Erythrasma: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Erythrasma is a common skin infection caused by a type of bacteria known as Corynebacterium minutissimum. It occurs when this bacteria infects the superficial layer of the skin.


Erythrasma is caused by an overgrowth of Corynebacterium minutissimum, a type of bacteria commonly found on healthy skin. Risk factors for erythrasma include diabetes, poor hygiene, obesity, occlusive clothing, and excessive sweating.


The most common symptom of erythrasma is a reddish-brown, scaly rash that usually appears in the areas of skin that are warm and moist, such as in the armpits, groin, and between the toes. The rash may also be accompanied by itching or burning. In some cases, small, raised spots may appear in the area.


Erythrasma can usually be treated with antifungal or antibiotic creams or ointments. Your doctor may also prescribe oral antibiotics for more severe cases. To help prevent the infection from recurring:

  • Keep the affected area clean and dry.
  • Wear loose-fitting, breathable clothing made from natural fabrics.
  • Avoid tight clothing, especially in warm, damp areas.
  • Keep diabetes under control.
  • Practice good hygiene, including showering or bathing every day.

If left untreated, erythrasma can lead to severe infection and scarring. It is important to see your doctor if you experience any of the symptoms of erythrasma.