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Denise M. Aaron

, MD, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center

Last full review/revision Feb 2020| Content last modified Feb 2020

Intertrigo is skin maceration in intertriginous areas caused by moisture and/or infection. Diagnosis is typically by clinical appearance. Treatment includes drying agents and sometimes topical anti-inflammatory drugs.

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 of Intertrigo

  • Clinical evaluation

Diagnosis of intertrigo is based on clinical appearance; potassium hydroxide wet mounts and cultures can guide treatment.

Differential diagnosis of intertrigo includes

  • Tinea cruris (for inguinal intertrigo)
  • Candidal intertrigo
  • Inverse psoriasis (psoriasis of intertriginous areas)
  • Erythrasma
  • Occasionally allergic contact dermatitis (resulting from use of wipes after toileting or axillary application of antiperspirants/deodorants)

Treatment of Intertrigo

  • Drying agents
  • Sometimes topical antibacterial lotions or antifungal creams

If no bacteria or yeast are detected, drying agents should be therapeutic. Effective options include over-the-counter antiperspirants containing 20% aluminum chloride and Burow solution compresses.

If bacteria or yeast are present, topical antibacterial lotions or antifungal creams are given in addition to drying agents (see Table: Options for Treatment of Superficial Fungal Infections*).

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