MSD Manual

Please confirm that you are not located inside the Russian Federation

honeypot link

Erythrasma

By

Wingfield E. Rehmus

, MD, MPH, University of British Columbia

Last full review/revision Apr 2021| Content last modified Apr 2021
CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSONAL VERSION
Topic Resources

Erythrasma is infection of the top layers of the skin caused by the bacterium Corynebacterium minutissimum.

Erythrasma is most common in the foot, where it causes scaling, cracking, and breakdown of the skin between the last two toes. This infection is also common in the groin, where it causes irregularly shaped pink or brown patches and fine scaling especially where the thighs touch the scrotum (in men). The armpits, skinfolds under the breasts or on the abdomen, and the area just in front of the anus (perineum) are prone to this infection, particularly among people with diabetes and among obese middle-aged women. In some people, the infection spreads to the torso and anal area.

Diagnosis

  • A doctor's evaluation

Although erythrasma may be confused with a fungal infection, doctors can easily diagnose erythrasma because skin infected with Corynebacterium glows coral-red under an ultraviolet light.

Treatment

  • Antibiotics taken by mouth or applied to the skin

An antibiotic given by mouth, such as clarithromycin, can eliminate the infection. Antibacterial soaps, such as chlorhexidine, may also help.

Drugs applied directly to the affected area (topically), such as erythromycin, clindamycin, mupirocin, or benzoyl peroxide, are also effective.

Antifungal creams such as miconazole may be helpful if yeast or fungus is present in the affected areas as well.

Erythrasma may return, necessitating a second round of treatment.

NOTE: This is the Consumer Version. DOCTORS: CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSONAL VERSION
CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSONAL VERSION
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Test your knowledge
Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema)
Atopic dermatitis, commonly known as eczema, is a chronic condition that causes itchy inflammation of the upper layers of skin. Eczema is especially common in people who have hay fever or asthma, and in people whose family members have these conditions. Eczema is common, particularly in urban areas and developed countries. What percentage of children and adolescents are affected by eczema?  
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID

Also of Interest

Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
TOP