Understanding Bacterial Skin Infections: Erythrasma

When informing yourself about bacterial skin infections, it is important to inform yourself about erythrasma. Erythrasma is an infection which usually develops in the folds of the skin, such as in the armpits, between the toes, and even in the groin area. Erythrasma is caused by the bacteria corynebacterium minutissimum. It causes the skin to become pink and scaly. It will then eventually turn brown as the skin starts to shed. It is usually not bothersome to most people, but it can cause itching, especially when it develops in the groin area.

You are most likely to develop erythrasma if you live in warm and humid climates due to excess sweating or if you suffer from diabetes. Overweight people or those who have bad hygiene habits are also more likely to develop this. There are two different types of erythrasma.

Interdigital Erythrasma

Interdigital erythrasma most commonly affects the feet. It begins between the toes. It can be present without showing any signs of symptoms. It starts with the skin developing scales, which may or may not cause itching. It usually affects the little toes.

Generalized Erythrasma

Generalized erythrasma most commonly affects those people who suffer from diabetes mellitus type 2. This type will usually develop on different areas of the body than interdigital erythrasma.


Your doctor can usually tell if it is erythrasma by looking at the affected area. In some cases, he may need to use a Wood's Lamp. The lamp will shine ultraviolet light onto the skin which helps the doctor determine a diagnosis. The ultraviolet light will make the erythrasma appear a red-coral color. Your doctor may even scrape the area with a small razor blade to gather specimen to send to a lab for a definite diagnosis.

Treatment of erythrasma is usually easily done with keeping the area where the infection is clean and dry. In some cases, you may need to use an aluminum chloride solution. In the most severe cases, your doctor may prescribe a cream, such as clindamycin HCL, erythromycin or miconozole, for you to apply to the affected area. In other cases, your doctor may prescribe an oral antibiotic to get rid of the infection. The treatment process will usually take about 2 weeks, but you will get some relief after just a few days.


There are a few ways to try preventing erythrasma. The most important way is to make sure that your skin is always dry when you get out of the shower, before you put on your clothes. This will prevent the bacteria from growing on the damp areas of the skin. If you have had erythrasma before, washing with antibacterial soap may also help. Keeping yourself healthy and trying to prevent gaining excess weight and the development of diabetes can also help in prevention of developing this infection.

If you think that you have developed erythrasma, see your doctor to determine a correct diagnosis. They will also be able to help you with the right treatment. In some cases, you may need to see a dermatologist.

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