- What is candidiasis of the skin?
- What causes candidiasis of the skin?
- Symptoms of candidiasis of the skin
With the increase in polluting factors in our environment, infections are on the rise. Our skin forms a protecting layer on the body providing protection from harmful germs and infections. However, sometimes the skin tends to get infected by them. Skin disorders and infections can attack humans and animals, the young and old, and the ailing and healthy. Is Candidiasis of the Skin Contagious? In short, a skin infection can happen to any one of us but the symptoms and severity of its occurrence may vary. Among a number of skin infections there are, the most common ones are the infections caused by fungi or bacteria.
What is candidiasis of the skin?
There are various types of bacteria and fungi that thrive on the skin. Strangely, these bacteria and fungi are a part of the natural environment and a lot of them help the body carry out normal function. Hence, it is safe to say that most of these are not dangerous. However, some of these bacteria and fungi can react negatively with the body and when these organisms grow and multiply uncontrollably, they can cause serious infections of the skin that need immediate medical attention. If not treated with proper medical attention, these infections stand a chance to spread.
One potentially harmful organism is a fungus called candida. An overgrowth of candida on the skin can lead to a severe infection. This condition is referred to as candidiasis of the skin, or cutaneous candidiasis.
Candidiasis of the skin is characterized by the appearance of red, itchy rashes that commonly infect the regions around the folds of the skin. If left untreated, this rash can rapidly spread to other areas of the body. While the symptoms often look worrisome, they can be treated with timely medication and improved hygiene.
What causes candidiasis of the skin?
Candidiasis of the skin is a skin infection that develops when the skin is infected with candida. A small amount of candida fungi naturally thrive on the skin. However, when this fungus grows and multiplies uncontrollably to form colonies it results in a skin infection. There are a number of reasons associated with the growth of candida fungi, some of them being:
- Warm and humid climate
- Tight clothing
- Poor hygiene habits
- Not changing clothes, particularly undergarments frequently
- Antibiotics that kill the harmless bacteria on your skin that are responsible to keep candida under control
- Medical conditions like diabetes, pregnancy, etc. that weaken the immune system
- Leaving the skin damp and wet without drying properly
Candida fungi thrive and grow in warm, moist areas which is why skin folds provide the best growth environment for the bacteria. Babies are also susceptible to developing candidiasis of the skin infection. The diaper provides a homely environment for the fungi which can lead to infants developing the infection around the buttock region.
Is candidiasis of the skin contagious?
Candidiasis of the skin usually does not spread, but it is possible for the fungi to spread from the infected to individuals with weakened immune systems. Those with underlying health conditions that weaken immunity can develop the infection with more intensity compared to healthy individuals.
Symptoms of candidiasis of the skin
The most prominent symptom of candidiasis of the skin is a rash which eventually causes redness and severe itching. In some instances the infection could worsen causing the skin to crack and become sore. Blisters and pustules may also occur. The rash can appear on various parts of the body and is most likely to develop in the folds of the skin. These areas include the armpits, the groin region, between the fingers and under the breasts. Candida can also lead to infections in the nails, edges of the nails and corners of the mouth.
Diagnosis of candidiasis
The medical practitioner makes a diagnosis by performing a simple physical examination. The skin infected by the rash is examined by the doctor to diagnose the cause and nature of the infection, which is important when prescribing drugs to treat the condition.
The doctor may also recommend a culture be done before confirming the diagnosis. For a skin culture, a cotton ball is used to swab the area and a skin sample is collected. The sample is thereafter sent to the lab for confirming the growth of candida.
Ways to treat candidiasis of the skin
Candidiasis of the skin can be treated with home remedies and by incorporating healthy hygiene habits. Washing the skin regularly using an antibacterial soap and drying the skin thoroughly can prevent the skin from becoming infected by harmful bacteria.
Topical – Mycolog II
In more severe cases of candidiasis, doctors may recommend using an anti-fungal cream or powder that can be applied to the infected region of the skin. This medication helps in killing the infection and reducing the spread of infection. If the infection has already spread to areas inside the body, such the throat or mouth region, oral anti-fungal medications may be required to treat the infection. Topical medication like Mycolog II is prescribed in most cases to treat the fungal infection. The medicine contains nystatin, which is an anti-fungal drug that acts on the infected area and stops the growth of the fungus. It also contains triamcinolone, an anti-inflammatory corticosteroid that reduces symptoms like swelling, itching and redness. This medication is only prescribed by medical practitioners to treat fungal skin infections. The drug must be only used when recommended by a doctor.
Blood sugar levels
Fluctuating and high sugar levels can lead to the development of candida infections. Keeping blood sugar levels under control may also help relieve symptoms. Blood sugar levels can be kept under control by incorporating healthy lifestyle habits like eating healthy and regular exercising as a part of your everyday routine. For those suffering with high sugar levels, medications or insulin must be taken regularly under doctor’s guidance.
Effective home remedies to treat candidiasis
While there are medications to treat the growth of candidiasis, there are a number of effective home remedies that can have a similar efficacy in getting rid of the infection. Some of these remedies are:
- Apple cider vinegar: Apple cider vinegar has natural antiseptic properties that help to a large extent in causing the fungus to die. Dip a cotton ball in apple cider vinegar and apply to the infected area. Although the symptoms may ease over a period of time, healing takes place naturally without any side effects.
- Tea tree oil: Tea tree oil is also a well known essential oil with antiseptic properties that help in fighting infections. Dabbing some tea tree oil on the affected area can greatly help in soothing irritation and easing the symptoms of the infection.
- Garlic: Garlic contains sulfur rich compounds that give it natural anti-fungal properties which help in treating the infection caused by fungus like candida.
- Yogurt: Probiotics in yogurt are helpful in fighting organisms like candidiasis or yeast infections. The lactobacillus acidophilus culture, in particular, keeps candida yeast in check by producing lactic acid.
- Oregano oil: Oregano oil is rich in a fungus growth fighting compound called carvacrol. Research states that the oil’s anti-fungal and antimicrobial agents can be used effectively in treating as well as preventing candidiasis. Mixing three drops of oregano oil with one tablespoon of olive oil and applying the same on the affected area for a few hours can work wonders in treating the infection. Oregano oil is also available in the form of capsules that can be consumed until the symptoms of the infection settle.