Womens health

Scab on Nipple: 9 Causes and Remedies

Scab on Nipple can be an alarming sign of some major diseases of the breast. So, let’s learn what causes Scab on Nipples and what are the remedies for it.

Skin irritation, itchiness, rashes, roughness, scaly or crusty, blisters, etc. are very common skin problems. Our skin covers the whole body from head to toe. It is prone to a lot of discomforts. However, experiencing skin problems in certain parts or organs are alarming. One of those alarming areas is around the breast.

Any minor change in color of skin, irritation, or other problems around the nipple or the areola of the breast is a major cause of concern. You cannot ignore. One of the common problems many women experience is a scab on nipples.

A scab on nipple is very common in the breastfeeding mothers. It also occurs due to many reasons. In a majority of cases, it is difficult to diagnose the breast lesions. Often we tend to fear any abnormality in the breast area is likely to be breast cancer.

While many breastfeeding women tend to ignore the scab on nipple, it becomes a severe concern when they experience soreness, pain, and feel a lot of discomforts. Whether or not you breastfeed, when you notice a small scab on the nipple, don’t hesitate to get a proper consultation. It is vital to seek a medical diagnosis from a dermatologist to find the exact causes of the scab on nipple.

A scab on nipple indicates flaky, dry skin and cracks in the nipple area. A scab on nipples doesn’t mean a symptom or a warning sign of breast cancer. Hormonal imbalance, extreme climatic conditions, exposure to skin irritations, etc. also cause scab on nipples. If you want to know ‘why do I have a scab on nipples’ read the following causes!

Causes of the Scab on Nipple:

scab on nipple
Scab on nipple
Image source: matanaga.com

One of the few major concerns of new moms is a lot of them develop wounds in nipples. Breastfeeding is difficult in the initial few days after delivery. Sore and cracked nipples prohibit proper breastfeeding.  In many cases, the wounds in and around nipples form a scab. Scabs form naturally to prevent the outbreak of the wound.

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Formation of scabs on nipple during breastfeeding acts as a natural barrier. It cut down the risk of outbreaks. A scan on nipples during pregnancy is a temporary problem. You can consult your physician or a lactation specialist to heal the scab on nipple.

Scab on nipples during pregnancy:

During pregnancy, women experience a lot of hormonal fluctuations.

The areola, which indicates the skin around the nipples, undergoes a lot of changes during pregnancy. Enlargement of skin, heavy breasts, thicker skin, change in color of the skin, etc. are the common changes that most pregnant women undergo. These changes are quite natural. It enables your body to adapt to pregnancy and prepares for breastfeeding.

So, during the transitions, the skin around the nipple gets exposed to crack, soreness, and scabs. Thus, scan on nipple during pregnancy is also very common until the end of the gestation period.

Early leakage of colostrum:

While some pregnant women may escape from getting a scab on nipples in spite of going through a lot of changes, leakage of colostrum causes small scab on nipples. During the third trimester, many pregnant women leak colostrum. It leads to cracks and scaly skin on nipples, which turns into scabs on nipple.

In some cases, the dried colostrum also appears like a scab on nipple.

Breast ulceration:

Many factors can lead to breast ulceration. Piercing the breasts, radiation therapy, poor hygiene, milk ducts blockage, infection, etc. causes breast ulceration.  It tightens the areola of the nipples, which form into a scab on nipple.

Paget’s disease:

It is a form of cancer, which affects the nipples. The symptoms of the Paget’s disease have additional signs to identify this condition. Scabs or a scab on nipples caused by Paget’s disease also accompanies other symptoms like redness, swelling, irritation, and itchiness on nipples.

While in other conditions, you develop a scab on nipples. If you develop Paget’s disease, you develop multiple small scabs on nipple.


It is a skin disorder called dermatitis that transforms the appearance of the skin. It leads to the formation of red, scaly, itchy, and cracked skin. When eczema appears on nipples, it forms a scab on nipple.

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This condition is specifically called breast eczema. It causes painful fissures in the breast.

Injury or trauma:

There are women with certain lifestyle or profession prone to injuries in the breast area. For instance, sportswomen, joggers, women who visit the gym regularly, gymnasts, cyclists, athletes, surfers, etc. The outfits worn by these women cause friction in the breast area and leads to injury. Runners are prone to nipple injuries, which is likely to form into a scab on nipple.

Inappropriate bras:

About 70% women population in the world seem to wear the bra in a wrong size, or that doesn’t fit perfectly! Whom to blame? Not just the size, but also fabric, comfort, models, brand, etc. should be considered. The wrong choice of bras leads to a lot of discomforts and can lead to the formation of the scabs on nipple.

Herpes and breast lesions:

You can get herpes sore on the breast nipples. It is caused mainly due to sexual activity. Herpes simplex is easily transferred when the partner sucks the nipples.

Sexual intercourse:

Sucking the breast during sexual intercourse is a common act. Sometimes, it causes fissures or leads to herpes as stated above. Getting intimate with rough act also leads to the formation of scabs on nipples.

Is formation of a scab on nipple dangerous?

We have seen a lot of causes that forms a scab of nipples, from poor hygiene to cancer. However, scab itself is not a disease. Rather it is an indication, could be a positive indication which serves a dual purpose.

If you examine the causes of the scabs on nipples, you can easily find out a secret behind it. In most cases your body from the scabs on nipples as a part of a sign of healing.

Formation of a scab on nipple is an indication of the healing process. It forms as a protective shield on and around the wounded area on the breast. It prevents infections and supports in healing.

Why do I have a scab on nipples – two reasons:

  • It indicates that something is wrong in the nipple area
  • It is formed to protect from further aggravation or infection of the wound

So, scabs on nipples are a clear indication of a skin problem in the breast, which needs your attention. Now, let’s look into the remedies to get rid of a scab on nipples.

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Remedies for a Scab on Nipple:

Remedies for the scabs on nipples can be classified into two categories.

  • When you are pregnant or if you are a breastfeeding mother
  • When you are not pregnant

In either case, if you notice a scab on nipples, do not attempt to remove it. It aggravates the wound.

Remedies for the scabs on nipple if you are pregnant and/or if you breastfeed:

A scab on nipples is a temporary problem for the pregnant and breastfeeding women, managing the condition is easy.

  • Apply lanolin cream on the affected nipple. It promotes quick healing.
  • If you find it difficult to latch the baby, squeeze the milk using hand or breast pump and feed the baby.
  • Apply the breast milk on the scabs. It also promotes quick healing.
  • Give a gentle massage to the breast and nipple area with warm water.
  • Choose to wear the appropriate brazier that is light, airy, and comfortable.
  • You can buy a nipple shield to prevent further pressure on the nipples.
  • Avoid using any scented solution or fragrance filled soaps or lotions to apply on the scabs.

If you do not find any betterment in a few days, and if the pain or soreness doesn’t improve, schedule a visit to a lactation consultant.

Remedies for the scabs on nipple if you are not pregnant:

If the hormones aren’t the culprit, if you don’t breastfeed the baby, you should find out the cause of the scabs on nipples.

Without knowledge, many women tend to pick or pluck the scabs. Never attempt to do it. It worsens the wound and delays the healing process.

Before giving a visit to a physician, you can try applying petroleum jelly, vitamin E oil, or lanolin. If you stick to hygienic practices and wear proper innerwear, you can find good improvement in a few days.

Do not choose the bras that seam on the nipple. It easily hurts the nipple area and irritates. Always go for the well-fitting bra. Choose the fabric that doesn’t irritate your skin.

You can wash or gently massage the breast in warm water.

When to see a doctor:

Since scabs form to prevent aggravation of any wound, do not try to scratch. If you don’t find any improvement in the symptoms, or if you notice additional symptoms, consult with a physician.

Do not postpone the visit to a physician if the scabs don’t heal in two or three weeks after trying the remedies.

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  1. Thank you for providing information for all women not just women who breast feed. ☮️❤️