Why Do I Get Pimples on My Boobs?

woman in white vest and black bikini with hand on chest

Pimples on the breast and nipple are normal and don’t pose any serious health risk. They can show up as whiteheads, blackheads, papules and cysts.

The causes of breast acne are similar to those of other acne-prone areas like the face, and include hormonal fluctuations, excessive sweating and clogged hair follicles. They can also be caused by tight clothing and pressure.

Hormonal Changes

Changing hormone levels in women, especially around your period or during pregnancy can increase your risk of developing acne. Hormonal changes can cause the sebaceous glands to secrete more oil. When that extra oil mixes with dead skin cells and hair follicles, it creates a pimple.

The breasts have more glands than the face, which can cause them to produce more oil and get clogged more easily. The extra oil can create a breeding ground for bacteria and fungus, leading to an inflammatory reaction that causes a bump. The type of pimple you develop will depend on your skin type and treatment. Whiteheads and blackheads are the most common, while papules, pustules and cysts are less common.

Sweat can also irritate the skin and contribute to the development of acne. You can help prevent this by showering promptly after working out, wearing looser clothing and washing your bra regularly. You can also avoid greasy lotions and body products that can clog your pores.

You should always be careful when examining your boobs for pimples because some bumps and red spots can be a sign of cancer. If you notice any lumps or bumps on your chest that don’t look like normal acne, contact a doctor or medical professional right away.

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Sweat

Pimples occur when glands in your skin secrete too much sebum, which then combines with other oil and dead skin cells, clogging pores. The skin on your chest has a high concentration of these glands, making it more likely to develop acne than other parts of the body. You might also experience more breakouts on your breasts during hot weather, or if you wear tight-fitting clothing that rubs against them.

The skin on the chest is thin, and can be easily damaged or irritated. It’s also prone to inflammation and infection, as well as a buildup of dirt, oil, and dead skin cells. The combination of all of these factors can lead to the development of acne on your nipple or breasts, including whiteheads, blackheads, pustules, cysts, and nodules.

You can usually clear up your nipple acne with regular at-home treatment and over the counter creams and gels. If the condition persists, or if you notice that it’s changing shape and color, contact a healthcare provider. They can evaluate your symptoms and recommend a more specialized treatment. Avoid touching or squeezing your nipple acne, as this can cause scarring. Instead, try to apply gentle non-comedogenic lotions or moisturizers to your nipples and breasts to prevent excess oils from building up. Also, keep a food journal to identify any foods or ingredients that could trigger your breakouts.

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Acne Mechanica

Pimples on the breast, or any area of the body where clothing or gear rubs against skin, can be caused by friction or pressure. This is called acne mechanica and can manifest as papules, pustules or cysts. This form of acne usually occurs in athletes who wear tight gear, people who spend long periods of time in the same position, such as truck drivers or bed-ridden individuals, and those who have a habit of rubbing or squeezing their skin such as people with autism spectrum disorder or anxiety.

Pimple mechanics often occur under snug bra straps or in the armpits. It can also appear on the back of the neck or shoulders where tight shirts rub against the skin and trap sweat. It can also be triggered by wearing backpacks or purses that pull against the skin or cause friction. Athletes who wear shin guards can develop acne mechanica on the knees or legs, and soldiers stationed in hot areas may get it under their helmets.

Although the best treatment for acne mechanica is prevention, over-the-counter acne medications can help clear existing blemishes and prevent future breakouts. Look for products with effective ingredients such as salicylic acid, which penetrates deep into pores to unclog them and kill bacteria that can cause inflammation. You can also reduce friction by wearing loose, breathable clothes made of cotton or other soft fabrics that allow the skin to breathe.

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Stress

The chest is home to glands that produce sebum, a waxy oil that travels through hair follicles and helps add moisture to the skin and hair. When excess sebum or dead skin cells build up, they clog pores and can lead to the development of pimples. Pimples can be either white or black, depending on whether the follicle wall swells and traps bacteria or the follicle drains and exposes the bacteria to air.

If you get acne on your boobs, don’t sweat it — it is normal and nothing to be alarmed about. However, you might want to talk to your doctor if your blemishes are painful or inflamed.

Stress acne happens when hormones, like cortisol (also known as the “fight-or-flight” hormone) and adrenal androgens increase in response to a stressful situation. These hormones can cause the skin to overproduce sebum, which in turn causes the pores to become clogged. In addition, a lack of sleep can also trigger breakouts.

If you are getting acne on your breasts, be sure to use a gentle cleanser with no added oils or perfumes. You may also want to consider using loose, cotton bras and shirts instead of clingy, tight ones that rub against the skin. Also, if you’re rocking long mermaid locks that frequently touch your boobs, be sure to keep them back so they aren’t transferring oils or product buildup to the area.