Breast dryness is dryness of the breast's skin on or around your nipple and outward toward the rest of your body. Many habits, factors and conditions cause such dryness -- each with their own accompanying symptoms and treatment options. Understanding the possible symptoms and causes of dryness on one or both breasts may help you and your physician promptly reach a diagnosis and treatment.
Your breast dryness may be from sunburn caused by sunbathing topless. You may also be experiencing dryness due to environmental factors, such as winter weather or a continually dry climate. Also, chemicals, soaps or fabrics that have continual contact with your breasts may irritate your skin and cause dryness and itchiness. Other possible causes include hot showers, frequent swimming and heating agents or central air, which reduce the humidity in the room.
Breast dryness is a symptom of breast cancer. Accompanying signs and symptoms of breast cancer include a lump felt inside the breast, as well as itchiness, fluid leakage from the nipple and a dimple in the overlying skin. Your dry skin may also accumulate and scale on the breast. Consult your physician if you have one or more of these symptoms. If you have already been diagnosed, radiation treatment may be causing the dryness.
Treatment of your breast dryness will depend on the cause. Applying moisturizer three to four times daily may be the only treatment you'll need for winter-weather dryness, sunburn and irritation. It may also help eliminate any accompanying itchiness. For irritation, eliminate any possible skin-affecting culprits, such as harsh or chemical-laden soaps and itchy fabrics like wool. Also try showering with a gentler water temperature if showers seem to cause dryness and redness, and pat dry your breasts after showering. Look to humidifiers for relief from dry air, and use heaters or central air sparingly.
Other possible culprits include psoriasis and hypothyroidism. Psoriasis is a skin condition marked by a buildup of dry, rough skin cells. These skin cells build rapidly, causing a scaling appearance on any part of the body. Accompanying symptoms include itchiness, burning and soreness. Hypothyroidism can also cause dryness. The condition causes low thyroid hormone levels, resulting in a lack of sweat gland and oil gland activity and subsequently dry skin. Consult your physician for proper diagnosis and treatment recommendations.
- MayoClinic.com; Dry Skin; Mayo Clinic staff; Nov. 23, 2010
- Viewspoint; Breast Cancer Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment; Dec. 14, 2010
- MayoClinic.com; Breast Cancer Radiation: Can It Cause Dry Skin?; Sandhya Pruthi, MD; Nov. 11, 2010
- MayoClinic.com; Psoriasis: Symptoms; Mayo Clinic staff; Nov. 4, 2009
- University of Iowa Health Care; Winter Dry Skin; Department of Dermatology; Modified Aug. 7, 2006
- FamilyDoctor.org; Skin Problems: Dry, Itchy Skin; S. Moses, MD; Dec 2010