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by Denise M. Aaron, MD

Intertrigo is skin maceration in intertriginous areas caused by moisture and/or infection.

Intertrigo develops when friction and trapped moisture in intertriginous areas cause skin maceration and inflammation with formation of patches or plaques. Infection by bacteria and yeast is also common. Typical locations are the inframammary, infrapannicular, interdigital, axillary, infragluteal, and genitocrural folds.

Diagnosis is based on clinical appearance; potassium hydroxide wet mounts and cultures can guide treatment. The most common conditions mimicking an inguinal intertriginous rash are tinea cruris, candidiasis, and inverse psoriasis (psoriasis of intertriginous areas).

If no bacteria or yeast are detected, drying agents should be therapeutic. Effective options include talc (rather than cornstarch, which can support fungal growth), Burow solution compresses, and super-absorbent powders. If bacteria or yeast are present, topical antibacterial lotions or antifungal creams are given in addition to drying agents.

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