Definition of Erythrasma

Erythrasma is a chronic bacterial infection of the epidermis (outer layer of the skin) that produces scaly, brownish red patches that often itch. The patches may occur anywhere on the body though are most common in skin folds and moist areas such as the underarm (axilla) and groin.

When viewed under ultraviolet light, the areas of infection appear a deep coral color. Corynebacteria, bacteria normally present on the skin, are responsible for the infection. People who have diabetes or obesity are especially susceptible to erythrasma.

Treatment

Treatment is topical and sometimes oral erythromycin, an antibiotic medication, which completely eliminates the infection within 10 to 14 days. As with all antibiotics, it is important to take the erythromycin (or other prescribed antibiotic) as the doctor directs and until the medication is gone.

Erythrasma may recur (come back) if the environment of the skin continues to support the growth of Corynebacteria.

See also ANTIBIOTIC MEDICATIONSCELLULITISERYSIPELAS.

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