itchier.
- Stop using new skin care products that may have triggered your rash.
- Shower and thoroughly dry off every day. Keeping your skin dry and cool can help prevent irritation.
- Avoid wearing tight underwear (especially bras) and clothing.
- Wear a bra that provides good support, to keep the breasts from touching the skin underneath. Use the right bra size with properly fitted cups. It is also advisable to use all-cotton bras rather than those made from synthetic fabrics. Another alternative is to use quick-drying sports bras, which are designed to evaporate moisture efficiently.
- Obese individuals with large skin folds can benefit from weight reduction to diminish the folds and prevent intertrigo.
Medical treatment for intertrigo usually includes short-term use of a weak topical steroid (1% hydrocortisone cream) to reduce skin inflammation. Your doctor may also prescribe an antibiotic or antifungal cream or ointment if your skin is infected. Sometimes, you may need an oral medication if topical treatments are not sufficient to treat your symptoms.
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