Yeast Infection Under the Breast: How to Identify the Rash

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Candida is a yeast that lives both inside and outside of your body. It can be found in your gut, mouth, vagina, and on your skin.

This yeast particularly likes the warm, dark, moist folds of your skin. The underside of your breasts is a prime place for it to take up residence. Under normal circumstances, Candida doesn’t cause any problems.

Verywell / Julie Bang

But in some people—because of things like underlying health conditions or the size of their breasts—skin can break down. This can cause a rash (called intertrigo). That rash can allow yeast to penetrate, causing a yeast infection under your breasts. Yeast infections are technically fungal infections.

This article discusses the symptoms of a yeast infection under your breasts. It also covers the causes, risk factors, and treatment as well as how to prevent it.

What Does a Yeast Infection Under the Breasts Look Like?

A yeast skin rash can appear under the breasts and along the upper torso, where breast skin rubs against torso skin. The rash under a breast is often a mirror image of the rash on the other side of the skin fold. The rash also typically:

  • Appears red or reddish-brown
  • Is raised
  • Has oozing blisters and crusting
  • Is itchy
  • Causes pain

Causes and Risk Factors

Anyone can get a yeast infection on their skin, especially in a dark, moist area like under the breasts. But these skin rashes and infections tend to happen more frequently in certain groups of people. Some things that up your risk include:

Diabetes

When you have diabetes, your body either can’t make or use insulin properly. Insulin is a hormone that keeps blood sugar in check. If blood sugar isn’t well controlled, yeast can overgrow on your skin, leading to a yeast infection.

Diabetes can also predispose you to infection. It’s thought that it may suppress your immune system, making it less able to mount an attack against foreign invaders. These include fungi like yeast, viruses, and bacteria that can cause infections.

Research shows that people with diabetes are more likely to develop infections of all kinds versus people without diabetes. 

Recap

With diabetes, uncontrolled blood sugar can cause yeast to overgrow on the skin. Diabetes may also predispose you to infections, including those caused by fungi like yeast.

Large Breasts

Large, heavy breasts—especially when not well-supported with a bra—are more likely to rub against the skin of the upper torso. This can create an intertrigo rash and a possible yeast infection.

What's more, the skin under large breasts may be harder to keep dry and well-ventilated. This can set the stage for a yeast infection.

Obesity

People who are obese can have deep skin folds and may sweat more because of thick layers of fat under the skin. Both factors can lead to problems with yeast skin infections.

Climate

Skin can get and stay excessively moist in hot, humid environments. This gives yeast ample opportunity to multiply and invade.

Clothing

Tight clothing can rub against the skin, causing friction and a skin rash that allows yeast to invade. Undergarments, such as bras made of non-breathable or non-wicking fabric, can hold moisture next to the skin.

Bras that don’t lift allow for little cooling and drying ventilation under the breasts and can cause skin to rub against skin. These factors also contribute to intertrigo and a yeast infection. 

Recap

Tight clothing and clothes that aren't breathable keep moisture trapped against your skin. This can contribute to a yeast infection.

Treatment

Because yeast is a fungus, yeast infections are treated with anti-fungal creams, ointments, and sprays.

Some antifungals are available over the counter (OTC), but in severe cases, your healthcare provider may give you a prescription drug. Some of the medications used to treat skin yeast infections include:

  • Clotrimazole
  • Econazole
  • Ketoconazole
  • Miconazole
  • Tioconazole
  • Terbinafine
  • Amorolfine

If your rash is itchy, your healthcare provider may prescribe a combination cream that contains an anti-fungal as well as a steroid to calm the itch. Most people see improvement in a week or so.

Recap

Yeast infections under the breast can be treated with antifungal medications. These can be over-the-counter or prescription and may include creams, ointments, and sprays.

Prevention

When it comes to yeast infections, the best defense is a good offense:

  • Keep the skin under your breasts clean. Wash morning and night with a gentle soap.
  • Dry under the breasts thoroughly after bathing. Use a hairdryer on a cool setting to help get what a towel misses.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider about using an over-the-counter anti-fungal or moisture-absorbing powder to fend off problems.
  • Wear a supportive cotton bra. You can even try wearing a cotton T-shirt under your bra.
  • Ventilate the skin when possible. (That could mean going bra- and shirtless when in private.)
  • Wear loose-fitting clothing.
  • Change out of wet or sweaty clothes promptly.
  • Lose weight if needed to help reduce the size of the breasts and limit skin friction.
  • Limit your intake of sugary foods and get your blood sugar under control if you have diabetes.

Summary

Yeast infections can happen under skin folds where moisture gets trapped, like under the breast. The rash usually looks red or reddish-brown and may have blisters or crusting. It may be painful or itchy.

Yeast infections under the breast may be more likely if you have diabetes, have large breasts, or are obese. They can also happen in hot, humid climates or when you're wearing tight clothing that keeps moisture trapped against your body.

Treatment typically involves an antifungal medication. This can be either over-the-counter or prescription.

To prevent a yeast infection, keep the skin under your breasts clean. Dry thoroughly and change out of wet clothes promptly. Wear a supportive cotton bra that lifts your breasts off of your torso. If you have diabetes, take steps to keep your blood sugar under control.

A Word From Verywell

Yeast is a naturally occurring fungus that can occasionally overgrow and cause skin infections—under the breasts and elsewhere on the body. These infections are typically easily treated with antifungals and are usually nothing to worry about.

Consult with your healthcare provider whenever you notice a rash so it can be properly diagnosed and treated. It's particularly important to see a doctor if the rash seems infected, including if it's warm to the touch, wet, or oozing.

3 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Kalra MG, Higgins KE, Kinney BS. Intertrigo and secondary skin infections. Am Fam Physician. 2014;89(7):569-573.

  2.  Carey, IM, Critchley, JA, DeWilde, S, Harris, T, Hosking, FG, Cook, DG. Risk of infection in type 1 and type 2 diabetes compared with the general population: A matched cohort study. Diabetes Care. 2018;41(3)513-521; doi:10.2337/dc17-2131

  3. MyHealth.Alberta.ca. Yeast skin infection: Care instructions.

Additional Reading

By Donna Christiano Campisano
Donna Christiano is an award-winning journalist, specializing in women and children's health issues. She has been published in national consumer magazines and writes frequently for leading health websites.