We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Are the Common Causes of Flaky Nipples?

By Valerie Goldberg
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A person who is plagued by flaky nipples may experience soreness, burning and pain. Despite the uncomfortable symptoms, having flaky nipples is usually not something a person should be alarmed about. There are several common causes of this condition. They include eczema of the nipples, sunburn, dry skin and the use of certain medications. There are home remedies and prescription medications that can help a person to find relief from any discomfort caused by this.

One of the most common causes of flaky nipples is eczema of the nipples. A person who is prone to eczema on other spots of his or her body may eventually develop nipple eczema. Breastfeeding mothers may be at extra risk of developing nipple eczema. Sufferers can use lotion or water to hydrate the nipple. If the eczema does not clear up on its own or becomes excessively painful, a doctor may prescribe a prescription steroid cream to help.

Tanning bed users and those who sunbathe topless should be aware that flaky skin, including on the nipples, may result. A person who gets sunburn or dry skin on his or her nipples can experience flaking. People who have nipple flaking caused by sun exposure should keep their breast shaded from both natural and artificial sunlight until the flaking clears up. If a person is in pain from the flaking, then he or she can use powder, a moisturizer or a warm bath as a way to find relief. Women may find it difficult to wear a bra until the flaking heals.

Some medications also can cause this condition. Birth control pills are sometimes to blame for causing this symptom as a side effect. A woman who has just started taking a new type of birth control pill and notices flaky nipples should discuss the situation with her gynecologist. Anytime a person begins a new medication of any class and notices nipple flaking, he or she should consult a doctor or pharmacist.

Nipple flaking is not a serious issue most of the time. There is one rare form of breast cancer, known as Paget's disease of the nipple. This type of cancer can have flaking nipples as a symptom. The odds of having this illness are not high for most but, if a woman has a history of breast cancer in her family, is a breast cancer survivor, or feels a lump in her breast, then she should see a specialist just in case.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By browncoat — On Oct 04, 2012

@Iluviaporos - That's the worst thing about breastfeeding. It can be a wonderful experience, but you do have to remember that nipples aren't completely invulnerable and they do put up with a lot of rough treatment, particularly when they are dealing with an older infant.

Even if you don't get cracked nipples, just getting flaky nipples can be a bit disconcerting, so I think it's better to start treating them before it happens, even if it's just a little bit, so that you can prevent them from going wrong in the first place.

By lluviaporos — On Oct 03, 2012

@umbra21 - I would suggest to anyone suffering from this to try the creams that they have for women that get cracked and flaky nipples during breast feeding.

But don't ever try to do it the other way around. Remember that the creams they formulate for mothers are going to be safe for kids to eat, whereas the ones they formulate for athletes aren't going to take that into account. Don't take for granted that the mother's ones are going to be food safe as well, but they will probably put it on the packaging when they are.

By umbra21 — On Oct 02, 2012

Something else that can cause flaky nipples is running without the proper clothes. Long distance runners often realize that there's a hidden danger in that your shirt might chafe against anything that sticks out, including your nipples. Surprisingly, it's actually men who often suffer the worst, because they don't have nipples that move to the rhythm of their running like women do, and they don't have the extra protection of a padded bra.

If you get flaky nipples after this kind of exercise it's best to try and use a cream or a gel to try and protect them while you're running, and soothe them afterwards. You might also get special sticky pads that can cover the nipple and protect it.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.