Aqueos - Help for Yeasty Wrinkles

Aqueos - Help for Yeasty Wrinkles

Yeasty Wrinkles

The medical term for yeasty wrinkles is ‘skin fold dermatitis’, which means an infection between two folds of skin. Skin fold dermatitis is sore, itchy and often smelly! It can also lead to a serious infection if left untreated, so let’s take a look at what you need to know about yeasty wrinkles!

What causes yeasty wrinkles?

Yeast and bacteria naturally live on a dog’s skin, without doing any harm. However, when they overgrow, they can cause a problem. The area between two folds of skin is warm and moist, with poor air flow, making it the perfect environment for yeast and bacteria to multiply. This leads to skin fold dermatitis. Skin fold dermatitis is most common in the folds of skin around the face, vulva and tail.

Yeasty wrinkles are more common in:

-       Brachycephalic (flat-faced) breeds, such as Bulldogs or Pugs

-       Wrinkly skinned dogs, such as Shar Pei’s or Basset Hounds

-       Overweight dogs

If you own a breed prone to skin fold issues, it’s important that you know the symptoms to watch for, and how to prevent it. 


 Symptoms of skin fold dermatitis in dogs include:

-       Itching, licking, biting or rubbing the area

-       Red, sore skin

-       Greasy or moist looking skin

-       A yeasty smell

-       Pain on touching the area

-       A white or creamy discharge

-       Hair loss

-       Darkened skin within the folds.

If you suspect your dog has skin fold dermatitis, or your notice any of these symptoms, you should book an appointment with your vet sooner rather than later.

How to treat yeasty wrinkles 

Treatment will depend on the severity of the infection. In most cases, your vet will prescribe topical medication (such as a cream, ointment or wash). These may contain antibacterial agents, antifungal, or both. It’s also important to treat the inflammation (redness and swelling) as well as the infection, so the treatment may also contain anti-inflammatory medication, such as a steroid.

In more severe cases, your dog may need treatment by mouth. Again, this would usually involve anti-inflammatory drugs as well as antibiotics and / or antifungals. It’s important to note that antibiotics by mouth are often not needed, nor are they effective, in many cases of skin fold dermatitis. 

In all cases, it is important to prevent your dog from scratching or rubbing the infected area, since this will cause more damage and inflammation. Even if your vet has prescribed anti-inflammatory or anti-itch medication, such as steroids, you will still need to prevent your dog from causing self-trauma while these have time to work. Your vet may advise a buster (or Elizabethan) collar.

Luckily, most cases respond very well to treatment, and the infection completely resolves. If yeasty skin folds become a recurrent problem, or they are causing severe issues, your dog may need surgery to remove the skin folds. Thankfully, this is relatively rare.

How to prevent yeast infections in wrinkles 

If you have a flat-faced, overweight, or wrinkly dog, then you will need to look after their skin. Preventing skin folds infections will need to become part of you and your dog’s routine. You should check your dog’s skin folds daily for signs of infection. If the skin appears red, sore, moist, or there is any discharge, then you should make an appointment with your vet.

It's important to clean your dog’s skin folds regularly. Your vet can advise you on the best frequency, as it will depend on the depth of your dog’s folds. Some dogs need daily cleaning, while others only need weekly.

You can wash your dog’s skin folds using a shampoo with antibacterial and antifungal properties. Dilute the shampoo as per the instructions, then dip a cotton pad into the solution and use the pad to gently clean in the skin folds. Make sure you reach all the way in. You can gently use cotton tips for hard to reach areas. It’s crucial that you dry the area really well after washing, otherwise you are creating a moist environment, which yeast and bacteria love!

While a mild saltwater solution is also effective, some dogs with delicate skin find this irritates their skin, or stings. It’s a good idea to try the solution on a small area at first, to see if your dog reacts. You can make a saltwater solution by mixing a teaspoon of salt into a pint of cooled, boiled water (make sure it’s cooled!).

You can also buy wipes with antifungal and antibacterial action, making it easy and convenient to wipe within the folds regularly. Try to choose a brand that considers the environment too, by making compostable wipes, for example. Specially designed face washes can also offer a quick and convenient option.

If your dog seems sore at any point in the cleaning process, you should stop and contact your vet.

Take home message?

Skin fold dermatitis (or yeasty wrinkles) is a sore and itchy condition, which can cause suffering if left untreated. Dogs with wrinkly skin and flat-faced breeds are prone to skin fold dermatitis. Thankfully, most cases of skin fold dermatitis respond very well to treatment, and there are measures you can take to prevent recurrence. In rare cases, surgery is needed to remove the folds.

If you have any concerns about your dog’s skin, make an appointment with your vet. Better to be safe than sorry!


This article was written by Sarah-Jane Molier BSc BVM&S MRCVS