Erythrasma is a long-term bacterial infection that usually appears in the area between overlapping skin (skin folds).
Erythrasma is caused by Corynebacterium minutissimum. The typical appearance is a reddish-brown slightly scaly patch with sharp borders. The lesions occur in moist areas such as the groin, armpit, and skin folds, and may itch slightly.
Erythrasma is more common in warm climates and among those who 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.
Exams and Tests
- Wood's lamp test (when examined under this ultraviolet light, the lesions glow a coral-red color)
- Culture of scrapings from the lesion
Gently scrubbing the lesions with antibacterial soap may help the patches 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.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
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