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What are the Symptoms of Candida Skin Infections?

By M. Haskins
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Candida skin infections, also known as cutaneous candidiasis, are caused by different species of yeast organisms, all belonging to the genus candida. These kinds of organisms are common on human skin, and do not usually cause any problems, but if the outer layer of the skin is damaged, skin infections can occur. This happens most often in areas of the body where the skin is consistently kept moist and warm, for example the diaper area in babies, and in various skin folds, including the armpits, the corners of the mouth, the buttocks, and the groin. Common symptoms of this type of yeast skin infection include itching, redness, and discomfort or pain in the affected area. Candida skin infections commonly cause a rash, usually characterized by the formation of larger lesions surrounded by smaller so-called satellite lesions.

Yeast is a type of fungus, and various kinds of fungi can cause skin infections. The specific yeast organism that most commonly causes candida skin infections is candida albicans. A very common symptom of this type of infection is a rash or lesions that are usually red in color and have an undulating but well-defined edge. This rash is often associated with itching, irritation, and a burning sensation. Diaper rash is a common form of candida, and can cause severe pain and discomfort for the child.

Anyone can contract candida skin infections, but those most at risk are people with diabetes, the obese, and people with compromised immune systems, such as people with AIDS or those undergoing chemotherapy. Taking antibiotics or oral contraceptives can also increase the risk of contracting cutaneous candidiasis. Candida infections are usually treated successfully with anti-fungal creams or ointments, and the infected area should also be kept clean and dry. One should consult a doctor if the skin infection does not improve within a few days of treatment. In some cases, oral medications are needed to treat the condition.

There are also other common types of yeast infections. Thrush is a yeast infection in the mouth, with symptoms that include white patches on the tongue and other areas inside the mouth. It is common in infants and adults with poorly functioning immune systems, and can be so painful that eating and drinking becomes difficult. Candida infections can also occur in the vaginal and penile area, where they commonly cause itching, pain, and sometimes a thick white discharge. More rarely, candida organisms cause infections of the bloodstream, the throat, and the gastro-intestinal system.

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Discussion Comments
By ysmina — On Jun 10, 2012

@burcidi-- Oh, so this is clearly something different than athlete's foot. I thought that candida and athlete's foot is the same.

But I know that athlete's foot doesn't cause redness or bumps, it causes flaking and scaling. I guess they are caused by different types of fungi.

By burcidi — On Jun 10, 2012

@turkay1-- I hope you don't get a scalp infection again, but if you do, I've heard that coal tar shampoo works really well for it.

A skin yeast infection is never a pretty sight, but I think infection of the skin between the toes and nails is the worst. I had this. In the beginning, it's very similar to other skin infections. It looks like a raised, red area. But over time, it develops bumps and later scabs. It's really itchy and painful.

I had to use both anti-fungal oral tablets, as well as anti-fungal sprays and nail files to get rid of my skin infection. I hope I never get it again.

By candyquilt — On Jun 09, 2012

I had a candida scalp infection over the summer when I went to the coast. After several weeks of being there, my scalp started to itch constantly. I also developed dandruff, redness and irritation on my scalp. My hair was extremely oily and smelled horrible in a short period of time. At one point, I was taking a shower twice or three times a day. It was that bothersome.

I finally went to the doctor who examined my scalp. She said that I have a candida yeast infection on my scalp and that it's pretty common in that region because the humidity is so high. She prescribed for me a special shampoo with anti-fungal medication in it.

The shampoo helped, the itching and the irritation was less severe. But the symptoms didn't completely disappear until I came back home. The humidity where I live is really low so the infection went away on its own!

By ElizaBennett — On Jun 08, 2012

@EdRick - Both my babies have had candida skin rash, so I'm quite familiar with it! The article mentions that the rash will have a well-defined edge, which is something you just don't see as much with "regular" diaper rash.

Another clue is simply that it doesn't clear up with regular diaper cream, like A&D or Butt Paste. You might want to try two very different kinds for a couple of days each. Diaper rash can also be caused by chemical sensitivity - she could be sensitive to some chemical in her wipes or diapers, especially assuming you are using disposables. (If it's cloth, it could also be something in the detergent.)

The best way to know for sure is to have the pediatrician look at it. But call the office; they might tell you to try putting Lotrimin on it for a few days to see if it improves. If antifungals improve it, that will prove it was yeast! Hope your little girl feels better soon.

By EdRick — On Jun 08, 2012

My daughter has a nasty diaper rash that doesn't seem to be clearing up, but don't all diaper rashes look red and inflamed? What are differences that we should be looking for to see whether this is yeast or something else? I hate to see her looking so uncomfortable.

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