by Dr. Stacey Matthews Branch
Yeast is a fungus that normally inhabits the skin, digestive tract, and vagina without causing any harm. Yeast infections (candidiasis) occur when something triggers the yeast to overgrow (eg., stress, weakened immune system, antibiotic treatments). Skin yeast infections can cause scaly, red, and irritated, patches on the skin that may or may not itch. It’s often tempting to self-diagnose and use something that may not actually help to resolve the infection. A common OTC product that people go to is Neosporin or similar formulations. However, these typically contain the antibacterials bacitracin, neomycin (linked to allergic reactions in some people), and polymixin b that have no effectiveness against fungi.
Using antibacterial substances on yeast-infected skin increases the risk of destroying the healthy competing skin bacterial flora and making a yeast infection worse. Neosporin AF (containing miconozole) is marketed for athlete’s foot and jock itch. These specific skin fungal infections are caused by the Tinea genus of fungus. Although some yeast infections can respond to miconozole, another antifungal drug (topical or even a form taken internally) may be more appropriate and prescribed by your doctor.
Another go-to remedy is hydrocortisone cream, however, it is also not a suitable option in the case of skin fungal infections because the infection can actually worsen due to the steroid’s immune-weakening effect.
Nonfungal conditions such as lip eczema or angular cheilitis have been mistaken for a fungal infection. Eczema is an inflammatory condition resulting from an abnormal allergic response or atopy (1,2). A related condition involving the corners of the mouth (angular cheilitis) can be caused by a fungal infection, but many other factors including nutritional, immune, chemical, and environmental also play a role(3). A good approach to alleviating the irritation associated with a skin yeast infection is keeping the skin well hydrated, avoiding inflammatory foods, and using products that can help restore the skin’s healthy state naturally.
Results of a number of scientific studies have demonstrated the healing effects of aloe vera, which have been attributed to its many antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial components such as aloe-emodin, aloin, and acemannan (4). Spirulina is a type of algae that contains compounds (phenolics, phycocyanins, and polysaccharides) with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immunostimulating effects (5,6). Post-Traumatic Response Gelformulated with aloe vera, spirulina, and other beneficial natural substances may afford the healing properties needed to help the skin recover from minor skin trauma including that caused by yeast infection.
- Schena D, Fantuzzi F, Girolomoni G. Contact allergy in chronic eczematous lip dermatitis. Eur J Dermatol. 2008 Nov-Dec;18(6):688-92.
- Hitz Lindenmüller I, Itin PH, Fistarol SK. Dermatology of the lips: inflammatory diseases. Quintessence Int. 2014 Nov-Dec;45(10):875-83.
- Lugović-Mihić L, Pilipović K, Crnarić I, Šitum M, Duvančić T. Differential Diagnosis of Cheilitis - How to Classify Cheilitis? Acta Clin Croat. 2018 Jun;57(2):342-351.
- Sánchez M, González-Burgos E, Iglesias I, Gómez-Serranillos MP. Pharmacological Update Properties of Aloe Vera and its Major Active Constituents. Molecules. 2020 Mar 13;25(6):1324
- Finamore A, Palmery M, Bensehaila S, Peluso I. Antioxidant, Immunomodulating, and Microbial-Modulating Activities of the Sustainable and Ecofriendly Spirulina. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2017;2017:3247528.
- Gunes S, Tamburaci S, Dalay MC, Deliloglu Gurhan I. In vitro evaluation of Spirulina platensis extract incorporated skin cream with its wound healing and antioxidant activities. Pharm Biol. 2017 Dec;55(1):1824-1832.
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