What is Intertrigo?

Intertrigo is an inflammation of the skin under body folds like the armpits, under the breasts or in the inner thighs. The skin develops a red, raw-looking rash that can itch or cause discomfort. The condition occurs when sweat cannot evaporate from the fold and it creates an environment for a bacterial or fungal infection.

Intertrigo is most common in overweight or obese patients. If you have diabetes, you may also be more susceptible to developing intertrigo and other skin infections. Women with larger breasts are often at risk of developing the condition. Older people who are incontinent and babies may develop intertrigo in the groin area, as wetness from urine that is not absorbed by diapers can become trapped in skin folds where the legs and body come together or in the perineum area.

What are the Symptoms of Intertrigo?

Signs of intertrigo include red or brownish rash, oozing and broken skin, a crust on the skin and an unpleasant odor. You’ll also feel some discomfort or itchiness associated with the rash.

How is Intertrigo Treated?

Mild cases of intertrigo can be treated at home. Wash carefully with a non-drying, non-fragranced soap and pat dry. You may have to change undergarments or clothing often to keep the area dry throughout the day. A barrier cream or triple antibiotic ointment may help get rid of any infection.

Any cases that do not clear up in a couple of weeks should be seen by your dermatologist, who can prescribe antibacterial or antifungal ointments to apply to the skin.

If you have a chronic problem with intertrigo, you might consider Botox injections. Some patients get these to block sweating in areas that are susceptible to skin infections; the Botox can block excess sweating for several months. This can give the condition time to heal completely.

Last Reviewed:
October 09, 2016
Last Updated:
September 01, 2017