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eMed previously Babylon Health


Reviewed by Dr Claudia Pastides, 25th April 2019

Intertrigo is an infection that causes a rash on the body, usually in places where the body rubs together. The folds of the neck, behind the ears, under the arms and between the fingers and toes are some of the places most commonly affected by intertrigo. The condition can be caused by skin rubbing together and friction, as well as blocked pores that prevent sweat from evaporating. These factors create the perfect conditions for the rash to develop, causing itching and irritation that can range from mildly inconvenient to extremely painful. If you think you or a relative may have intertrigo, contact a GP today for a consultation.

Causes of intertrigo

Intertrigo can be caused and exacerbated by a number of factors, including heat, moisture and friction between folds in the skin. As you can imagine, the places on the body where the skin folds or rubs against other skin is more likely to become warm and damp, creating the ideal conditions for intertrigo to develop.

Many intertrigo cases are also accompanied by infections which can be caused by fungus or bacteria. Some of the most common infections that accompany intertrigo include thrush, eczema, impetigo and erythrasma.

You’re more likely to develop intertrigo if you are obese or if you have diabetes. If you sweat excessively or have poor hygiene or nutrition, you could also be at higher risk of developing the condition.

Symptoms of intertrigo

Intertrigo can have a number of different symptoms, all appearing on the skin. In some cases, the skin will become blotchy, while others may experience smooth or shiny patches that are red and inflamed. Some may experience itchy or oozing skin, while others may notice a foul odour emanating from the area. The symptoms of intertrigo can vary between individuals, so it’s important to see a doctor to have it diagnosed by a professional.

Treatment for intertrigo

Many doctors will advise that you keep the affected area clean and dry at all times. This should ensure that the rash fades away. In serious or recurrent cases, your doctor may prescribe a topical cream which can reduce inflammation in the area and provide relief from itching or irritation. Persistent scratching of the area can lead to infections, in which case an antifungal or antibiotic cream may also be prescribed.

You can also take precautions to avoid developing intertrigo in the future, by keeping your skin as dry and cool as you can at all times. Wearing loose clothing in natural fibres can help, and if you are overweight or obese, losing weight could lower your risk of developing intertrigo again.

For more information about intertrigo, or for a consultation with a doctor, download the app today.

The information provided is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Seek the advice of a doctor with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never delay seeking or disregard professional medical advice because of something you have read here.