7 Possible Reasons Why You Can't Stop Scratching Your Boobs

Of all the inconvenient places to have itchy skin, your breasts and nipples rank pretty high. I mean, you can’t just rub calamine lotion all over your boobs at any given moment. And reaching down your shirt to scratch those itchy nipples would probably be pretty awkward in any setting.

7 Possible Reasons Why You Can't Stop Scratching Your Boobs


But don’t worry—you’re not doomed to feeling yourself up in public for eternity. There are a bunch of reasons why you may be experiencing itchy breasts—and most of them are pretty harmless.
Still, if itching is actually driving you crazy, it's best to book an appointment with your ob-gyn or derm. In the meantime, here are 7 potential reasons why you just can't stop scratching your boobs, and what you can do about each one.

1. It's super dry outside.

The skin around your nipples is a lot more sensitive than the skin on other parts of your body, says Dr. Zeichner. This may make it more prone to irritation, dryness, and inflammation, especially in dryer weather. "Cold, dry weather strips the skin of essential oils, disrupting the outer skin layer, resulting in loss of hydration, and inflammation," explains Dr. Zeichner.


This content is imported from {embed-name}. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.If you're experiencing dry or flaky skin, he suggests applying a moisturizer to help repair the skin barrier.

2. You have thyroid issues.

The thyroid is involved in the regulation of several organs, including your skin. "We know that when thyroid hormone levels are low, the skin can become dry which leads to itching," says Dr. Zeichner. But itchy nipples aren't the only possible symptom of thyroid issues. Other symptoms include changes in your appetite, muscle aches and fatigue, among others.


If you suspect you're having thyroid issues based on your symptoms, consult your doctor, who can refer you to an endocrinologist if necessary.

3. You're heading into menopause.

Hormonal changes occur during menopause, like a drop in estrogen production. Now that your body's producing less estrogen, the end of menstruation can also have an effect on your skin too, says ob-gyn Felice Gersh, MD. "Menopause is a state of estrogen deficiency, and estrogen is key to maintaining healthy skin. Without it, the skin atrophies and becomes drier."


One way to avoid itchy nipples caused by menopause is to use a topical estrogen treatment, says Dr. Gersh. Consult your doctor about menopause hormone prescriptions.

4. You have eczema.

Eczema is a genetic skin disorder often made worse by environmental exposures, says Kari Martin, MD, associate professor of dermatology at the University of Missouri School of Medicine.
An eczema rash has a pretty specific look; it's often categorized as small raised bumps or reddish patches on the skin, and it can definitely show up on your nipples. But Dr. Martin says the rash will likely appear on both your nipples and breasts.


Dr. Martin recommends avoiding harsh soaps and moisturizing the skin regularly with an emollient such as petroleum jelly. You can also try an OTC hydrocortisone ointment twice a day for up to two weeks, but check with your dermatologist if your eczema flare-up doesn’t clear up after that.

5. You have psoriasis.

Like eczema, psoriasis is another skin condition—but this one is caused by an autoimmune disorder. 
Psoriasis also has a tell-tale look: red, scaly plaques on the skin, most commonly on the outsides of your elbows and knees, says Dr. Martin. But the rash can appear anywhere–including your breasts and nipples.
You'll want to see a dermatologist for this one too, but in the meantime, Dr. Martin recommends trying hydrocortisone ointment for any psoriasis-related itching.

6. You've had radiation therapy for breast cancer.
Radiation therapy for breast cancer can lead to a specific type of dermatitis (aka inflammation of the skin), and Dr. Martin says the itching can start right after the patch of skin has been exposed to radiation, or even months or years later. 

“It occurs because of damage and scarring [from] the radiation beams passing through the skin to deeper tissues,” she explains. “It usually presents as broken blood vessels and firmness of the skin; it may be painful, itchy, or have no associated symptoms at all.”


Like with most forms of dermatitis, moisturizing is key. But sometimes stronger topical corticosteroids are needed, in which case Dr. Martin recommends heading to your ob-gyn.

7. You're pregnant.
If you’re expecting, you can also expect some itching to go along with that growing baby bump. Dr. Gore says normal physiological changes that occur during pregnancy, like the enlargement of the breasts in preparation for lactation, can be enough to cause a woman’s boobs to itch.

“As the skin stretches to accommodate the [growing] breasts, it often becomes dry and irritated,” she explains. “Some women develop stretch marks, which irritates the skin even more.”


The best way to manage symptoms? Keep the skin moisturized with topical lotions—specifically unscented ones, to avoid further irritation, says Dr. Gore.

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