Intertrigo is inflammation of the skin. It tends to occur in warm, moist areas of the body where two skin surfaces rub or press against each other. Such areas are called "skin folds."
Intertrigo affects the top layers of skin. It is caused by moisture, bacteria, yeast, or fungus in the folds of the skin. The affected areas of skin are usually pink to brown. If the skin is very moist, it may begin to break down. In severe cases, there may be a bad odor.
The condition is most common in persons who are obese. It may also be seen in people who must stay in bed or who wear medical devices such as artificial limbs, splints, and braces. These devices may trap moisture against the skin.
Intertrigo is common in warm, moist climates.
It may help to lose weight and move your body position often.
Other things you can do are:
- Keep areas of folded skin open with dry towels.
- Blowing a fan across moist areas.
- Wear loose clothing.
Call your health care provider if
Call your health care provider if:
- The condition does not go away, even with good home care.
- The area of affected skin spreads beyond a skin fold.
What to expect at your health care provider's office
Your health care provider can tell if you have the condition by looking at your skin.
Other tests may include:
- A skin scraping and KOH examination to rule out a fungal infection
- A Wood's lamp to rule out a bacterial infection called erythrasma
- Rarely, a skin biopsy to confirm the diagnosis
Treatment options for intertrigo include:
- Antibiotic or antifungal cream applied to the skin
- Drying medication such as Domeboro soaks
- Low-dose steroid cream
- Creams that protect the skin
Habif TM. Superficial fungal infections. In: Habif TP, ed. Clinical Dermatology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier;2009:chap 13.
Bacterial Infections. In: James WD, Berger TG, Elston DM, eds. Andrews' Diseases of the Skin: Clinical Dermatology. 11th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 14.
Last reviewed 11/20/2012 by Kevin Berman, MD, PhD, Atlanta Center for Dermatologic Disease, Atlanta, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.
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