Fungal Dermatitis – A Complete Guide

Fungal dermatitis or Intertriginous dermatitis is caused by moisture being trapped in skin folds. A dark warm area along with skin-on-skin friction will harbor fungus, bacteria, and yeast. The symptoms typically include itching, odor, and burning. Commonly affected areas include skin folds on the belly or thighs, under the breasts, armpits, and groin. However, It can happen anywhere where is moisture against the skin with a lack of air circulation.

Most people suffer from yeast or candida skin infections in the perineal, buttock, and groin areas. Some symptoms of yeast infection are red, pimple-like bumps, with severe itchiness.

How to recognize Fungal Dermatitis?

Fungal dermatitis shows up as patches of erythema in combination with scattered pink or red satellite lesions that may be flat or raised. Fungal rashes can cover a large area and may extend into inguinal creases. This type of rash can be very itchy, and babies may be scratching at their diaper area. In darker skin, a fungal rash may not appear pink or red. Instead, lesions may be darker or lighter than the surrounding skin tone. Fungal rashes can cause the skin to appear dry, flaky, or peeling as they are resolving.

How to treat Fungal Dermatitis?

Fungal dermatitis can be treated with a topical antifungal such as nystatin, clotrimazole, or miconazole. Some barrier creams contain these antifungal ingredients. Zinc-based moisture barrier creams (like diaper rash creams) can also be applied on top of antifungal creams and is safe. In cases of very stubborn fungal dermatitis that does not respond to available topical treatment, a systemic antifungal may be needed.

Home remedies containing flour or cornstarch, as well as topical steroids, may exacerbate fungal dermatitis.

  • Make sure to cleanse the skin with a pH-balanced skin cleanser. You can also use a no-rinse cleanser, or mild soap/water, and then rinse.
  • Dry the skin thoroughly with a soft cloth or use the pat dry technique.
  • Incontinence care: Apply a barrier cream containing zinc oxide. All steps must be repeated after each incontinence episode.
  • Moisturize the affected areas and other locations with lotions containing lanolin or a petrolatum base.

Nurses must moniter the affected skin sites and must apply ointments and creams that cannot be kept at the bedside. Preventative measures should be in place for fungal skin infections, especially for obese patients. Bed linens, paper towels, or dressings shouldn’t be used to separate skin folds. There are many moisture- absorbing fabrics containing antimicrobial properties available for skin moisture management.