A rash under your breast or breasts, between the folds of skin is usually caused by a skin condition called intertrigo. It is a very common condition that can occur throughout life.

1. What causes a rash under the breast?
2. How is a rash under the breast treated?
3. What can I do to prevent getting a rash under the breast?
4. Further support

1. What causes a rash under the breast?

The main causes of intertrigo are:

  • moisture
  • heat
  • lack of air circulating
  • friction between skin folds (where skin rubs against skin)

This can lead to:

  • a red or reddish-brown rash
  • raw, itchy or weeping skin with or without a smell
  • cracked skin
  • pain

Intertrigo (sometimes called candida intertrigo) can occur anywhere on the body where skin rubs against skin, such as between the thighs or on the underside of the belly or armpit.

A warm, moist environment encourages infection by either yeast, fungus or bacteria. Sometimes swelling, sores and blisters can also occur.

If you think you have intertrigo, speak to your GP as there are other skin conditions that might look similar.

2. How is a rash under the breast treated?

How the rash is treated depends on how severe it is and what’s causing it.

The aim of treatment is to:

  • reduce the rubbing of skin on skin
  • keep the area dry
  • reduce inflammation and moisture
  • treat any infection and stop it spreading

Other treatments such as barrier creams, steroid creams, anti-fungal creams and antibiotic creams or tablets may also help. You can ask your GP or pharmacist about these.

3. What can I do to prevent getting a rash under the breast?

There are some simple things you can do to reduce your risk of getting intertrigo and stop any irritation from getting worse.

1. Wash under your breasts morning and night with a gentle soap or soap substitute (for example emulsifying ointment). You can ask your pharmacist about this.

2. Dry the skin under your breasts thoroughly after washing – gently pat dry with a clean, soft towel or you can try using a hairdryer on a cool setting. This can be very effective, especially if you have large breasts.

3. Wear a well-fitting, supportive bra made from a natural material such as cotton. Manmade materials such as nylon can trap moisture. It can help to wear a cotton top under your bra. If the skin is weeping then try to change your bra daily or use cotton dressings. You can ask your practice nurse for help with this.

4. Losing weight may help to limit the areas where skin can rub against skin.

4. Further support

If you would like any further information and support or just want to talk things through, you can speak to one of our experts by calling our free Helpline on 0808 800 6000.

Last reviewed: March 2019
Next planned review begins 2021

Your feedback