Intertrigo is a skin condition that occurs in between folds of skin in places on the body that rub together a lot and do not get much ventilation. It is caused by heat, moisture, friction, sweat retention, and lack of air circulation, which produces red, irritated patches and, sometimes, scaling or drainage. People who have diabetes, who are obese, or who have treatment with antibiotics are at increased risk for intertrigo.

The most common sites for intertrigo to occur include:

  • The groin.

  • The breasts.

  • The armpits.

  • Folds of abdominal skin.

  • Webbed spaces between the fingers or toes.

Intertrigo may be aggravated by:

  • Sweat.

  • Feces.

  • Yeast or bacteria that are present near skin folds.

  • Urine.

  • Vaginal discharge.


  • The following steps can be taken to reduce friction and keep the affected area cool and dry:

  • Expose skin folds to the air.

  • Keep deep skin folds separated with cotton or linen cloth. Avoid tight fitting clothing that could cause chafing.

  • Wear open-toed shoes or sandals to help reduce moisture between the toes.

  • Apply absorbent powders to affected areas as directed by your caregiver.

  • Apply over-the-counter barrier pastes, such as zinc oxide, as directed by your caregiver.

  • If you develop a fungal infection in the affected area, your caregiver may have you use antifungal creams.


  • The rash is not improving after 1 week of treatment.

  • The rash is getting worse (more red, more swollen, more painful, or spreading).

  • You have a fever or chills.


  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your condition.

  • Will get help right away if you are not doing well or get worse.