Author: Hon A/Prof Amanda Oakley, Dermatologist, Hamilton, New Zealand, 1998. Revised and updated August 2015.
Intertrigo describes a rash in the flexures or body folds, such as behind the ears, in the folds of the neck, under the arms (axillae), under a protruding abdomen, in the groin, between the buttocks, in the finger webs or toe spaces.
Although intertrigo may affect one skin fold, it is common for it to involve multiple sites.
Intertrigo can affect males and females of any age. It is particularly common in people that are overweight or obese (see metabolic syndrome). Other contributing factors are:
Intertrigo can be acute (recent onset), relapsing (recurrent), or chronic (present for more than 6 weeks). The exact appearance and behaviour depends on the underlying cause or causes.
The skin affected by intertrigo is inflamed, ie reddened and uncomfortable. It may become moist and macerated, leading to fissuring (cracks) and peeling.
Intertrigo is due to genetic and environmental factors.
We can classify intertrigo into infectious and inflammatory origin but there is often overlap.
Candida albicans (thrush)
Erythrasma: Corynebacterium minutissimum
Tinea: Trichophyton rubrum + T interdigitale
Impetigo: Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes
Boils: Staphylococcus aureus
Folliculitis: Staphylococcus aureus
Allergen may be:
Toe-web intertrigo (athlete's foot)
Investigations may be necessary to determine the cause of intertrigo.
Treatment depends on the underlying cause, if identified, and on which micro-organisms are present in the rash. Combinations are common.
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