What Causes a Fungal Rash on Your Face?

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Fungal infections on the face and lips occur when Candida albicans, yeast that naturally resides on the skin, starts to overgrow. Yeast infections on the face are relatively uncommon, but can occur when your immune system is suppressed by illness, infection, or medications.

Candida albicans is the same yeast that causes oral and vaginal yeast infections. When the face is affected, the infection is known as cutaneous candidiasis.

This article describe what a fungal infection on the face looks like as well as the possible causes, complications, and risk factors. It also explains how facial candidiasis is diagnosed and ways to treat the infection with oral or topical antifungal drugs.

Symptoms of a Fungal Infection of the Face

A skin infection caused by Candida is known as candidiasis. Candidiasis can occur anywhere in the body, but the fungus thrives in moist areas such as the vagina, mouth, anus, armpits, groin, or under the foreskin of a penis.

However, it can also occur on parts of the face, particularly in individuals with other underlying health conditions. This most commonly includes the forehead, nose, and corners of the mouth.

The symptoms of a yeast rash on the face vary depending on how and where the rash presents, but there are some common ones, including:

  • A bright red rash
  • Burning or itching sensation
  • Pus, especially around the edge of the rash

Candida on the face usually presents around the mouth (perlèche) or inside the mouth (thrush). This is distinct from seborrheic dermatitis, which is an inflammatory skin condition that may be associated with a reaction to another type of yeast, Malassezia.


Perlèche is a yeast infection around the mouth, particularly at the corners of the mouth, which become cracked. People with dentures, thumb-suckers, and those who lick their lips habitually are at greatest risk of developing perlèche.

Candidal infections on the face are relatively rare other than perlèche.

Chronic Mucocutaneous Candidiasis

Chronic mucocutaneous candidiasis is a rare condition that occurs most often on the forehead and nose. The skin appears red, thick, and crusted in a way that often resembles psoriasis. This type of fungal infection can also lead to pus-filled areas.

When to See a Healthcare Provider

Someone who has a Candida rash on their face is more likely to have a yeast infection elsewhere, such as a vaginal yeast infection or thrush in their mouth. If you have other yeast infection symptoms and have a rash on your face, you should talk to your doctor about whether it is a fungal rash.

Causes of a Fungal Face Infection

A fungal skin infection occurs when the body’s natural amount of Candida becomes too plentiful. This can happen when the immune system or the microbiome becomes unbalanced, often due to medication use or an underlying medical condition.

Risk factors for Candida infection include:

  • Having diabetes
  • Being obese, especially with skin folds that rub together
  • Having a suppressed immune system
  • Having human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
  • Having other skin conditions, including psoriasis or intertrigo
  • Taking antibiotics or steroids
  • Undergoing chemotherapy
  • Being in a warm, moist environment, or wearing tight-fitting or wet clothes
  • Being pregnant

Diagnosing Candidiasis

When you visit a doctor for a facial rash, they’ll examine the rash, talk about your history and other symptoms, and possibly take a swab from the rash to test for fungus or bacteria. Using this, they can determine whether your rash is caused by Candida or if it’s possibly another skin condition like psoriasis.

When It Is Not Fungus

Candida infection is not the only cause of facial rashes. It can be difficult to determine whether your rash is caused by Candida, especially if you’re one of the people with other skin conditions like psoriasis that are at higher risk for Candida infection. 

Candida rashes are often characterized by their bright red color, whereas psoriasis has silvery scales. Candida rashes may have pus as well. However, some types of Candida rash, especially chronic mucocutaneous candidiasis, can look very similar to a psoriasis outbreak.

Treatment of Fungal Skin Infections

Once you have a diagnosis, treatment for Candida rash is straightforward. Fungal skin infections caused by Candida are treated using an oral antifungal medication or a topical antifungal cream applied directly to the rash.

If you have chronic mucocutaneous candidiasis, you may need to take an oral antifungal medication like fluconazole long-term. You will also be counseled to keep the area well ventilated and dry, which is normally not a challenge when the rash is on the face.

Tips to Prevent a Fungal Rash on Your Face : Fruits and vegetables, live culture foods and drinks, facial cleanser and rag, an X next to antibiotics (to signify that you should avoid antibiotics unless absolutely necessary), probiotics (recommended if you are taking antibiotics or steroids but speak to your healthcare provider first)

Verywell / Jessica Olah

Preventing Fungal Skin Infections

If you are prone to fungal infections or have a history of Candida rash, you can take steps to prevent future infections by keeping your microbiome healthy. You can do this by:

  • Eating a gut-healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables
  • Consuming foods and drinks like yogurt and fermented foods that contain live cultures
  • Avoiding any unnecessary antibiotic use
  • Talking to your doctor about taking a probiotic if you must take antibiotics or steroids
  • Practicing good hygiene and keeping your skin dry and clean

For people with psoriasis, there appears to be a connection between psoriasis outbreaks and Candida infections. Avoiding your psoriasis triggers—like stress and skin injuries—can help reduce the likelihood of fungal skin rashes.


Candida yeast is a normal part of the skin microbiome, but an overgrowth can result in a fungal skin infection. On the face, this can be seen in the corners of the mouth (perlèche) or on the nose and forehead (chronic mucocutaneous candidiasis). It might be mistaken for psoriasis.

Diagnosis is done by examination and sometimes testing for bacteria or fungi. Treatment is with topical creams or oral medication.

A Word From Verywell

Any rash on your face can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. It can be especially frustrating if you’re already dealing with a chronic skin condition like psoriasis. However, it’s important to remember that a fungal infection on the face is easily treated using antifungal medicine or skin cream.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to your doctor if you have a rash on your face. They’ll be able to help you better understand what’s going on, and connect you with the right treatment to make you feel and look better soon.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best antifungal cream to use on a face rash?

If you have a fungal rash on your face, your doctor may prescribe a prescription antifungal cream. However, you’ll likely also need oral antifungal medications, so it’s best to visit your doctor before trying over-the-counter creams. 

What does psoriasis look like?

Psoriasis is characterized by a pink or red area that is raised up, compared to the surrounding skin. On top of this area, known as a plaque, are dry skin scales that have a silvery appearance. If you’re unsure about whether you have psoriasis, it’s best to speak with a dermatologist. 

What happens if you leave a yeast infection on your face untreated?

Yeast infections on the face are often symptoms of a larger yeast imbalance throughout the body. If you leave your facial infection untreated, you might notice other yeast infections springing up in your mouth, nails, genitalia, or skin folds.

Since treatment for fungal face infections is straightforward, it’s best to talk to your doctor if you think you have a yeast infection on your face.

5 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. MedlinePlus. Candida infection on the skin.

  2. University of Michigan Health. Yeast skin infection.

  3. Clark GW, Pope SM, Jaboori KA. Diagnosis and treatment of seborrheic dermatitisAm Fam Physician. 2015 Feb 1;91(3):185-90.

  4. National Organization for Rare Disorders. Candidiasis

  5. Armstrong AW, Bukhalo M, Blauvelt A. A clinician’s guide to the diagnosis and treatment of candidiasis in patients with psoriasis.  Am J Clin Dermatol. 2016;17(4):329-336. doi:10.1007/s40257-016-0206-4

By Kelly Burch
Kelly Burch is has written about health topics for more than a decade. Her writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, and more.