Facial Yeast Infections

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While facial rashes and blemishes can sometimes be attributed to hormones, sometimes your rash and breakouts could actually be the result of a yeast infection.

Yeast infections are caused by an overgrowth of Candida albicans, a type of yeast most commonly responsible for yeast infections. While Candida is naturally present on the skin, it becomes a problem when it overgrows to uncontrolled levels and causes an infection.

Yeast infections can occur anywhere on the body, including the genitals, fingernails, and mouth. When it affects the face and skin, it's called cutaneous candidiasis.

Yeast infections typically require treatment. Home remedies as well as over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medications can provide symptom relief. Always consult your doctor first before starting treatment on your own.

older woman talking to dermatologist

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Symptoms

The symptoms of a yeast infection vary depending on the body part it affects. When a yeast infection is on your skin, symptoms can include:

  • Rash with redness and skin breakdown
  • Patches that ooze clear fluid
  • Pimples
  • Itching or burning

Causes

Yeast infections are caused by an overgrowth of the Candida yeast. Candida grows best in warm, moist environments. While this yeast is naturally present on the skin and other parts of the body like the vagina, it becomes an issue when it overgrows to uncontrolled levels.

Certain conditions allow yeast to overgrow more easily on the skin, including:

  • Certain health conditions that weaken the immune system, such as diabetes
  • Antibiotic use (bacteria keep the yeast in our body in check)
  • Face masks that are too tight and trap moisture on the skin
  • A hot and humid environment

Diagnosis

Facial yeast infections should be diagnosed by a medical professional. First, they will ask about your symptoms and then take a look at your face. They may also want to scrape off some of your skin to test it for yeast.

The test for yeast infections is known as a KOH test. It involves applying potassium hydroxide to the affected area, which then dissolves skin cells. If fungus is present, its cells are left behind, which can be seen under a microscope.

If your doctor wants to identify the specific type of fungus that's causing your infection, they will perform a culture. Different fungi require different treatments, so your doctor may want to do this to make sure you get the best treatment option for your particular case.

For severe skin yeast infections, your doctor may order a blood test.

Treatment

Yeast infections can be treated with both home remedies and medications. Your treatment will depend on the cause of your facial yeast infection.

Always discuss treatment options with your doctor before trying anything, especially at home. It's also important to keep in mind that the skin on your face is especially sensitive, so treatment must be done with care.

Given that yeasts thrive in moist areas, it's important to keep the affected area clean and dry during the course of your treatment.

Home Remedies for Yeast Rashes

There are several natural remedies that can help treat skin yeast infections, including:

  • Diluted apple cider vinegar: It is believed to have antifungal and antimicrobial properties, but further research is needed to support these claims. You should never apply apple cider vinegar directly to the skin. It should always be diluted to avoid further irritation.
  • Olive oil: Some studies saw that olive oil's microbial and antifungal properties may be beneficial in treating yeast infections in the bloodstream.
  • Coconut oil: This common cooking oil can actually be used to treat skin yeast infections. One study testing on blood samples found that olive oil could even be more effective than the antifungal medication fluconazole.
  • Tea tree oil: Tea tree oil is an essential oil that has been shown to have antifungal properties that may be beneficial in fighting yeast infections.

OTC and Prescription Medications

Skin infections can be treated using antifungal creams and ointments. They can be prescribed by your doctor. However, they are also available OTC, including clotrimazole.

If you use an OTC topical antifungal cream and don't see your infection resolving within seven days, talk to your doctor. Do not self-medicate for more than one week.

Oral medications are also an option for treating yeast infections, particularly in severe or recurring cases. The most common oral medication used to treat yeast infections is called fluconazole.

Prevention

Some preventative measures can help keep these types of infections at bay:

  • If the cause of your rash is related to diabetes, eat healthy and keep your blood sugar levels stable.
  • Wash your face daily using gentle cleansers.
  • Keep your skin clean and dry as much as possible.
  • Avoid harsh face products (like scented ones) that can lead to irritation.
  • Wash your face mask often to keep it clean.

Summary

Facial yeast infection occurs when the fungus that lives on the skin of your face overgrow. It can cause symptoms like a red rash and pimples. While unpleasant, it's very treatable with home remedies, OTC medications, and prescriptions. You can prevent facial yeast infections by keeping your face clean and dry as much as possible.

A Word From Verywell

Rashes and blemishes may be caused by Candida, a fungus responsible for yeast infections. Most facial yeast infections are not serious and will go away within a few days or weeks with treatment.

It's important to properly diagnosis this condition to get the proper treatment. This can also prevent this infection from recurring. Talk to your doctor if you're concerned that your rash or blemishes may be caused by a yeast infection. Also, ask about the potential side effects of prescriptions so you know what's normal and what's not.

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