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Yeast Infection—Skin

(Candidal skin infection; Mucocutaneous Candidiasis)

Definition

A yeast infection is a skin infection from a type of fungus. It is most common in folds of skin, between toes or fingers, and in the mouth and genitals. It is often easy to treat.

Causes

A yeast infection is caused by an overgrowth of yeast on the skin. Bacteria and yeast are normally found on the skin. They usually keep each other under control. Sometimes there is an imbalance that causes yeast to grow too much. Yeast also grows in moist conditions.

Risk Factors

Yeast skin infections are more common in warm, humid climates.

Other things that raise the risk are:

  • A weak immune system
  • Certain medicines, such as antibiotics
  • Obesity
  • Uncontrolled diabetes

Obese Body

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Symptoms

Symptoms of a yeast infection of the skin may be:

  • Scaly rash
  • Red patches of skin
  • Itching
  • Swelling
  • Skin breakdown

Diagnosis

The doctor will ask about symptoms and past health. A physical exam will be done. The diagnosis may be made based on how the rash looks.

The doctor may scrape and test a small area of skin. This will confirm the presence of yeast and rule out other causes.

Treatment

The goal is to clear the infection. Most yeast infections are treated with:

  • Skin care—keeping the area clean and dry
  • Antifungal medicine applied to the skin or taken by mouth—depending on the extent of the infection

Sometimes, a steroid ointment or lotion is also applied to the skin. This helps ease inflammation.

Prevention

The risk of a yeast infection can be reduced by:

  • Keeping skin clean and dry
  • Wearing loose clothing with natural fibers
  • Changing wet clothing as soon as possible
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Managing health conditions, such as diabetes
RESOURCES:

American Academy of Dermatology
https://www.aad.org

Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
https://www.familydoctor.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Canadian Dermatology Association
https://dermatology.ca

Health Canada
https://www.canada.ca

REFERENCES:

Andreas Kühbacher, Anke Burger-Kentischer, et al. Interaction of candida species with the skin. Microorganisms. 2017; 5(2): 32.

Candidiasis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/fungal/diseases/candidiasis/index.html. Accessed August 4, 2021.

Candidiasis (mucocutaneous). Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/dermatologic-disorders/fungal-skin-infections/candidiasis-mucocutaneous. Accessed August 4, 2021.

Invasive candidiasis in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/invasive-candidiasis-in-adults. Accessed August 4, 2021.

Last reviewed July 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Dan Ostrovsky, MD  Last Updated: 8/4/2021