breasts and bra

Fungi love damp dark places, so they often thrive in the crevices between toes and in folds of skin. The groin is especially susceptible. That’s why men often complain of jock itch.

Women can have jock itch too. But they may also suffer from fungal infections under the breast. Judging from our mail bag, this is far more common than many people realize.

Several weeks ago we heard from a woman who asked for help: “For years I have had a yeast infection under my breasts, under my arms and in the groin. Nothing works. I know other women have this problem. I would be grateful for any remedies that might help.”

Our answer was fairly lame. We suggested old-fashioned amber Listerine. This mouthwash contains herbal oils with antifungal activity, plus a substantial dose of alcohol. Some men have found it can conquer jock itch.

We were unprepared for the outpouring of suggestions from other women who also suffer from this problem. Not surprisingly, many have found that antifungal medicines are especially helpful:

“I had a similar problem. My doctor prescribed Nystatin cream. It works wonderfully and I haven’t had a problem since.”

Over-the-counter antifungal creams also have enthusiastic boosters:

“I too had a yeast infection under my breasts. Even my doctor did not know exactly what to do. So I bought Monistat vaginal cream and applied it. The infection cleared right up!”

Another woman prefers a different Monistat product:

“I found wonderful relief for my yeast infection. In the feminine product aisle of stores is something called ‘Soothing Care Medicated Powder’ made by Monistat Intimate Care.

“I bought it and tried it, applying it right after my bath. I was amazed because after using it for several weeks my yeast infection was gone from under my breast, under my arms and my groin.”

Soothing Care Medicated Powder does not contain antifungal medication. Instead, the active ingredient is zinc oxide (often found in diaper rash cream), with inactive ingredients of cornstarch, aloe extract and vitamin E.

Cornstarch is an old-fashioned favorite, as we heard from this woman:

“I used every expensive cream formula, both prescription and OTC, without success. In desperation due to itching one night, I tried my Grandma’s cornstarch cure.

“Be sure areas are clean and dry. Then dust the affected areas with a thin coating of cornstarch. (Use a flat powder puff to apply.) Do this at least twice daily.

“After months of creams, it took only a few weeks for the underarm area to dry. The itching stopped. The dead skin peeled off and it has never returned. My dermatologist couldn’t believe it worked so well. The groin and areas under the breasts took a bit longer, but they’ve also healed. Grandmas do know best.”

Cornstarch and zinc oxide are both working on the principle that drying the skin will deprive the fungus (yeast, in this case) of the moisture it needs to thrive.

Who knew that so many women suffer from fungal infections under the breasts? With various possible remedies, however, we hope this troublesome problem is no longer a deep, dark secret.

Join Over 68,000 Subscribers at The People's Pharmacy

Each week we send two free email newsletters with breaking health news, prescription drug information, home remedies and a preview of our award-winning radio show. Join our mailing list and get the information you need to make confident choices about your health.

  1. Sandy

    I started having this last year under one breast. The itching was killing me and my daughter told me to use Listerine. I swabbed the rash down with Listerine and it stopped itching instantly. The rash goes away but it does come back if you stop after a few days and humid days here.
    I love the ideas I read here and going to try them but thought mine would help someone in need of immediate itch help.

  2. Clair
    No VA

    I had a fungal infection under my breast a few years ago – got pretty bad. Doctor prescribed Nystop (Nystatin powder) which cleared it up quickly. Since then I have used witch hazel applied with cotton pads, and when dry used Gold Bond Medicated. No more problems.

  3. Dana

    I have dealt with this problem for years. I have diabetic ketoacidosis and I pretty much keep fungal infections under my breasts and in my groin. I also get it really bad on my hysterectomy incision. I have found it best to wash 3 times a day with antibacterial soap, dry extremely well, then I apply a liberal spray of Lamisil AT. It is not a foam so it will run and the worse the infection the more it burns but it clears it up in about 2 days. I am allergic to both the cream and the oral liquid. When I get thrush I have to treat it with yogurt as the nystagmus makes it much worse.

  4. eliz
    new york

    When I underwent radiation for breast cancer I was so terrified of the warnings that the underside of my breast where the cancer was located and where the radiation would be concentrated. A friend had recommended a new product – soft slings worn under the breast to protect the skin from excessive perspiration and rubbing. I was amazed at how little redness my skin actually developed. I realize skin types vary, but I am convinced the sling played a huge role in protecting my breast. Since that time I have become a believer and I wear their double sling every night. No rashes; no problems; a miracle!

  5. lnb

    I have very large breasts and always have, I get rashes, bumps, skin cracking etc..
    The one thing I’ve always used is maximum strength balmex (yes the baby diaper ointment)… it is very thick so it wont easily come off but the only drawback is getting off your hands and don’t wear any GOOD/ Pretty bras!!!
    Use it daily, I started using a q-tip to apply and it works!!!

  6. Sandy

    I had this 3 years ago and only had an Aloe after Sun lotion handy, so I tried it and I haven’t had it back unless I don’t use it about every 3 days and it is very mild. My sister also had the problem and it has ended hers too. Cheap as the bottle lasts for over a year and costs around $6.00.

  7. ace

    I’ve had reoccurring blackheads under my breast and between my thighs for years now, its getting me worried, I’ve tried different creams and oral antibiotics some worked but d effects were temporal. I saw that some people suggested selsun, I bought and started u using it yesterday, I noticed between my thighs is peeling, is that how its supposed to work? Pls help.

  8. Kk

    Hidradentits, look it up!

  9. SB

    I’ve used just the juice from a lemon to clear the fungus from under my breast, it worked great for me plus it was free because I have a lemon tree in my back yard. You can mix the juice with a little water if it’s to harsh for you.

  10. L

    I had dark brown spots in my cleavage where sweat would sit, and after figuring it was some sort of fungal infection I applied lavender essential oil with a cotton ball once in the morning and once at night and it’s GONE. I’m going to continue doing this at night before bed. It helps me sleep too.

  11. LC

    I have had this issue for about 4 years now. I noticed it when I got pregnant with my 2nd baby. I gained some extra weight with this pregnancy and therefore, the boobs got larger. The rash began in between my breasts and it eventually went under my breasts. It was itchy and smelly. It got worse during hot summer months. (I live in Texas).
    After trying prescription creams, and showering 2-3x a day, nothing helped it go away completely. very frustrating! about 2 weeks ago I came to this website and I am coming back wanting to THANK everyone who mentioned the athletes foot anti-fungus creams!!! omg!! I happened to have some in the medicine cabinet and right away applied to the affected area. The next morning the itching was gone. The smell and the rash were still there but I continued to use it everyday, I would wash the area twice a day and apply the athletes foot cream to the affected area.
    After about a week, it stopped smelling and the rash was getting smaller. Today is 2 weeks since I started using the cream, and the brown rash is about 80% gone. My skin is soft and smells clean. Even after an entire day out in the sun. I am so happy this thing is almost gone! Hopefully in one week’s time, this thing is completely gone!

    • Renee

      After reading your comment, I realized I have anti fungal foot spray. I just applied a light spray. We’ll see what happens today. The itching is driving me bananas!

  12. von

    I get this a lot but I get it on my hips, the odd time I’ve had it in the creases of my elbow and behind my knees but its worse when I get it on my hips.
    It starts off like a tiny red rash and then gets bigger and itchy and then I feel quite warm and sweaty. It looks like nappy rash I thought it was due to my intolerances as I do have some. I found the only thing that helped it was athletes foot powder as it keeps it dry and it soon starts to dry out, any other type of cream like fungal cream makes it worse as its moist then. Tonight I’ve tried the cornflour (corn starch) as above so will see if this helps.

  13. babs

    I started with itchiness and raised pimple like spots a few months ago in my groin and under my bust. It drives me crazy. My doctor prescribed a cream called canestan. I have never had this problem before. But over the last few years my joints have worn away through arthritis, I’ve had 4 replacements up to now but last op I ended up on life support in a coma. I’m now in a wheelchair on lots of medication. Put lots of weight on.
    Could my medication be a cause? I just don’t know but so many things have and are still going wrong. I have carers 3 times daily they put creams on me could I have picked up something from them or vice versa. They never wear gloves. Anybody have advice on this please?

    • Allison

      Hi Babs, my suggestion for you is to definitely try powder in those areas. Gold Bond is our household favorite.

      Just a FYI to you after being in the hospital a lot of times people will pick up a staph infection of some kind, and meds can bring that on also. So, if it persists you make want to get checked out and start something to help relieve it.

  14. Jag

    I’ve had the same problems under my left breast. I tried prescription Nystatin, but the area continues to be moist and it really hasn’t changed much. For a few weeks, I’ve been applying a powder for atheletes foot I found at Walgreens. It really seems to be helping a lot. I live in a very hot and humid climate, so I have a horrible problem with sweating under my breasts. I cut up a 100% cotton washcloth into several strips a couple inches long and put that in my bra! directly on top of the rash after applying the powder. I’ve also tried putting a cotton sock inside out in my bra. Something that is very absorbent that keeps the area very dry. The rash has dried out a lot, but isn’t gone yet. My doctor said that I needed to continue using the powder for at least 2 weeks after the rash is completely gone. I think that is why so many people have reoccurrences. There is still yeast on the skin after the symptoms are gone. Try the washcloth or cotton socks too. They really keep you dry. Just make sure it’s 100% cotton. Polyester or nylon will trap moisture.

  15. ds

    A & D Ointment!!!! LOVE IT :) Absolute relief like magic. 3 days it will be better!! Been to doctors and no relief. Then a guy, yes a guy, told me this is what they use in the South for rashes. It worked first time like magic. Keep a jar on hand always now, it’s like a miracle in a jar with a multitude of uses. Try it ladies, and cross off Booby rash off your list and start enjoying your DDs again!!! YAY!!!

  16. rh

    I have had this same problem and have found lemongrass oil to be highly effective. I found a store that mixed it with Shea butter and it is amazing!!!

  17. lg

    also use a vinegar wash 3 times a day this really helps

  18. PT

    This is so true!! when I was in the hospital having my first child, part of the nurses daily routine was to put the heat lamp on the stiches for – as you say – 20 minutes or so. They had wooden boxes with a hole cut in it the size of the bulb and then the heat lamp was attached inside the box. They’d set the box in the bed with the lamp aimed at the sore area, and it felt wonderful!!

  19. Sue

    I started with a rash on the back of my left knee during the summer. I thought I had got bitten by a spider and it was itchy. Two weeks ago I asked my husband to look at the back of my knee and he said it was a mess. I used bleach and water to clean it and put medicated powder on it and it seemed to clear up. It now has broken out again and I now have the same thing under my breast and stomach flap. I have used bleach and water, apple cider vinegar, benadryl cream for itching, cortisone cream etc. and nothing is working. I am on my way to buy some monistat vaginal cream. I am red and sore. Using ice packs to soothe. I will let you know if it works.

  20. DH

    Like so many others, I have had recurring yeast problems under my breasts and in my groin area for years. I’ve used prescription creams or ointments which help for a while, then they don’t. I’ve dried with a hair dryer, used Gold Bond powder in the green can, and most all of the other remedies mentioned here. Then I got to thinking: coconut oil really helped my face clear up from eczema, psoriasis, and dry skin, I wonder if it would help with this? So I tried it, and so far (about 10 days) it has kept my skin clean and clear without using the hair dryer or any powders. I don’t know how well it will work long term, but so far I’m happy with the results.

  21. Kat

    I’m in tears right now because after reading some of the comments, I’m sure I have diabetes. It runs in my family. I’m probably 40-50 pounds overweight and have a terrible addiction to sugar. I first had this fungus show up in between the top part of my buttocks. I was at my dermatologist for something else and she prescribed a cream that the pharmacy had to make. Well, it’s been back but, when I started having the same slimy itchy feeling under my right breast which has been driving me crazy.
    I’m in my late 50’s and haven’t had my blood sugar checked for years. My dad died from diabetes and it was something I never wanted to have. I also have neuropathy in my feet and that’s also a sign of diabetes but, neither my podiatrist nor my pain doctor mentioned diabetes as being a possibility.
    So, tomorrow, I’ll call my regular doctor and ask to schedule a blood test asap. Thank you to Tigerthorn and to everyone else who shared their personal information. I’ll post back after I get the results. I think I’ve known it was diabetes but, just didn’t want to know. If you have similar symptoms, including being overweight, please call your doctor and get a blood glucose test. My dad got Type 2 diabetes when he was in his 40’s.
    Good luck to all. It helps knowing I’m not alone.

    • Maggie

      Hi Kat,
      I was reading up on smelly rashes under the breast as I have been suffering with them myself ,I came across your post and it resonated with me ,I am in my late 40’s and also have neuropathy so I am interested in knowing whether you did have a test for diabetes and what the outcome was? I sincerely hope that all turned out ok for you :)
      Warm regards

  22. LC Wallace

    I have had this problem for years especially in summer I use Johnson baby powder with cornstarch always works, I am going to try the antiperspirant, sounds good.

  23. Liz

    After getting an awful red rash under my breasts that was going pimply I had no idea how to clear it up. I did know it had ti be kept dry. So not knowing much I showered, dried under breasts well then put some good old fashioned savlon cream on rash and then plain talcum powder. I repeated this before and after work and left my bra off as much as possible. Within 36 hours it had totally cleared up. It might have been luck but I will try it again if it ever comes back.

  24. Li

    I have always been large chested- since I was 14. I’ve never had yeast under my breasts, until now at 41!
    I took a new antibiotic a few months ago and this rash keeps coming with a vengeance! My gyn put me on a 5 day course of diflucan and it seemed to work for about 2 weeks- I kept putting desitin on after it healed. It came back 5 days ago and is worse than last time!
    Tonight I tried my moms old remedy for after she had babies to help stitches heal and reduce itching in vagina. I tried this once for yeast infection and immediately felt relief. Take a small lamp and using a regular bulb that produces heat- 40-60 watt, hold close to area with yeast for about 20 min- do twice a day- I tried this tonight by holding my husbands drop light and holding it over the rash for 20 minutes- amazing how quickly it stopped the itching- I have wanted to scratch my skin off for days- I then followed up w a little aloe Vera gel so skin doesn’t dry out-

  25. Eileen

    Antiperspirants do work for some people – including me. Using my underarm deodorant under my breasts is the only way I have been able to prevent chronic rashes, itching and infections.

  26. Tigerthorn

    Wow, I have read all these posts, and need to re-iterate. Anyone with constant re-occurring fungal infection, ask your doctor about type 2 diabetes symptoms! After going over this forum, I am so surprised no one has mentioned it. A lot of you mention that you are bigger ladies, (as am I), and that is also a helpful clue, and if your getting treatments for it and it’s still coming back every couple of months I urge you to get a blood glucose test.
    Abnormally high sugar levels in your blood will provide a constant food source for any type of fungal infection. Even if you aren’t prone to sugary foods, the amount you can consume with just a regular to higher carb diet is unbelievable. Someone even mentioned that it happens after bouts of indulgence! I really think the medical profession needs to step up, because you seem to be getting band-aid solutions for a deeper problem. Of course this won’t be the case with everyone, but like I said, it should definitely be something to look into of your problem is re-occurring.
    Also, do NOT use corn starch as, yes, this will feed the fungus. Oh, and my experience is that I have had gestational diabetes with both of my pregnancies, and have seen nutritionists and diabetes educators.

  27. SH

    I would just like to note, for a lot of people here, if this and thrush in other areas is a constant re-occurring problem, you may want to be checked out for type 2 diabetes. Constant thrush can be a very common first indication of diabetes, due to the fact that an abnormal presence of sugar in your system will also give a constant food source to fungal infections. That may be why they keep coming back no matter how much treatment you give them.

  28. SS

    Don’t listen to the person saying to use antiperspirants; they’ll clog pores. Use vinegar or cornstarch and zinc oxide powders

  29. Janet

    Does this really work? .. I don’t even know how long I had this but I’m scared that I’m to live with this forever it’s embarrassing.

What Do You Think?

We invite you to share your thoughts with others, but remember that our comment section is a public forum. Please do not use your full first and last name if you want to keep details of your medical history anonymous. A first name and last initial or a pseudonym is acceptable. Advice from other commenters on this website is not a substitute for medical attention. Do not stop any medicine without checking with the prescriber. Stopping medication suddenly could result in serious harm. We expect comments to be civil in tone and language. By commenting, you agree to abide by our commenting policy and website terms & conditions. Comments that do not follow these policies will not be posted.