Intertrigo

Definition 

Intertrigo is an inflammation of the top layers of skin caused by moisture, bacteria, or fungi in the folds of the skin. The affected areas are usually pink to brown.

If the skin is particularly moist, it may begin to break down. In severe cases, there may be a foul odor.

Common Causes 

Intertrigo tends to occur in warm, moist areas of the body where two skin surfaces rub or press against each other. It is most common in obese individuals. This condition may also be seen in people who are restricted to bed rest or in those who wear medical devices that may trap moisture against the skin, such as artificial limbs, splints, and braces.

Intertrigo is common in warm, moist climates.

Home Care 

Avoidance of moist, compressed areas is critical to recovery from intertrigo. Weight loss and frequent repositioning are often helpful.

Affected areas may be cleared with simple steps such as propping open skin folds with dry towels or blowing a fan across moist areas. Loose, unrestrictive clothing should be worn.

Call your health care provider if 
Call your physician if intertrigo persists despite good home care or if it spreads beyond a skin fold.

What to expect at your health care provider’s office 

Your health care provider can often make the diagnosis of intertrigo based upon the appearance of your skin. A skin scraping and KOH examination may also be conducted to eliminate the possibility of a fungal infection. A Wood’s lamp may be used to rule out a bacterial infection called erythrasma. Rarely, a skin biopsy may be needed to confirm the diagnosis.

Your health care provider may opt to treat your intertrigo with a weak topical steroid cream, a drying agent such as Domeboro’s soaks, or a topical antibiotic or antifungal cream.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 5, 2012
by Potos A. Aagen, M.D.

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All ArmMed Media material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.