23 Jun Do You Have a Chest Rash?
The term “rash” is used to describe skin that has changed in color, texture, or appearance. It’s one of the most common reasons patients visit Spectrum Dermatology, and we are now offering virtual dermatology consultations so you can see an expert about your rash from the comfort of your own home. Rashes vary a lot in appearance and might be localized or affect nearly any part of your body. They can be itchy, warm, dry, blistered, swollen, bumpy, cracked, chapped, and of course painful. The rash might help confirm a certain condition, such as measles, or you might start working with your dermatologist to determine the cause of your rash, such as a food allergy or medication.
Rashes can be caused by anxiety, a fungal infection, vaccination reaction, eczema, friction, or many other causes. The type and location of your rash is the first thing a doctor will look at as they start to eliminate causes and arrive at a diagnosis. So, what does it mean if you have a rash on your chest or breast? Like any other rash, there can be numerous causes, but two of the most common are heat and your seatbelt.
What Happens When a Rash Occurs
As we ease into summer, the humidity can block sweat glands. This means sweat can’t escape through your pores and gets stuck under the skin. This results in a rash. When caused by heat or humidity, it’s sometimes called a “heat rash” and you might notice that it goes away as soon as you cool down. However, if your chest rash is caused by a seatbelt—whether it’s from friction or an allergen such as a detergent that’s embedded in the seatbelt’s fibers—cooling down won’t help. Consider exactly where your seatbelt lays across your chest. Does it coincide with a rash? Pain? If so, it might be time to change your seatbelt, add a padded cushion to minimize friction, or rinse it to wash away any allergens.
An allergic reaction is called dermatitis. Allergens can be just about anything, from the metal used in jewelry to a perfume scent. It’s also very possible to develop an allergy to a product that you’ve used for years. This can make determining the allergen very tricky and requires you to work closely with a doctor to rule out potential causes. “New” allergies can appear suddenly and in some cases they can be severe. If the rash is centralized to your chest, think about what items or products you regularly encounter that are restricted to this area. A bra, chest heart rate monitor, necklace, or other item might be the culprit.
Why Chests are Breeding Grounds
Our chests are relatively warm areas of our body, making them ideal for yeast infections, fungal growths, and bacterial growths. There’s a chance that your chest rash is actually an infection, especially if it’s itchy, dry, red, and/or rough. The good news is that the vast majority of rashes aren’t dangerous, but they can definitely be uncomfortable to live with. Any kind of rash, no matter the cause, should be taken care of by your dermatologist.
There’s also a chance that your chest just happens to be a hot spot for eczema, psoriasis, or seborrheic dermatitis. These are very common skin conditions that can appear anywhere on the body. Your chest might also be infected with Candida, which is the same fungus that causes thrush and diaper rash. This particular type of yeast infection thrives in warm, moist areas and usually presents as a dry rash with cracked skin.
The Best Chest Care
Women are also at risk of an infection known as mastitis. This rash is more likely when a woman is breastfeeding, but it can happen to virtually any woman. It occurs when milk is “trapped” or when bacteria enters the breast (most often via a cracked nipple). Mastitis looks like red, patchy skin and is associated with breast tenderness.
When you get a rash, it’s easy to panic—especially for women who have a rash on their breasts. Most of the time these rashes aren’t life-threatening. Inflammatory breast cancer might look like a skin rash, but the National Cancer Institute reports that just 1 – 5 percent of all breast cancer cases in the US are inflammatory breast cancer and therefore you don’t need to panic and should simply call your dermatologist. Spectrum Dermatology is here for all your skin rash needs, virtually or in person. Call our office at (480) 948-8400 to book your appointment.