Dead Skin on Nipples During Pregnancy – 3 Main Causes and Tips to Help!

Being pregnant means that your body will undergo major changes.

The most common change you can expect to happen is that your belly will grow bigger over the next nine months.

But did you know that there are some changes that not a lot of people know about? 

For example, one pretty common change that happens is having dead skin on nipples during pregnancy

Since it isn’t something that women know about, they start to worry when they encounter having dead skin on their nipples. 

If you are starting to experience this change in your body, you shouldn’t panic at all. There are a number of reasons why you may have dry skin on your nipples. 

Apart from feeling dry, your nipples may even crack or feel itchy. And while this can be worrisome, it’s usually harmless. 

Most of the time, the culprit behind having dead skin on nipples during pregnancy are the hormonal changes that take place in your body. 

But of course, there are other reasons why you may experience this symptom. 

Knowing what these reasons are can be a big help to alleviate what you’re feeling.

You don’t need to rush over to your doctor since you already have an idea on what is causing your nipples to dry up. 

In this article, we’ll discuss these reasons and give you some tips on how you can relieve the dryness. 

What Causes Dead Skin on Nipples During Pregnancy?

You may have started noticing your breasts and nipples becoming dry and itchy. And because of this, you start to wonder what is causing the itch. 

Most of the time, the reason behind the itchiness are your hormones. But your hormones may cause some issues that can lead to dry nipples too.

Here are the common reasons why you may have itchy or dry nipples:

1.) Increase in Progesterone Production

This may sound scary, but it’s actually pretty normal. 

When you become pregnant, the production of progesterone is increased by your ovaries. 

This hormone is necessary because it helps in preparing your uterus for your pregnancy.

At the same time, progesterone helps stop your uterus from contracting and the early release of your baby. 

The hormone is also responsible in stopping your body from releasing more eggs and it sends a signal to your body to prepare for breastfeeding.

As such, your breasts start to swell because of the increased blood flow. Your milk ducts are being prepared for the production of breast milk.

And because of this, you may have enlarged, sore breasts and nipples while you are pregnant. 

As your skin expands, you will start to get itchy skin, dry, irritated nipples, and stretch marks. 

All of this is pretty normal in pregnancy since it prepares your body for breastfeeding your baby. 

The production of progesterone usually peaks by your 8th week of pregnancy. But it will continue to increase throughout your second and third trimester. 

2.) Eczema

Unfortunately, the increase in the production of your hormones can also lead to pregnancy-related eczema

You may start noticing dry, itchy patches on your breasts and other parts of your body. Eczema can also cause dry, scaly, and cracked nipples. 

This is a common skin condition that women experience during their pregnancy

Eczema usually starts occurring in the first two trimesters of pregnancy. 

If your doctor identifies it as eczema, you will need to avoid certain lotions, soaps, or detergents as these can make it worse. 

The best way to deal with eczema is to keep irritated skin moisturized. Use cocoa butter or shea butter moisturizer. And after showering, dry your skin completely. 

3.) Yeast Infection

Another reason why you may be having dead skin on your nipples is a yeast infection, or Candida Albicans. 

This is a condition that is normally part of your body’s microbiome. Usually, they can be found in the mouth, gut, and vagina. 

But when you’re pregnant, your immune system is suppressed. And this can let you be susceptible for overgrowth of Candida, or Candidiasis. 

When you have a yeast infection on your nipple, the infection is called nipple thrush.

Apart from having dry or shiny skin on your nipple, you may feel a burning sensation in the area. 

To treat the symptom at home, it’s best to let your breasts air out without any covering. If you must, wear a thin cotton bra or loose shirt so you can increase airflow. 

Make sure to wash clothes that come in contact with your breasts using hot water so that the fungus can be killed.  

And don’t forget to see your doctor to get an antifungal prescription. 

Common Questions of Dry Nipples During Pregnancy

Having dead skin on nipples during pregnancy may be pretty scary, especially if it’s your first time to encounter it. 

But doctors advice that it is usually not something to be worried about.

If you have other more serious symptoms, however, you need to visit your doctor to get treated right away. 

1.) How to Clean Dry Nipples

One thing you need to know about caring for dry nipples is that you need to do it gently. 

Use a warm, wet, soft cloth to clean dry nipples. Pat gently and avoid rubbing the area too much. 

Avoid using soap when you’re cleaning the breast area as it could get irritated. 

Another option is to use oil to clean the dry skin from your nipples. 

2.) Tips to Relieve Dry Nipples

To treat dry skin on your nipples, you will need to know what is causing it. 

If your doctor says that it is hormonal, you can follow these tips to soothe the dry area:

  • Wear loose clothes
  • Apply nipple cream to dry, cracked nipples
  • Use a lightweight cotton bra
  • Don’t use soap to wash your breasts
  • Use a gentle moisturizer

3.) Best Products to Use on Dry Nipples

As mentioned, you need to keep the area moisturized so it doesn’t get irritated. 

If you plan to use a lotion, make sure you avoid products that contain fragrances or harsh chemicals. Go for something that contains gentler, natural ingredients. 

Some of our recommendations include coconut oil, shea butter, cocoa butter, and gentle nipple creams. 

4.) When to See a Doctor

If you continue to have dry skin on your nipples despite your efforts in treating the condition, it may be best to see a doctor. 

This is particularly true if you have other symptoms, such as abnoral nipple discharge. 

You may have a more serious issue, which requires a trip to your doctor. Here are some of the symptoms you need to look out for:

  • Bloody nipple discharge
  • Lump in your breast with discharge
  • Yellowish discharge
  • Oozing sores on nipples
  • Bleeding cracked nipples
  • Suddenly inverted nipples

If you have any of these symptoms, see your doctor right away. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is it normal for nipples to peel during pregnancy?

Your body is undergoing several changes during your pregnancy.

And because of the increase in production of hormones in your body, you may have dry nipples that start to peel. 

Nipple fissures commonly occur in pregnant and breastfeeding women. But if you are worried about it, you can talk to your doctor to know what is causing it. 

How do I get rid of crusty nipples during pregnancy?

During your pregnancy, you want to make sure that your skin stays soft and hydrated.

This is why it is important that you know how to properly care of your crusty nipples during pregnancy. 

The first thing you have to remember is to avoid rubbing the area excessively as it will only cause further irritation. 

You also need to steer clear of using ordinary soap to clean your breast. Instead, you simply need to pat dry your nipple with a warm, wet, and soft cloth. 

You can also gently rub your nipples with oil to keep it moisturized. 

Why do my nipples have crust on them?

Your nipple does not really have a crust. It’s more of the discharge from your nipple that has already dried out. 

When this happens, it starts to form a crusty scale that may look worrisome and unappealing. 

In most circumstances, there is no cause for concern about nipple discharge; especially when you’re pregnancy. 

But if you’re really worried, you can visit your doctor to get checked.

This is because the discharge may be from cysts in your breasts, an infection, or a non-cancerous tumor. 

Is Taking a Milk Bath Safe during pregnancy? 

Yes, milk baths during pregnancy are safe and effectively soothe dry skin. They eradicate dead skin cells and hydrate dry skin.

However, women allergic to milk products should avoid milk baths.

Other precautions to consider when taking a milk bath during pregnancy is that the bath water should be warm instead of hot and don’t spend too much time in the bathtub (maximum of ten minutes).

Also, use pasteurized milk instead of non-pasteurized, which can contain harmful bacteria.

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