The Best Nipple Cream to Soothe Sore, Sensitive Skin

These expert-backed balms and butters promise to give you ladies relief right away.

Photo: Alex Sandoval

From running on the regular to living a bra-free life, there are countless unsexy reasons why your nipples can get rubbed, well, raw. And while the topic of sore, chapped nipples tends to come up during a conversation about breastfeeding, the uncomfortable situation can happen at any time — postpartum or otherwise.

"Nipple chafing is the result of friction and most commonly affects women who work out a lot, specifically runners," says Deanne Mraz Robinson, M.D., F.A.A.D, a board-certified dermatologist and co-founder of Modern Dermatology in Westport, Connecticut. Whether pounding the pavement or following a HIIT class, your breasts are more likely to bounce up and down than, say, during a yoga flow. Combine this increased friction with sweat and you've got yourself a prime environment for nipple chafing. (ICYDK, sweat allows for the skin to become compromised or irritated at a faster rate, Julie Russak, M.D., a New York-based dermatologist, previously told Shape.) Going braless or wearing an ill-fitting bra that rubs can make matters worse, adds Dr. Robinson. (

Then, of course, there's breastfeeding. As rewarding as it may be, pumping and direct-feeding your baby can leave your nipples cracked, dry, and sore. "Nipple fissures [or cracks] and irritation from breastfeeding are not really chafing, but rather the result of incorrect positioning while nursing or trouble with your baby's latch," explains Dr. Robinson. Sucking from sexual activity can cause a similar kind of irritation as a nursing baby, especially if your partner gets overly excited about your tatas.

And while sore, dry nipples are usually NBD, open cracks in the skin are a different story. So, if you have any fissures, be sure to "watch for signs of infection such as increasing pain, swelling, redness, and heat," she warns. If any of these symptoms arise, it's best to book an appointment with your local dermatologist. But if you're experiencing typical chafing or discomfort such as redness, flat rashes, or flakes and itchiness — all without any open wounds — Dr. Robinson recommends grabbing a barrier cream or ointment that's formulated to heal irritation and protect the skin from chafing and dryness in the future. (

For the most part, nipple creams should provide immediate relief, but if you don't see any progress after a few days, Dr. Robinson suggests reaching out to your doctor, as you might be dealing with another condition, such as eczema. "A board-certified dermatologist can help to evaluate your condition and create a treatment plan," she explains.

Ready to start healing those hurting nips? These beloved best-sellers have won over countless reviewers' hearts and are definitely worth the buy.

The Best Nipple Creams

01 of 06

Lansinoh Lanolin Nipple Cream

nipple cream
Amazon

If you've ever Googled nipple cream, you've likely seen this purple tube pop up — and for good reason. Featuring pure lanolin (an emollient that helps provide a barrier for your skin and locks in moisture), this 100 percent natural nipple cream is free of parabens or preservatives. The only hiccup with this product is its ultra-thick consistency and potential for leaving a grease-like stain on clothes. And while it's rich and soothing, it does require a little elbow grease to rub in.

"It gives immediate relief and lasts forever," says one reviewer. "The best part is that you don't need to use a lot at all. My nipples are so sore but as soon as I put this on it somehow goes away."

02 of 06

Vanicream Moisturizing Oinment

nipple cream
Amazon

Even though it's not technically a nipple cream, this pick is actually one of Dr. Robinspon's go-to products for relieving dry, chafed skin anywhere — including on or around your nipples. "It's fragrance and lanolin-free (for those who have sensitivities) and perfect for sensitive skin," she says. "This is a great multi-tasking product to have on hand for cuts, scrapes, bug bites, and dry, chafed, and cracked skin."

03 of 06

Megababe Thigh Rescue Anti-Chafe Stick

nipple cream
Amazon

Available as "an easy-to-apply stick," this soothing product "can be used on the body wherever chafing occurs, including the nipples," notes Dr. Robinson. It calls upon a blend of aloe, pomegranate and grapeseed oils, and vitamin E to successfully eliminate irritation. These key ingredients protect and repair the skin while acting as a barrier so friction doesn't further irritate or inflame the skin. Not to mention, the stick applicator makes it super convenient to take with you and apply as needed.

04 of 06

Tiny Human Supply Nipple Crack Nipple Balm

If your nipples are chaffed, chances are they're super sensitive and tender to the touch, too. But even the sorest of nips are no match for this melty balm. The nipple cream's organic formula is made from seven simple ingredients, including beeswax, shea butter, and coconut oil, making it easy to rub in and soothe nipples without feeling heavy or greasy on the skin. (Related: Should You Add Coconut Oil to Your Skin-Care Routine?)

One reviewer writes, "This is way easier to get on and feels like it's absorbed instead of just a greasy cover." Bonus: Other reviewers claim it works double-duty as a lip balm.

05 of 06

Earth Mama Organic Nipple Butter

nipple cream
Amazon

With 100 percent organic ingredients, this butter is safe to apply just about anywhere you're suffering from soreness. Whether your nips are dry, sore, or cracked, this lanolin-free nipple cream formula keeps irritation at bay without leaving skin with a greasy finish.

"I purchased this initially as nipple butter, which I loved much more than lanolin for the baby to digest. It has a mild pleasant smell as well with a calming effect," shares one reviewer. "I kept it by my bedside and one night I couldn't find my bedside chapstick and figured it could go in its place - loved how moist my lips felt in the morning and stopped having chapped winter lip issues!"

06 of 06

Honest Calm Your Nip Balm

nipple cream
Amazon

After nine months of sore, aching nipples, you gave birth to a bundle of joy — who seems set on making those tender boobs last another nine (or more) months. Breastfeeding can be a b*tch, but this nipple cream can help. Safe for both you and your baby, this balm is formulated with coconut oil, shea butter, and aloe leaf extract to hydrate and soothe sore, overworked nipples. The consistency is lightweight and thin so it's super easy to apply and, unlike other lanolin-based nipple creams, it won't stain your clothing.

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