Candida Fungus Skin Infection

Written by Raihan Khalid and Matthew Solan | Published on July 18, 2012
Medically Reviewed by George Krucik, MD


Candida is a type of fungus that can cause an infection in your skin. In normal conditions, your skin may host small amounts of this fungus, but problems arise when it begins to multiply and creates an overgrowth. More than 150 species of candida exist, but the majority of infections are caused by a species called candida albicans.

Candida skin infections can occur on almost any area of the body, but are more commonly found in intertriginous regions—where two skin areas may touch or rub together—such as armpits, the groin, skin folds, and the area between the fingers and toes. The fungus thrives in warm, moist, and sweaty conditions.

Normally, your skin acts as an effective barrier against infection, but any cuts or breakdown in the superficial layers of the skin may allow the fungus to cause infection.

The prognosis for candidal infections is often very good. Generally, the condition isn’t serious and can be easily treated.

What Are the Causes and Risk Factors?

Candida becomes pathogenic when conditions are favorable for it to multiply. These may be produced by hot weather, lack of hygiene, or restrictive clothing.

These individuals may be at increased risk for candidal infection:

  • infants
  • people who are overweight
  • people with diabetes
  • people who have recently undergone antibiotic therapy
  • people with inflammatory disorders
  • people with immunodeficiency
  • people working in wet conditions
  • pregnant women

Recognizing the Symptoms of an Infection

Symptoms vary depending on body location, but include the following:.

  • rashes (area of reddening, usually itchy)
  • red-purple patches (area with an altered surface)
  • white or yellow substance over affected areas
  • scaling (shedding of the skin with flakes)
  • cracking (cracks in the skin)
  • soreness
  • erythema (area of redness)
  • maceration (appearance of soft white skin)
  • creamy satellite pustules at margins of affected areas (pimples filled with pus)

Diagnosing Candidal Infections

Diagnosis of candidal infections primarily relies on appearance and skin sampling. Your physician will take skin scrapings, nail clippings or plucked hair from the affected area and mount them on a slide for examination.

What Are the Treatment Options?

The first step is to address the underlying cause. This may include changing your lifestyle to become more hygienic, losing weight if you are overweight, or managing your diabetes.

Treatment for candidal skin infections is usually simple and you don’t need to be hospitalized unless you have problems with your immunity.

Your physician may prescribe drying agents or anti-fungal creams, ointments, or lotions to be applied to your skin. The infection should begin to clear in about a week.

You will most probably be prescribed over-the-counter drugs, such as ketoconazole or clotrimazole, both of which are from a class of antifungal drugs known as azoles. They do not have serious side effects as compared to other anti-fungal agents like nystatin or amphotericin B.

If the infection persists or becomes more severe, your physician may include some systemic anti-fungals (oral or injectable) in your therapy.

Tips to Prevent Candidal Infections

There are simple steps you may take to reduce your risk of developing candidal infections. For example:

  • Wear dri-fit clothing to help wick away moisture from your skin.
  • Keep your armpits, groin area, and other areas prone to infection clean and dry
  • Always shower and dry yourself thoroughly after activities where you sweat
  • If you are overweight or obese, properly dry your skin folds.
  • Wear sandals or other open toe footwear when it is warm.
  • Change your socks and underwear regularly
Was this article helpful? Yes No

Thank you.

Your message has been sent.

We're sorry, an error occurred.

We are unable to collect your feedback at this time. However, your feedback is important to us. Please try again later.

Show Sources

Trending Now

Easy Ways to Conceal an Epinephrine Shot
Easy Ways to Conceal an Epinephrine Shot
Learn how to discreetly carry your epinephrine autoinjectors safely and discreetly. It’s easier than you think to keep your shots on hand when you’re on the go.
How to Evaluate Your Multiple Sclerosis Treatment Plan
How to Evaluate Your Multiple Sclerosis Treatment Plan
Every multiple sclerosis (MS) patient is different, and no single treatment plan works for everyone. Learn more about what to consider when evaluating your MS treatment plan.
Timeline of an Anaphylactic Reaction
Timeline of an Anaphylactic Reaction
From first exposure to life-threatening complications, learn how quickly an allergy attack can escalate and why it can become life threatening.
Common Asthma Triggers and How to Avoid Them
Common Asthma Triggers and How to Avoid Them
Learn about some of the most common triggers for asthma, as well as measures you can take to minimize your risk of exposure, symptoms, and flares.
Beyond Back Pain: 5 Warning Signs of Ankylosing Spondylitis
Beyond Back Pain: 5 Warning Signs of Ankylosing Spondylitis
There are a number of potential causes of back pain, but one you might not know about is ankylosing spondylitis (AS). Find out five warning signs of AS in this slideshow.