When To Be Concerned If There's A Rash On Your Breast

Having a rash anywhere on your body can be a reason for concern. And while most skin irritations aren't serious or life-threatening, that doesn't mean they're harmless. Sometimes a rash can be painful or itchy — or both. Others can spread to other areas of the body or lead to a fever. In other words, you'll want to act quickly to get rid of them.

There are a number of things that can cause a rash. Allergies to ingredients in makeup or soap, poison ivy, shingles, and bug bites are just a few of the more obvious culprits, per Penn Medicine. However, in some cases, the cause isn't immediately known. And when a rash appears on your breast, it can be especially worrisome and leave you wondering if it's an early sign of cancer.

Thankfully, a rash on your chest is rarely a sign of breast cancer, according to MedicalNewsToday. Nevertheless, it's useful to know any circumstances in which you should be concerned. It's also important to know what to do and what not to do if you find a rash on your breast so you can avoid panic and deal with the issue at hand.

Most rashes aren't serious, but others require medical attention

According to WebMD, mastitis is one potential cause of a breast rash. Mastitis is caused by inflammation in the breast tissue and can sometimes lead to an infection. It typically occurs in breastfeeding women, but it can affect all women and even men in some circumstances. Certain skin conditions like psoriasis and shingles can also be causes of rashes on the breast. Even ill-fitting bras and excessive sweat can cause irritation, per Cottonique.

Most rashes disappear on their own within a few days without any special treatment, though others will require medical attention. If your rash is accompanied by a mass under the affected area, a fever, pus, pain, blisters or open sores, swollen lymph nodes, or dimpling skin, you should contact your doctor at your earliest convenience to arrange an appointment to have the rash examined, as these symptoms could indicate a more serious condition. For example, some breast cancers can result in a rash-like skin discoloration and will need immediate treatment.

While there could still be a very innocent explanation for your rash, it's better to get checked out so you know for sure. A medical professional can provide a thorough examination to determine the cause.

What to do (and not to do) if you have a rash on your breast

The moment you notice a rash on your breast — or anywhere else on your body — it's natural to want to do something about it ASAP, especially if there's itching involved. However, are some things you shouldn't do when you notice the red splotches on your chest.

While it may seem impossible, avoid scratching the affected area of your breasts, as this could make it worse. In fact, although excessive scratching might provide temporary relief, WebMD claims it can also cause the body to release serotonin, which can increase the "itchy" feeling. Excessive itching could also lead to further skin irritation and even breakage, causing a bloody wound.

Instead of scratching the rash, you could try to mitigate the feeling by placing a warm washcloth over the area. Over-the-counter lotions or antihistamines might also provide relief. Until the rash is gone, use only fragrance-free skin products, or none at all, to avoid further irritation. Fragranced detergents and dryer sheets should also be avoided.

Remember, most rashes aren't serious and disappear on their own. But if you experience a fever, pain, open sores, or other concerning symptoms, or if you simply have questions, contact a medical provider for guidance.