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Candidiasis of Skin and Nails

Category(s): Infectious Diseases


Synonyms : Cutaneous candidiasis, Yeast Infection (Cutaneous Candidiasis)
Cutaneous candidiasis often causes an itchy, red rash to form, most commonly in the folds of the skin. This rash may also reach to other areas of the body. Different types of bacteria and fungi live and grow on the skin. Most of them are not dangerous. The body needs the majority of them to carry out normal functions. However, some can cause infections when they start to multiply uncontrollably.

One of these potentially harmful organisms is Candida fungus. When an overgrowth of Candida increases on the skin, an infection may occur. This condition is known as cutaneous candidiasis or candidiasis of the skin. Candida intertrigo is a fungal infection which causes burning, inflammation, and itching in moist skin folds.

Candidiasis of the skin is not infectious. However, people with weakened immune systems may grow the condition after touching the skin of an infected person. Those with compromised immune systems are also more likely to develop a severe infection as a result of candidiasis.


Symptoms of candidiasis of the skin:

Symptoms of candidiasis of the skin are:

  • The main symptom of candidiasis of the skin is a rash.
    • The rash frequently causes redness and intense itching. In some cases, the infection can cause the skin to become cracked and sore. Blisters and pustules may also occur.
    • The rash may affect different parts the body, but it is most likely to grow in the folds of the skin. This includes areas in the armpits, in the groin, between the fingers, and under the breasts.
  • Candida can also cause infections in the nails, edges of the nails, and corners of the mouth. Candida fungi flourish and develop in moist, warm areas. This is why the condition frequently affects areas where there are folds of skin.
  • Babies may also develop candidiasis of the skin, especially on the buttocks. A diaper tends to provide an ideal environment for Candida.
Other conditions that may resemble candidiasis of the skin include:


Causes of candidiasis of the skin are:

Candidiasis of the skin grows when the skin becomes infected with Candida. A small amount of Candida fungi naturally live on the skin. When this type of fungus starts to multiply uncontrollably, however, it may cause an infection. This may occur because of:

  • Poor hygiene
  • Warm weather
  • Tight clothing
  • Obesity
  • Infrequent undergarment changes
  • The use of corticosteroids or other medications that affect the immune system
  • The use of antibiotics that kill harmless bacteria that keep candida under control
  • A weakened immune system as a result of diabetes, pregnancy, or another medical condition
  • Incomplete drying of damp or wet skin


Diagnosis of candidiasis of skin and nails include:

Physical examination: Doctor will make a diagnosis by performing a physical examination of the patient. During the exam, the doctor will examine the location of the rash and the appearance of the skin and nail.

Skin culture: Doctor may perform a skin culture before making a diagnosis of candidiasis of the skin. During a skin culture, the doctor will wipe a cotton swab over the affected area and collect a sample of the skin. Then the sample will be sent to a lab to be tested for the presence of Candida.


Treatment of candidiasis of skin and nails are:

  • Over-the-counter antifungal drugs such as clotrimazole, miconazole, and oxiconazole can help cure infections of the skin.

  • For quick recovery, a person should keep the skin dry. Powders can reduce moisture during and after recovery.

  • If the condition does not improve after taking these actions then consult a dermatologist. Prescription medicines may be required.

  • Severe infection of the skin, often caused by invasive candidiasis, need to be treated by a doctor. Invasive candidiasis is a serious yeast infection that affects the heart, brain, blood, eyes, and bones.

  • People with weak immune systems, such as those with HIV, are more likely to be affected by these invasive infections. Patients should be hospitalized immediately. 

Nails affected by candidiasis should be kept strengthened and dry. Nail infections can be difficult to treat. 

Following steps may be done to treat nail infections:

  • Examine medical causes of the condition and correct those issues if they exist.
  • Keep nails dry. 
  • Wear gloves to perform daily activities.
  • Treat nails by strengthening them. Use petroleum jelly or thicker-based lubricants instead of watery lotions.

If infection of a nail cannot be treated then surgical removal of the nail may be the best option. A new nail will grow, but it is a slow process.

Vitamin B with biotin may also help weak nails. It should be taken as a daily supplement.