Why Are My Nipples Dry? Causes, Symptoms and Remedies

Fact Checked Medically reviewed by Tanja Premru-Sršen


Did you know that you can get dry nipples even if you are not breastfeeding?

Although dry nipples are more common in breastfeeding mothers, both women and men are prone to it.

Without a doubt, nipples are one of the most sensitive parts of our entire body.

A simple mistake can make nipples itchy and prone to irritation, which results in dryness and flaking.

What Are Dry and Sore Nipples?

Dry and sore nipples are quite common in both men and women.

Most of the time irritated nipples can be dealt with little care and lots of moisturizing by using nipple creams.

Are Dry Nipples Normal?

In most cases, dry and irritated nipples are caused by factors that we can control.

In case of abnormal discharge or nipple pain or pain around the breast tissue which carries on for days, one must visit a doctor as this could be a sign that a person is developing breast cancer.

What Are the Causes of Itchy and Dry Nipples?

According to Dr. Rinky Kapoor, Consultant Dermatologist, Cosmetic Dermatologist and Dermato-Surgeon, The Esthetic Clinics, cracked nipples are mostly caused by:

  • Using harsh soaps which deplete the natural oils of the skin and cause dryness
  • Irritation and chafing from synthetic fabrics
  • Tissue damage from cuts or injury
  • Paget’s disease and cancer
  • Bacterial or fungal infections
  • Chlorine from pool or spa
  • Chafing during sports
  • Hormonal changes
  • Contact dermatitis
  • Sexual activity
  • Breastfeeding
  • Pregnancy
  • Eczema

Are Dry Nipples A Sign of a Serious Condition?

It is common for us to assume the worst if we get dry and itchy nipples.

But have a sigh of relief.

Unless and until you are experiencing abnormal nipple discharge, you are safe.

Otherwise, it is not okay and you will need to visit a doctor immediately.

Should We Moisturize Our Nipples If They Are Dry?

When our nipples are chafing or dry, we might experience itchy and dry skin and in some cases pain around the nipple area.

This chafing and dryness usually increase during winters and cold seasons.

If the itching continues and does not stop, moisturizing can help but a better and long-term solution is to treat the root cause of the problem.

Are your workout clothes rubbing against your nipples? Then the best solution is to wear softer clothes.

It is also likely that the lotion or nipple cream you use is the cause of your dry nipples.

Whatever the cause, nobody enjoys being in pain for a prolonged period of time.

What Can We Do To Get Rid Of Flaky, Dry Nipples?

Here are some some popular remedies to prevent and treat dry nipples:

Dry Nipples Due To Breastfeeding

If the cause of your dry and flaky nipples is breastfeeding, then applying fresh breast milk on the scaly skin can help.

This will also help keep the bacterial infections away.

Nipple Soaking

Nipple soaking by using saline water is an amazing remedy for dry and flaky nipples.

Mix ½ teaspoon of regular salt with 250ml of water and soak your breasts for about a minute.

Always use fresh saline water every time. 

Make Use Of Warm Compress

Using warm compress on the dry nipples is a simple remedy for flaky and dry nipples.

Dip a washcloth in warm water, wry out the excess liquid and keep it on your nipple for a few minutes.

Pat dry once you are done.

Avoid Any Activity That Can Cause Nipple Rash

Did you know that some activities can contribute to dry nipples or nipple rash?

The best solution for this is to avoid them at all costs.

Dry and Flaky Nipples Due To Fabrics And Scents

Some fabrics, soaps and deodorants can also give you dry and flaky nipples.

If you suspect that some fabric, soap or deodorant is the cause then stop using them and switch to alternatives.

Lanolin Ointment

A great remedy for dry nipples due to breastfeeding would be using 100% lanolin ointment.

Increase Your Water Intake

Drinking water hydrates your body from the inside.

Colloidal Oatmeal

This helps in reducing nipple dryness.

Avoid Wearing Loose Fitting Sports Bras

Women should avoid wearing loose fitted sports bras as they increase friction thus causing nipple chafing and dryness.

Not only that, loose sports bras also cause the surrounding breast tissue to sag and lose their firmness.

Using Peppermint Oil

Peppermint Oil naturally healing properties are great for nipple dryness. Apply it to your milk for healing.

Make Use Of Good Petroleum Jelly

Did you know petroleum jelly such as Vaseline or Johnson’s can be used to prevent dry nipples?

Yes, they are not only for your heels or lips rather they can be used to deeply moisturize your nipples.

Use Adhesive Tape Or Bandage

Lastly, if your clothes are the reason for the chafing, then placing adhesive tape or bandage over the nipple will help avoid this.


Dry nipples are quite common and the causes are mostly harmless.

Although there are plenty over the counter or at home remedies for itchy nipples.

In case a person experiences nipple discharge, severe itching, or tenderness lasting for more than a few days, they must visit a doctor ASAP.