You probably don’t want to hear this, but your skin is home to thousands of bacteria and fungi.
Most of them live and grow on your skin without causing any problem. But some can turn out to be infectious and cause an infection like candidiasis of the skin, also known as cutaneous candidiasis.
The problem usually starts when the candida fungus (also referred to as yeast) on your skin grows out of control.
This may occur because of warm weather, wearing damp or tight clothes, improper drying of the skin, poor hygiene, infrequent undergarment changes, obesity, weakened immunity, use of antibiotics, and use of corticosteroids or other medications that affect the immune system.
Due to this infection, you may develop red and itchy rashes, often in the folds of the skin.
In some cases, the infection can cause the skin to become cracked and sore, and blisters and pustules also may form. If not controlled timely, the infection can start spreading to other areas of the body.
Cutaneous candidiasis commonly appears in the armpits, groin, between the fingers and under the breasts. However, the infection also may develop in the nails, edges of the nails and corners of the mouth.
When it comes to candidiasis of the skin, you can treat the problem with improved hygiene, lifestyle changes and some simple yet effective home remedies.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for candidiasis of the skin.
1. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has antifungal properties that have been shown to combat the yeast responsible for candidiasis of the skin.
The lauric acid and caprylic acid in the oil are responsible for its antifungal properties.
A 2011 study published in Acupuncture & Electro-Therapeutic Research reports that caprylic has anti-infection properties .
Another study published in 2016 in Scientifica reports that coconut oil has significant antifungal activity that is comparable to the antifungal drug ketoconazole .
It can kill the yeast when taken orally in small amounts and also when applied topically.
- For oral use, add 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin coconut oil to your morning coffee or smoothie each day.
- For topical use, apply warm coconut oil on the affected area and massage gently to allow the oil to penetrate deep into the skin. Do it several times a day.
2. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil has antifungal properties that can kill fungi that cause skin problems like candidiasis of the skin.
A 2006 study published in the Clinical Microbiology Reviews highlights the antifungal properties of tea tree oil .
- Dilute 3 or 4 drops of organic tea tree oil with 1 teaspoon of olive oil or sweet almond oil.
- Rub it over the affected skin.
- Wait 30 minutes, then rinse it off using warm water.
- Do it 3 or 4 times a day.
Caution: Tea tree oil is potent and can cause both skin irritation and allergic reactions in some people. It is recommended to do a patch test on your inner arm first to check for any adverse reaction.
Garlic has a number of sulfur-containing compounds that give it natural antifungal properties that help fight candida infections.
A 2006 study published in Revista Iberoamericana de Micología highlights the antifungal property of ajoene (a compound in garlic) and its potential use in clinical trials to treat several fungal infections .
- For oral use, eat 2 or 3 cloves of raw garlic daily or along with salads and other preparations.
- For topical use, apply freshly extracted garlic juice on the affected area. Wait 5 minutes, then rinse it off with water. Do it 2 or 3 times a day.
- Alternatively, you can take garlic in the form of supplements or powder. Supplements should be taken only after consulting your physician.
4. Probiotic Yogurt
Yogurt, especially Greek or other probiotic yogurt that contains lactobacillus acidophilus, can help kill candida by producing hydrogen peroxide.
A study published in the Scientific World Journal in 2015 highlights the antifungal nature of lactobacillus acidophilus .
For treating candidiasis of the skin, only use plain, unsweetened yogurt.
- For oral use, eat 2 to 3 cups of probiotic yogurt daily for a few weeks.
- For topical use, rub some probiotic yogurt on the affected area. Allow it to sit for 5 to 10 minutes, then rinse it off thoroughly with warm water. Do this once or twice a day for a few days.
5. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar contains enzymes that help restore the body’s pH and eliminate yeast overgrowth.
It also has blood sugar-lowering properties, which means it can keep diabetes under control. High blood sugar plays a role in candida overgrowth.
Also, it is rich in several minerals and nutrients that give your immunity a boost.
- For oral use, mix 1 or 2 tablespoons of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar into a glass of water. Drink it 2 times a day.
- For topical use, mix equal amounts of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar and water. Apply it externally on the affected skin. Leave it on for 30 minutes, then rinse it off with water. Repeat twice daily.
6. Oil of Oregano
Oregano oil, which is rich in the plant compounds carvacrol and thymol, is highly effective against infection-causing fungi. It works by dehydrating and killing the harmful fungi.
Oregano oil also is beneficial for your immune system.
- For topical use, mix 3 to 5 drops of oregano essential oil with 1 ounce of either sweet almond oil, warmed coconut oil or olive oil. Apply this oil blend on the affected area. Wait 30 minutes, then rinse it off with lukewarm water. Do it twice daily.
- For oral use, mix 3 drops of oregano oil into a glass of water. Drink it twice daily for a few days to 1 week.
Cinnamon is also a very effective home remedy to treat candidiasis of the skin. It has powerful antifungal properties that can control the growth of candida.
- For oral use, drink 1 to 2 cups of cinnamon tea daily. To make the tea, add ½ teaspoon of cinnamon powder to 1½ cups of water and boil it for 5 minutes. Strain and drink it. You can also add a little lemon juice.
- For topical use, dilute a few drops of cinnamon oil in 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil or coconut oil. Apply this oil blend on the affected area. Leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes, then rinse it off. Do it once daily for a few days.
Caution: Pregnant women should not use cinnamon remedies.
8. Build Your Immunity
If you have weakened immunity, you will be more prone to yeast infections. Hence, to fight candidiasis of the skin and prevent further infection, it is important to build up your immunity.
A good immunity, which is made up of specialized white blood cells, has the ability to search for and destroy pathogens like fungi. On the other hand, a weak immunity can allow disease-causing microorganisms to grow and spread quickly.
- You can build your immunity by eating healthy. Eat plenty of vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, which will provide your body with the nutrients your immune system needs.
- Also, get enough sleep, manage your stress, avoid smoking, drink less alcohol, and exercise regularly to boost your immunity.
9. Control Your Blood Sugar Level
Yeast feeds off of sugar. So, if you are diabetic and your blood sugar level isn’t well-controlled, you are at a higher risk of developing yeast infections.
High blood sugar means there’s an excess of sugar in your body, which can cause yeast to overgrow and develop into a yeast infection.
- Manage your blood sugar level by reducing the amount of sugar in your diet and exercising for 30 minutes at least 3 times per week.
- Also, follow your doctor’s instructions and take oral medications or insulin as directed.
10. Maintain Proper Hygiene
Maintaining proper hygiene is an essential prerequisite for preventing as well as treating candidiasis of the skin and controlling the infection.
- Wear loose-fitting clothing and cotton underwear to allow proper air circulation. Yeast and fungi thrive in a warm, moist environment.
- Change out of wet swimwear or gym clothing as soon as possible.
- Dry your body thoroughly after a bath or shower.
- Change your socks and undergarments regularly.
- Use gentle and scent-free soap on the affected areas.
- You can also consider taking probiotic supplements as a natural solution to a candida infection. Always consult your doctor before taking any supplements.
- Eat more cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, kale and Brussels sprouts. They are rich in isothiocyanates that target yeast.
- Take antibiotics only when necessary, as these upset the body’s balance of bacteria and yeast.
- Caprylic acid in the effective treatment of intractable medical problems of frequent urination, incontinence, chronic upper respiratory infection, root canalled tooth infection, ALS, etc., caused by asbestos & mixed infections of Candida albicans, Helicobacter pylori & cytomegalovirus with or without other microorganisms & mercury. Acupuncture & electro-therapeutics research. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21830350.
- Comparison of Antimicrobial Activity of Chlorhexidine, Coconut Oil, Probiotics, and Ketoconazole on Candida albicans Isolated in Children with Early Childhood Caries: An In Vitro Study. Scientifica. https://www.hindawi.com/journals/scientifica/2016/7061587/abs/. Published March 14, 2016.
- Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea Tree) Oil: a Review of Antimicrobial and Other Medicinal Properties. Microbiology Reviews. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1360273/. Published January 2006.
- [Ajoene the main active compound of garlic (Allium sativum): a new antifungal agent]. Revista iberoamericana de micologia. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16854181. Published June 2006.
- Probiotic Potential of Lactobacillus Strains with Antifungal Activity Isolated from Animal Manure. The Scientific World Journal. https://www.hindawi.com/journals/tswj/2015/802570/. Published June 17, 2015.