What is Nipple Dryness?

Nipple dryness or nipple eczema is an uncommon symptom with which some patients can present in the breast clinic. Nipple dryness can affect the nipple itself or the pigmented skin around the nipple which is called the areola. The nipple and areola together are called “the nipple areola complex”. Nipple eczema can affect one or both nipples.

What are the causes of nipple dryness?

In many cases nipple dryness is caused by dermatological issues. However, a recent onset of nipple eczema (excoriation, dryness) needs to be immediately assessed by a breast specialist at any age as there is a rare form of breast cancer which is called Paget's disease. This can present as nipple eczema without any other breast-associated symptoms.

How is nipple dryness assessed?

If Mr Charalampoudis raises the suspicion of Paget's disease, he will obtain a special biopsy in the clinic which is called a punch biopsy i.e. a nipple skin sample under local anaesthetic.

If Paget’s disease is excluded, then Mr Charalampoudis will refer you to a specialist dermatologist to further assess your symptoms.

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