Skin fungus is a fungus that can live and reproduce on the skin and infect the skin. Skin fungal infections usually occur in areas of moist skin, such as in skin folds, for example the armpits, between the fingers, or the intimate area and groin.
Fungi are organisms that can live in water, soil, air, or even in the human body. While some fungi are harmless to humans, others can multiply more quickly in the human body and cause infection.
Even though it's not a serious condition, someone who has symptoms of a skin yeast infection needs to see a doctor. This is to prevent the spread of the fungus to other parts of the body.
Types of Skin Fungal Infections
Skin fungus can cause a number of infections, namely:
Ringworm ( tinea )
Ringworm is a type of contagious skin fungal infection that can occur in various areas of the body, such as on the trunk ( tinea corporis ), scalp ( tinea capitis ), groin ( tinea cruris ), or on the feet ( tinea pedis ).
Nail fungus ( tinea unguium )
This fungal infection occurs in the nails, both on the hands and feet. Just like ringworm, nail fungus can also be contagious.
Panu ( tinea versicolor )
Panu is a type of skin fungal infection that attacks the top layer of the skin. Unlike ringworm and nail fungus, tinea versicolor cannot be transmitted.
Candidiasis is a type of skin fungal infection that can affect a number of moist areas, such as the armpits, groin, between the fingers, the area of the breast folds, and the folds of the stomach. Just like tinea versicolor, candidiasis is not contagious.
Causes of Skin Fungal Infections
Fungal skin infections occur when fungi multiply rapidly on human skin. The types of fungi that most often infect the skin are Candida , Dermatophyta , and Malassezia .
In contagious skin fungal infections, transmission can occur if:
- Touch or make direct contact with people with infections
- Make direct contact with infected animals
- Coming into contact with soil contaminated with fungal spores
The following are the causes of skin fungal infections based on their type:
Ringworm which can be divided into dry and wet ringworm is caused by the fungus Dermatophyta group . This fungus lives on keratin, a protein found in skin, nails and hair. There are several types of Dermatophyta fungi that can cause ringworm, namely Epidermophyton, Microsporum, and Trichophyton .
This fungus actually lives naturally on the skin and does not cause problems. However, this fungus can grow quickly in a humid environment and can infect the skin.
Just like ringworm , fungal infections of the nails are also caused by the Dermatophyta fungus group . Infection can occur through the use of manicure or pedicure tools in salons that are not sterilized after being used on other people.
Panu is caused by the growth of the Malassezia fungus on the skin, but it is not yet known what causes this fungus to develop on the skin. Panu can occur repeatedly even though the sufferer has undergone treatment. Apart from tinea versicolor, the Malassezia fungus can also trigger skin infections in the form of fungal acne .
Candidiasis is caused by a Candida yeast infection . This fungus lives naturally on the skin, but can grow out of control and cause an infection. Candida fungus is also a cause of diaper rash, which is a fungal infection that occurs in babies due to the use of diapers.
Risk factors for skin fungal infection
Fungal skin infections can happen to anyone. However, there are several factors that can increase a person's risk of developing a skin yeast infection, namely:
- Live or settle in tropical or warm environments, because fungi reproduce faster in these environments
- Have moist or wet skin conditions
- Not keeping the body clean properly
- Wearing tight clothing for long periods of time
- Using the same clothes, towels or mattress with a person with a contagious fungal skin infection
- Having a weak immune system due to certain conditions, such as diabetes or HIV/AIDS
- Taking certain drugs, such as antibiotics or corticosteroids , in the long term
- Are overweight or suffer from obesity
Symptoms of Skin Fungal Infection
Symptoms of a skin yeast infection depend on the type of infection you are experiencing. The following are symptoms of each type of skin yeast infection:
Symptoms of ringworm can appear 2–4 weeks after the fungus infects the human body. Symptoms that arise depend on the location of the fungal infection, namely:
1. Symptoms of tinea corporis or ringworm on the body, neck or hands:
- Red rash with ring-like edges
- Scaly rash
- The skin blisters and oozes
2. Symptoms of tinea cruris or ringworm in the groin:
- Reddish skin
- Peeling skin
- Itchy or burning feeling
3. Symptoms of tinea pedis or ringworm on the feet:
- Itching accompanied by a burning sensation between the feet or soles
- The soles of the feet feel dry, peeling, or blistered
4. Symptoms of tinea capitis or ringworm of the scalp:
- Reddened scalp
- Bald and scaly patches on the infected scalp
- Pain in the scalp
- Swollen lymph nodes on the head
- Mild fever
Symptoms of nail fungus can appear on part of the nail or all of it. Nail fungus infections are more common in the toenails. Some of the symptoms are:
- Pale or dark nail color
- Change in the shape of the nails
- Nail thickening
- Nails are more brittle
Some of the symptoms of tinea versicolor that can arise are:
- White or brown patches, which usually appear on the back, neck, and upper arms
- Mild itching of the affected skin
- Scaly skin
Symptoms of candidiasis depend on the location of the infection, namely:
1. Symptoms of candidiasis on the surface of the skin:
- skin rash
- Lumps filled with pus
- Burning feeling on the skin
2. Symptoms of candidiasis of the skin under the nails:
- The nails slip off the fingers
3. Symptoms of candidiasis in the mouth:
- White spots on the tongue or inside of the mouth
- Cracked skin around the mouth
- Difficult to swallow
4. Symptoms of candidiasis in the vagina:
- Reddish skin around the vagina
- Itching and burning
- White or yellow discharge from the vagina
5. Symptoms of candidiasis in babies (diaper rash):
- Red and irritated skin around the buttocks or groin area
- The skin feels warm to the touch
When to see a doctor
Check with your doctor if you experience symptoms of a skin yeast infection as mentioned above, especially if you have conditions that can increase the risk of infection, such as having a weak immune system.
Diagnosis of Fungal Skin Infections
To diagnose a skin fungal infection, the doctor will conduct a question and answer regarding the patient's symptoms and medical history, followed by a physical examination. Generally, doctors can recognize the type of skin fungal infection by looking at the signs that appear on the patient's skin, such as a rash.
To confirm the diagnosis, the doctor may take a skin scraping sample that has been treated with potassium hydroxide (KOH) solution or a sample of infected skin tissue (biopsy), to be examined under a microscope.
Skin Fungal Infection Treatment
Skin fungal infections can be treated with medication. Generally, doctors will prescribe antifungal creams or ointments, such as:
Apart from giving creams or ointments, doctors can also give oral (taken) antifungal drugs whose types are adjusted to the patient's condition, such as:
Doctors can also give mouthwash, such as nystatin, to treat fungal infections in the mouth. However, for severe oral candidiasis, the doctor will prescribe amphotericin B .
Apart from medicines, there are several independent efforts that patients can take to speed up the healing process of skin fungal infections, namely:
- Keep the infected area dry and clean
- Wear clothes that are loose and absorb sweat
- Do not scratch the infected area excessively
- Wear footwear when using public restrooms
Fungal Skin Infection Complications
Fungal skin infections rarely cause complications. However, skin fungal infections can spread to other parts of the body. In fact, it is possible that skin fungal infections can cause secondary infections caused by bacteria.
Prevention of Skin Fungal Infections
Prevention of skin fungal infections can be done by taking a few simple steps. The following steps can be taken depending on the type of infection:
1. Prevention of ringworm:
- Maintain good body hygiene
- Avoid sharing toothbrushes, towels, clothing, socks or shoes
- Avoid direct contact with infected people or animals, especially for people who have weak immune systems
- Maintain the cleanliness of the animals kept, if any
- Maintain cleanliness of the scalp by washing it regularly, to avoid ringworm of the head
- Wash your feet with soap every time you come home from traveling, to avoid ringworm of the feet
- Using footwear in public facilities
- Avoiding damp conditions on shoes, for example by drying shoes after each use or choosing socks made of cotton or wool
- Change underwear and socks regularly
2. Prevention of nail fungus:
- Wash hands and feet regularly
- Keep nails short
- Do not share manicure and pedicure tools
- Reducing the use of artificial nails and nail color
- Using footwear outside the home
- Dry your feet if they get wet, especially between the toes
3. Prevention of tinea versicolor:
- Keeps skin dry when in humid or hot areas
- Avoid exposure to sunlight for a long time
- Wear clothes that are loose and absorb sweat
- Use sunscreen or sunscreen every time you leave the house
- Using shampoo containing selenium sulfide once every 2 weeks, in patients who often experience recurrences
4. Prevention of candidiasis:
- Maintain oral hygiene by brushing your teeth or using dental floss regularly, to prevent oral thrush
- Avoid wearing clothes that are tight and do not absorb sweat
- Keeping the vaginal area clean and avoiding using feminine soaps or cleansers that contain fragrances, to prevent vaginal candidiasis
- Avoid putting the diaper too tight on the baby, it is even recommended not to wear the diaper occasionally, to prevent diaper rash