underboob rash (intertrigo)

Underboob Rash: Causes and How to Treat It

What causes heat rash under breast (underboob rash) and what treatment options are available? Read today’s story to find out how to deal with the issue.

When the summer sets in, you may be thinking of lazy days on the beach, gelato, and warm nights. However, there is also boob sweat, which usually leads to underboob rash (intertrigo).

While underboob rash is most common during the summer, it can occur at any time of the year.

What is Intertrigo (Underboob Rash)?

Underboob rash is a type of fungal rash that can occur under the areas where the skin folds.  The main places the rash is likely to appear include on the neck creases, underside of the belly, genital areas, armpits, and under the melons.

Causes of Underboob Rash

Intertrigo is caused by a combination of excess moisture, heat, and lack of air circulation. These conditions usually occur when you are sweating, and make your body a perfect place for bacteria, fungus, and yeast to breed.

When your skin rubs together when you are sweating, the symptoms of underboob rash tend to become worse.

Some people are more prone to suffering from heat rash under breast than others. The main risk factors for the condition include poor hygiene, excessive sweating (due to environmental or genetic factors), diabetes, obesity, among others.

In a nutshell, any place on your body that hoards moisture, heat, lacks proper air circulation, and the skin rubs together is a ripe breeding ground for intertrigo.

Symptoms of Underboob Rash

The common symptoms of intertrigo include:

  • A bad odor coming from the affected area
  • Flaky or cracked skin
  • A reddish or brown rash
  • Raw or itchy skin

In severe cases of intertrigo, the skin can get bleeding sores.

My Story About Intertrigo

When I was a teenager, I suffered from underboob rash frequently during the summers. My teenage hormones coupled with excess sweating on my large melons tucked in ill-fitting bras compounded the condition.

Sometimes, the condition would become so severe that I would develop a brown rash in the crease under my breast, just where the underwire sites. The result? My skin started to break and putting on a bra became extremely painful.

I tried various creams to soothe the pain but none of them really worked. I did all these on my own behind my mom’s back and without seeking medical help because I was too embarrassed about the problem.

baby powder

One of the ways I tried to manage the symptoms of intertrigo is by applying baby powder on the affected areas of my skin. I also tried managing the affected areas with bunched up Kleenex, deodorant and by airing the skin as much as I could. Eventually, this worked.

However, knowing what I know right now, I could have solved the problem much quicker and without having to endure a lot of pain. If you want to cure underboob rash quickly, here is what I recommend.

Manage and Prevent Heat Rash Under Breast

After determining that you have heat rash under breast, there are a number of ways you can easily manage it. All the recommendations center around increasing the air circulation, reducing the friction, or reducing the level of moisture around the affected area.

Here is how you can manage rash under the melons:

Wear the Right Bra

wearing a bra

The first step to curing intertrigo naturally is to wear a fitting and well-supporting bra. Wearing a bra that does not fit you does not help things.

The bra should fit you properly such that your skin won’t rub together. The bra you wear should lift your breast away from the skin on your chest as well as prevent them from rubbing against each other. This means staying away from bras that create a uniboob effect!

Get a bra made from breathable material that will prevent a sweaty cleavage. For the summer months, I recommend you go for fitting bras made of cotton. Another good option is spacer bras or those that are made with breathable materials.

I’ve previously written about spacer bras and how they work.

If your skin gets irritated easily, you can wear a supportive wirefree bra. However, make sure that the bra lifts up your breast high enough to keep its underside well aerated.

spacer bra

It is important to wear a clean bra every day. If you usually wear your bra more than once, I am talking to you.

Most of us don’t have a ton of bras such that we can wear them on rotation without having to contend with a lot of laundry. During the summer, it is important to rotate your bra. Try not to wear the same bra on different days without washing it. This is especially critical if you’ve had a sweaty day. The germs that cause rash under the melons can live in a damp bra. Therefore, wash your bras before wearing them!

Anti-Chafing Powders

You can use baby powder to keep the moisture away, and hence prevent boob rash. However, if you have tried using baby powder in the past, you already know that it does not take long for the sweat to soak it all up. You can apply baby powder in the evening when you are at home. However, if you are planning to be out the whole day, baby powder won’t just cut it for reducing sweat around your breasts.

One of the powders I recommend, (although it has a weird name) is the Lady Anti Monkey Butt Powder. This is the powder I’ve been using after I was unable to find the Asics powder that I was used to.

Lady Anti Monkey Butt Powder

You can use the powder all over your body. The ingredients of the powder are a calamine-based powder and cornstarch (just like is the case with Asics powder).

Nowadays, I don’t get serious boob rash like when I was a teenager. However, I still use some powder between my legs when I’m wearing a dress or skirt during the summer. The powder helps to keep my inner thighs from chafing.

Anti-Chafing Cream

Another cure for boob rash that I’ve come to learn about is Fresh Breasts.

The name is straight to the point and says it all. Moreover, the product gets the job done.

Fresh Breasts is a great alternative if you are looking for an organic cream. This product does not contain aluminum or parabens.   Instead of using talc, the cream is made from oatmeal. I also love the fact that it is made from tree oil, which is a proven natural anti-bacterial agent

Fresh Breasts essential works like the powder. The product reduces moisture on your skin, almost like a natural antiperspirant. When dried, you will feel like there is a light layer of powder on your skin.

You do not need to apply a lot of the powder for it to be effective. If you apply too much, you may end up with a bit of residue on your skin.

Keep in mind that you may need to apply the cream a couple of times to find the right spot for preventing perspiration. However, when you find your right spot, you will never have to worry about underboob itch.

Anti-Chafing Sticks

Back in the day, I used to put deodorant under my boob. I guess I was right! The only issue with deo is that while it helps to keep the moisture away, it made my skin dry since it’s made of alcohol. Sometimes, the skin will become itchy from the contact with the alcohol ingredient.

Nowadays, I no longer use deodorant to keep moisture off my skin. Instead, I use anti-chafe sticks. The particular product I use is known as Bodyglide Anti-Chafe Balm.  I usually use the stick between my legs as a preventive measure during summer before I get out of the house.

Bodyglide Anti-Chafe Balm

While powder works just fine, sometimes it can be messy. With Bodyglide, my skin is left dry and smooth. Moreover, it seems to last for ages. I like this anti-chafe stick because it does not make my skin excessively dry.

I’ve also seen a “For Her” version that is specially formulated to make the skin soft. While I haven’t tried this product, I’ve seen it’s got a ton of positive reviews from other people. I’m thinking of trying it once my current supply of Body Glide Stick runs out.

Anti-Chafing Gels

When you hear the word “Monistat”, what do you think of? If you are like me, you are probably thinking of various lady problems you may have dealt with,

Monistat is one of the best chafing relief powder gels on the market. Like is the case with Lady Monkey Butt, you can use it on any part of your body except under your breasts.

Monistat anti chafing for heat rash under breast

Generally, I prefer using powders to get rid of rash between breasts. However, I also like having a small tube of gel in my purse just in case. I find gel easier and less messy to apply whenever I’m out and about and realize I’ve started getting sweaty.

Anti-Fungal Creams

Anti-fungal creams containing cortisone, miconazole, and clotrimazole are easily available over the counter. These creams can treat various recurring skin conditions. You can use these creams to get rid of fungal rash under your melons.

Bra Liners

bra liner

If you have sensitive skin, consider using bra liners. These are small pieces of fabric that can be worn on the underside of your melons. Bra liners for sensitive skin absorb sweat between your melons and the underwire.

Wearing a bra line is a great option is you have sensitive skin and do not prefer applying the typical creams for intertrigo on the affected area of your skin. The bra liners not only absorb sweat but if worn properly, can also help to reduce the pain caused by the underwire.

You can purchase either disposable or non-disposable bra liners.

How to Prevent Rash Under the Breasts

Using the above products will provide relief against boob rash.  However, there are also some hygiene practices you should adhere to on a daily basis. To begin, make sure you dry the area underneath the melons with a clean towel after taking a shower.

If you have sensitives skin, use a mild cleanser such as Cetaphil to minimize irritation. Also, you would do well with wearing clothes that allow airflow. Avoid wearing garments that restrict airflow.

After toweling off, you can dry the affected area with the cool setting of a blow dryer. The action is soothing and will ensure the breasts are as dry as possible.

When Should You Get Medical Help?

If you have chronic boob rash such that your skin is breaking and the remedies I’ve recommended above don’t seem to be working, it is time to see your doctor.

Depending on the extent of your intertrigo, you may need prescription cortisone creams or other ointments to cure the infection. Here, your doctor will advise you on the cream to go for.

Final Thoughts

Having a smelly rash under the breast is quite uncomfortable and can be serious to the extent of leaving you with bleeding sores. Fortunately, intertrigo can be controlled easily at home with the above remedies. I’ve been using the remedies for a while and I’m lucky not to experience the rash as frequent as I did when I was a teenager.

Generally, you should practice good bra hygiene and wear proper fitting bras all the time. Apart from this, consider using anti-chafe sticks, gels, and powders to prevent the breasts from getting sweaty.

If one method of treating heat rash under breast doesn’t work for you, don’t get frustrated. Instead, try another method. More importantly, don’t suffer alone. While boob rash is an embarrassing problem, it is common with many women. Talk to your friends to find out how they are coping with the condition.


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