Why Do I Get Pimples on My Boobs?

Acne is annoying enough when it shows up on your face, but when it pops up on other parts of your body, it can feel like a whole new level of WTF. Pimples on the breasts are a common problem for many women.

The chest has oil glands just like the face, and they can produce too much sebum which clogs pores and leads to acne. Hormonal fluctuations, like those that occur during the teenage years and around your period, can also cause breast acne.

Causes

Pimples usually show up on the face and shoulders, but they can also occur on other parts of the body. The chest area is no exception – in fact, it’s very normal to have a pimple or two there. Pimples on the breasts can be caused by many of the same things as acne on other areas of the body, including a build-up of sebum, dead skin cells and bacteria. Sebum is an oily substance secreted by the glands that line the hair follicles on the chest. This can clog pores and lead to pimples.

Pimple-causing factors can be environmental, like the dirt and grime that can gather under your bra or in a tight-fitting shirt or even from the friction of bra straps. Foods can also be a culprit, especially dairy products that can cause inflammation of the skin. Hormonal changes can also trigger breakouts, like during pregnancy or at different times of the menstrual cycle. This type of pimple is called hormonal acne.

Lastly, some medications can cause pimples to appear on the breast, such as birth control pills and steroids. A rare but serious condition called pityrosporum folliculitis can also cause red dot-like pimples on the nipple and breast. These are swollen, painful pus-filled bumps that may look like a bug bite. They can also be accompanied by red, swollen lymph nodes and lumps on the chest and back.

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Treatment

Pimples on the breast typically develop from the same things that cause them to appear on the face, which are a build-up of sebum, dead skin cells and bacteria. Often, this happens because of an imbalance in the skin microbiome or circulating hormones. It’s also a common occurrence in women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Moisture and friction from sweating, tight-fitting bras, and the rubbing of skin against clothing like shirts can promote bacteria growth in the area.

In mild cases, breast acne can be treated the same way that pimples on the face are by using a topical acne treatment or over-the-counter retinol cream to unclog pores and speed up healing. Avoid trying to pop or squeeze these types of bumps as they can get infected and bruise easily.

Those with severe cases of breast acne may want to talk with their healthcare provider for treatment options. A physician may prescribe a topical antibiotic, which can be applied directly to the acne, or an oral antibiotic, which is taken as directed by the doctor.

In addition to medication, it can help to change the body lotions and soaps that are used. Choosing products that are labeled as oil-free and non-comedogenic can help keep pores clear. In addition, avoiding dairy foods and foods high in saturated fats can help to prevent the formation of breast acne. Finally, reducing stress levels can be an effective way to ease acne symptoms.

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Prevention

While you may think of acne as something that primarily affects the face, it actually can appear on any area of your body. Pimples and acne occur when excessive sebum (oil), dirt, bacteria and dead skin cells build up in the pores of your hair follicles, causing them to become clogged. This is what causes the formation of blackheads and whiteheads, which are characterized by red bumps surrounded by a white circle.

Other factors that can contribute to breast acne include wearing tight-fitting clothing, especially bras, which rub against your chest and cause a buildup of sweat and debris. Also, certain health conditions and medications can also trigger a breakout. And lastly, chronic stress and hormonal changes can lead to the development of cystic or nodule-type pimples.

If you want to prevent a breakout, the first step is to avoid using any products that are too oily or contain too much alcohol on your chest. Instead, use a cleanser that contains salicylic acid, which helps to unclog pores and reduce inflammation. You should also wear loose, comfortable clothing and wash your bras regularly. And be sure to sleep in breathable fabrics, as they can help to avoid excess sweating and the formation of acne-causing bacteria. Keeping a food journal can also be helpful in identifying dietary triggers and reducing your intake of dairy, fried foods and sugary snacks.

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Symptoms

While it’s uncomfortable and embarrassing to have pimples on your nipples, they are generally harmless. Pimples on the breasts may appear for a variety of reasons including hormonal changes, excess sebum or oils, sweating, wearing tight clothing and other mild health conditions like yeast infections. They can also be a sign of breast cancer in rare cases if they are accompanied by lumps.

If you have a whitehead or blackhead on your nipple, it will probably go away in a few days to a week depending on how quickly you take care of it. Other types of pimples are more complicated and will take longer to clear up, such as cysts or nodules.

Yeast overgrowth can also cause reddish rashes on the breast area that look similar to pimples. This is most common if you wear bras and tops that are too tight or if you sweat a lot. You can treat it with antifungal cream or oral pills.

If you have a painful or pus-filled pimple that isn’t going away, see a doctor. It could be a sign of inflammatory breast cancer, which is very different from regular tumors and affects the lymph vessels that connect to the skin. It’s a very rare type of cancer, but if you are diagnosed with it, treatment will likely be more aggressive than that of regular breast cancer.

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