Pimple-Like Bumps on the Breast

Picture of a fit woman holding lotion over her body
Some bumps are totally normal. (Image: macniak/iStock/GettyImages)

Pimples or bumps that merely look like pimples can appear anywhere on the body, but it can be disconcerting when a bump shows up on the breast. With so much concern over breast cancer and other abnormalities, a pimple-like bump on or around the nipple could cause you to panic.

Thankfully, most odd little bumps on the breast are nothing to be concerned about, though it's never a bad idea to see your doctor if the spot seems like something more sinister.

Possible Causes

The majority of causes of acne on the breast or normal are innocuous. However, one sign of breast cancer can be a pimple that's not healing, so it's important to keep an eye on the issue.

  • Acne on the breast can occur at any time of life, though it is most common during puberty and around menses in adult women, and anywhere on the body with hair follicles. If a hair follicle on your breast gets clogged with oil, dirt and dead skin cells, it will form a pimple. While it is nothing to be concerned about, acne can scar if left untreated. Avoid breast acne by using antibacterial soap or an anti-acne cleanser while showering, and then dry the the area thoroughly.
  • Clogged Montgomery glands can cause a pimple-like bump on the nipple. These glands produce a lubricant to keep the nipple protected. They are most common in women older than 30, as well as women who are pregnant.
  • Fungal infections, such as yeast infections, can cause a rash with bumps that look like pimples. The breasts are an area that often gets sweaty and retains moisture, they're a breeding ground for yeast, which favor damp environments. A yeast infection would likely appear in the fold beneath the breasts as a red, itchy and inflamed rash.
  • It's very unlikely that the cause is breast cancer, but it shouldn't be ruled out entirely. In this case, the spot might look like a red or purple pimple without a head, with thicker or puckered skin.

Treating the Bumps

Treatment for pimple-like bumps on the breast will depend on their cause. For acne, washing the area twice a day with a mild cleanser and applying an over-the-counter acne cream that contains benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid should do the trick.

Montgomery glands are normal and require no treatment. A yeast infection in the skin folds of the breast will require the application of a topical anti-fungal cream available over-the-counter or by prescription. Eating less sugar and supplementing with probiotics may also help cure the infection.

If you note a bump that could be IBC, make an appointment with your doctor immediately. This is an aggressive form of cancer, so a health care provider should look at the spot quickly.

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