Pimple on Breast: When Should You Worry

pimple on breast
Medically reviewed by Dr. Ola Tarabzuni

Key Takeaways

  1. A pimple on the breast is as normal as a pimple anywhere else on the body and it may have popped up due to hormonal changes, diet, sebum, stress, and bug bites in mild cases. 
  2. It can sometimes be a symptom of associated health conditions like genetics, folliculitis, yeast infection, or cancer if a lump accompanies the pimple. 
  3. Mild causes of breast pimples are treatable by proper hygiene, balanced diets, hydration, stress management, non-comedogenic products, and wearing loose clothing.

Overview

We are all familiar with face acne, but breast acne is uncommon. Most of us are unsure if it’s even a thing or if it is something as serious as breast acne. Well, in this blog, we will address all such concerns, causes, and treatments. 

Is It Normal to Get Pimples on Your Breasts?

While it is annoying to have acne pop up on a breast, it is normal in most cases. So, the right products at the right time can treat the pimple on your breast just like a normal pimple. And there’s more; you are not alone in this situation. According to the stats, it affects 15% of people.

It can appear in different forms as per the underlying issue. For example:

  1. Whiteheads: A whitehead is a white bump on the nipple or breast. It is a clogged hair follicle covered by a thin layer. 
  2. Blackheads: A black bump in a clogged hair follicle region covered by a thin layer of skin. 
  3. Cysts: It is an inflamed lesion filled with pus and is more severe than a regular pimple.
  4. Nodules: A nodule is a pimple-like bump on the breast that hurts. It develops under the skin and does not contain visible pus. 
  5. Pustules: These are pus-filled lesions that appear red or yellow and are surrounded by inflamed skin
  6. Papules: It is a small inflammatory bump without pus. 

What Causes Pimples on Breasts?

That red spot or red bump on your breast must be a worrisome beast to you. However, it is just as normal as pimples elsewhere due to oily skin, clogged pores, bacterial infection, or inflammation. Let’s see what the causes of these boils under the breasts are: 

Are You Concerned About Your Breast Acne? Consult a Doctor to Know the Cause!

Hormonal Changes

Hormonal changes during pregnancy, menopause, and puberty can lead to breakouts like facial acne. In some instances, breakouts can be developed in the breast amidst hormonal fluctuations. Thus, during these changes, the sebaceous glands release an abnormal amount of sebum. This clogs the pores of hair follicles and causes breakouts, also known as hormonal acne. 

Sebum

Besides hormonal reasons, sebum can often cause pore block due to bacterial growth and dead skin cells. Therefore, keep exfoliating the pores of your chest as you do with your face and hair. It can give rise to either blackhead or whitehead. Blackhead forms when the bacteria reacts with air in the clogged pore. In contrast, the whitehead forms when the follicle wall swells. 

Folliculitis

Another condition that can cause pimples or red dots on the breast includes folliculitis. It is the irritation of hair follicles on the breast or nipple. It can result in single or many red spots on the affected area. This condition can be caused due to tweezing or shaving the chest hair, causing inflammation of the follicular area. 

Diet

Some people get acne inflammation due to dairy products. This happens due to various intolerance conditions or underlying hormonal issues like Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). Therefore, it is essential to regulate your diet as per body conditions and minimize the trigger. 

Stress

Stress can trigger many underlying skin conditions, including breast acne. It happens because stress affects the body’s functions and turns on emergency mode. During this time, the body releases toxins to fight the stress caused. So, even if it does not cause acne directly, it can worsen matters. 

Read More: Pimples vs Herpes: Appearance, Symptoms and Treatments

Bug Bites

A bug bite on the breast can also be the suspect behind red spots. However, the difference between a bug bite and an acne spot is itching. Small bugs like fleas can cause severe itching and red bumps in groups of three. In contrast, mosquitoes leave a bit swollen red or white bum. If it is a painful red bump with swelling, then most probably the culprit is a spider. 

Yeast Infection

Yeast infections can be another important cause of red spots on your breast. Red spots or rashes with redness accompany these infections in the area beneath the breast or the crease area. You can prevent yeast infection overgrowth by keeping the area beneath the breast dry, as moisture supports fungal growth. For treatment, contact a healthcare provider for an antifungal ointment or tablet. 

Wearing tight Clothing

Our environment plays a crucial role in triggering underlying health conditions. For example, acne mechanica is triggered by rubbing a specific clothing material against the skin. Wearing tight clothing like sportswear can trigger breast acne due to sweat and friction. 

Sweating

Sweating is the body’s natural mechanism to cool down in hot environments. However, excessive sweating creates a perfect pitch for bacteria to grow due to moisture. So, keep the area between your breasts dry and clean to avoid pore clogging and pimples. 

Genetics

Genetics can be a game changer for some and a trigger for others. Breast acne can be genetic, and a particular set of environmental cues trigger the genes to cause breakouts. 

Medications

Medications like Corticosteroids, Thyroid hormones as medications and some of the antibiotics can cause pimples on the breast. Although it’s not common it rarely occurs. It is good to get the help of a healthcare professional if you notice red doty pimples on your breast while on the course of medications.

Hidradenitis Suppurativa

It is a chronic skin condition that includes inflammation and redness of the sweat glands and hair follicles. It can cause painful, pus-filled pimples in the breast area that might resemble a red bug bite . White clogged pores under the breasts are one of the clear indications of hidradenitis suppurativa.

Viral Infections

Certain viral infections, like herpes simplex virus, can cause painful, fluid-filled blisters or sores on the breast.

Bug Bites

Living in unsanitary conditions can affect you and present itself in the form of bug bites on your boob. A red pointy bump in the skin surrounded by the redness in the area is an indication that the bugs like mites, fleas, mosquitoes, lice, spiders, and ticks, will cause mild or moderate itching and will go away on their own.

Cancer

Inflammatory breast cancer is one of the uncommon breast cancers that occur in 2-4% of females altogether. It’s a rare type of breast cancer presenting itself with red bumps on the boobs. Rash-like spots on the boobs accompanied by itching is an early sign for the IBC.

Paget’s Disease

Paget’s disease is also the type of breast cancer less common than inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) and presents with a red lesion on the nipple or the brown surrounding part of the nipple, which can look like a bug bite

Eczema

Eczema, a skin condition, can cause pimple-like lesions on the breasts. Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a chronic skin condition characterized by inflammation and itching. When eczema affects your boobs, it can lead to various skin changes, including small red bumps or pustules that may resemble pimples.

Psoriasis

Psoriasis, a skin condition, can also cause pimple-like lesions on the breasts. Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune skin condition that leads to the rapid buildup of skin cells, resulting in raised, red, scaly patches on the skin of your boob.

Consult a Doctor for Breast Acne Treatment!

How to Get Rid of the Pimple on My Breast?

Acne on the face already feels like a nuisance, but breast acne is more bothersome. It can create friction by rubbing against the fabric. Another factor is that hair follicles in the breast region are more profound than the ones in the face. It can be difficult to treat breast acne due to its deep roots. Here are potential solutions to get rid of the pimples on your breast once and for all: 

Retinoids

Retinoids for face skincare have been influential ever since. However, it has also proved powerful against breast acne as it can help unclog the pores and treat breakouts. However, its suitability can vary from person to person, so consult your doctor for a custom prescription.

Frequent Showers 

Taking showers more often can also help unclog pores by washing away bacteria, dirt, dead skin cells, and sebum. It prevents breaking out. Additionally, bath with lukewarm water for pore unclogging and cleaning.

Wear Loose Clothes

If your skin is acne prone, take extra care not to wear tight clothes or irritable fabrics. Instead, wear breathable fabrics like cotton and loose-fitting clothes to avoid acne mechanica, especially in summer. Wearing fitted dresses can trap bacteria or dirt in your pores, setting the perfect space for acne and breakouts.

Wash your sheets regularly.

Another place where bacteria can colonize and cause acne is your bedsheet and pillowcase. Wash your sheets to flush out unnecessary dirt, bacteria, sweat remains, and dead cells. Your body regenerates at night, releasing sebum and discarding dead skin cells. Therefore, you must ensure the place is clean for new cells to grow and old cells to remove. This minimizes the transfer of harmful bacteria or dirt from a dirty sheet. 

Noncomedogenic products

Non-comedogenic products are the ones that don’t clog pores and irritate the skin. Therefore, it is essential to avoid comedogenic products to provide an additional line of protection against acne. Choose oil-free products like sunscreen or body lotion to provide hydration and protection without clogging pores. Check the ingredient list and label “non-comedogenic” before you buy products to apply to your body. 

Use an acne-fighting body wash.

Some compounds like salicylic acid are very effective against acne and pore cleaning. They work by drying out acne. Thus, look for such ingredients when buying a body wash. 

Exfoliate once a week.

Millions of cells excrete daily, and many new cells emerge in the cell turnover. It is essential to remove those dead skin cells pushed to the surface (epidermis). These cells require exfoliation for complete shedding. If not exfoliated, they can clog pores and cause breast acne. Therefore, exfoliation can be very helpful for pore cleaning. You can exfoliate using a loofah and a mild body wash. But don’t exfoliate more than twice, as excess can cause rashes or blemishes. 

OTC Antibiotics.

Products containing salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and azelaic acids can be effective in treating breast acne. Moreover, some doctors suggest over-the-counter medicines upon prescription like antiandrogen agents, isotretinoin, antibiotics, or retinoids. A group of antibiotics called tetracycline (minocycline or doxycycline) can also provide relief against breast acne in case of bacterial infection. Also, spot treatments can help shrink the pimples and reduce inflammation.

Try a new laundry detergent.

Washing your daily wear is another crucial step towards better body health and avoiding chest acne. Use antibacterial and hypoallergenic laundry detergents to enhance the quality of the clothes and avoid germs and bacteria from developing. 

Stay hydrated

As water is vital to clean the outside body, it is essential to flush out harmful bacteria. Many foods can trigger breast acne, so it is best to stay hydrated to flush out toxins. Avoid cold drinks and caffeinated beverages, as they can also trigger acne. Instead, take water and unsweetened fruit juices for better hydration. 

Consult a Doctor for OTC Antibiotics Prescription to Treat Pimple on Breast!

When to See a Dermatologist

If your acne doesn’t go away even after using anti-acne products, consult a doctor for topical medications. To reduce the inflammation of cystic acne, you can also take antibiotics.

FAQs about Pimple on Breast Answered by Your Doctors Online Team.

How long do breast pimples usually last?

Breast pimples vary in form from superficial blackheads or whiteheads to painful cysts. Thus, they take time, depending upon the type and its severity. However, even the most severe ones last a maximum of a few weeks before resolving completely. 

Are pimples on breasts a sign of cancer?

No, pimples on the breasts do not indicate breast cancer; instead, it indicates an underlying skin condition. However, there is a rare chance that it can turn into inflammatory breast cancer. 

How to tell if the pimple on the breast is acne or cancer?

The first sign of breast cancer is a lump formation. You can identify it as dimple skin, like orange peel, inflamed or flaky skin, color changes, and raised spots. However, the pimples on the breast do not mean it’s cancer unless the lesion has a history. Benign lesions are temporary and dissolve independently with time. While cancerous lesions are permanent. If the lesion doesn’t go away after a few weeks and is painful, visit a doctor for a diagnosis.

Does IBC look like a boil?

Inflammatory breast cancer often looks like a red swollen pimple giving a boil-like appearance. It often looks like a rash but is rare and occurs in less than 5% of the population. 

What is the pink bump on my breast?

The pink bump on your breast can be boils with swelling under the skin. Furuncles is another name for them, and they might be painful upon touch or rub against the clothing. 

Your Doctors Online uses high-quality and trustworthy sources to ensure content accuracy and reliability. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and medical associations to provide up-to-date and evidence-based information to the users.

  • Prusty, Ranjan Kumar, et al. “Knowledge of symptoms and risk factors of breast cancer among women: a community based study in a low socio-economic area of Mumbai, India.” BMC women’s health 20 (2020): 1-12.
  • Prusty, Ranjan Kumar, et al. “Increasing breast cancer awareness and breast examination practices among women through health education and capacity building of primary healthcare providers: a pre-post intervention study in low socioeconomic area of Mumbai, India.” BMJ open 11.4 (2021): e045424.
  • Wadasadawala, Tabassum, et al. “Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQoL) Using EQ-5D-5L: Value Set Derived for Indian Breast Cancer Cohort.” Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention 24.4 (2023): 1199-1207.

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