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Classification and external resources
Specialty dermatology
ICD-10 L08.1
ICD-9-CM 039.0
DiseasesDB 29630
MedlinePlus 001470
eMedicine derm/140
MeSH D004894

Erythrasma is a skin disease that causes brown, scaly skin patches. It is caused by the Gram-positive bacterium Corynebacterium minutissimum. It is prevalent among diabetics and the obese, and in warm climates; it is worsened by wearing occlusive clothing.

Signs and symptoms[edit]

The patches of erythrasma are initially pink, but progress quickly to become brown and scaly (as skin starts to shed), which are classically sharply demarcated. Erythrasmic patches are typically found in intertriginous areas (skin fold areas—e.g. armpit, groin, under breast). The slightly webbed spaces between toes (or other body region skin folds) can be involved, making it difficult to distinguish from various Tinea. The patient is commonly otherwise asymptomatic.


It is caused by the Gram-positive bacterium Corynebacterium minutissimum.


The diagnosis can be made on the clinical picture alone. However, a simple side-room investigation with a Wood's lamp is additionally useful in diagnosing erythrasma.[1] The ultraviolet light of a Wood's lamp causes the organism to fluoresce a characteristic coral red color, differentiating it from other skin conditions such as tinea versicolor, which may fluoresce a copper-orange color.[2]


Erythrasma is treated with topical fusidic acid, or systemic macrolides (erythromycin or azithromycin).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Tony Burns; Stephen Breathnach; Neil Cox; Christopher Griffiths (2010). Rook's Textbook of Dermatology. John Wiley and Sons. pp. 5–. ISBN 978-1-4051-6169-5. Retrieved 14 November 2010. 
  2. ^ Likness, LP (June 2011). "Common dermatologic infections in athletes and return-to-play guidelines". The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association. 111 (6): 373–379. PMID 21771922. 

Further reading[edit]

  • eMedicine
  • Hamann K, Thorn P (1991). "Systemic or local treatment of erythrasma? A comparison between erythromycin tablets and Fucidin cream in general practice". Scand J Prim Health Care. 9 (1): 35–9. PMID 2041927. doi:10.3109/02813439109026579.