2:03 pm - 07/11/2009

Help for dry skin on breasts?

For as long as I can remember, the skin on my breasts has been very dry.  Flaking, peeling, crocodile skin.  It doesn't hurt or itch at all--it's just dry.  The dryness is primarily on the lower parts of the breast and the inner parts (like, if you push them together, the area where they touch each other).

I decided to do something about it this summer.  I started moisturizing the trouble areas intensely--with really thick lotions and even pure Shea butter.  It took 2 weeks, but it seemed to work.

After about 3 weeks, though, suddenly I was back to square one.  It's like within two days, everything I had done reversed itself.

The only thing I can think of is that I started going out more...and therefore wearing bras more.  I wear sports bras, because I find regular ones to be horribly uncomfortable.  This probably isn't the best thing, because I'm at least a D-cup.

Does anyone have any suggestions about what I could do to get rid of this dry skin?  Thanks in advance!
_all_by_myself 11th-Jul-2009 06:17 pm (UTC)
cocoa butter or pure vitamin e oil may be the best if the skin is that bad. but once you get it to "normal" you'd have start using a regular moisturizer daily.
fireaphid 11th-Jul-2009 07:20 pm (UTC)
It might help to find the cause of the dry skin. It's pretty common to get a fungal infection of the skin wherever it's moist, which can be a big problem for large breasts. If it is fungal, the infection may have gotten into your bras, so whenever you fix the damage, it comes back when you wear bras more often. If I were you, I'd either wash the hell out of those bras before wearing them again, or ditch them altogether by wearing snug undershirts. You can also try getting an OTC topical antifungal, like the kind marketed for jock itch and diaper rash.
sageautumn 11th-Jul-2009 09:20 pm (UTC)
This would also be my guess. Either a fungal infection or a yeast infection.

Also... might try either boiling your bras for like a minute, or (if there's no underwire) nuking them... just be careful not to do either long enough to scfew up the elastic. (Or maybe your doc can tell you something to wash them in... I've never asked mine... come to think of it, vinegar may work.)
strychnos_nux 11th-Jul-2009 10:41 pm (UTC)
Hmm.

Perhaps I'm wrong, but if it were a fungal infection, wouldn't there be some sign of it other than dry skin? A quick Google of fungal infections suggests that there would probably be some other sign. I have no redness, no itching, no burning, nothing. Just dry skin.

In any case, if this were the problem, would bleach kill any fungus in the bras?

fireaphid 12th-Jul-2009 12:04 am (UTC)
It's definitely possible to have a fungal infection with only one of the symptoms, although most don't stop at just one. I think hot water or any serious laundry soap would kill the fungus, if it's that. Some other ideas that have occurred to me since my original comment are that it's an allergic reaction to laundry detergent, fabric softener, or the elastic in the bra. Actually, using fabric softener could do it even if you're not allergic because it causes the material to repel water, keeping your skin sweatier and exacerbating any other possible skin problem. I also agree with fame_unseen that it could be eczema, which can pop up wherever you least want it, but that would have to be diagnosed by a dermatologist.
strychnos_nux 12th-Jul-2009 12:31 am (UTC)
I don't think it's elastic, because the affected area is nowhere near the elastic band of the bra.

As far as laundry detergent...I suppose it's a possiblity.

What's weird, though, is that the affected area has very minimal contact with the material of the bra itself.

It's like...the bra touches the outer sides of my brests, and lays across the nipples. The area from the nipples "inward" (towards the center of my chest) is barely touched by the bra...and that's the problem area. I have a good 1" gap between my breasts, so I don't think they rub together or anything...

Perhaps I'll start using bleach with them, though.

Also, perhaps I should look for sports bras that have "cups" in them, as opposed to just straight-across ones.

I'll see what I can do. Thank you for the suggestions!
fireaphid 12th-Jul-2009 05:48 am (UTC)
Hmmm, if the irritation were only where the bra touches you, then the allergy idea would be reasonable. Even though the elastic band is at the bottom, the whole thing is elasticized, but if the irritated area is where the bra doesn't touch you, then it definitely sounds like something triggered by sweat. I think a bra with cups would be a good idea, as there will be some fabric between the breasts to absorb sweat and keep it from turning into an infection. Good luck!
fame_unseen 11th-Jul-2009 09:28 pm (UTC)
I've had that problem + I have eczema on my upper arms [and am allerigic to most eczema creams!], so I use Miracle Foot Repair:
http://www.walgreens.com/store/product.jsp?CATID=100136&id=prod381043

I know it's for feet, and I do use it there too, but this stuff I amazing. It smells really nice, and isn't greasy at all. It gets rid of my dryness overnight. I just put it on after my shower.
tokio 11th-Jul-2009 09:51 pm (UTC)
The thing about sports bras is that the less expensive versions (hell, even the moderately-priced versions) offer little breathability because support is the primary function. Breathability is often sacrificed for the sake of support. For the record, I would try some of the bras at Frederick's of Hollywood. They aren't exactly top notch, but they are pretty well made -- when taken care of, they've lasted so much longer than my other bras -- and I find that they're very comfortable and give tons of support to the old DD cups.

To rule out the possibility of a fungal infection, I would buy some OTC antifungal cream and use it as directed. Moisturizing the area at this point might only exacerbate the issue by continuing to throw off the pH balance and allow fungal cultures to develop more strongly. If the problem persists, you probably should see a dermatologist. A fungal infection in this area during heat waves with certain types of clothing is very possible and very common. I really don't see any reason why using the fungal infection cream would harm you if you don't have one, as long as you use it as directed and only do it this once. It's cheaper than going to a doctor, for sure.

Regardless of the fungal infection, I think the primary issue is your clothing. You really should invest in a real bra. Sports bras are very handy... for sports. Wearing one every day can cause an excess growth of fungi or bacteria on the skin because of the build-up of moisture. Also, make sure you're cleaning it after each use. Additionally, if you've changed your bra and tried the antifungal ointment, try rubbing a mixture of olive oil or sweet almond oil mixed with castor oil on your breasts right before your shower. After your shower, pat dry, spray the area with aloe vera juice, then apply a moisturizer or another coat of oil and let it dry naturally. This should help the skin retain moisture. But I really don't think dry skin is the PROBLEM -- I believe it's the symptom.
strychnos_nux 11th-Jul-2009 10:44 pm (UTC)
The thing that baffles me is that the dry areas are in places where the bra doesn't even touch. There's just a big space there. The areas where the bra does touch my skin are absolutely fine.

Also...it's not really an issue of not wanting to invest in real bras. It's an issue of HATING how they feel and being horribly uncomfortable in them. I've tried wearing real bras enough times to say "I'm never doing this again."
tokio 12th-Jul-2009 12:30 am (UTC)
I didn't mean to imply that not wearing real bras was due to financial reasons. Typically, I say "invest" because the word truly does apply. A good quality bra will last a long time, but then the issue is finding one that fits your ideal. What is it about real bras that is so uncomfortable? When I first started wearing bras, I felt the same way about them. I felt the same way about real shoes (by "real," I mean "not ballet slippers," haha) for the majority of my life! Strangely enough, now I love shoes -- I have no clue what changed.

The affected skin doesn't have to touch the bra, especially if it's a fungal infection. It's kind of like a green house effect. I can't really take that parallel very far. Basically, though, the heat building up inside of the bra can cause an overgrowth of fungus or bacteria. The skin basically acts as a waterproofing agent against water loss or water gain. A fungal infection can definitely cause sebaceous glands to underproduce oil.
strychnos_nux 13th-Jul-2009 01:34 am (UTC)
What I don't like about real bras...hmm.

Honestly, I think a good part of it is that I'm just not used to them. I've worn sports bras my whole life. I am now 19...so yeah.

The first thing I don't like is that I feel like I'm falling out of them. It's because they're much lower than sports bras in the front. I've tried many sizes...some too large, some too small. It's the same problem no matter what. I just don't feel like I'm staying in.

Second...well, I guess I have big nipples, lol. And whenever I've tried regular bras (both too large and too small), the edge of the bra never fully covers the nipple...or just barely covers it until I move. My nipples are super sensitive (to the point where I can't even touch them without dicomfort), so the fact that the edge of the bra is constantly rubbing the nipple is just BAD.

Overall, my breasts just don't seem to fit right in regular bras.
tokio 13th-Jul-2009 01:46 am (UTC)
For the first and second problem, it sounds like you aren't getting full-cupped bras. I actually had NO idea they existed until I started shopping at Frederick's. I bought one bra with a full cup and each cup actually covered the ENTIRE boob. Most bras sold in stores are actually semi or demi cups. :\

I had the same problem as you did. My areolas really aren't that large, but I was buying the wrong size of bra, and the bras I did buy were also semi or demi cups instead of full cups. Now that I'm buying the right sized bra, that doesn't happen. And when I'm wearing a full sized cup, it definitely doesn't happen. On the Frederick's website, if you look at any of the bras, most of them will give you an option for what kind of cup you want.
cat_lover 11th-Jul-2009 10:55 pm (UTC)
What sort of soap/body wash are you using? I get exactly the same thing if I accidently use my husband's soap instead of my body wash, and I end up with dry, scaly skin on my breasts.
radicalancient 12th-Jul-2009 05:44 am (UTC)
What you describe sounds like a fungal infection from sweat buildup or lack of air circulation. Try applying a 1:1 vinegar-water mixture to the area, it's always worked really well for any skin infections on both me and my partner.

Also, I'll agree with tokio that a real bra - once you find "The Ones" that fit you right - can work wonders. Just make sure that it's breathable, and not one of those thick, synthetic things.
strychnos_nux 30th-Jul-2009 03:30 am (UTC)
Thanks for the suggestions, everyone! I know it's a little late, but...

Weird ending to this story. I took a loofah to my breasts...like two or three times. And they're like 100% better. The skin is almost totally normal now.

O_o

(Oh, and I just got a bunch of regular bras that I love.)
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