We all know about back-ne (a.k.a acne on your back), but have you heard of under-boob acne? It’s the lesser-known acne, but it affects many women, most of whom have large breasts since having a larger bust makes it easy for bacteria to grow underneath. If you’re struggling with boob acne, we’ve got some great tips and tricks to help you out.
Meet the Experts
Dr. Jessica Wu, M.D is a Los Angeles dermatologist and author of Feed Your Face.
What is under-boob acne?
Under-boob acne (aka “boobne”) is when you get breakouts under and on your breast(s). These can range from blackheads, whiteheads, and red pimples, to even large cysts in some cases.
What causes it?
We talked to dermatologist Jessica Wu, M.D., to get some insight into the skin condition. “The under-boob area is susceptible to breakouts because sweat can accumulate and clog pores,” explains Wu. “Also, moist skin is a breeding ground for bacteria and yeast. Additionally, friction (caused by) skin rubbing on the skin, on bras and workout clothes, etc., aggravates congestion. This leads to more and bigger breakouts.” She also notes that the skin on the body doesn’t slough off as quickly as it does on your face, so oil and dead skin can build up over time and cause breakouts under your breasts.
How to Treat and Prevent Under-Boob Acne
Underboob acne can be triggered by your lifestyle habits. Here’s what to look out for:
Shower immediately after sweating
As Wu mentioned, moist skin is a breeding ground for bacteria and yeast, especially if your breasts are rubbing against skin, a bra, etc. Of course, we’d never tell anyone not to work out or get in their daily steps, but if you’ve noticed that you are getting irritation or breakouts under your breasts, it’s important that you shower and cleanse the affected area as soon as you can once you’re done sweating. This way, the sweat is under your breasts for as little time as possible and, therefore, less likely to clog pores.
Make sure your bras are clean and fit properly
This may seem like a given to some, but even though you’re likely washing your sports bras after one use, most of us wear our regular bras many, many times before washing, and those regular bras can also cause breakouts. So unless you’re sweating profusely every day, you can get away with washing your bras after every third time you wear them.
When it comes to a properly fitted bra and under-boob acne, this means ensuring that your bras aren’t too tight, which can cause friction and excess sweat, and, there go, breakouts.
Try an antiperspirant or powder
If you’d like to prevent the under-boob sweat from occurring altogether (hey, we’re with you!), try using an antiperspirant under your breasts. You can go the deodorant route, no problem, but we also love these antiperspirant wipes; they are meant to be applied at night and can be effective for up to seven days! If you’re more into powders, we like Mega Babe Bust Dust since it’s talc-free and contains cornstarch, an ingredient known for its high moisture-absorbing properties. The powder won’t stop the sweat totally, but it does a great job absorbing it before any breakouts can (hopefully) occur.
Try a bra liner
If you think friction is a big player in your under-boob acne issue, we recommend trying a bra liner. We know it sounds a little strange, but these liners are made from a combo of bamboo and cotton, which work together to wick moisture and keep your bra from chaffing the skin under your breasts.
Spot treat current breakouts
Spot treating won’t prevent new breakouts from forming, but it will help get rid of current breakouts faster. Wu recommends a sulfur spot treatment, which is especially good “if you have sensitive skin.” Sunday Riley Saturn Sulfur Spot Treatment is the perfect spot treatment for under-boob acne since it’s formulated with 10% sulfur. High-strength sulfur dries excess (pore-clogging) sebum and removes dead skin cells. In addition, our spot treatment also has tea tree oil, which Wu also recommends. “It has natural astringent and antibacterial properties.”
Wash under your breasts regularly with salicylic acid
“Shower as soon as you can after sweating and exfoliate in the shower a few times a week with a salicylic acid body scrub to help unclog pores,” says Wu. Sunday Riley Charcoal Smoothie Jelly Body Scrub is perfect for fighting under-boob acne since it’s formulated with salicylic acid and soothing niacinamide, which helps to strengthen the skin’s natural protective shield. In addition, natural exfoliating powders will massage away dull, dead skin cells and clear out any existing bacteria under your breasts (and your other body parts as well!).
See a dermatologist
Lastly, “if breakouts are painful and don’t dry up on their own within a week, it could be a sign of a deep cyst that may need to be drained, or possibly a bacterial infection,” explains Wu. Additionally, “if there are numerous whiteheads and a red rash, it could be a sign of a yeast (Candida) infection.” It’s important to keep an eye on any under-boob acne breakouts, as “acne cysts typically start to shrink on their own within a week or so.” “If you have a lump or growth that isn’t going away, bleeding, or pus, it’s time to see a doctor. It could be infected or even be a sign of breast cancer.” Wu also explains that there is a rare type of breast cancer that can show up as a rash on the breast, typically on the areola or nipple, so it’s important to see a doctor if and when your under-boob acne doesn’t clear up on its own.
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