A yeast infection is an overgrowth of yeast on the skin that causes an itchy rash. It is most common in area that can stay moist such as folds of skin, web between toes or fingers, and genital area. It is commonly associated with lesions in the mouth.
A number of organisms including bacteria and yeast normally exist on the skin. Normally the organisms help keep each other under control.
An overgrowth of yeast may occur if there is an imbalance of organisms on the skin or conditions that yeast thrive in such a moist environment.
Yeasts need moisture to grow. People who live in warm, humid climates are at greater risk.
Other risk factors include:
- Having a weakened immune system
- Taking certain medications, such as antibiotics—can kill off good bacteria that helps manage yeast numbers
- Uncontrolled diabetes
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Common symptoms may include:
- Scaly rash
- Red patches of skin
- Skin breakdown
The rash is more likely to develop in skin folds and areas of the body where 2 skin surfaces are in contact, such as the armpits.
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. The diagnosis may be made based on the appearance of the rash.
A scraping of the skin may also be taken. The sample will be tested to confirm the presence of yeast and rule out other causes.
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Most yeast infections can be taken care of with medication and good skin hygiene.
Good skin hygiene will include keeping the area dry and clean. A drying agent may be recommended for areas that are difficult to keep dry.
Antifungal medication will be prescribed as an ointment, lotion, or pill depending on the extent of the infection. Sometimes, the antifungal medication is combined with a steroid as an ointment or lotion.
Proper skin care can help reduce your chance of getting a yeast infection:
- Keep your skin clean and dry.
- Wear loose fitting clothing to minimize friction in skin folds.
- Avoid wearing synthetic fibers.
- Change out of wet clothing as soon as possible.
- Talk to your doctor about whether you should use drying powders.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Control health conditions, such as diabetes.
Candidal skin infection (yeast infection). Patient website. Available at: http://www.patient.co.uk/health/Candidal-Skin-Infection.htm. Updated January 25, 2017. Accessed September 25, 2017.
Candidiasis (mucocutaneous). Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/dermatologic-disorders/fungal-skin-infections/candidiasis-mucocutaneous. Updated April 2017. Accessed September 25, 2017.
Last reviewed September 2018 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Marcie L. Sidman, MD
Last Updated: 10/3/2016