Cutaneous candidiasis is infection of the skin with candida fungus.
Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors
The body normally hosts a variety of microorganisms, including bacteria and fungi. Some of these are useful to the body, some produce no harm or benefit, and some can cause harmful infections.
Fungal infections are caused by fungi that live on the hair, nails, and outer skin layers. They include mold-like fungi (dermatophytes, which cause tinea infections) and yeast-like fungi (such as candida).
In cutaneous candidiasis, the skin is infected with candida fungi. It is fairly common. Infection can involve almost any skin on the body, but most often it occurs in warm, moist, creased areas such as the armpits and groin. The fungus that most often causes cutaneous candidiasis is Candida albicans.
Candida is the most common cause of diaper rash in infants. The fungi take advantage of the warm, moist conditions inside the diaper. Candida infection is particularly common in people with diabetes and in people who are obese. Antibiotics and oral contraceptives (birth control pills) increase the risk of cutaneous candidiasis. Candida can also cause infections of the nails (onychomycosis) and at the corners of the mouth (angular cheilitis).
Oral thrush, a form of candida infection of the moist lining (mucous membranes) of the mouth, is usually associated with taking antibiotics. It may also be a sign of HIV infection or other immunodeficiency disorders when it occurs in adults. Individuals with candida infections are not usually contagious, though in some settings immunocompromised people can catch the infection.
Candida is also the most frequent cause of vaginal yeast infections, which are extremely common and often associated with antibiotics use.
Pictures & Images
Candida, flourescent stain
This microscopic film shows a fluorescent stain of Candida. Candida is a yeast (fungus) that causes mild disease, but in immunocompromised individuals it may cause life-threatening illness. (Image courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.)
Candidiasis, cutaneous – around the mouth
This child has a large rash caused by Candidiasis, affecting the skin around the mouth. There are also other lesions that aren’t connected to the large lesion, called “satellite lesions”.
Review Date : 10/28/2008
Reviewed By : Michael Lehrer, M.D., Department of Dermatology, Review Date : 9/28/2008
Reviewed By : David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; Jatin M. Vyas, MD, PhD, Instructor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Assistant in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.