Breast Conditions

  • Breast cancer: Malignant (cancer) cells multiplying abnormally in the breast, eventually spreading to the rest of the body if untreated. Breast cancer occurs almost exclusively in women, although men can be affected. Signs of breast cancer include a lump, bloody nipple discharge, or skin changes.
  • Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS): Breast cancer in the duct cells that has not invaded deeper or spread through the body. Women diagnosed with DCIS have a high likelihood of being cured.
  • Lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS): Although called a carcinoma LCIS, which occurs in the milk-producing lobule cells, does not invade or spread and is not a true cancer. However, women with LCIS have an increased likelihood of developing invasive breast cancer in the future.
  • Invasive ductal carcinoma: Breast cancer that begins in the duct cells but then invades deeper into the breast, carrying the potential of spreading to the rest of the body (metastasizing). Invasive ductal carcinoma is the most common type of invasive breast cancer.
  • Invasive lobular carcinoma: Breast cancer that begins in the milk-producing lobule cells, but then invades deeper into the breast, carrying the potential of spreading to the rest of the body (metastasizing). Invasive lobular carcinoma is an uncommon form of breast cancer.
  • Simple breast cyst: A benign (noncancerous), fluid-filled sac that commonly develops in women in their 30s or 40s. Breast cysts may cause tenderness and may be drained.
  • Breast fibroadenoma: A very common noncancerous solid tumor of the breast. A typical fibroadenoma creates a painless, mobile lump in the breast and most commonly occurs in women in their 20s or 30s.
  • Fibrocystic breast disease: A common condition in which noncancerous breast lumps may become uncomfortable and change in size throughout the menstrual cycle.
  • Usual hyperplasia of the breast: A breast biopsy may show normal-appearing, noncancerous ductal cells multiplying abnormally. The presence of usual hyperplasia may slightly increase a woman’s lifetime risk of breast cancer.
  • Atypical hyperplasia of the breast: Abnormal-appearing cells multiplying either in the breast ducts (atypical ductal hyperplasia) or lobules (atypical lobular hyperplasia), sometimes discovered by a breast biopsy. Although the condition is noncancerous, women with atypical hyperplasia are at four to five times higher risk of developing breast cancer compared to women with no breast abnormalities.
  • Intraductal papilloma: A noncancerous, wart-like breast mass that grows inside the breast ducts. Intraductal papillomas may be felt as a lump or cause clear or bloody fluid to leak from the nipple.
  • Adenosis of the breast: A noncancerous enlargement of the breast lobules. Adenosis can look like breast cancer on mammograms, so a biopsy may be needed to rule out breast cancer.
  • Phyllodes tumor: A rare, usually large, rapidly growing breast tumor that looks like a fibroadenoma on ultrasound. Phyllodes tumors may be benign or malignant and most commonly develop in women in their 40s.
  • Fat necrosis: In response to an injury in the fatty part of the breast, a lump of scar tissue may develop. This mass can seem like breast cancer on examination or in mammograms.
  • Mastitis: Inflammation of the breast, causing redness, pain, warmth, and swelling. Nursing mothers are at higher risk for mastitis, which is usually the result of infection.
  • Breast calcifications: Calcium deposits in the breast are a common finding on mammograms. The pattern of calcium might suggest cancer, leading to further tests or a biopsy.
  • Gynecomastia: Overdevelopment of male breasts. Gynecomastia can affect newborns, boys, and men.

Mammary gland

Hormonal relationships

Under the primary influence of estrogens from the maturing ovary at puberty, the ductal cells proliferate and form branches. After ovulation, progesterone from the corpus luteum, an organ that develops in the ovary each time an ovum has been shed and has the function of preparing the uterus for receiving the developing embryo, causes the terminal ductal cells to differentiate into the milk-producing cells, which form acini. Interspersed with these cells are smooth muscle cells, which can contract and assist in the ejection of milk. The acini are collapsed or filled with desquamated epithelium (epithelium that has been shed), until the stimulus of pregnancy causes proliferation of all the epithelial cells. The breast becomes enlarged, tense, and sensitive, and the areola widened and more deeply pigmented. The actual secretion of milk is induced by hormones—prolactin from the pituitary and somatomammotropin from the placenta. At the end of lactation the mammary glands and areolae return almost but not completely to their state before pregnancy. After menopause the glands atrophy and are largely replaced by connective tissue and fat.

Diseases and abnormalities of the breast. The occurrence of supernumerary breasts and nipples has been mentioned. Absence of one or both breasts occurs, but rarely. Inequality in size is frequent, the left breast being larger more often than the right. Variations in size and shape are commonly of racial or genetic origin, but may be induced by a tight-fitting garment or by manipulation to cause elongation for the greater convenience of nursing an infant carried on the back.

Painful breasts may occur whenever estrogens are present in large amounts, as at puberty, during pregnancy, prior to menstruation, or after administration of the estrogens.

Fibrocystic disease, also called chronic cystic mastitis, may result in later reproductive life from the cumulative effect of the ebb and flow of endocrine stimulation with each menstrual cycle; this produces nodular fibrosis—or lumps of fibrous tissue—and cysts of various sizes. The condition can usually be distinguished from cancer because it is intermittently painful and tends to subside after menstrual periods. It may predispose to carcinoma, however. Early biopsy is indicated for any nodules that persist.

Endocrine disorders may cause precocious breast development or gynecomastia (enlargement of the breast in the male). Gynecomastia may also be an indication of a sex chromatin abnormality called Klinefelter’s syndrome.

The only common infectious disease unique to the breast is acute mastitis, which occurs during lactation as the result of an invasion of pyogenic skin organisms through the nipple. The severe local inflammation, with high fever and prostration, responds promptly to antibiotics, usually without suppuration. Mastitis is ordinarily prevented by proper hygiene.

Benign tumours include fibroadenoma, more common in women under 30, and intraductal papilloma, which may cause bleeding from the nipple. These tumours should be removed. Malignant tumours may arise from any of the cell types contained in the breast, but sarcomas make up only 3 percent of all breast tumours.

Carcinoma of the female breast is the commonest form of malignant tumour in the Western world, afflicting about 4 percent of all adult women. Rare under the age of 25, it increases in incidence up to menopause and then levels off. Hereditary factors play a role, but their exact importance has not been clearly established.

1 The normal breast

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  • Objectives
  • Case studies
  • Normal breast appearance
  • Normal breast anatomy
  • Changes in the breast which may be worrying
  • Case studies


When you have completed this module you should be able to:

  • Describe the appearance and anatomy of a normal breast.
  • Describe the normal developmental changes that happen to the breast after birth, during puberty and pregnancy and in the elderly.
  • Understand that lumps and changes in the breast may be normal.

Case study 1

A worried mother brings her 11 year old daughter to a clinic complaining that she has noticed a hard lump behind her one nipple. There is nothing abnormal to be felt on the other side. The mother wants to know whether the child’s breast is normal, as she has had breast cancer.

  1. Should the mother be concerned that her daughter has a lump under one nipple?
  2. Is it normal to get a breast lump on one side only?
  3. Does it mean she will always have one breast bigger than the other?
  4. Would you be more worried if the daughter’s breast lump was painful?

Case study 2

A woman of 22 years of age complains of painful breasts every month before her period. She has also noticed a number of lumps in both her breasts. She has always had inverted nipples.

  1. Is it common to have painful breasts?
  2. Would you be worried about her inverted nipples?
  3. What is the commonest cause of multiple breast lumps in a young woman?
  4. What is ANDI?
  5. At what age do fibroadenomas usually occur?

Case study 3

A woman of 25 years presents 3 months after the birth of her baby. She did not breastfeed. Her complaint is that her breasts have become softer and have changed shape.

  1. What normal changes take place in a woman’s breasts early in pregnancy?
  2. What breast changes can be expected after pregnancy and breastfeeding?
  3. Can these changes be prevented if the mother chooses not to breastfeed?
  4. What further breast changes are likely to occur as she becomes older?

Normal breast appearance

1-1 What is a breast?

Breasts are specially modified glands in the skin and are present in all infants at birth. Breast size in the fetus increases as the pregnancy progresses. Therefore the breasts may be very small in preterm infants.

Usually one breast is present on either side of the chest. However, one or more accessory (extra) nipples or breasts may be present along the ‘breast line’ from the armpit down to the groin. Many animals such as dogs have a number of breasts along this line.

Note Breasts or mammary glands are present in all mammals.

Figure 1-1: The breast line

1-2 What are breasts normally like at birth?

In infants born at term the nipple and areola are well developed and a small lump called a breast bud can be felt under the nipple. The areola is the pink area around the nipple. The breast bud consists of glandular tissue which has grown due to the presence of sex hormones in the fetus. The appearance of the breasts and the presence of breast buds are the same in boys and girls.

Slightly enlarged breasts in newborn infants are normal

1-3 Do the breasts change during the first months of life?

Yes. During the first months after birth one or both breast buds may enlarge further for a few weeks and may even produce small amounts of milk. These normal changes in the breasts are due to sex hormones produced by the infant. After a few months sex hormones are no longer produced and the breast bud disappears.

Do not try to express milk as this may result in infection of the breast.

Note In the normal fetus and newborn infant sex hormones are produced by the ovaries, testes and adrenals.

1-4 What happens to breasts during puberty?

At about 10 years of age the female child’s ovaries start to produce the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone. This is called puberty. The sex hormones cause the breast to start developing with enlargement of the nipple and areola. A breast bud develops below the nipple and areola. These normal changes usually occur in both breasts at the same time. It is common for breast buds to be tender.

1-5 Is it abnormal if one breast starts to develop faster than the other?

No. One breast bud may start to develop first so that the breasts are of different sizes (they are asymmetrical). This is normal and common. With time both breasts will increase in size normally. There is no need to worry about the breast lump being malignant as breast cancer does not develop in girls during puberty.

Asymmetrical breasts are common during puberty.

1-6 When is breast development at puberty complete?

Usually breasts reach their normal shape by about 18 years of age. Some individuals have larger breasts than others. Breast size usually follows a trend in the family.

1-7 Are a woman’s breasts usually both the same size?

More than 50% of women have one breast that appears slightly larger than the other. This mild asymmetry is normal.

1-8 What happens to breast appearance in early adulthood?

The breasts may continue to enlarge and start to droop even if the woman is not pregnant. This change in breast size and shape is normal.

Figure 1-2: The normal stages of breast development

Normal breast anatomy

1-9 What is the shape of the normal breast?

The breast is shaped like a pear and the tail of breast tissue extends under the arm. Some women have breast tissue that can be felt in the armpit. This may be more noticeable during pregnancy.

Figure 1-3: The shape of the normal breast

1-10 What is the structure of the normal breast?

The breast consists of:

  • The nipple
  • The areola
  • About 10 or more lobes
  • Supportive and fatty tissue

Figure 1-4: The normal structures of the adult breast

1-11 What is the appearance of a normal nipple and areola?

The nipple-areola complex (NAC) is made up of the nipple, which usually sticks out, and the surrounding pigmented areola. Under the skin of the areola is a circle of muscle which contracts when the nipple or areola is touched. The areola has sweat glands which can be seen as slightly raised pale dots.

Note Circular muscle fibres surround the nipple. It is normal to have small nodules on the areola which are the openings of Montgomery’s tubercles.

The nipple-areola complex (NAC) is made up of both the nipple and surrounding areola.

Figure 1-5: The appearance of the normal nipple-areola complex

1-12 What is the function of the lobes?

The lobes (made up of many lobules) are glandular structures. The major lobes drain into ducts which open onto the nipple. During pregnancy (and in newborn infants) the lobes produce milk.

Figure 1-6: The lobes draining into ducts opening onto the nipple

1-13 Why is the supportive and fatty tissue in the breast important?

The supportive tissue helps to give the breast its shape while the amount of fatty tissue determines the size of the breast. Both the supportive and fatty tissue (stroma) is found around the lobes. The amount of supportive and fatty tissue varies enormously between individuals.

The basic anatomy of the male breast is the same as that in the female breast but the breasts usually do not enlarge during puberty.

Note Breast enlargement during puberty in males is called gynaecomastia. This can cause embarrassment but usually resolves within a few months without any treatment. It commonly occurs in only one breast.

1-14 Why is the lymphatic drainage of the breasts important?

All organs in the body use both the blood and the lymphatic systems to drain fluid from the tissues. In this way the lymphatic system helps to remove unwanted cells and debris (breakdown products). The lymphatics (lymph vessels) drain lymph (tissue fluid) to local lymph nodes which act as sieves and remove abnormal cells which may be either infectious or cancer cells. If a cancer develops in an organ, the next place it will usually spread to is the draining lymph node. The breast generally drains to the lymph nodes in the axilla (armpit) but occasionally may drain to the lymph nodes in the chest. It is therefore important to always feel for axillary lymph nodes when examining a breast.

All women with a breast complaint should have their armpits examined as well.

1-15 How are breasts affected by a woman’s menstrual cycle?

The breasts change with the menstrual cycle as the breasts are influenced by the amount of sex hormones produced. Each month the size of the breast increases until the menstrual period starts. Once the period begins the breasts decrease in size. If a woman has lumpy breasts, the lumps also tend to get bigger before a period. Therefore it is easier to examine a breast after the period has finished and before day 14 of the cycle (i.e. 14 days after the start of the period) when the breasts will again start to enlarge.

1-16 How do the breasts change during pregnancy?

During pregnancy the breasts double in size and weight under the influence of large amounts of sex hormones produced by the mother and fetus. The changes start very early in pregnancy and breast enlargement and tenderness may be the first symptom of pregnancy. The size of the lobes increases dramatically. The nipples may stick out more and the areola may get bigger and become more pigmented.

Note The blood flow to the breasts increases and the veins may become more obvious.

Changes in the breasts with tenderness may be the first symptom of pregnancy.

1-17 How do the breasts change during breastfeeding?

Colostrum may be present just before delivery but milk production does not increase until a few days after the infant is born. Milk production continues as long as the infant still breastfeeds. When the infant stops feeding milk production rapidly decreases over a few days.

Note The hormone prolactin results in milk production while the secretion of oxytocin during feeding results in the let down reflex when milk dribbles from both nipples.

1-18 What changes are seen after breastfeeding?

The breasts decrease in size and may go back to the size they were before pregnancy but the ducts remain the same. The size depends on how much weight was gained and bigger breasts are due to more fat. The breasts are generally droopier than before pregnancy. The darker nipple and areola will remain.

Small amounts of milk may still be expressed in a woman who is not breastfeeding.

These changes in breast size and shape are seen after pregnancy even if the woman has not breastfed her infant.

1-19 How do the breasts change as a woman becomes older?

After the age of 35 years the breast tissue starts to shrink (involute). The glandular tissue in the lobes starts to become wasted and is initially replaced by fibrous tissue and cysts and later by fat.

Once a woman’s ovaries stop producing sex hormones at about the age of 50 years she goes into menopause. This causes the lobes to decrease in size even more and become replaced by fatty tissue. The breasts tend to become softer and hang down more (drooping or ptotic).

The use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) slows down this ageing process. Generally the breasts get bigger and softer (due to increased fat) as a woman gets older.

After menopause the breasts become softer.

Changes in the breast which may be worrying

1-20 What normal breast changes may become a problem?

There are a number of normal changes in the breast which are not malignant (cancerous) but can result in the formation of lumps. These changes are referred to as aberrations of normal development and involution or ANDI. These are important as it may be difficult to decide whether changes in a breast are caused by ANDI or serious disease such as cancer.

Note An aberration is not an abnormality, disease or cancer but a variation of normal which can cause symptoms and signs which may be of clinical concern both to women and health carers. ANDI is a term used to include most benign breast conditions.

Aberrations of normal development and involution (ANDI) are common and may cause clinical concern.

1-21 How are these normal breast changes best approached?

It is useful to divide women with breast changes into three age categories:

  • Developmental changes that occur during the early years in young women (15 to 25 years)
  • Changes due to menstrual cycle activity that occur during the mature reproductive years (25 to 45 years)
  • Changes that occur during the stage of breast involution (35 to 55 years or beyond in women who are on hormone replacement therapy)

All the changes in these three age categories are caused by hormonal effects in the breasts. As cyclical hormonal changes continue for a longer time during the mature reproductive years, ANDI are most common in these women.

The normal changes that take place in a woman’s breast are determined by age.

1-22 What changes occur in the early years?

  • Fibroadenomas
  • Large breasts
  • Inverted nipples

1-23 What are fibroadenomas?

Fibroadenomas (or fibroadenomata) are painless, benign lumps which form due to excessive lobe development. They are usually seen in young women between the ages of 15 and 25 years but can occur in older women. It is uncommon to get a new fibroadenoma after the age of 35 years. Often they form in young women but may not be detected until the breast becomes softer. Fibroadenomas may only be detected when an ultrasound scan or mammogram is done.

Many women have more than one fibroadenoma. They generally grow to 1-2 cm in size. As they are made of breast tissue they will increase or decrease in size as the size of the breast changes. Therefore they may increase in size during pregnancy. Occasionally a fibroadenoma becomes very big (giant fibroadenoma).

A fibroadenoma generally feels smooth and is very mobile.

It is very important to make a correct diagnosis of fibroadenoma as it may feel the same as a breast cancer.

The correct diagnosis of a fibroadenoma is important as a breast cancer can feel like a fibroadenoma.

Figure 1-7: The appearance of a fibroadenoma

Figure 1-8: The nodular appearance of a fibroadenoma. Benign lumps (such as fibroadenomas) lie within normal breast tissue.

1-24 When are breasts considered too large?

Breast size depends on the amount of fibrous and fatty tissue. There is a wide variation in adult breast size. What is considered normal also varies between different groups of people. Some breasts continue to grow after puberty and excessive breast size can be a problem and cause dissatisfaction and embarrassment.

1-25 What is the appearance of a normal nipple?

There is a wide range of normal nipple shape and size. Shape and colour often change during pregnancy. It is common and can be completely normal to have an inverted (inward turning) nipple. However, it is abnormal if a nipple suddenly becomes inverted as this may be a sign of breast cancer. Eczema of the nipple is also abnormal.

1-26 What changes may occur during the mature reproductive years?

The commonest normal change is breast pain (mastalgia) which is usually worse in the days before the period starts.

1-27 What changes may occur during the stage of breast involution?

  • Cyst formation
  • Duct ectasia (dilatation of ducts)
  • Nipple inversion

1-28 What are breast cysts and when do they occur?

Fluid-filled cysts are common in women between 35 and 55 years old. They usually occur before menopause and are rare after menopause. They may be painful or tender especially before the periods. They feel smooth. Often there is more than one cyst.

Figure 1-9: Breast with cyst

1-29 What is duct ectasia and when does it occur?

Usually after the menopause. It is caused by dilated ducts below the nipple which may result in a non-bloody nipple discharge or an inverted nipple. The ducts dilate as they approach the nipple. Fluid may leak out of the duct causing scarring behind the nipple and inversion of the nipple. A nipple discharge may be a sign of cancer.

Both an inverted nipple and nipple discharge may be signs of breast cancer.

A worried mother brings her 11 year old daughter to a clinic complaining that she has noticed a hard lump behind her one nipple. There is nothing abnormal to be felt on the other side. The mother wants to know whether the child’s breast is normal, as she has had breast cancer.

1. Should the mother be concerned that her daughter has a lump under one nipple?

No. A lump under the nipple of a girl aged 11 years is an early sign of puberty.

2. Is it normal to get a breast lump on one side only?

Yes. Asymmetrical breast development is very common.

3. Does it mean she will always have one breast bigger than the other?

No. Further breast development should be normal. However, many adult women have one breast slightly larger than the other.

4. Would you be more worried if the daughter’s breast lump was painful?

No. Normal breast tissue can be painful.

A woman of 22 years of age complains of painful breasts every month before her period. She has also noticed a number of lumps in both her breasts. She has always had inverted nipples.

1. Is it common to have painful breasts?

Painful or tender breasts (mastalgia) is a common complaint in the days before a menstrual period. These symptoms usually disappear once the period begins.

2. Would you be worried about her inverted nipples?

No, as they have been present since puberty.

3. What is the commonest cause of multiple breast lumps in a young woman?

Fibroadenomas. This condition is an example of ANDI.

4. What is ANDI?

Aberrations of normal development and involution. These are common breast changes seen in normal women. They are important as they may cause clinical concern for both the woman and the clinical staff.

5. At what age do fibroadenomas usually occur?

Usually between 15 and 25 years of age.

A woman of 25 years presents 3 months after the birth of her baby. She did not breastfeed. Her complaint is that her breasts have become softer and have changed shape.

1. What normal changes take place in a woman’s breasts early in pregnancy?

The breasts enlarge and become tender. These may be the earliest symptoms of pregnancy. Due to high levels of sex hormones the lobes increase in size while the nipple and areola become darker.

2. What breast changes can be expected after pregnancy and breastfeeding?

The breasts return to their normal size unless the woman has gained weight. They will become softer and tend to droop.

3. Can these changes be prevented if the mother chooses not to breastfeed?

No, as these normal changes will occur even if the woman has not breastfed.

4. What further breast changes are likely to occur as she becomes older?

After the age of 35 years the breast tissue starts to shrink (involute) as the lobes start to become wasted. However, the size of the breasts may increase due to increased fat.

In the primate world, plump breasts last only as long as breastfeeding doesexcept in humans. Women are busty all the time, even after menopause. According to some scientists, the trait is an evolutionary trick for snagging men and signals a woman’s ability to feed her children.

But no one can confirm an answer as to why women are the only apes with sizable chests .

Even though they appear full, a woman’s breasts are only filled with milk after a she gives birth. The rest of the time, they’re mostly made up of fat.

“Human breasts could therefore be a kind of biological deception,” according to David P. Barash and Judith Eve Lipton at the National Sexuality Resource Center.

However, Barash and Lipton report that full breasts could just as easily signal the truth about a woman’s ability to store fat and her fertility. For example, flat-chested prepubescent girls are too young to bear children, and the sagging shrunken chests of older women may suggest they’re past their prime.

Because breasts sometimes get in women’s way, some scientists have developed an evolutionary theory they call a “handicap principle.” According to this theory, heavy breasts honestly announce a woman’s genetic health, but at a cost of her carrying them around.

Barash and Lipton explain that this same idea applies to creatures like the male peacock, which struts around with his awkward, ornamental tail in hopes of roping in mates.

One lesser-agreed upon theory, supported by Leonard Shlain, a surgeon and author of “Sex, Time and Power: How Women’s Sexuality Shaped Human Evolution,”(Viking, 2003), suggests that women’s breasts grew round after our early ancestors stood upright.

In this view, the breasts of the female ancestors of humans evolved over time, along with a gradual tilting of the pelvis, so that the vagina was more oriented to the front of the body. Together, these transformations encouraged face-to-face sex, and marked a departure from the position most commonly used by other apes, in which the male approaches the female from behind.

Ethologist Desmond Morris has also proposed this theory, and has suggested breasts are substitutes for the round, red buttocks of our female ape ancestors .

  • Does Breastfeeding Make Breasts Sag?
  • Why Do Men Have Nipples?
  • Why Do Men Have Facial Hair but Women Don’t?

Got a question? Email it to Life’s Little Mysteries and we’ll try to answer it. Due to the volume of questions, we unfortunately can’t reply individually, but we will publish answers to the most intriguing questions, so check back soon.

What’s Your Nipple Type? And 24 Other Nipple Facts

How we feel about our bodies and all its working parts can be loaded, but perhaps no body part elicits quite as much mixed emotion as the breast — for both men and women.

Amid a perpetual onslaught of breast augmentation ads, boob-lifting bras, and nipple bans, it can be easy to dismiss that women’s breasts (and specifically nipples) serve more than an evolutionary purpose to feed offspring. (Of course, this doesn’t dictate if women can, should, or want to have kids.) It’s also easy to forget that male nipples might not be too different either.

And yet, nipples are as individual as we are, with all kinds of surprising quirks up their sleeve. So do yourself a little favor and get to know your nips more — even the smallest detail could be a conversation starter about health, or pleasure.

1. Women’s health used to be diagnosed via nipples

Color was a major factor doctors and nurses considered when reading into a woman’s health. In 1671, the English midwife Jane Sharp published a book called “The Midwives Book or the Whole Art of Midwifry.”

According to a Stanford course about the female body, Sharp once wrote, “The Nipples are red after Copulation, red as a Strawberry, and that is their Natural colour: But Nurses Nipples, when they give Suck, are blue, and they grow black when they are old.” Thankfully, this practice has been discontinued.

2. There are 4 to 8 types of nipples

Your nipples can be flat, protruding, inverted, or unclassified (multiple or divided). It’s also possible to have one breast with a protruding nipple and the other with an inverted, making the total combination of nipple types up to eight.

3. Your nipple isn’t your areola

The nipple is at the very center portion of your breast, and is linked to the mammary glands, where milk is produced. The areola is the darker colored area surrounding the nipple.

4. Inverted nipples are normal

Inverted nipples, which tuck inward instead of protruding out, function the same as “regular,” protracted nipples. It’s possible to have one non-inverted nipple alongside an inverted one, and it’s also possible to have inverted nipples that pop out later.

Inverted nipples tend to go away after breastfeeding a baby and won’t interfere with breastfeeding. Stimulation or cold temperatures can also temporarily cause nipples to protrude. Piercings and surgery can convert “innie” nipples to “outies.”

5. You can have two nipples on one areola

This is called double and bifurcated nipple. Depending on the ductal system, both nipples may be able to produce milk for infants. However, when breastfeeding, infants may find it difficult to fit both in their mouth.

6. Nipple hair is real

Those tiny bumps around your nipples? Those are hair follicles, which both men and women have, so it only makes sense that hair grows there! These hairs might look darker and more wiry than other hairs on your body, but you can pluck, trim, wax, or shave them the same way as other hairs, if they bother you.

7. The average nipple height is the size of a lady bug

In one 2009 study of 300 women’s nipples and areolas, results showed a mean areola diameter of 4 cm (which is a little smaller than a golf ball), a mean nipple diameter of 1.3 cm (similar to the width, not length, of an AA battery), and a mean nipple height of 0.9 cm (the size of a lady bug).

8. Breastfeeding wasn’t always the standard

Though breastfeeding is now common among educated, upper-middle-class women, the same group actually used to oppose breastfeeding their babies. In the Renaissance period, aristocratic women used wet nurses to feed their offspring. And in the early 20th century, infant formula was considered ideal because its price tag was a signifier of wealth.

Since then we’ve learned that formula can never provide all the same ingredients as human milk does.

9. Nipple pain is common among women

It’s not unusual for breastfeeding moms to experience pain in their nipples for various reasons, including positioning problems during feeding. But breastfeeding shouldn’t be painful.

Experiencing pain or soreness in your nipples also afflicts non-moms, and can be a symptom of PMS or other hormonal changes, as well as:

  • skin irritation
  • allergies
  • friction from a sports bra

Nipple cancer is rare, but get it checked out by a doctor if your pain is persistent or you notice any blood or discharge.

10. Nipples can change in size

This happens frequently during pregnancy. One 2013 study of 56 pregnant women showed that their nipples grew in both length and width during the course of the study and their pregnancy. Their areola width also increased significantly.

11. Report all abnormal nipple discharge

Nipple discharge from one or both breasts can be an indicator of health concerns like hypothyroidism and cysts, as well as things like medication changes. But if you notice bloody discharge, be sure to have it evaluated by a doctor right away as it could be a sign of something more serious.

12. Of course, there’s an “ideal” nipple placement

According to this study which polled 1,000 men and 1,000 women, the most liked nipple-areola placement for both genders is “in the middle of the breast gland vertically and slightly lateral to the midpoint horizontally.” But that doesn’t mean your nipples aren’t ideal — the study also mentioned that nipple placement is influenced by media, where men “tend to have a more youthful breast in mind,” while women may have “more of a realistic one.”

13. Nipple tattoos aren’t uncommon with breast reconstruction

Most people have no say over how their nipples look, but the information for the study above is useful for breast reconstructive and cosmetic surgeons. Nipple-areolar tattoos are considered the final step in breast reconstruction surgery. These tattoos are growing in popularity among people who get the surgery because it’s a relatively quick and simple procedure with visually realistic results.

14. There’s a rare condition that causes people to be born without nipples

This is called athelia. To treat athelia, one would get breast reconstruction. And depending on body habits and preferences, the surgeon will take tissues from the abdomen, dorsal, or glutes.

15. It’s possible to have multiple nipples

Multiple nipples are called supernumerary nipples. It’s estimated that 1 in 18 people have supernumerary nipples (in fact, Mark Wahlberg has one!), but it doesn’t stop there. One man had seven nipples: Two normal ones and five additional supernumerary ones. A 22-year-old woman even had a nipple on her foot. It had fat tissue, hair follicles, glands, and all.

There’s even one reported case of a woman who had full breast tissue and a nipple on her thigh, and it produced milk after she had her baby.

16. Nipples can chafe and crack — ouch

In one Brazilian study, 32 percent of women reported experiencing cracked nipples due to breastfeeding in the first month after giving birth. But if you’re not breastfeeding, your workout might be the culprit to red, itchy, or flaky nips.

Be sure to wear the right sports bra or protect your nipples with a little petroleum jelly to keep them from chafing against your clothes.

17. Nipple piercings can bring positive feelings

In a study from 2008 of 362 people, 94 percent of men and 87 percent of the women polled about their nipple piercings said they’d do it again — and not because piercings were a kink thing. They liked the look of it. Less than half of the sample said it was related to sexual gratification from pain.

18. Nipple stimulation enhances sexual arousal

For most men and women, nipple play is rewarding foreplay. A study and questionnaire of 301 men and women (ages 17 to 29) found that nipple stimulation enhanced sexual arousal in 82 percent of women and 52 percent of men.

While only 7 to 8 percent said it decreased their arousal, it’s always a good idea to ask before assuming.

19. Your nipples can change color

You may have heard to look to your nipples for your matching lipstick color, but the conclusion for this is that experts agree to disagree. Despite many other publications (from Refinery29 to Marie Claire) testing this lipstick theory, it’s not 100 percent reliable because your nipples can change color due to temperature, pregnancy, and time (it gets darker).

20. Nerves to the breast and nipple differ in men and women

Researchers in 1996 dissected cadavers to study the nerve supply to the nipple and areola. They found that the nerves spread out more widely in women than men.

21. Breast surgery can affect nipple sensitivity

Breast augmentation is an extremely popular surgery, with a 37 percent increase from 2000 to 2016. The surgery does bear risks of sensation loss. One study from 2011 found that 75 percent of women surveyed had changes in sensation after the surgery, while 62 percent experienced pain from being touched.

22. You should have bumps around your nipples

They’re called the Montgomery glands, although the scientific name is the areolar glands. These glands produce a secretion called lipoid fluid to help keep the entire areola and nipple area more lubricated and comfortable.

23. Breastfeeding women can start spontaneously leaking milk if they hear or think about their babies

For some moms, this can also happen if they hear someone else’s baby crying! Mothers whose babies are in NICU and too premature or sick to eat, have more success pumping if they have a picture of their baby near.

24. Nipples attract women, just like they attract men

A University of Nebraska study found that women and men follow similar eye patterns when looking at women: They quickly look at breasts and “sexualized parts” before moving on to other areas of the body.

25. It’s rare, but male nipples can lactate

Inappropriate lactation, also known as galactorrhea, can affect men, but it’s incredibly rare. Some experts say it’s often due to major hormone surges. Older studies in the 1970s and 80s show records of males producing milk that’s similar to lactating women, but there hasn’t been more recent studies since.

So now you know: When it comes to nipples, there’s a massive range — from bumps to size and even amount! A nipple’s worth isn’t in how much it lactates, but in how you care and treat it because there’s no one version of “normal.” But as with any other part of your body, if you’re ever concerned about something your nipples are doing (or not doing), your best bet is to see a doctor.

Want to learn more about the body? Take a dive into the hidden world of the clitoris (it’s like an iceberg down there!). Or, if you still have boobs and nipples on your mind, find out whether or not you’re wearing the right bra size. Hint: 80 percent of women aren’t!

Laura Barcella is an author and freelance writer currently based in Brooklyn. She’s written for the New York Times,, Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, The Week,, and many more. Find her on Twitter.

Some might say it’s a nice problem to have. But one thing is for sure, Britain is bustier than ever. The nation’s average bra size has gone from a 34B a decade ago, to a more generous 36DD – and 53 per cent of cupped bra sales at Selfridge’s are now a 34DD or larger.

If there was ever a subject to divide women, it’s cleavage size. The grass is always greener… in 2017, even model and actress Emily Ratajkowski claimed that she is discriminated against because her large breasts have prevented her from landing jobs.

The 26-year-old, who rose to fame for her role in Robin Thicke’s controversial video for the song Blurred Lines said: “There’s this thing that happens to me: ‘Oh, she’s too sexy. It’s like an anti-woman thing, that people don’t want to work with me because my boobs are too big.”

Our hearts bleed, right? Well, maybe. I can’t claim to have much experience of the US film industry, but in Britain, having big boobs is not always seen as an asset at work.

Here are the workplace truths you only know if you have an ample cleavage…

1. Everything looks inappropriate

Clothes that would look perfectly demure on anyone with a nice neat B-cup end up looking borderline pornographic when you’re rocking a 34F. Trying to look smart with a full bust basically means wearing wrap dresses, which is a shame if you’re at all interested in fashion.

How to Get Perky Breasts Without Surgery

When shopping, consider the following:

Front-close bras can boost cleavage. A front-close bra with a molded cup will bring your breasts closer together, giving them lift and enhancing your cleavage.

Balconette bras create lift, not squish. A balconette bra lifts like a push-up without squishing your breasts, creating more volume and dramatic cleavage.

Larger busts need support. Bras that have underwire, wider straps, a wider backband, and a full-coverage cup will give you the support you need and lift you want.

7. Invest in a push-up bra

Push-up bras are perfect for all breast types, so owning one is an absolute must for any closet. A push-up will give you support and lift, making your breasts look fuller and boosting your cleavage.

Need to add one to your collection? Try these two on for size:

Jezebel’s Amanda Push-up: This push-up bra has a plunge neckline and is lightly padded, giving you dramatic-looking cleavage.

Maidenform Women’s Love the Lift Push-up: This lace push-up bra has a deep plunge with ample padding to give you ultimate lift for a natural-looking boost to your cleavage.

Going to the gym is a chore within itself. When you first start getting into a regular work-out schedule, you start to stock up on workout clothing because if you look the party, you’ll most likely begin to feel the part – at least that was true for me.

I’m a pretty slim girl, but, I am extremely top-heavy to say the least. Shopping for anything that involves my upper body means that I have to try on and try on and try on thousands of tops before finding maybe 5 or 6 that work for me. And, forget bras and bathing suits – it’ll be 2020 before I find a brand that is universally fitting and cute at the same time.

While finding a sports bra (or bras, I rock 2 every time I work out) can be hard – finding tops that equally hold you in while working out is just as important. Sports bras are there to hold your girls in, but, finding the right workout top can also add to the support and comfort – so you don’t feel self conscious while getting your sweat on.

The last thing I need at the gym is a guy looking at my chest while I’m running on the treadmill. Or, accidentally having a mishap while I’m lifting a bicep curl bar. Anyway – the point is – you want to get yourself some good, secure and breathable tops when you sweat out your McDonald’s burger and milkshake.

1. “Find Your Wild” Ombre Tank:

Gym clothes can sometimes be bland and boring – but if you want to spice it up, this tank is perfect for big-busted girls like us. It’s high cut so you don’t have to worry about slipping out and it’s also pretty cute to spice up the gym wardrobe. Get it here from Forever 21.

2. icyZone Yoga Top With Built-In Bra:

When your regular sports bras are in the wash after your week-long spin class schedule, it’s dope to have a shirt with a built-in bra already. You’ll probably want to grab a large or XL to hold your chest in, and you can even double up bras with this shirt (like me). Get it from Amazon here.

3. Move Sleeveless Hoodie:

Some days, you feel bloated and gross (like on your period week), but still want to hit the gym and look hella slim. Throwing on a hoodie is easy, but once you get your cardio on – you’re sweating like a hyena in the desert. So, grab yourself a sleeveless hoodie and hide your period pouch, while keeping your XL chest hidden away – a great bargain from Forever 21.

4. Nike Pro Cool Cropped:

Most of Nike’s work out tops are great when you’re hitting the cardio days because they’re basically great at making you feel less sweaty – you know? This one can show off the abs you’ve been working on and keeps your chest locked in pretty tight. Get it from Nike here.

5. Open Back T-Shirt:

Grab this open back t-shirt for the days you go on a run with the girls outdoors. The open back keeps you cool and lets that breeze right in – plus, the front is high-neck which means you’re fully covered up and, you can wear whatever color sports bra you have clean. Get it here.

6. Adidas Cropped White Shirt:

Stay being the trendsetter at the gym and rock yourself a name brand – like Adidas. Perfect to wear for a spin class or maybe a night yoga session – plus, it covers all the goods. Get it here.

7. Gymshark Blue Tank:

Gymshark makes incredible workout clothes that last a really long time. I’ve sweat my way through a bunch of their tops and leggings and they’re still good as new. This color will bring out your summer tan and give you some breathing room on the sides. Rock it with your cutest sports bra and grab it in multiple colors here.

8. Mesh Long Sleeve Top:

Perfect for when you spot that hot weight lifter and you’re trying to get yourself noticed, this top lets you show off those back muscles you’ve been working on, a fun sports bra and still lets you get your girls secured in the front while getting fit. Get it on Amazon here.

9. Black Long Sleeve For Those Cold Mornings:

When you’re walking to the gym or walking from your car to the gym, you’re not trying to a) lug in your down jacket or b) freeze to death in the winter. Grab this slimming and cute long sleeve top with thumb holes (YES THUMB HOLES) that still allow you to grip your weights and pump it from Amazon.

10. Front-tie Yoga Top:

Great for a quick yoga class – this white front tie top is adorable and versatile. Throw it on for a yoga session and then grab a smoothie with your girlfriend afterwards – without looking like a hot mess. Get it here.

11. Leg Day Tank:

Don’t miss out on leg day or – bragging about how much you’ve been working on your Nicki Minaj booty by rocking this “Shut up and squat” tank. The best part is that the cut will cover your sports bra and your chest, so you don’t need to worry about guys looking at your front and back side while focusing on your squats. Get it here from Amazon.

12. White Mesh Tank:

This white mesh tank is not only breathable but high cut and it’s also a racerback – perfect to go with any sports bra. Spice it up by wearing something bright and fun, adding a pop of color to your workout day. Get it from Forever21.

13. Mesh Paneled Hoodie:

This mesh paneled hoodie is good for a morning/afternoon run or even a quick cardio gym session. It’s easy to throw on over any sports bra and covers you up, plus, having the thumb panels (my personal fave) gives you a nice grip if you squeeze in some lifting. Get it here.

Researchers have identified seven genetic markers linked with a woman’s breast size, according to a new study.

While it’s was known that breast size is in part heritable, the study is the first to find specific genetic factors that are associated with differences in breast size, the researchers said.

In addition, two of these markers have previously been associated with breast cancer risk. This suggests some of the same biological pathways underlie both normal breast growth and breast cancer, said study researcher Nicholas Eriksson, of 23andMe, the genetic testing company that conducted the study.

The study alone does not provide enough evidence to link breast size to breast cancer. But it may contribute to a better understanding of the role that breast structure plays in breast cancer risk, the researchers said.

In the study, Eriksson and colleagues analyzed information from 16,175 female customers of European ancestry, and compared their answers to survey questions, including bra cup size and bra band size, to their genetic information.

While breast density is known to be a risk factor for breast cancer, the effect of breast size is less clear. A few previous studies have found that larger breast size is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer in lean women.

The new study was published online June 30 in the journal BMC Medical Genetics.

Pass it on: New genetic markers for breast size have been found.

This story was provided by MyHealthNewsDaily, a sister site to LiveScience. Follow MyHealthNewsDaily on Twitter @MyHealth_MHND. Find us on Facebook.

5 Factors That Determine Breast Type

Getty Images

You’ve been in enough locker rooms to know that every woman’s breasts look different. “Almost no one has perfectly symmetrical breasts,” says Mary Jane Minkin, M.D., professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Yale School of Medicine. “If they do look exactly like one another, it’s probably thanks to plastic surgery,” she adds.

Still, you’ve probably wondered why your breasts are the way they are. We called up experts to glean a greater understanding behind what determines the shape, size, and feel of your dynamic duo.


Far and away, genetics plays the biggest role in the size and shape of your breasts. “Your genes also influence the levels of your hormones, which affect your breast tissue,” says Richard Bleicher, M.D., surgical oncologist and director of the Breast Fellowship Program at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. “Genes determine how dense your breasts are, as well as what your skin is like, which affects the appearance of your breasts.” A study in the journal BMC Medical Genetics analyzed data from more than 16,000 women and found a total of seven genetic factors were significantly associated with breast size. “Your breast characteristics can come from both sides of your family, so genes from your dad’s side can affect what your breasts end up looking like too,” Minkin says.

Your Weight

No matter how big or small your breasts are to begin with, a large proportion of the tissue is made up of fat. So it’s no coincidence that your breasts expand when you do. Similarly, as you lose weight, your breast size could change too. How much fat you lose in your breasts when you drop weight may depend, in part, on the composition of your breasts. Women with dense breast tissue tend to have more tissue and less fatty tissue. If that’s you, when you lose weight, you may not notice as significant of a decrease in your breasts as a woman who has a greater proportion of fatty tissue in her breasts to begin with. You can’t feel whether you have dense or fatty breasts (only a mammogram or other imaging would show this), so you may not know which category your breasts fall into. And as for those tiny women with big breasts? Thank genetics!

RELATED: Change Your Bra, Change Your Body

Your Age

Enjoy your perky girls while you can! “Like everything else, gravity takes its toll on the breasts,” Bleicher says. Beneath the surface, your Cooper’s ligaments, delicate bands of tissue, help hold everything up. “They’re not true ligaments like those that hold muscle to bone, they’re fibrous structures in the breast,” Bleicher says. Over time, they can wear out like overstretched rubber bands and become less supportive-eventually causing sagging and drooping. The good news: You can fight back by regularly sporting well-fitting supportive bras in order to reduce the gravitational pull on your Cooper’s ligaments. (Find the best bra for your breast type here.)


It’s the blessing and the curse of pregnancy: Your breasts swell to porn-star size while pregnant and nursing, but deflate like a post-birthday party balloon when you wean. It’s not entirely understood why they change so dramatically, but it may be due to fluctuations in hormones and the fact that the skin stretches as the breasts become engorged and may not fully contract to their pre-baby firmness after nursing, Bleicher says.


You can do all the chest presses and flies that you like, but they’re unlikely to have any noticeable impact on the appearance of your dynamic duo. “Your breasts sit on top of the pectoral muscles, but aren’t part of them so you can develop stronger muscles underneath your breasts without changing their size or shape,” says Melissa Crosby, M.D., associate professor of plastic surgery at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. There are, however, a few exceptions. Bodybuilders and women who participate in fitness competitions often have such low body fat that their breasts appear firmer especially when sitting on top of piles of chest muscle, Crosby says. “There’s some data demonstrating that breast size and density also changes in women who do a significant amount of aerobic activity,” Bleicher says. “This is probably due to the fact that you lose body fat, but your breast tissue components don’t change so you develop denser breasts when you exercise more.”

  • By Paige Fowler

Good news for those of you who are dying to know how you ended up with the breasts you did: A new study has found seven genetic markers that are linked with breast size in women. It has long been known that breast size was in part passed down through families, but this research is the first to locate the specific genetic factors that are associated with variations in lady bumps.

While this is sort of interesting by itself because, hey, boobs! What is really relevant is that two of the factors that are associated with breast size have also previously been tied to an increased risk for breast cancer. This suggests, according to Nicholas Eriksson who led the research (which was done by genetics testing company 23andMe), that some of the same pathways that govern breast growth are also involved in breast cancer development.


Previous research has found a connection between breast density and cancer risk, and there have also been a few studies that have found a link between larger breasts in lean women and breast cancer. This new study doesn’t by itself prove that there is a link between breast size and cancer, but it will likely help scientists figure out what role breast structure plays in increasing risk of breast cancer. So far, this knowledge doesn’t seem to be leading down the road to monkeying around with our DNA to give our offspring the best possible cleavage, but you know that at some point in the future, when we are all baking in 9,000 degree weather, this will very definitely be a thing.

Genes for Breast Size Found

Image via OtnaYdur/.

Age: 101. Children: one

‘I would never have gone topless, even in my younger days’

‘I fell over last week – that’s why I have a bruise’

My daughter was born a week before Hitler marched in, and my milk went. It was the shock. We were Jewish. I intended to breastfeed her, but in the end she grew very well without it.

My husband was taken on Kristallnacht. He had gone out, against my advice. The authorities wanted me out of my flat. I went to the SS headquarters and told them in no uncertain terms what I thought of them: “I’m not going to leave my flat and you can kiss my arse!” Maybe it was foolish, but attack is the best defence. My husband was in Dachau and somehow I had to get him out. My husband’s boss was an ex-Nazi, but he was a very nice man, and fond of us. I asked him what to do, and he said, “Go to the Gestapo.” I thought that was a good idea. My parents said I couldn’t, but I said, “I’m not afraid of the Devil! If it helps, I will do it.” I rang up and made an appointment.

I saw a middle-aged man and we got talking. After half an hour, he had to go, but he said, “I promise I will get your husband out, in three weeks, but I want something from you.” I thought I knew what he wanted, but I said, “Oh, what can I do for you?” “I want you to visit me twice a week. I love talking to you.” I was quite prepared for anything. What’s my little thing, if it means getting him out? It’s unimportant. But the man really did only want to talk. And after three weeks, to the day, my husband came home.

We came to England as refugees with no money, so we had to start from the bottom, with a one-year-old child. I began as a secretary and worked in the rag trade in a showroom in the West End.

When I was 52, I had a lump in my breast. I’d had a hysterectomy four years earlier, but there was nothing there; it was benign. This time I thought it would be cancer. In those days, they did not take a biopsy: if there was a lump, the whole breast was removed – that was standard. It was benign and I didn’t need the radio treatment I’d been about to start.

I said to my husband, “Do you mind having a wife with only one breast?” He said, “Would you mind if I lost a leg?” I said, “Of course not!” “So there you go.” We talked about everything, and that is why we had 52 happy years.

My breasts were erogenous. My husband and I had a very good sexual relationship, as well as the friendship. Nothing changed after the mastectomy – our sex life didn’t change until my husband had an operation for his prostate. I consider I was blessed: 52 years, how many people are blessed with that? Not many.

I fell over last week – that’s why I have a bruise. It hurts. But it’ll go. The last time I fell over was more than a year ago. I don’t use a stick yet.

When my nipple suddenly became inverted about 10 years ago, I went to the clinic to have it examined. I know it is a sign of cancer, but it can also be a sign of old age. It doesn’t bother me.

I was conscious of the mastectomy and wouldn’t have exposed my chest. I would never have gone topless anyway, never, even in my younger days. Don’t forget, I was born in 1912.

My breasts were always small, and I didn’t consider myself very good-looking, but I was vivacious and always had lots of friends and boyfriends. My body didn’t bother me.

I’m very careful with my appearance. I wear a prosthesis. I forgot it once on holiday. I had to use loads and loads of plastic bags! If I go swimming, I have a costume with an insert. I used to swim every day until three years ago. When I was 97, I would swim 20 lengths in one go, but my physiotherapist said it was too much.

Age: 40. Children: one

‘I’ve got a great pair of melons’

‘You can have great sex regardless of what they look like’

I adore my breasts. I think they’re fantastic. I’ve got a great pair of melons! I like that they are perky, and that one is bigger than the other. Last weekend I realised with horror that they were beginning to sag slightly. I wonder if it’s because I’ve lost weight, or could it just be age-related? Now they’re touching my stomach, and I don’t like that feeling.

I would have liked to breastfeed, but I didn’t produce enough milk. I had to mix bottle and breast. The electric milk extractors in hospital are literally like cow’s milking machines. You attach one to each breast, and it’s painful. One of my most poignant memories is doing that while fireworks went off on New Year’s Eve. I felt devastated.

I’ve been single for three years, and I think, “Shit! What will a partner think of them? They didn’t see them when they were perky and gorgeous.” I had a seven-year relationship with a man, then a seven-year relationship with a woman. I think a lesbian might judge breasts the same way as a man, but it would depend whether or not she’d had children.

A woman I dated had been very big and lost weight so dramatically that her boobs sagged to her belly button. But it didn’t matter, because I fancied the pants off her. Sex is sex, and you can have great sex regardless of what they look like. My boobs are important in a sexual relationship.

I was your average Asian girl in the 70s. I had a strict upbringing and no friends outside the family unit. Then I got a white boyfriend, and started wearing jeans and showing off my figure. I look back at pictures now, and I was stunning. I’ve got brown skin and no wrinkles – Asian skin doesn’t age as much. My breasts are getting looser around the nipples, the skin is thinning and the elasticity’s going. The rest of my body doesn’t seem to have that. I don’t mind ageing.

It wouldn’t be appropriate to wear a low-cut dress to work, but I might wear a well-cut shirt. Sometimes I change at the end of the evening, even for a short walk home. I don’t want men to look, and I don’t want to feel unsafe. I should be able to wear a beautiful dress with my boobs showing, but I won’t. What that says about society is tragic.

• These interviews are edited excerpts from Laura Dodsworth’s project Bare Reality. She is fundraising for a book of the project.


(Picture: Interview)

This year seems to have been the year of the nipple.

First Rihanna made her nipples her number one accessory at the CFDA Fashion Awards in New York in November, then Kim Kardashian released a full frontal shot of herself in Paper Magazine.

Now Madonna – never one to be outdone – has unleashed her breasts on the world in all their bright purple glory.

But who else has dared to bare their nipples in the past?

NOTE: Some celebrities such as Denise Richards, Geri Halliwell and other Madonna magazine photographs could not feature in this list as they were just too rude.

1) Keira Knightly, Interview Magazine 2014

— i-D Italy (@i_Ditaly) December 1, 2014

The Pirates of the Caribbean actress posed topless for Interview Magazine in September this year in protest at having her body manipulated by photoshop.

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2) Lindsey Lohan, Playboy Magazine 2011

Let us never forget Lindsey Lohan’s playboy shoot.

[email protected]$ty (@sharkyyyyyyy) November 8, 2014

Lindsey Lohan posed as Marilyn Monroe in 2011 wearing only a silk dressing gown – she was criticised at the time for having many of her freckles airbrushed out.

3) Miley Cyrus, German Vogue Magazine 2014

It’s almost a surprise these days to see Miley Cyrus with clothes on. The singer stripped off for German Vogue in February this year in another Marilyn Monroe-style shoot.

4) Sharon Stone, Paris Match 2009

(Picture: Paris match)

After hitting her 50th birthday, Sharon Stone graced the cover of Paris Match Magazine in full bondage gear with her nipples on show. Move on over Madge…

5) Katie Holmes, The Gift 1998

As many teenagers around the world watched romance blossom on Dawson’s Creek, Katie Holmes bared more than expected on supernatural thriller The Gift.

6) Helena Christensen, Reebox 2010

(Picture: Reebox)

Jaws dropped around the world when supermodel Helena Christensen stepped out of retirement wearing just a pair of trainers. She was 41 at the time.

7) Rihanna, Lui Magazine 2014

(Picture: Lui Magazine)

Hiding underneath a bucket hat and braids, Rihanna stripped off entirely for Lui Magazine this year. It wasn’t the last time she bared her chest after wearing next to nothing at the CFDA Fashion Awards in November.

8) Marilyn Monroe, Playboy Magazine 1953

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It’s the image that started it all, Marilyn Monroe’s centrefold in the very first Playboy issue in 1953.

9) Drew Barrymore, Playboy Magazine 1995

The ET actress shocked her fans when she posed in playboy aged just 19 years old in 1995.

10) Angelina Jolie, Gia 1998

(Picture: Gia)

Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie bared her chest in 1998 film Gia, a biographical movie about fashion model Gia Marie Carangi.

11) Kate Moss, Playboy 2014

Kate Moss by Mert and Marcus for the Jan/February 2014 issue of the #Playboy magazine @DiariodiAdamo @GiuseppeTurrisi

— Arturo D.L. (@artdielle) October 29, 2014

Kate Moss has appeared in Playboy on several occasions – the most recently being last year when she doned the familiar bunny ears for the magazine’s 60th anniversary


12) Heather Graham, Boogie Nights 1997

Heather Graham first released her nipples in the film Boogie Nights in 1997. She continued to do so in dozens of other films including Boogie Woogie and Killing Me Softly.

13) Beyonce, Flaunt Magazine 2013

(Picture: Flaunt Magazine)

Just a few months after giving birth to her daughter Blue Ivy, Beyonce stripped off entirely and doused herself in glitter for this magazine cover.

14) Pamela Anderson, Purple Magazine 2014

Pamela Anderson posant nue pour le magazine français PURPLE ( 46 ans )

— Lawson (@LawsonVGC) March 31, 2014

Aged 46, Pamela Anderson pushed boundaries with this magazine shoot in March this year. Several year after squeezing into a tiny red swimsuit in Baywatch, the actress showed she still had it.

15) Scarlett Johansson, Under the Skin 2013

The actress went full frontal last year in a film about a woman seducing lonely men. Turns out Scarlett actually picked up real men during filming in Glasgow to make the film more realistic.

16) Kim Kardashian, Paper Magazine 2014

We know you came for the article. cc @KimKardashian #BreakTheInternet

— PAPER Magazine (@papermagazine) November 13, 2014

And how could we forget Kim Kardashian? She not only ‘broke the internet’ with shots of her behind went viral but she full on sent it into a frenzy when she stripped off entirely the next day.

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TWO stunning models claim they have been banned from attending baseball matches after flashing their boobs during a game.

The Washington Nationals were hosting the Houston Astros, with the fixture being broadcast live on Fox Sports.

8 Stunning Instagram model Julia Rose has said one of the flashers was her 8 Julia Rose has 2.8m followers on Instagram – that figure could now rocketCredit: Instagram / @its_juilarose 8 Lauren Summer said she did what she did ‘for the internet’Credit: Instagram / @heylaurensummer

But as the camera panned around during a break in play, two women in the crowd lifted their tops to reveal their breasts.

And after the clip was shared on social media, the two women involved have outed themselves as the ‘offenders’.

Stunning model and magazine editor Julia Rose, 25, shared the video on Twitter writing “guilty as charged”.

Rose is the founder of SHAGMAG, a digital magazine which users can pay to subscribe to, with the models later tweeting that proceeds from subscriptions help to pay for breast cancer victim’s medical bills – hence their boob flash.

Another Instagram model, Kayla Lauren shared a clip after the stunt with the other two flashers, telling viewers to: “donate to breast cancer.”

Rose also posted “whoops, the wind blew up my top” and “my lil nips made it #WorldSeries”.

8 The girls urged their followers to donate to breast cancerCredit: Instagram, @xo.kaylalauren 8 Julia Rose shared this letter on Twitter claiming it came from the Major League Baseball telling her she was now bannedCredit: 8 Model Lauren Summer uploaded this to her Instagram stories of her at the baseball gameCredit: Instagram

And Lauren Summer, 24, posted to her Instagram story news reports of the incident writing “we did it guys”.

She also posted the clip on Twitter saying that she “had to do it for the internet”.

Los Angeles-based brunette Rose also uploaded what she claims is a letter from Major League Baseball notifying her that she is now banned from “all stadiums” due to her actions.

It reads: “On October 27, 2019, you attended World Series Game 5 at Nationals Park in Washington DC.

“During the game you violated the fan code of conduct by exposing yourself during the 7th inning, in order to promote a business.

“You were also part of a scheme in which you induced others to expose themselves to promote their business.

“You are hereby banned from all Major League Baseball stadiums and facilities, indefinitely.”

The letter supposedly was sent to Rose from David L Thomas, who is the vice president of “Security and Ballpark Operations” for the “Office of the Commissioner”.

Summer also uploaded a photo of the same letter that she was also sent.

Several people however, have posted their doubt that the letter is genuine due to how quickly the two models received the letters.

However, Summer later tweeted: “To clarify, yes we knew we would get banned, yes the letters are real, and yes I would do it again lol.

“More importantly, subscribe to @SHAGMAG_ because the proceeds go directly to women with breast cancer to pay for their medical bills.”

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Rose has 2.8million followers on Instagram, where she regularly uploads photos of her posing topless, covering her nipples with her hands or with carefully positioned emojis.

She has previously shared footage of her driving topless as well as taking a ride on a roller-coaster without a top on.

Summer has 1.5million followers and works for Playboy.

8 Julia Rose was joined by fellow model Lauren Summer, the two are pictured here 8 The 25-year-old Julia Rose first outed herself as the ‘culprit’ on social mediaCredit: Instagram models behind World Series baseball flash post video of their preparation as they claim they did it to raise breast cancer awareness

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