What causes a rash on the breast?

Updated November 21, 2016

Rashes on the breast can be caused by many factors. In minor cases, you may be having an allergic reaction. In rare instances, a breast rash may be due to signs of cancer. A rash upon the breast can be itchy and red, or blistery and painful. While many women may experience signs of a rash on their breast, it is important to speak with a physician in order to rule out serious causes for your rash.

Inflammatory Breast Cancer

According to the Mayo Clinic, inflammatory breast cancer is a form of cancer that can develop quickly, (See Reference 1). If you become effected by this type of cancer, your breast will first begin to swell and become red. It may become painful to the touch. You may notice that the breast will itch, and appear as if it's bruised. The nipple will become swollen or crusted, and seem as if pieces of the skin are scaling off.

Mammary Duct Ectasia

Most women who are between the ages of 40-50 will experience mammary duct ectasia, (See Reference 1). Though this condition may sound worrisome, it is not, and is in no way associated to breast cancer. Your breast may become red and sore. If you begin to experience a discharge from the nipple, see a doctor.


Mastitis is more common in women who are breastfeeding. It is an infection that usually occurs within the first few weeks of the nursing infant. The breast, especially the nipple, will become extremely sore and sometimes scaly. The breast may also swell and become warm to the touch. Your breast will become red in a wedge shaped pattern. If you begin to experience a fever over 38.3 degrees Celsius, or have flu-like symptoms, seek medical attention for treatment.

Paget's Disease

The Mayo Clinic states that Paget's disease occurs in less than five per cent of women, (See Reference 1). Paget's disease is a type of breast cancer that mainly effects the nipple and areola. In many cases, the cancer is mistook for dermatitis. The breast will become flaky and red. You may also have itching, or the skin may haves patches of dry skin that look like eczema.


Dermatitis is a skin condition that can result in inflammation. Types of dermatitis can include eczema. Dermatitis is usually caused by an allergic reaction, either due to products such as soap or perfumes. If you have an allergic response, your breast may begin to itch, swell, and become red. In most cases of dermatitis, your doctor can provide you with an anti-itch cream, such as Hydrocortisone.


It is important to speak with a physician if at any point your rash begins to develop symptoms that become worrisome. In most cases, you can use balms, such as petroleum jelly, to help with the scaling and flaking of your rash. Antihistamines can also help with the itching. You may also want to stop wearing a bra until the rash disperses, in order to help stop the friction of tight fitting clothes against your rash. Don't use perfumes, or scented soaps while bathing, Using non-scented soaps, such as Cetaphil can also help with your rash.

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article


About the Author