Strange Things That Can Happen to Your Breasts

Your breasts put up with a lot. It's only natural that once in a while, they'll react. So, what can you do about strange but common occurrences such as rashes, pimples, moles, and ingrown hairs?

Women are trained to worry about lumps, bumps, puckers, and other signs of breast cancer.  Most of the time, however, minor skin changes on the breast do not indicate cancer. Instead, they indicate an allergic reaction, ingrown hairs, blocked sweat glands, moles, or plain old pimples. If there's every any question that something weird on your breast could be serious, don't hesitate to see your doctor.  You don't want to mess around with breast cancer. The National Cancer Institute offers these tips for when to see a doctor:

If you notice these or any changes in your breasts for more than two weeks, tell your doctor immediately.

  • Lump or mass in your breast
  • Enlarged lymph nodes in the armpit
  • Changes in breast size, shape, skin texture, or color
  • Skin redness
  • Dimpling or puckering
  • Nipple changes or discharge
  • Scaliness
  • Nipple pulling to one side or a change in direction

If, you're sure that rash, mark, or pimple is nothing to worry about, follow these tips for clearing up your breast skin.

Pimples. Just like the skin on your face, neck, chest, and back, the skin on your breasts is covered with hairs and pores and is prone to hormonal breakouts.  Since they're usually kept confined in bras, sweat can build up and pores can get blocked.  This can create minor inflammations where bacteria collect under the skin and form a pimple. 

What to do?

  • Wash your breasts daily and after every workout with a gentle soap or cleanser.
  • Change your bra every couple of days or daily.
  • Make sure your bra fits perfectly. A bra that's too tight or chafes can irritate skin.
  • Never wear a damp or sweaty bra.
  • Apply antibiotic cream or ointment to reduce infection.
  • Use hydrocortisone cream to reduce inflammation.
  • Never pop or squeeze a pimple on your breast. This can cause scarring or increase infection.
  • If you get frequent breakouts, see a dermatologist.

Rashes and welts. These may be a sign of an allergic reaction. Scratchy, synthetic or lacy fabric on bras and detergent residue can irritate delicate breast skin.

What to do?

  • Choose bras with smooth cups and natural fabrics.
  • Wash your bras in hypoallergenic detergents free from dyes and fragrances and rinse them thoroughly.
  • Bathe with gentle cleansers and soaps.
  • Apply hydrocortisone cream to reduce inflammation and itching.
  • Take an over-the-counter antihistamine to calm hives and welts.
  • Avoid scratching and see a dermatologist if the rash spreads or lingers.

Ingrown hairs. These are similar to pimples. Bacteria can develop around the hair follicle and create a minor inflammation. 

What to do?

  • Apply ice to reduce inflammation.
  • Apply antibiotic cream to reduce infection.
  • Cover with a bandage or gauze pad if your bra causes further irritation.
  • Never shave breast hairs. Plucking one or two is fine, but see your gynecologist or a dermatologist if that's not enough to handle hair growth.

Moles. Skin discolorations, freckles or moles that appear suddenly should be examined by a doctor to rule out skin cancer. Once you know it's nothing serious, call it a beauty mark and don't worry about it. Keep an eye on it for changes and protect it from being irritated by your bra.