Yeast Skin Infection

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Topic Overview

What is a yeast skin infection?

A yeast infection is usually caused by a fungus called Candida albicans. This kind of yeast naturally lives on your skin. When too much yeast grows, it is called a yeast skin infection.

Yeast skin infections tend to happen in skin-to-skin areas. These include the underarms, as well as skin folds under the breasts, neck, belly, or groin.

What causes a yeast skin infection?

Things that make it easier for too much yeast to grow include:

  • Warm and moist areas on the body.
  • Tight-fitting, "nonbreathable" clothing that keeps moisture on the skin.
  • Antibiotic use.
  • Certain health problems, such as diabetes, that weaken the body's immune system.

What are the symptoms?

The most common symptoms of a yeast skin infection are:

  • Red, scaly, moist patches on the skin.
  • Itching or burning.
  • Irritation or tenderness.

How is a yeast skin infection diagnosed?

A yeast skin infection can often be diagnosed based on how it looks and feels. Sometimes a KOH test or culture is done to be sure that yeast is the cause.

How is it treated?

A yeast skin infection is treated with an antifungal medicine. Your doctor may give you a prescription for the cream or ointment. Or you may be able to buy it over the counter at a drugstore. Examples of these medicines are miconazole and clotrimazole.

If the infection is severe, your doctor may prescribe antifungal pills.

A yeast infection usually goes away after about a week of treatment. But it's important to use the medicine for as long as your doctor tells you to.

To help keep yeast growth under control, keep your skin clean and dry. Wear loose clothing. Your doctor may suggest a powder that contains an antifungal medicine. You only need to apply it in problem areas, such as skin folds.

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerKathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerAdam Husney, MD - Family Medicine

Current as ofOctober 13, 2016