There are many kinds of bacteria and fungi that live and grow on our skin, out of which majority of them are not harmful and don’t pose any kind of harm to us. Our body needs the majority of do the normal functions; however, there are many kinds of bacteria that cause infections especially when they start growing uncontrollably. The Candida fungus is one such kind of harmful organisms which grows or develops on the skin, results in an infection. This kind of condition is referred to as candidiasis of the skin, or cutaneous candidiasis.
Candidiasis of the skin results in redness, itchy rash which in most of the cases appear near the folds of the skin. In some cases, these kinds of rashes spread to other parts of the body as well resulting in discomfort. Though the symptoms are often troubling but in case they are treated at home can result the discomfort level. One needs to maintain proper hygiene and use antifungal creams or powders to get rid of such kinds of rashes.
Symptoms of Skin candidiasis
One of the main and mostly occurred symptoms of candidiasis of the skin is a rash. The rash results in redness and intense itching which can bring discomfort in life. In some cases, this kind of infection results in making the skin becoming cracked and sore and sometimes Blisters and pustules also appear. These kinds of rashes can affect many parts the body, but in most of the cases they appear in the folds of the skin which include armpits, in the groin, between the fingers, and sometimes under the breasts as well. The Candida can also result in infections in the nails, corners of the nails, and sometimes corners of the mouth as well.
Conditions that resemble candidiasis of the skin include:
- diabetes-related skin condition
- seborrheic dermatitis
- contact dermatitis
How to recognize the symptoms of an infection?
Since symptoms vary from person to person, so the case will be different as well. However, some of the following kinds of symptoms will be experienced by most of the people with candidiasis infection:
- rashes, or occurrence of red or purple patches (near the altered surface)
- white, flaky substance over affected areas
- scaling, or shedding of the skin with flakes
- occurrence of cracks on the skin
- erythema which in turn results in redness on the affected area
- creamy satellite pustules at margins of affected areas like pimples that gets filled with pus
- red and white lesions inside the mouth
Reasons for skin candidiasis
Candidiasis of the skin mainly develops when the skin gets infected with Candida, sometimes a small portion of Candida fungi naturally live on the skin and when it starts growing in an uncontrolled way, it results in cause infection. These kinds of infection occur mainly because of the following reasons:
- warm weather
- Selection of tight clothing
- lack of hygiene
- not changing undergarment
- Increase use of antibiotics that kill harmless bacteria that keep Candida under control
- Using corticosteroids or other medications that in turn affect the immune system
- Week immune system which is mainly due to diabetes, pregnancy, or some other medical condition
- Incomplete drying of damp or wet skin
Candida fungi mostly grow in warm and moist areas and that is why this kind of condition occurs near the folds of skin. Babies can also have candidiasis of the skin, especially on the buttocks. A diaper creates an ideal environment for the growth of Candida which results in redness in the babies. Candidiasis of the skin is not contagious; however, people who don’t have stronger immune systems have higher changes of developing the condition once they have touched the skin of an infected person. Those with compromised immune systems also have higher chances of developing severe infection mainly due to candidiasis.
How is candidiasis of the skin diagnosed?
In case you are experiencing any kind of redness near the folds of the skin, then it is advised to contact your doctor at the earliest. Your doctor will diagnosis your body and skin by conducting a physical examination and while examining you, they will inspect the location of your rash and the appearance of your skin. In some cases, your doctor will also perform a skin culture before coming up with any conclusion and at the time of skin culture, your doctor will rub a cotton swab over the affected area and will take a skin sample. The sample later will be sent to a laboratory so that presence of Candida can be detected, if any.
How can candidiasis of the skin be treated?
Treatment for candida skin infection is not that much difficult and in fact getting rid of this skin infection is simple and easy. There is no need to get hospitalized until and unless you have weak immune system or the candida has spread to the bloodstream. The prescription given by the doctors are helpful in treating candidiasis and the antifungal creams, ointments, or lotions referred by the doctors needs to be applied to your skin. There are many kinds of oral medications as well that one can take to get rid of this skin infection. In some cases you will be asked to have over-the-counter drugs which are easily available in different forms such as ointments, tablets, and creams. These types of creams don’t have any serious side effects as other antifungal agents and can be applied on the affected area without any kind of difficulty.
Some of the kinds of drugs that can be used based on the type of infection and the affected body part are mentioned below:
- Vaginal gels or creams like miconazole, are mostly used for vaginal yeast infections.
- Thrush is mostly cured with antifungals in the form of lozenges, tablets, or liquid mouthwash that can be swallowed.
- Athlete’s foot is one of the most common treatments done with the help of sprays, powders, and ointments.
- Many kinds of infections get treated with oral or even intravenous medications.
Candidiasis of the skin can be cured at home as well by following some kind of home remedies, along with taking care of hygiene. By washing your skin on a regular basis and drying the skin thoroughly can help in preventing the skin from becoming too moist which otherwise increases the chances of candidiasis of the skin. Having clean body is much important to keep Candida infections away from you. Also making certain changes in the lifestyle can help in lowering the appearance of candidiasis infection and in case if occurs, by making some changes it the lifestyle, it can be cured easily.
Some useful tips that one can follow
- By quickly changing damp clothing like swimsuits, sweaty workout clothes, etc can help in preventing the occurrence of Candidiasis of the skin.
- One should change their socks and undergarments on a regular basis.
- One should wear loose-fitting clothing rather than wearing tight fitting cloths.
- One can use gentle and scent-free soap on the affected areas.
- Add probiotics to your diet.
- One should lower the intake of sugar in their diet.
It is a fact that abnormal blood sugar levels results in increasing the growth of Candida infections, so it is important to keep the blood sugar under control to get some relief from its symptoms. The blood sugar level can be reduced by lowering the amount of sugar in your diet and by getting involved in a strict workout session for at least 30 minutes at least three times per week, one can bring sugar level under control. In case you are diabetic you must follow your doctor’s advice and start taking oral medications or higher amount of insulin to lower the symptoms of Candidiasis.
In some cases, your doctor might advise you to use an antifungal cream or powder which can be applied on the skin to get some comfort. Some of the over-the-counter antifungal creams that are mostly advised by the doctors are clotrimazole, miconazole, and tioconazole (Vagistat). These types of medications are useful in treating or killing Candida and lower reduce the spread of the infection.
Your doctor may prescribe an antifungal cream such as nystatin or ketoconazole if the over-the-counter treatments are not working in your case. In case the infection is spread to other parts inside your body like throat or mouth, then you need to take an oral antifungal at the earliest to get rid of it.
Cutaneous candidiasis is also very common among the infants and babies as well as Candidiasis is a diaper related rash which is worn by all of the babies. Diapers are one of the biggest reasons for occurring of infections in babies, this kind of rash is normally red with a well-defined border, and usually lasts for more than three days. One of the most common ways to get rid of this kind of rash and to make your baby feel more comfortable is to change your baby diaper frequently and prefer loose-fitting clothes on top of the diaper rather than making them wear tight fitting clothes.
Some of the common types of symptoms in babies and toddlers are:
- heavy diaper rash and rashes of skin that like eczema
- white or yellow patches near the tongue or sometimes inside of the mouth or cheeks
- being colicky for greater than three months
- recurrent ear problems
- symptoms will get worsen in damp environments or with prolonged usage of diapers
Oral thrush is another most common occurrence in newborns and infants who are below 6 months. Most common symptoms of these rashes include cracked skin at the corners of the mouth and whitish patches near the lips, tongue, or even inside the cheeks as well. Your doctor will refer antifungal medication to you that can be applied to the infant’s mouth many times a day. In case candidiasis infection is not cured and left untreated, it can even enter inside the bloodstream and spread to other parts as well. So refer to your doctor in case you baby has candidiasis.
According to a study, the rate of topical fungal infections among the children is growing rapidly and on some cases, the children start developing candidiasis infections post receiving antibiotics for curing some other condition. Also, children who have a habit of sucking their thumbs easily get prone to developing candidiasis infections especially near their nail beds. In case your children are above 9 months and have reoccurring thrush or skin infections, then it can be a health concern which needs to be examined at the earliest. While older children who have severe skin infections should need to be examined for diabetes.
Some of the symptoms in older children include:
- constantly craving for sweets or desserts
- learning problem
- feeling of unhappiness and irritated
- Continuous ear problems
- symptoms that gets bad in damp environments or in damp weather
Skin Candidiasis Outlook
Candidiasis of the skin usually disappears with the passage of time and with the right kind of treatment as well. Most of the people get full recovery without complications and in case you are taking preventing steps to treat candidiasis, then it will typically disappear within one to two weeks. In case you are not taking any kind of treatment, then its recovery might take few days or few weeks as well, it all depends about the severity of the infection as it varies from person to person. In many of the cases it has being observed that even with proper treatment and medicines it is possible that this infection return in the future.
People with weak immune systems, especially who undergo chemotherapy and those suffering with HIV or AIDS, have higher risk of severe or life-threatening Candida infections. In case you are taking chemotherapy or have HIV or AIDs then there are high chances that you might develop severe throat pain, headache, or in some cases high fevers as well. Whatever your situation is, it is important to consult your doctor immediately so that the situation can be controlled on time.