Almost two-thirds of women experience dry and itchy nipples. However, this condition is more common in breastfeeding mothers, especially when the baby is not properly latched on. Almost 80 percent of breastfeeding mothers experience sore nipples.
Nipples can get itchy for various reasons. Dryness and infection of the nipples are two most common reasons for itchy nipples. Cracked and itchy nipples are also experienced by mothers who breastfeed.
Having itchy nipples can create embarrassing moments, particularly when you are in a public place. There are a wide variety of products available in the market that claims to relieve itchy nipples. However, using these products over the delicate part of your body may cause some side effects, which can get serious. Nipples are one of the most sensitive areas of the human body and they can cause a great deal of discomfort if they become dry, sore, and itchy. By using various ointments, creams, or medications, the discomfort can be alleviated. But alternatively, you can also try using home remedies.
20 Natural Remedies for Itchy Nipples
1. Oil Massage
For itchy nipples, the easiest and most effective home remedy is by using coconut oil and doing an oil massage. You can use other oils instead of coconut oil. However, coconut oil is often recommended because of its moisturizing and antimicrobial properties.
Massaging coconut oil to itchy nipples is a safe and effective method of moisturization. The nipples tend to itch because of dry skin. Moreover, the artificial fiber in clothes, skin products, and chemicals in perfumes or soaps tend to irritate the skin even more.
Do the following steps:
- Warm your preferred oil in the microwave.
- Apply it to the affected area and massage it gently.
- Repeat the application a few times a day.
Coconut oil contains medium-chain fatty acids that can be easily oxidized, so it does not cause any free radical damage. When coconut oil is topically applied, it can help ease discomfort caused by itchy nipples. It has antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral properties. It also softens the skin.
The unique acids in coconut oil can be easily absorbed by the skin to moisturize it. Thus, coconut oil is a good soothing agent as well as an effective and natural treatment option.
Instant relief from itchy nipples can be obtained from butter. You can apply butter on the nipples and massage in a gentle circular motion. Leave it on for some time before washing it off. Dry and itchy nipples will be rehydrated.
3. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is one of the most effective home remedies for itchy nipples. Mash the pulp of an aloe vera and apply it on the itchy nipples. Leave it for 10 minutes and then give a gentle massage. When done, wash it with cold water. Follow the steps:
- Take an aloe vera leaf and extract the aloe gel.
- Apply it to the affected area and let it dry after application.
- Clean the area using warm water and a clean washcloth.
- Pat it dry using a soft towel.
- Repeat the application a few times a day for three days.
Aloe vera has strong healing properties. For this reason, it has been used for various skin conditions and infections. There are around 75 nutrients present in the leaf of aloe vera. It contains 20 exceptional minerals such as calcium, copper, chromium, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, sodium, manganese, and magnesium. It also contains 12 vitamins, which include vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12, C, and E. It also contains 200 active enzymes and eight amino acids.
4. Olive Oil
Another commonly used home remedy to relieve itchy nipples is olive oil. It is preferred due to its moisturizing properties. You can apply olive oil to the nipples and massage it gently. Wash it with water afterward. You can also massage the itchy nipples with olive oil just before bath.
Honey is effective when it comes to treating dry skin. For mild itching, you can apply honey topically. The frequency of application usually depends on the intensity of itchiness. Apply it at least 1-4 times a day.
6. Changing Your Bath Routine
Try to avoid hot showers since it can make your skin drier and can intensify itchiness. Wipe itchy nipples using a cloth soaked in cold water.
7. Jojoba Oil
Runners are more prone to develop irritated nipples or jogger’s nipple. This condition occurs when the nipples are rubbed or chafed during physical activity leading to irritation. Irritated nipples may crack or bleed, which can be quite painful.
Antiseptic creams containing beeswax, jojoba oil, shea butter, and petroleum jelly can be used to prevent jogger’s nipple.
8. Peppermint Tea
After giving birth, one common problem with breastfeeding is nipple eczema, which causes the nipples to itch. Due to poor breastfeeding latch, irritation and cracks may develop in the nipples, which often causes pain and itching. A study was done, which showed that the associated itching could be prevented by applying lukewarm peppermint tea to the nipple.
9. Breast Milk
When dryness is caused by breastfeeding, then heal your nipples using breast milk. Many healing and antibacterial properties are present in the breast milk, which can help relieve itchy nipples.
- Apply a few drops of breast milk over the affected area before you start breastfeeding.
- After breastfeeding, apply some more breast milk to your nipples.
- Let it air-dry.
- Follow this remedy a few times a day until the nipples are healed.
10. Warm Compress
Another way of dealing with itchy dry nipples is by applying a warm compress over the affected area. The discomfort can be eased and healing can happen by the heat that comes out from the warm compress.
- A clean washcloth should be dipped in a warm bowl of water.
- Wring out extra water. For a few minutes, keep the warm washcloth on each breast.
- Before you start breastfeeding, apply a warm compress for at least 10 minutes.
- Apply warm compresses a few times a day until the itchiness goes away.
- Alternatively, a heating pad can also help alleviate the associated symptoms.
11. Basil Leaves
Basil leaves have healing properties and they can be used in treating skin problems. They speed up the entire healing process of itchy nipples. They can also provide relief from bleeding nipples.
- Take a handful of basil leaves. Wash and grind them to create a paste.
- Apply this paste to the irritated nipples.
- Let it dry.
- Wash off the paste before you breastfeed the baby.
- Follow this remedy for one week.
Massage your nipples using an ice cube to achieve temporary relief. The affected area can be numbed by the coldness of the ice. They also help reduce swelling.
- Take a few ice cubes and wrap them in a thin towel.
- Place the towel with ice cubed on the affected area for a few minutes.
- Repeat this application a few times in between feeds.
13. Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has great traditional uses. It has antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral properties. It has been used in the following conditions:
- Flu prevention
- pH stability
- Allergy symptoms
- Digestion problems
- Detox regimen
- A number of skin conditions
Mix one cup of raw apple cider vinegar in five cups of filtered water. This solution will help relieve itching and irritation. Dip a clean washcloth in warm water and wash the affected area.
Apple cider vinegar has anti-inflammatory properties. It is also a good skin cleanser.
- On the affected area, apply apple cider vinegar using a cotton ball.
- Alternatively, you can also use a clean piece of cloth.
- Repeat the application twice a day.
14. Baking Soda
Baking soda appears as a fine powder. It is a natural crystalline substance with antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and antifungal properties. It is effective for shorter periods, but its long-term use should be avoided.
- Mix a tablespoon of baking soda with warm water to make a paste.
- Apply the paste to the itchy nipples.
- Make sure to leave the paste for around 20 minutes before rinsing it off with cold water.
- Repeat this application twice a week.
15. Colloidal Oatmeal Wash
Wash the affected area with an oatmeal wash, which helps moisturize the skin. It is regarded as one of the best skin moisturizers. For optimal results, follow the steps below:
- Put a handful of oatmeal powder in lukewarm water to your bath.
- Repeat this process two times a week for better results.
Citric acid is a weak organic acid present in lemon. It can be used to help relieve skin irritation and itching. You can slice one lemon in half and then rub half of it on the affected area.
17. Calendula Flowers or Oil
They look pretty and are helpful in treating itchy nipples.
- Take 1-2 calendula flowers and crush them well. Make a paste out of it and apply it to the dried and itchy nipple.
- Alternatively, you can use equal parts of calendula oil and olive oil mixture in place of calendula flowers. Dab this mixture on the affected area.
- Calendula ointment can also be applied on the nipple for relief.
18. Tea Tree Oil
Being an antifungal and antiseptic agent, it relieves irritation on the nipples and reduces the chances of infection. The following steps can be followed:
- Soak a cotton ball with tea tree oil and apply it to the affected nipple.
- Leave it overnight so that the oil is absorbed by the skin.
- Repeat the process until you see any changes.
19. Chamomile Tea Bag
Chamomile's anti-inflammatory properties can help reduce swelling, itchiness, and soreness of nipples. It can also speed up the recovery process. Do the following steps for effective results:
- Pour warm water in a basin.
- Add two chamomile tea bags to the water.
- Let the tea bags steep in the water for some time.
- Wash the affected nipples using this water.
- Clean the nipples using a piece of dry cloth.
- Remove the tea bag from the water and squeeze out the extra water.
- Press the tea bags for some time against the nipple.
- Let the nipples air-dry.
- Wash your nipples and dry it with a clean cloth.
- Apply petroleum jelly to the nipples.
- Repeat this process three times a day.
20. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is very effective in repairing the tissues of the skin. Eat vegetables and fruits that are rich in vitamin C such as lemon, orange, kiwi, mango, grapefruit, pineapple, papaya pepper, tomato, berries, and sweet potato.
After your itchiness has improved or when home remedies have worked, it is essential to prevent future itchy nipples. The itchiness can be prevented by following these simple measures:
- Wear bras made of cotton fabric and avoid wearing tight-fitting bras.
- Maintain proper hygiene.
- When you go to bed, wear loose clothes.
- Do not use strong scented soaps.
- Dry your breast and nipples properly after a shower.
- Do not pull the nipple out of the baby’s mouth while you are breastfeeding.
- Breastfeed your baby from both breasts. Avoid using breast-enlarging creams or oils.
- Breast pads should be changed often.
- While exercising, use sports bras.
- Apply petroleum jelly and moisturize your nipple.