Fungi live in the human body, as well as in the air, in soil and on plants. Inhaling tiny spores in the air can result in a fungal infection in the lungs or a rash on the skin.
A fungal rash under the breast is usually the result of a secondary infection, due to scratching, chafing or irritation of the area. Excessive perspiration keeps the area moist, making it an ideal breeding ground for fungus.
Wash under the breast at bath or shower time. Lift each breast high enough so that you can soap under any folds, then dry the area thoroughly. Heavier women have more folds of skin, so thorough cleaning is especially important. If the skin is dry, use a moisturiser to prevent flaking and irritation.
Wear a form-fitting bra, and wash in warm water daily to kill any bacteria on the material. Department stores advertise bra-fitting clinics, where you can be properly measured to ensure the right fit.
High blood glucose levels are a breeding ground for fungal infections, so diabetics should follow a strict diabetic diet, exercise daily, and monitor blood sugar levels.
Initially, a fungal rash under the breast appears red and swollen. The skin feels itchy, and dark brown specks can result from too much scratching. You may notice the skin feels moist and smells musty. As the infection progresses, the skin becomes dark and discoloured and feels rough and dry.
Medicated powders containing zinc oxide, aloe extract and vitamin E are soothing to irritated skin. Powder dries the area, depriving the fungus of the moisture it needs to survive. Cornstarch works in the same way. Apply a thin coating of powder to irritated skin, at least twice daily.
Over-the-counter and prescription medicated creams effectively control fungal rash under the breast. Look for over-the-counter creams containing hydrocortisone. Stubborn cases may take a little longer to resolve, so you may need to consult your doctor.
Tamoxifen is used to treat breast cancer, but it is emerging as a promising treatment in controlling fungal infections. Tamoxifen killed yeast in mice with Candida infections, in new research conducted by the University of Rochester Medical Center. "It's still early, but if tamoxifen, or molecules like it, turns out to be an effective treatment against serious fungal infections, it'll be a welcome addition to our arsenal," Dr. Damian Krysan, an assistant professor of paediatrics at Rochester University and an author of the study, said in a university news release.
In this same study, tamoxifen, when taken in extremely high doses, lowered yeast levels by 150- fold. Tamoxifen caused the death of existing fungus cells, and healthy cells did not become infected.