Boils are normal and relatively common. They come about when a hair follicle or sweat gland becomes infected. They occur in places where sweat can pool such as your underarms, groin, and facial area.

Under and between your breasts can be an area where the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus can affect your hair follicles or sweat glands.

Under no circumstances should you ever pop or squeeze a boil at home. This can cause additional infection and can result in scarring.

If you’ve had boils — also called furuncles — you may recognize the tender pink bump on your breast.

Usually a boil is a swollen bump under the skin. It may be slightly painful to the touch, when you move, and when your clothing or underwear rub against it. The boil will usually grow larger as pus backs up inside the lesion. Large breast boils may need to be surgically drained by a doctor.

Typical breast boil symptoms include:

  • small lump or bump
  • pinkish-red color
  • yellow or white center
  • weeps or oozes clear, white or yellow liquid

Other symptoms vary from person to person and might include:

Boils are caused by a bacteria growth within a hair follicle or sweat gland and can grow as dead skin and pus builds up behind the follicle. The most common bacteria that causes boils is Staphylococcus aureus. They can also be caused by fungi living on the skin surface.

Frequently, a boil will open and drain on its own if it’s treated correctly.

To treat your breast boil, keep the area clean and avoid picking or squeezing it which can cause additional irritation, swelling, and infection.

Boils need to have pus removed in order to heal. In order for your boil to drain, use a warm compress a few times a day to bring the pus to the surface.

Don’t pop your boil. It’ll eventually open and start draining on its own.

Other tips include:

  • Wash the area with warm clean water.
  • Don’t reuse washcloths or towels without thoroughly cleaning them.
  • Try to remove sweaty clothing as soon as possible.
  • Try to wash the area after any activity.
  • When possible, avoid wearing tight clothing that may rub on the boil.

Once your boil starts draining, keep it covered with a bandage to reduce the spread of infection. If your boil doesn’t begin to drain within two weeks, you should visit a doctor. You may need surgical treatment.

Surgical treatment may involve lancing and draining pus. Additionally, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics such as:

A lesion under or around your breast may not be a boil. If you’re unsure about your condition and have discomfort, visit your doctor to have it diagnosed. Conditions that are similar in appearance include:

While a boil on your breast can be uncomfortable or unsettling, they’re not life threatening and can happen to anyone. The boil will most likely heal itself within one to two weeks.

If your boil isn’t healing after two weeks or if it rapidly increases in size, you should visit a doctor. They will check the area, drain it if needed, and may recommend other treatments, including antibiotics.