Infection of the skin with the yeast, Candida, is very common. Millions of individuals are affected by Candida to some degree each year. The yeast has a particular propensity to infect organs like the mouth, nose, vagina and the skin. Fungal infections of the skin are also known as 'mycoses'. In the healthy individual, these infections are generally mild and not life threatening.
The majority of people are unaware that Candida is a normal resident of the skin. When favorable conditions arise, the yeast can cause an infection.
The growth of this yeast on the skin is controlled by other bacteria which compete with it for resident status on the skin. Whenever this balance between the bacteria and yeast alters, one of the organisms will predominate and cause an infection.
In the normal individual, recurrent yeast infections on the skin may signal the onset of diabetes. A yeast infection in the mouth may signal an HIV infection. However, vaginal infections with Candida are common and are not sexually acquired nor do they carry any significant health issue. Candida infections in very sick or immune suppressed people can cause severe life threatening disease.
Yeast infections on the skin may present in a variety way which include:
- red rash
- itching which is moderately intense
- moist peeling of the skin
- pustules at the edge of the rash
- pain or a burning sensation
Yeast typically infects
- groin and buttocks in children or infants
- under the breast
- groin crease
Often the rash of the yeast infection is confused with a bacterial infection. Because the treatment is different, it is essential to differentiate between the two.