Men and women of all ages can be affected by acne, even though it does affect teenage males most commonly. A lot of the factors in younger age groups are hormone related due to puberty, and it does settle down with age.
Adult acne on the other hand can last a very long time and come with different outbreak frequencies and severity. Causes for acne are difficult to sum up in a few bullet points, but one area that has become quite a hot topic is a link between candida and acne.
At normal levels, yeast is essential to the health of your skin, but several studies and research have shown some connections to acne that simply cannot be ignored.
What most people may not realize is how very normal life styles and medications can actually be causing this overgrowth. And in turn this is resulting in more severe outbreaks. To help you identify whether you should change some things you’re doing, just check out the below study findings.
What is Candida?
Our body has various micro-organisms which are part of normal flora. They are not all harmful and their presence is beneficial in one or the other way.
This normal presence turns into a cause for acne when heavy doses of antibiotics are taken for a prolonged period. It is then, that this normal flora turns into a pathologic one.
Thrush is the yeast infection in the mouth (mucosal candidiasis). Similarly, the fungal infection on the skin might lead to redness, inflammation and scar formation (known as cutaneous candidiasis). If left untreated, this could lead to eczema, acne etc.
Types of Candidiasis:
- Mucosal candidiasis (oral)
- Cutaneous candidiasis (skin)
- Onychomycosis (nail)
- Invasive candidiasis
- Antibiotic candidiasis
In a quest to find how candida might be causing your acne you need to know following 5 research-backed facts.
1. Prolonged Antibiotic Use:
Antibiotics help your skin in getting rid of acne up to a point. However, prolonged use of heavy dosed antibiotics might actually begin to damage your skin by causing acne.
How it Happens:
The tetracycline group (antibiotics) is mostly prescribed for acne to fight against the bad bacteria (acne causing bacteria).
As, antibiotics are unable to differentiate between the good and the bad bacteria, after a certain threshold these antibiotics start removing the good bacteria from our bodies. These good bacteria are responsible for keeping the amount of yeast present in our body under control. Once they are lost, there might be increasing amount of yeast as the inhibition is lost.
The resultant increase in Candida incites the immune system and inflammation ensues. The immune system senses the overgrowth of Candida and causes certain signals to be turned ON in our body which causes even more inflammation during the process.
2. Our Diet and Candida:
Frequent and excessive intake of diet consisting of simple carbohydrates leads to Candidal overgrowth.
The presence of salivary glucose causes growth of candida because these help in sustaining them. Sugars provide a viable environment for the yeast to survive in human body.
- IODIZED SALT
- MILK AND CHEESE
- FRUITS (Bananas, oranges etc.)
- REGULAR AND DIET SODA
- ENERGY DRINKS [source]
- ALCOHOL (when consumed in high amounts its synonymous to higher glucose intake because of increased sugar content)
- CURED, PROCESSED AND SMOKED MEATS
- RICE (especially white ones)
- DRIED AND CANNED FRUITS (Dates included)
- SOY SAUCE
- FATS/OILS: Peanut oil, soybean oil, cottonseed oil, corn oil, canola oil, margarine
- MUSHROOMS [source]
Candida grows on simple carbohydrates and requires an acidic environment to prosper. Processed foods are usually high in sugar so one needs to avoid it. Restrict the growth of above-mentioned foods to inhibit the growth of Candida.
The food you need to take are:
- Garlic and Turmeric (these have anti-candidal properties) [source]
- Chia seeds
- Coconut oil (more effective than anti-fungal drugs)
- Fresh Juices
3. Birth Control Pills:
Research shows that women taking contraceptives are at much higher risk for candidal infection. It is primarily due to hormonal imbalance caused by these drugs.
Now, it is important to note that the birth control pills are also used for some acne control regimes. But these are the ones which contain both estrogen and progesterone. These birth control pills decrease Androgen level which leads to an anti-acne effect at times.
However, the contraceptives, on the other hand, may also cause acne and this can aggravate in presence of an already present, on-going fungal infection in the human body. These are the Androgen based pills which have androgen-based progestin.
Some of the birth control tablets are found to cause genital candidiasis. The Estrogenic components of these tablets have been found to have an effect on the sebaceous glands of the skin and they alter the pH of skin leading acne eruptions and contact dermatitis like reaction.
4. Familial Candidiasis and Acne:
Chronic mucocutaneous candidiasis is a condition which has a familial tendency. This is an autosomal dominant trait, which affects skin, nails and oral cavity and is predominantly caused by Candida Albicans.
This causes a redness followed by elevated papules on the skin and plaques on oral mucosa with an erythematous base. Eye infection and nail disfigurement can also be seen in this type of candidiasis.
In presence of mucocutaneous candidiasis, some bacterial infection can also be expected to occur.
In addition to thyroid antibodies, the acne was found to be a part of this syndrome in a female patient and her non-identical twins, in 2005, as a part of a case report.
So, if you have a familial tendency towards fungal infections, then in case of acne, you might as well need to check for a fungal cause behind it.
5. Chronic Stress:
Stress can cause acne. The emotional part of stress is not to be blamed entirely. It is actually the physical burden of stress that initiates various chemical reactions in the body leading to acne. Inflammation is the key factor contributing to acne and in presence of mental tensions, body’s inflammatory process is activated.
This inflammation leads to clogging of pores in the sebaceous glands of the skin and acne results. The adrenal gland hyperfunction in lieu of stress and the amount of Androgen hormones increases in our body. The androgen hormone, especially in females, is known to flare the acne episodes. So, inflammation and a rise in androgen hormone amount are the triggers for acne in presence of physical burden of stress.
So, while you rule out your causes for acne make sure you don’t miss Stress as a possible trigger. In the presence of emotional strain, the already present systemic fungal infection can set off the Candida related acne.
Signs of Candida Infection Causing Acne
How will you know that you have a fungal infection? You have to look out for these signs!
- If you are experiencing fatigue since a long time and it is accompanying pains in other parts of body i.e. joints, headaches etc.
- Frequent micturition (urination) due to a possible UTI (Urinary Tract Infection) or frequent vaginal infection can be a possible sign for fungal infection.
- Repeated allergies, sinus infections, post-nasal drip, and irritability in the throat every now and then.
- Excessive diarrhea or constipation (due to compromised gut flora)
- A positive Family history of fungal infections
- Nails of orange/yellow color and skin rashes
- Presence of any Auto-immune disorder
Avoiding Candida infection to Fight Acne
- Cut on sugars (simple carbohydrates mainly)
- Avoid high alcohol consumption
- Use antibiotic when deeming necessary
- Adopt a healthy lifestyle and meditate: It will ensure more effective dietary habits and thus boost in immunity
- Add Probiotics in diet: They regularize digestion and rule out the microbial imbalance
- Add natural anti-fungal in your daily diet (like garlic, turmeric etc.)
- Seek medical help whenever required. Whenever you are suspicious of an acne scar or other body dysfunctions which are persistent over a longtime, just consult with your Dermatologist ASAP!