Combine sweat, bacteria, detergents, and fabric and you’ve created the perfect recipe for a skin rash. Itchy, bumpy, burning, rashes under the breasts—although irritating—are usually caused by sweating and can be cleared up easily.
Atopic dermatitis—known as eczema—is caused by bacteria growing on the skin. Eczema is not commonly found under the breasts; however, if you have red, dry, itchy patches of skin on your arms, stomach, and breasts this could be eczema. Sweating, detergents, man-made fabrics, and dry skin can trigger eczema. Use a moisturizing cream under your breasts if you skin is dry and avoid silk, lace, polyester, or spandex bras.
Bra underwires or front clasps could contain nickel. According to the Mayo Clinic, nickel allergy is one of the most common causes of an itchy rash that appears when your skin touches a harmless substance. The rash will normally appear with-in 12 to 48 hours after wearing your bra and could last two to four weeks. A nickel allergy rash causes bumps on the skin, severe itching, and redness. If you developed a rash after switching to a bra with under wires or the fabric covering your under wires is wearing thin, you could be having an allergic reaction to nickel. If you try a bra without an underwire and your rash still lasts longer than two weeks—contact your doctor. If your rash worsens and blisters draining fluid develop, seek emergency care.
Hot Hot Hot
Most rashes under the breasts are caused by miliaria crystalline—simply put—heat rash. Perspiration remains trapped beneath the skin blocking sweat glands which causes inflammation and rash. Certain fabrics trap perspiration causing sweat glands to become blocked. Medications—prescription acne, blood pressure, bladder, and ADD ADHD drugs—have been linked to heat rash. Changes in climate—hotter temperatures and higher humidity—can trigger heat rash. Heat rash causes red prickly bumps and is normally itchy. According to the Mayo Clinic, heat rash goes away on its own, the best way to relieve symptoms is to cool your skin and prevent sweating. Wear cotton bras and keep the skin under your breasts clean and dry; after showering apply powder under your breasts before putting on your bra. Heat rash could become infected, if you have pain or swelling under your breasts, or puss draining from your rash, seek medical attention.
Breast rash prevention tips:
Don’t wear your bra to bed—you skin needs a break at night—sleep in cotton pajamas or nude on cotton sheets.
Stay cool—avoid 100% polyester, silk, and wool tops in the summer.
Wash your bras regularly to avoid bacteria.
Always wash new bras before wearing them.
If you have large breasts find a supportive bra—that lifts your breasts—so the skin underneath gets air.
In the hot desert of Arizona, Nadia Benavidez has been studying hearing instrument science since 2002. After leaving a clinical practice, Benavidez has put her talent to work writing informative articles related to health and wellness. Currently Benavidez is working on her first book.