Please note: This information was current at the time of publication but now may be out of date. This handout provides a general overview and may not apply to everyone. 

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Am Fam Physician. 2005;72(5):840

See related article on intertrigo.

What is intertrigo?

Intertrigo (say: in-ter-TRY-go) is caused by wetness and soreness in skinfolds—areas where skin rubs against skin. Intertrigo leads to an itchy rash that can get infected with germs or yeast.

What does intertrigo look like?

The rash is reddish-brown. It appears on each side of your skinfolds. Sometimes, the rash is crusty and it can ooze.

Where does intertrigo occur?

It can appear anywhere that skin rubs together or traps wetness. The most common areas include between toes, in the armpits, in the groin area, under heavy breasts, and in the neck crease.

Who gets intertrigo?

Intertrigo usually affects people who are overweight or have diabetes.

Can I catch intertrigo?

No, you cannot catch it from another person or from your pet.

How do I know if I have intertrigo?

Your doctor usually can tell if you have intertrigo by the way it looks. No special tests are needed.

How can I avoid intertrigo?

  • Keep skin cool and dry. Use a fan or air conditioning as needed. Try to expose affected skin to air twice a day for about 30 minutes each time.

  • Do not wear tight shoes or clothing. Wear a bra that has good support.

  • Wear clothes made with absorbent fabrics, but do not wear nylon or other manmade fibers.

  • Do not use creams and lotions. They can trap wetness and cause skin soreness.

  • If you are overweight, try to lose weight.

  • After exercise, shower and dry off. Use a hair dryer to dry areas that can trap wetness, such as under your arms or breasts.

How is intertrigo treated?

For mild cases, you should avoid wetness and rubbing in affected areas. For bad cases that are infected, your doctor may give you medicine such as creams or pills.

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