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So, you’ve got a nasty rash between your buttocks (in your “butt crack”), in an armpit, between two toes, underneath your breasts, under the folds of the abdomen in people with more fat, or in any other fold of skin? This rash is called “intertrigo”, or intertriginous dermatitis. It is as unpleasant and uncomfortable as it is common, and if you are plagued by it at the moment, you will certainly want to know what you can do to send this nasty rash packing, whether you need to see a doctor about it, and what its possible complications are. Let’s take a look.

What Is Intertrigo?

In short, intertrigo is an inflammatory rash that occurs in skin folds. Skin that is overexposed to friction, heat, moist (that is, bodily fluids such as sweat and urine), and underexposed to air is prone to intertrigo. The condition is more common in obese people, those suffering from excessive sweating, and those with diabetes, though it can strike anyone in the “right” circumstances. Intertrigo can be a side effect of localized poor hygiene following an injury, and diaper rash in infants, too, is a form of intertrigo.

Intertrigo presents as a reddish, raw-looking rash that soon begins oozing, crusting, opening again, and oozing some more. The bigger the area affected, the more striking the rash will look.

In its more severe form, intertrigo essentially turns into an open, gaping wound. It is no surprise then, that cases of intertrigo that aren’t brought under control (something that often proves hard, as the conditions that caused it continue to exist) often develop an infection.

I Think I Have Intertrigo: What Now?

Steps you can take to help your intertrigo heal include showering daily and then thoroughly patting the area dry, ensuring you expose the affected area to the air for significant periods of time every day, and even drying the area with a hairdryer on a cool setting. While you can use medicated creams, realize that allowing your sore skin to be exposed to air plays a very large role in the healing process. Bathing with baking soda added to the bath water can likewise cause some improvement.

Your intertrigo may get better with the use of these simple self-care steps, but there’s also a good chance that it will persist: intertrigo is a stubborn skin condition, more or less so depending on its cause in your particular case. If your rash is caused by living in a tropical climate, by having diabetes, or psoriasis, or some other non-modifiable factor, it is much more likely that you will need medical help (best sought from a dermatologist) to solve or manage the problem, which frequently becomes chronic.

In obese people, losing weight is the ultimate cure for intertrigo, while steroid creams can help anyone with persistent intertrigo reduce inflammation. If your skin rash has become infected, you will also need antifungals or antibiotics, depending on the cause of the infection. These are usually topical, to be applied to the intertrigo itself, but oral antibiotics may also be necessary.

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