If you’re dealing with breast eczema, see a doctor to make sure it’s not something more serious. Here’s what you need to know about eczema on chest.
It’s more common than you might think.
In fact, eczema affects almost 32 million people in the US — about 10% of the population.
But breast eczema?
Yep, it happens too.
While it’s more common on certain body parts, like the hands, elbows, knees, and neck, eczema can appear anywhere, including the breasts.
It’s generally harmless and treatable.
But it’s still important to check in with your doctor.
If your skin symptoms start on or around your nipple, there’s a remote chance that it could be a rare but serious condition called Paget’s disease.
We’ll take you through what you need to know.
In this article: 📝
- What does breast eczema look like?
- Is breast eczema serious?
- Is breast eczema cancerous?
- What is Paget’s disease and how is it different from breast eczema?
- Is it normal to get eczema on your nipples?
- What is the best course of breast eczema treatment?
What does breast eczema look like?
Think dry, itchy, bumpy, and discolored skin around your nipples, and in between, under, and on the sides of your breasts.
It can also appear elsewhere on your chest.
If you have eczema on your chest, you might experience:
- Dry, cracked, or scaly skin
- Red patches of skin
- Thickened or leathery patches of skin
- Small bumps that may discharge fluid
Eczema isn’t contagious, so you can’t get it from someone else or pass it on yourself.
If you do get it, it’s probably because you have a personal or family history of eczema or because your immune system has overreacted to small irritants.
It’s also more likely if you’re prone to asthma, hay fever, and environmental allergies.
And an increase in your stress levels can make your breast eczema worse.
Breastfeeding can also cause breast eczema — it usually starts as a rash around your nipples (sorry, mama!).
There are also a bunch of other rashes that can pop up both during pregnancy and after your little one is born.
Heard of a PUPPP rash?
What about postpartum hives?
Yep, those are both things you could experience if you’re about to have a baby or have just had one.
It’s also possible to get a yeast infection under your breasts.
So it’s not always easy to tell what’s going on.
That’s why checking in with your doctor is always a good bet.
Is breast eczema serious?
Breast eczema itself isn’t serious, but it can cause infections if it causes you to scratch and break the skin.
Treat your skin gently, and do your best to keep it clean with mild soaps and lotions.
Of course, it might not be eczema at all.
There are also other conditions that can cause rashes around your breasts.
They could be caused by a new product you’re using, your sweat, or an infection.
Again — your doctor will be able to help.
Is breast eczema cancerous?
No, breast eczema isn’t cancerous.
But it can look very similar to a more serious condition called Paget’s disease of the breast.
If you develop eczema on your nipples especially, be sure to chat with your doctor so that they can examine you and treat it properly.
It’s better to be safe!
What is Paget’s disease and how is it different from breast eczema?
Paget’s disease (usually called Paget’s disease of the nipple or the breast) is a rare condition that affects the skin of the nipples and breasts.
It can be a sign of breast cancer.
And while that sounds scary, it’s important to understand that it’s really rare.
It’s found in between 1 and 4% of breast cancers and is more common in women over 50.
It can affect men but is usually found in women.
Try not to assume the worst if you notice changes in your breasts — just use it as a cue to go and get them checked out.
Paget’s disease can look quite similar to eczema in the sense that:
- The nipple area can be itchy, tingly, or discolored.
- The skin can be flaky or crusted.
- The nipple might be flattened or turned in.
- There might be fluid coming from the skin of the nipple.
Paget’s disease has a few other characteristics that set it apart, though:
- It will affect your nipple, while eczema will only rarely affect your nipple.
- It usually only affects one breast, while eczema usually affects both.
- It won’t respond to the same treatments as eczema.
Is it normal to get eczema on your nipples?
Eczema can affect the nipples, but this isn’t very common.
You’re much more likely to get eczema between your breasts or underneath them.
Paget’s disease, on the other hand, almost always starts in the nipple.
See your doctor if your nipple or areola has a red, scaly rash or is sore, inflamed, itchy, or burning.
What is the best course of breast eczema treatment?
Unfortunately, there’s no cure for eczema, but with a little practice, you can learn what works for your body, and manage, treat and prevent flare-ups.
The following options might help:
Moisturize your skin:
Certain creams, ointments, lotions, and petroleum jelly can help to ease some of the pain and discomfort.
They may be more effective if you apply them while your skin is a little damp, such as after a bath or shower.
Always use fragrance-free products.
Avoid foods that might trigger a flare-up.
It can be difficult to identify which foods, if any, cause eczema, but soy, eggs, gluten, and milk are common culprits.
Avoid these foods for a little while and see if it helps your eczema.
Have short, warm showers
Don’t spend too long in the bath or shower, and make sure that the water is warm rather than hot.
Use gentle soaps
Opt for soaps and deodorants that have mild or natural ingredients.
Speak to your doctor about medical interventions.
There are certain medications you can take, including topical corticosteroids, oral steroids, oral immunosuppressant drugs, and topical calcineurin inhibitors.
Your doctor will be able to advise if any of these options are right for you.
Breast eczema isn’t a huge amount of fun, but if you learn your triggers and figure out what treatment options work for you, it can be managed.
Hang in there! ❤️