Nothing’s worse than getting a rash in a sensitive area. Not only is it physically uncomfortable, it’s also not fun to talk about. If you’re dealing with a rash under your boob, you may be feeling this discomfort. Don’t panic: There are multiple reasons you may be experiencing this symptom, and they’re pretty common, especially in the summertime. We asked experts about the potential causes for rashes under your boob so that you can seek relief and feel your best.
Is your rash itchy and red?
“These are signs of intertrigo, a harmless rash that occurs when friction, moisture and heat irritate the skin in body folds like the breasts and underarms,” says Laura Corio, MD, author of The Change Before The Change: Everything You Need to Know to Stay Healthy in the Decade Before Menopause (Buy from Amazon, $18). “The rash is often more severe in the summer, as warmer temperatures ramp up the production of pore-clogging oils and allow bacteria, yeast and other microorganisms that worsen symptoms to thrive.”
Intertrigo is not an infection, but it may lead to a secondary fungal infection, often caused by candida, a type of yeast. Anyone can have intertrigo, but people with a weakened immune system, diabetes or obesity are more likely to get it. It can occur on multiple areas at the same time. It doesn’t spread (unless it develops into an infection), but it occurs on parts of your body that rub together.
How to Heal Intertrigo
It’s important to keep the area clean and dry to decrease the risk of infection. “To eliminate the rash, wash the area with a mild antibacterial cleaners. Pat dry, then dab on alcohol-containing mouthwash, which kills bacteria and dissolves irritating skin oils. Finish up with an antifungal powder like Lotrimin AF Cream) to combat yeast. Do this twice a day,” recommends Dr. Corio. But remember to keep a close eye on your rash’s progress. “If these steps don’t eliminate the rash in a week or so, I suggest visiting your doctor for a stronger prescription cream.”
Once you’ve gotten rid of the rash, you want to keep it from coming back. “I suggest dusting your breasts with sweat-wicking cornstarch as needed throughout the day to keep the area dry and ward off future problems,” says Dr. Corio.
Do you smell a vinegary odor?
Your chest might seem like an unlikely spot for a yeast infection, but summer’s high temperatures make the undersides of the breasts warm and damp, which creates an ideal environment for the more than 150 varieties of yeast that live on the skin. Some signs that the rash under your boob might be a yeast infection include a stale beer-like or vinegary odor, tenderness or a shiny, raised appearance. You may also experience blistering and dryness.
Paying extra attention to the rash under your boob with specific shampoo may help, says Barbara DePree, MD., a gynecologist in private practice and director of Women’s Midlife Services at Michigan’s Holland Hospital. A Certified Menopause Practitioner, she is the founder of MiddlesexMD.com, an educational resource for women’s sexual health in menopause and beyond.
How to Heal Yeast Infections on the Skin
There are many strategies you can try to heal a yeast infection under your breast. Here, the top remedies:
“You should be able to clear up the rash by washing the area daily with a dandruff shampoo like Selsun Blue (Buy from Amazon, $7.48), patting it dry with a clean towel to prevent spreading and using a cotton swab or your fingers to apply an anti-fungal cream like Lotrimin (Buy from Amazon, $13.47) once a day for two weeks,” advises Dr. DePree. “It’s also a good idea to trade in any nylon bras for supportive cotton ones to prevent skin-to-skin contact and moisture buildup.”
“Once you’ve eliminated the rash, you can keep future infections at bay by washing periodically with the dandruff shampoo and applying a breast cream like Carpe No-Sweat Breast Lotion (Buy from Walmart, $30.92) to absorb moisture,” says Dr. DePree. You can also dust your breasts and bra with sweat-wicking cornstarch or apply antiperspirant to the undersides of your breasts as needed throughout the day to keep the area dry and discourage future problems. Cleansing beneath the breasts and drying skin thoroughly may also help decrease the risk of yeast growth.
Grapefruit Seed Extract
Grapefruit seed extract contains flavonoids with potent antifungal properties. Simply mix three drops of the extract with 1 ounce of almond oil as a carrier and use a cotton ball to apply the solution to your breasts twice a day for one week. Keep in mind that grapefruit seed extract is different from grapefruit essential oil or grapefruit seed oil and may cause skin irritation if applied without diluting. One option to try is the NutriBiotic Grapefruit Seed Extract (Buy on Amazon, $17.99). You should notice an improvement after two days.
Research published in Acupuncture & Electro-Therapeutics Research suggests that caprylic acid, a fatty acid found in coconut oil, may kill candida. And a study published in Biomedical and Biotechnology Research Journal found that coconut oil work may work as well as antifungal meds. Apply coconut oil to the affected area daily until symptoms subside.
Georgetown University research suggests taking one to two capsules of oregano oil, which is derived from the same herb you sprinkle over pizza, may end an infection as effectively as antiobiotic medications. Credit goes to oregano’s carvacrol, which acts as a potent yeast-killing compound. Keep in mind that oregano oil is not the same as oregano essential oil, which shouldn’t be taken orally or used internally. Oregano oil also isn’t recommended for pregnant women or people with iron deficiencies.
Keep in mind that if the rash under your boob isn’t clearing up or your symptoms are worsening, you should talk to a medical professional for a treatment plan tailored to your specific needs.
This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.
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