Intertrigo, or inflammation of skin folds, appears most often on the inner thighs, the armpits and the underside of the breasts or belly but can appear anywhere on the body that is warm and moist. It usually results from a bacterial, yeast or fungus infection and causes discoloured skin (usually pink, reddened or brown) as well as itching, oozing and pain. Sometimes there is a foul odour. If you have these symptoms, see a dermatologist. Intertrigo can become infected and can also be a sign of several serious autoimmune diseases. Though it can affect anyone, intertrigo is more common in people who are overweight, people with diabetes and those who have artificial limbs. If you have intertrigo, there are simple techniques you can use to relieve the itching and soothe inflamed skin.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Antibacterial soap
- Antifungal powder containing chloroxylenol
- Astringent solution containing aluminium acetate or aluminium sulphate
Take the medicine your doctor has prescribed, even if your skin feels better, and apply topical ointments as directed. Even with the proper medication, it can take up to 10 days to begin to heal intertrigo.
Observe scrupulous hygiene by showering daily and also washing the affected area antibacterial soap. If showering isn't practical, use a soapy washcloth, making sure to rinse well.
Dry off thoroughly using a freshly laundered towel. Intertrigo thrives on moisture; the drier your skin is, the better.
Apply a good absorbent germ-killing powder such as Zeasorb. The chloroxylenol in these powders kills candida albicans, a microorganism that can cause intertrigo. .
Eat healthy foods that not only boost your immune system but also make you less susceptible to yeast infections. These include fresh fruits and vegetables, poultry and fish, whole grains, olive oil, nuts and flax seeds. Eliminate or drastically reduce your consumption of alcohol, caffeine, saturated fats, fast foods, processed foods, sugar and dairy products.
Apply a soothing compress of an astringent solution to reduce oozing and itching. The most effective ones for intertrigo contain either aluminium acetate (Domeboro) or aluminium sulphate (Burow's solution). Follow directions for mixing, and dry off completely after application.
Wear loose, soft underclothing, preferably made of cotton, to avoid chafing. Avoid synthetic, tight or abrasive garments.
Stay vigilant for any sign of chafing or friction, and treat the area immediately. Intertrigo usually develops gradually, starting as a mild irritation, then developing into a raw, itchy rash and, if untreated, finally developing pustules and cracked, oozing skin.
By keeping skin clean, dry and exposed to air, you can reduce or eliminate the pain.
Tips and warnings
- After using a compress, dry off with a hair dryer set on "cool."
- Whenever practical, expose affected skin to open air. Sitting in front of a fan is ideal.
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