Intertrigo is a rash that occurs in the skin folds, such as the armpits, under the breasts, and the inner thighs. It is very common, especially among overweight people or those with diabetes. It occurs due to an overgrowth of a normal body yeast called Candida albicans, which thrives and proliferates in the warm, moist environment of skin creases.
The skin affected by intertrigo usually appears pink, brown, or red and can become inflamed and raw. It may also itch and ooze if the infection persists. Secondary bacterial infections may occur in broken or abraded skin. In severe cases, a foul odor may be present.
Intertrigo is caused by ongoing skin-to-skin contact, which causes chafing, especially in warm, moist skin. In addition, several skin conditions can lead to the development of intertrigo, including inverse psoriasis, Haily-Haily, pemphigus, and bullous pemphigoid.
Because intertrigo can resemble or be caused by other, more serious, skin conditions, a dermatologist or other health care provider should evaluate the condition. Usually the doctor can diagnose it just by its appearance, although a skin scraping, KOH exam, or a Wood’s lamp may be required to rule out fungal or bacterial infections.
Many cases of intertrigo can be treated with over-the-counter antifungal medications, such as clotrimazole or miconazole. Your doctor might also recommend Burow’s solutions or moist compresses followed by cool air blown on affected areas. More persistent rashes may require a short-term course of prescription topical steroids, oral medications.
These tips can help keep intertrigo from returning: