Candida is a type of yeast that is commonly found in the human body along with billions of other micro-organisms. This yeast is present on the skin as well as every mucous membrane in the body including the intestine, stomach, eyes, ears, lungs, vagina, penis etc. The most common strain of this kind of yeast that is found in humans is called Candida Albicans and under normal circumstances it exists in harmony along with other bacteria and fungi in the body. However there are times when there is an immune system dysfunction or an over use of antibiotics. In such a situation, all the microorganisms – good and bad – are wiped out except the resistant Candida. This gives the Candida yeast to proliferate freely and take over the systems of the body resulting in the yeast infection called candidiasis.
This unchecked spread of Candida in the body can also lead to Candida skin infection. This Candida skin infection is most often the result of Candida Albicans spreading and infecting the skin. Candida skin infection occurs when the yeast penetrates the skin through a cut or a break. While Candida skin infection can occur in any part of the skin, it is generally found to occur in moist, warm and creased areas of the skin like the groin, armpits, breasts, abdomen folds in obese persons etc.
Candida skin infection is very common in infants and is the most cause of a diaper rash. The moist and warm environment the diaper provides is an excellent breeding ground for the yeast infection. In this kind of Candida skin infection the skin appears red, scaly and inflamed. Usually these rashes are accompanied by itching or pain. In skin folds on the body, Candida skin infection generally manifests as softened reddish skin known as Intertrigo. Candida skin infection is also seen around the nails in the swelling of the nail folds. This is known as Candida paronychia. A form of Candida skin infection also affects the folds of skin between the fingers.
Candida skin infection can take different forms in adults such as oral thrush in which the mucous membranes of the mouth are infected. Thrush appears as thick white patches in the mouth which may at times look like milk curds. This Candida skin infection can make the tongue look very red and the presence of thrush can make eating difficult. In women Candida skin infection can also take the form of a vaginal yeast infection. In this infection there is a cheesy white discharge from the vagina that itches and irritates the vagina and vulva. At times there may be pain during intercourse or burning during urination.
Candida skin infection can be quite serious and lead to a high level of discomfort. Very often the Candida skin infection brings with it extreme itching, a rash, an infection of the hair follicles which may look like pimples, papules, inflammation of skin etc.
Candida skin infection is diagnosed by a doctor primarily through observation of the skin’s appearance. Treatment mainly involves excellent hygiene, keeping folds and warm places of the body dry and exposed to air.