Intertrigo, a common skin concern, is notorious for flaring in response to hot humid weather. Intertrigo affects the health of the areas hidden by heavy skin folds. Heat and humidity along with darkness combine to create the proper conditions for the infection which causes intertrigo. Intertrigo is basically a yeast infection of the skin found under skin folds. The delicate skin under the breasts is most prone to developing intertrigo. Other areas that can become affected include the area under abdominal folds and sometimes folds on the thighs or pubic areas.

Intertrigo is due to the overgrowth of yeast called candida albicans. This yeast does not normally live on the skin. Moisture builds under the skin fold and the yeast flourish leading to symptoms such as redness, scaling and significant itching. The skin may develop some raw spots. Little red bumps and pustules may be present. Typically the involved skin is red in color. Intertrigo becomes most serious as a source of secondary infection.

Treatment is aimed at eradicating the infection AND focusing on the environmental issues that are present. If this is not done, it is likely that intertrigo will be a chronic concern. Your approach to intertrigo is summarized in 3 key points:

Dry It – Treat It – Prevent It

A simple way to help heal intertrigo, regardless of severity is to allow air to reach the affected region. Keeping the area as cool and dry as possible is the key here. Twice a day, lift up the skin fold (abdominal fold, breast, etc.), and allow air to circulate. This should be for a good 10 minutes if possible. Lying down may make this easier. After bathing, using a hair dryer on the cool setting and drying the affected areas can help control flare-ups. Applying an absorbent powder is easy to do after washing. Make certain you avoid the use of cornstarch based body powders. Cornstarch acts as a veritable feast for candida. A talc-based powder is your best solution, preferably one that is medicated.

Working in rooms cooled with air conditioning can help reduce sweating and keep the area drier. Skin surfaces in deep folds can be kept separated with cotton or linen cloth, but be sure to avoid tight, occlusive, or chafing clothing or dressings.

The last thing you want to do is apply goopy wet creams or ointments to the area which is going to make the area ripe for further flare-ups. Mycostatin Powder (prescription) can be applied it 3-4 times a day if possible. The powder helps keep the area dry as well as kills the yeast. Mycostatin powder can be used on a maintenance basis to help prevent intertrigo when regular powders don’t work. If another yeast killing product is required, some doctors use Nizoral Cream. Whatever cream you are going to apply should be used sparingly and rubbed into the skin leaving no surface trace of it.

A KOH test on skin scrapings under the microscope helps to diagnose this condition. The test may be falsely negative due to recent antifungal use. A fungal culture can also be done. If there is not evidence of yeast, the problem may be due to some other condition such as psoriasis or a latex allergy.


Conditions that suggest Intertrigo

Symptoms - Skin - Conditions  

(History of) intertrigo

Counter Indicators
Symptoms - Skin - Conditions  

Absence of intertrigo

Risk factors for Intertrigo

Organ Health  

Diabetes Type II

Diabetics or anyone with borderline elevated blood sugars may find themselves more prone to developing intertrigo, although you can be perfectly healthy and still have this problem. The condition is a common complication of diabetes.

Recommendations for Intertrigo


Tea Tree oils (Melaleuca / Leptospermum - Manuka)

Twenty three cases were treated by direct application of pure tea tree oil twice daily for a variety of conditions including nail infections and intertrigo. Results were generally positive. [Prof. Paul Belaiche, Faculty of Medicine of Bobigny, 1985]


Strong or generally accepted link
Proven definite or direct link
Very strongly or absolutely counter-indicative
Likely to help



Intertrigo is a yeast infection (candida albicans) of the skin found under skin folds. It is notorious for flaring in response to hot humid weather. Moisture builds under the skin fold and the yeast flourishes leading to symptoms such as redness, scaling and significant itching. The skin may develop some raw spots. Little red bumps and pustules may be present. Typically the involved skin is red in color.


A single-cell organism that may cause infection in the mouth, vagina, gastrointestinal tract, and any or all bodily parts. Common yeast infections include candidiasis and thrush.


Infection of the skin or mucous membrane with any species of candida, usually Candida albicans. The infection is usually localized to the skin, nails, mouth, vagina, bronchi, or lungs, but may invade the bloodstream. It is a common inhabitant of the GI tract, only becoming a problem when it multiplies excessively and invades local tissues. Growth is encouraged by a weakened immune system, as in AIDS, or with the prolonged administration of antibiotics. Vaginal symptoms include itching in the genital area, pain when urinating, and a thick odorless vaginal discharge.


Usually Chronic illness: Illness extending over a long period of time.


An inherited skin disorder in which there are red patches with thick, dry silvery scales. It is caused by the body making too-many skin cells. Sores may be anywhere on the body but are more common on the arms, scalp, ears, and the pubic area. A swelling of small joints may go along with the skin disease.


Hypersensitivity caused by exposure to a particular antigen (allergen), resulting in an increased reactivity to that antigen on subsequent exposure, sometimes with harmful immunologic consequences.

Diabetes Mellitus

A disease with increased blood glucose levels due to lack or ineffectiveness of insulin. Diabetes is found in two forms; insulin-dependent diabetes (juvenile-onset) and non-insulin-dependent (adult-onset). Symptoms include increased thirst; increased urination; weight loss in spite of increased appetite; fatigue; nausea; vomiting; frequent infections including bladder, vaginal, and skin; blurred vision; impotence in men; bad breath; cessation of menses; diminished skin fullness. Other symptoms include bleeding gums; ear noise/buzzing; diarrhea; depression; confusion.

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