About intertrigo

What is intertrigo?

Intertrigo is a dermatitis that only affects skin folds.

  • Intertrigo is caused when skin is irritated by friction, which is enhanced by moisture and heat.
  • Risk factors for intertrigo include obesity, heat, and humidity.
  • Intertrigo patients complain of redness, burning, and itching in the skin folds. Occasionally, long-standing intertrigo may produce a musty smell.
  • Intertrigo is diagnosed by visual inspection.
  • Treatment involves the reduction of frictional forces, humidity, and heat in the skin folds.
  • Intertrigo dermatitis can be infected by bacteria and fungi. Eruptions in the skin folds can occur in a number of other dermatological conditions aside from intertrigo.
  • Intertrigo can be prevented by losing weight and applying powders, which reduce friction prior to athletic endeavors.
  • The prognosis of intertrigo is excellent.

What is intertrigo?

Intertrigo is a very common inflammatory condition affecting areas of skin that are characteristically in contact with each other, such as the groin, armpits, under the breasts, and skin folds. These areas of skin that are in contact with each other are referred to as the intertriginous zones. In obese individuals, skin folds may occur in a variety of other areas and so can be affected by intertrigo.

What are the symptoms for intertrigo?

Intertrigo appears on the skin as a red symptom was found in the intertrigo condition

Intertrigo starts as Redness or small Bumps or spots in skin folds. The Rash can feel:

  • itchy
  • uncomfortable
  • burning
  • prickly
  • painful

The intertrigo appears on both sides of the skin fold, almost like a mirror image. If it’s not infected, the Rash is usually symmetrical. For example, it may appear under both arms or both breasts.

The reddish area can quickly become inflamed and raw. The skin may crack, bleed, ooze, and crust over. The surrounding area may become scaly.

If you have a secondary infection from bacteria, fungus, or yeast, the intertrigo becomes more inflamed and can develop a bad smell. Intertrigo with a secondary infection is often asymmetrical (not even or present on both sides).

You may have intertrigo in more than one skin area. Also, smaller skin fold areas, such as behind your ears, around your chin, or your eyelids can be affected.

Intertrigo symptoms get worse when the area comes in contact with your bodily secretions, such as sweat, urine, or feces.

What are the causes for intertrigo?

The main cause of intertrigo is the irritation of skin rubbing against skin.

These areas are often moist, warm, and lacking air exposure. This makes them perfect breeding areas for microorganisms. These bacteria or fungi worsen the rash and its symptoms.

Secondary intertrigo infections could include:


Candida (a yeast) is the fungus group that’s most commonly associated with intertrigo. About 80 percent to 90 percent of all skin yeast infections are caused by Candida albicans (also called thrush).

Most people normally have some Candida albicans present on their skin, so the yeast can easily take advantage of skin breaks to proliferate. A Candida rash is very bright red and raw looking.


Bacteria associated with intertrigo include:

  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • group A beta-hemolytic streptococci
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • Proteus mirabilis
  • Proteus vulgaris


The most common viruses associated with intertrigo are:

  • Poxviridae
  • Papillomaviridea (human papilloma virus or HPV)
  • Picornaviridae
  • Retroviridae (HIV)
  • Herpesvirdae
  • Togaviridae
  • Parvoviridae

In some cases, intertrigo occurs as a side effect of chemotherapy treatment.

What are the treatments for intertrigo?

Treatment of uncomplicated intertrigo primarily involves changing those environmental factors that have predisposed the patient to the condition. Areas of involvement are covered with a mild topical steroid like 1% hydrocortisone cream and then covered with a drying powder such as Zeasorb.

What are the risk factors for intertrigo?

Anyone can get intertrigo, but some conditions can increase your risk. You’re more at risk if:

  • you have a weakened immune system
  • you have excess skin
  • you have diabetes
  • you have poor hygiene habits
  • you’re immobile
  • you’re incontinent
  • you wear a splint, brace, or an artificial limb that rubs your skin
  • you live or work in high heat and humidity
  • you sweat excessively (hyperhidrosis)
  • you’re malnourished
  • your clothing or shoes are too tight

Infants are also at a higher risk, because their skin is more sensitive. They also tend to have skin rolling against itself (like the folds of the neck), and are more likely to have damp skin from drooling and from wearing diapers.

Is there a cure/medications for intertrigo?

Intertrigo is a rash that typically affects the creases of the skin, areas where the skin brushes together, or areas where the skin is frequently moist. This rubbing can create a breakdown in the skin's top layers, resulting in irritation and a rash.

  • The disintegration of skin facilitates the development of germs or fungus in this location. It may aggravate the rash.
  • Intertrigo is especially common in overweight or diabetic individuals.
  • People who wear splints, braces, or artificial limbs are also at a higher risk of developing this rash.

Infected intertrigo treatment options include:

  • Antifungal cream: If you have a fungus infection, your healthcare professional may advise you to apply a topical antifungal cream or ointment to the affected region.
  • Antibiotic cream: If you are suffering from a bacterial illness, your provider may advise you to use a topical antibiotic cream or ointment to the affected region.
  • Oral medication: To treat your infection, your physician may prescribe one or more oral drugs (pills). Antibiotics and antifungal drugs are examples of such medications.

Intertrigo appears on the skin as a red, raw rash; it may be painful or irritating, and it may ooze at times,Rashes can form in the inside of the thighs, beneath the breasts, in a skin flap beneath a bulging belly, in the groyne area, between the thighs, within the finger webs, in the webs between the toes
Inverse psoriasis,Hailey-Hailey disease,Pemphigus,Bullous pemphigoid
Nystatin and azole drugs, including miconazole, ketoconazole, or clotrimazole

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