Erythrasma is a long-term bacterial infection that usually appears in the area between overlapping skin (skin folds).
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Erythrasma is caused by the bacteria Corynebacterium minutissimum.
Erythrasma is more common in warm climates. You are more likely to develop this condition if you are overweight or have diabetes.
The main symptoms are reddish-brown slightly scaly patches with sharp borders. The patches occur in moist areas such as the groin, armpit, and skin folds. They may itch slightly and often look like patches associated with other fungal infections, such as ringworm.
Gently scrubbing the skin patches with antibacterial soap may help them go away. Prescription erythromycin gel applied to the skin also works very well. In severe cases, your doctor may prescribe erythromycin pills.
Complete recovery is expected following treatment.
Calling your health care provider
Call for an appointment with your health care provider if symptoms of erythrasma develop.
These measures may reduce the risk of erythrasma:
Maintaining good hygiene
Keeping the skin dry
Wearing clean, absorbent clothing
Avoiding excessive heat or moisture
Maintaining healthy body weight
Browning J, Levy M. Cellulitis and superficial skin infections. In: Long SS, ed. Principles and Practice of Pediatric Infectious Diseases. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2008:chap 72.
Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.