Bacteria and a number of types of fungi live on the surface of the skin.
Fungi generally live in moist areas of the body, thus these are the areas where fungus tends to overgrow and create a fungal infection. A type of fungi that occur naturally in the gastrointestinal tract (mouth, oesophagus, stomach, intestines) and moist skin areas are yeasts. Fungal infections are named according to the type of fungi and area of infection.
Common fungal infections:
Athletes Foot (Tinea pedis) – a tinea fungal infection of the foot and between the toes that is more common in males.
Ringworm (Tinea corporis) – the same type of infection as athletes foot.
Ringworm of the Scalp (Tinea capitis) – a tinea fungal infection characterised by raised bumps that form in a circular pattern on the scalp. This may result in bald patches.
Jock Itch (Tinea cruris) – a tinea infection that affects the inner thighs, bottom and genital area.
Pityriasis Vesicular – a yeast infection of the skin resulting in lighter patches in areas of skin.
Candida Infection – a yeast infection that occurs on the skin’s surface or within mucous membranes especially when they are damaged. Yeast infections require a humid, moist environment and grow rapidly when your immune system is not working properly. Antibiotics can also cause yeast infections by killing off the normal flora (bacteria) and allowing growth of the yeast. Yeast infections occur in:
- skin folds
- tummy button
- vagina (thrush)
- penis (thrush)
- mouth (inside and outer)
- skin surrounding and under nails.
Symptoms of Candida infections depend upon the area involved and can include:
- general irritation and tenderness
- skin splits
- dry scaly skin
- discharge (thrush).
Generally over-the-counter products are enough to treat mild-to-moderate fungal skin infections. If symptoms persist, it is important to see a doctor.