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, and the underside of your breasts is a prime place for it to take up residence. Under normal circumstances, Candida doesn’t cause any problems.

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

Yeast infections are technically fungal infections.

Candida albicans yeast


Kateryna Kon / Science Photo Library / Getty Images

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. In fact, 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 because it’s thought that it may suppress your immune system, making it less able to mount an attack against foreign invaders, such as 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. 

Large Breasts

Large, heavy breasts—especially ones that aren’t well supported with a good bra—are more likely than small ones to rub against the skin of the upper torso, creating an intertrigo rash and possible yeast infection.

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

Obesity

People who are obese can have deep skin folds and may sweat more than those who weigh less, thanks to 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, giving 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 and support allow for little cooling and drying ventilation under the breasts and can cause skin to rub against skin—yet more factors that can lead to intertrigo and a yeast infection. 

Treatment

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

Some anti-fungals are available over the counter (OTC), but in severe cases, your doctor 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 doctor 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.

Prevention

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

  • Keep 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 doctor 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.

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 anti-fungals 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 get your doctor's input if the rash seems infected (it’s warm to the touch, for example, or it's wet and oozing).

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  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. Updated October 31, 2019.

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