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Breast rash

Definition

A breast rash describes redness and irritation of the skin on your breast. A breast rash can also be itchy, scaly, painful or blistered.

Other terms used to describe a breast rash include dermatitis and hives.

Causes

Most breast rashes have the same causes as rashes occurring elsewhere on the body. Some rashes occur only on the breast.

Causes of rash that occur only on the breast may include:

  • Breast abscess
  • Inflammatory breast cancer
  • Mammary duct ectasia
  • Mastitis — an infection in breast tissue that most commonly affects women who are breast-feeding
  • Nipple dermatitis
  • Paget's disease of the breast

General causes of rash that can affect any part of the body, including the breast, include:

  • Atopic dermatitis (eczema)
  • Candidiasis (especially under the breasts)
  • Cellulitis (a skin infection)
  • Dermatitis
  • Hives and angioedema
  • Psoriasis
  • Scabies
  • Seborrheic dermatitis
  • Shingles (Herpes zoster infection)
Breast rashes

A breast rash has many potential causes. Common causes include breast dermatitis and mastitis, an infection usually associated with breast-feeding. Rarely, a breast rash can be a sign of breast cancer, such as Paget's disease of the breast or inflammatory breast cancer.

When to see a doctor

Make an appointment

A breast rash is rarely an emergency. But make an appointment with your doctor if your breast rash doesn't respond to self-care, or if it's accompanied by:

  • Fever
  • Severe pain
  • Sores that won't heal
  • Red streaks coming from the rash
  • Yellow or green fluid oozing from the rash
  • Signs and symptoms that worsen

Self-care for breast rash

In the meantime, you may find some relief from your breast rash with these measures:

  • Take a warm bath or place a warm washcloth over the rash for a few minutes.
  • Apply a fragrance-free moisturizer to the area.
  • Take care of your skin. Don't scratch the rash.
  • Think about recent behaviors that may have caused your rash. Have you tried a new soap? Have you been wearing scratchy clothing? Stop using any new products that may have caused your rash.

Last updated: April 1st, 2017

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