Eczema And Candida Explained: Is Yeast Related? Is it a Fungal Or Bacterial Infection?

Jan 8, 2023
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Eczema is an inflammatory skin condition that causes itchy skin, blisters, scaly patches, rashes, dry skin, and skin infections. It is caused by an overactive immune response to an irritant. Often, those suffering from eczema have a family history of allergies or asthma. One of the common complications of eczema is the skin developing tiny cracks from excessive scratching or from dryness which lets germs in.

One of those germs is Candida albicans, a type of fungus. Normally, Candida can live on the skin or even in our gut without causing problems. However, if Candida grows out of control, a skin fungal infection can occur.

This article will discuss Candida and eczema and their differences. Please keep reading to know more about it.

Can Candida cause eczema?

In a few small studies researchers have found that patients with eczema were more likely to be allergic to Candida compared to those with no eczema. These results suggest that a hypersensitivity to Candida may contribute to eczema in some people. In a few cases, doctors have used antifungal medication for very hard-to-treat cases of eczema.

But, keep in mind that these results are still considered experimental. Most people – both those with and without eczema – live with Candida on our skin every day normally. If your eczema is hard to manage, discuss options with your dermatologist. Can eczema be caused by yeast?

Eczema can be infected by various bacteria, viruses, or fungi. Candida Albicans, a common type of yeast that causes fungal infections, may cause infected eczema or prevent open eczema wounds from healing.

Can Candida make eczema worse?

Yes, a Candida infection on your skin may cause an eczema flare to become worse. Skin with eczema is more fragile and prone to infection from fungi, as well as other organisms. If you have a Candida infection on top of eczema, usual treatments like moisturizer or corticosteroid cream will not work and may even worsen the infection. If your skin symptoms feel different or do not improve with usual treatments, see your doctor as soon as possible. They will assess your skin and prescribe an antifungal medication if it is needed.

How do you treat Candida eczema?

If your eczema gets infected, you should visit the doctor immediately. Candida can contribute to the worsening of eczema. Your doctor may recommend antifungal medications or creams. A steroid may also be prescribed with fungal-infected eczema rash. Some antifungal creams are available over-the-counter (OTC).

One of the best ways to prevent skin infection in eczema is to minimize scratching which breaks the skin. Also make sure to: 

  • Practice good hygiene
  • Take care of flare-prone areas by hydrating the skin and applying emollients every day
  • Treat flares without delay so that itching does not become out of control

Can Candida cause skin problems?

Yes, Candida can cause skin problems. Some of the symptoms of Candida are:

  • Itching (sometimes intense)
  • Red rash
  • Skin redness
  • Hot and painful skin

The infection may cause the skin to become sore and cracked in some cases. Blisters and small bumps on the skin with fluid or pus may also occur. Candida may affect different body parts, such as armpits, groin, between the fingers, under the breast, nails, corners of the mouth, and edges of the nails.

How can you tell the difference between Candida and eczema?

Some of the common signs and symptoms of Candida and eczema are:

  • Itching
  • Skin redness
  • Red rash

Signs and symptoms of Candida fungal infections depend on the location of the infection. These may include:

  • Hot, itchy, painful rash
  • Discoloration of fingernails and toenails
  • Softened red skin in body fold areas

On the other hand, signs and symptoms of eczema include:

  • Bumps that burn and cause intense itching
  • Crusty sores
  • Painful skin cracks
  • Red eyelids

If you aren’t sure what kind of skin condition you have, get help from a healthcare provider. They will assess your skin and let you know if you have eczema, a fungal skin infection, or something else. A correct diagnosis is important to make sure you get the right treatment without unnecessary delay.

Is eczema a fungal or bacterial infection?

Eczema is an inflammatory skin condition where your immune system is hypersensitive to irritants in the environment. People who are prone to eczema get flares intermittently throughout their life. An eczema rash is not an infection. However, eczema does make the skin more fragile, which means skin infections due to various bacteria, viruses, and fungi may be common. Some of the common microorganisms responsible for infected eczema are:

  • Herpes simplex virus (HSV)
  • Staphylococcus aureus (bacteria)
  • Candida albicans (fungi)

How to treat eczema and yeast

Various prescription and non-prescription medications and products are available to treat eczema and Candida (yeast infections).

Prescription medications for eczema are:

  • Steroids: Your physician may prescribe you corticosteroids to be taken orally (tablet or capsule) or applied topically (ointments, lotions, gels, foams, or creams). 
  • Topical immunomodulators: An example of a topical immunomodulator is a  topical calcineurin inhibitor, such as tacrolimus (Protopic). These medications alter the immune system and have been used for treating eczema. They work by inhibiting the natural chemical that results in symptoms of eczema.
  • Topical antibiotics are also used for secondary infections, which can worsen eczema. Topical creams and ointments of antibiotics may help to reduce localized patches of infected eczema.
  • Topical PDE4 inhibitors: For atopic dermatitis (a type of eczema), PDE4 inhibitors may be prescribed by your doctor.

Over-the-counter medications for eczema are:

  • Antihistamine: These are available as over-the-counter medications. Antihistamines make you drowsy and help you get much needed rest if intense itching is preventing you from sleeping at night. 
  • Topical steroid and anti-inflammatory non-prescription creams are also available for reducing the symptoms of eczema.

Prescription medications for yeast infections

They are available in different formulations such as tablets, capsules, lotions, ointments, creams, and lozenges. Your doctor can suggest the right option for you.

  • Azole medications are prescription medications available in different formulations that your doctor may prescribe to treat yeast infections.
  • Your doctor may also prescribe Polyene antifungal medications in case of systemic fungal infections.
  • Over-the-counter medications for yeast infections are Clotrimazole cream (Canesten) or miconazole cream (Monistat) are topicals which can help kill Candida of the skin. 

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