043: Candida and Skin Rashes: A Hidden Root Cause (Introduction)

Do you have candida skin rashes? Or rashes that you believe are triggered and flared by candida?

It’s certainly possible!

Candida is one of the big gut factors that can shift the balance of your gut (and ultimately your skin) towards dysbiosis. If you recall in previous episodes of the podcast, we’ve discussed how your gut microbiome balance essentially can set the tone for your skin’s bug community.

Whether you suspect you’ve got candida or know for sure that you do, today’s episode is the first of a series exploring Candida as a skin rash root cause.

It can impact pretty much any skin condition including eczema (atopic dermatitis), psoriasis, rosacea, seborrheic dermatitis, lichen sclerosus, tinea versicolor and more!

In this episode:

  • Why you might be wrong about having candida even though you have a lot of symptoms
  • Why dandruff is not a scalp problem — it’s a gut problem
  • Diet suggestions to make if you have candida
  • How to manage your expectations on your healing journey

QUOTES:

“The best test for candida is a urine test that looks for the organic acid D-Arabinitol. The spit test you’ve probably seen online is way too subjective and has no science behind it.”

“I hear from a lot of clients and readers who have been traumatized trying candida cleanses on their own. They found a DIY kit online that only ended up making their skin rashes worse! Nothing makes an improvement after the flare-up of their symptoms. They feel such a sense of defeat because they blame themselves for making everything worse.”

FULL TRANSCRIPT

Welcome back to the Healthy Skin Show!

In today's episode, I’m talking all about Candida! This is a hot topic because so many people think that candida is one of their root causes just from reading a list of symptoms online. And I totally get it because those lists include a number of symptoms that a lot of people have who have chronic health issues.

Before you jump to the conclusion that Candida IS an issue for you (or if you already believe it is), know this…

You can have the majority of the symptoms on those lists and NOT have Candida.

You can have Candida, but never had a vaginal yeast infection that you can recall.

Or you could be one of those people who end up with a mixed bag of bacteria AND Candida (or even parasites) causing the problem. And in this case, just targeting Candida might not improve your symptoms (or will do so only marginally) because it was only one piece of the puzzle.

Woman's stomach

Fast Facts About Candida Overgrowth (To Frame Our Conversation)

Here are 8 fast facts that you should know about candida —

  1. Candida overgrowth does not respond best to diet alone.
  2. The best test for candida is a urine test that looks for the organic acid D-Arabinitol. The spit test you’ve probably seen online is way too subjective and has no science behind it.
  3. Candida is a commensal gut organism so it does normally live in your gut. Keep in mind that it is an opportunistic “bug” so when conditions are right, it will overgrow (like when you take antibiotics).
  4. The issue with candida is that overgrowth begins in the gut. When we start to manifest outward signs of candida (like various fungal infections… even on your skin, feet or nails), it’s a clue of fungal gut dysbiosis meaning that to really stop the outward expression, you have to address it in your gut.
  5. From clinical experience, anti-candida diets can help manage symptoms, but they are difficult to follow and not the most efficient way forward.
  6. Candida cleanses can actually cause your skin symptoms to get much worse… so be careful doing one on your own
  7. A few big red flags for candida overgrowth in your gut include: multiple and extended rounds of antibiotics at any point in your life, steroid use (like hydrocortisone and Triamcinolone), birth control pill use, excessive alcohol consumption, as well as a long history of the Standard American Diet loaded with processed and refined carbohydrates and sugar.
  8. You can have just about every Candida symptom that you read about online, but not have it as your primary issue

Woman reading a candida list online

Why You Can’t Trust A Candida Symptom List

I’ve worked with so many clients who have Candida as their primary concern. And I’ve also worked with people who believe that they do from reading those symptom lists only to discover that they actually had something else.

Those lists are NOT full-proof.

That’s why I’m often hesitant to assume someone has candida unless they’ve got really clear red flags, have done definitive testing, or have been diagnosed with Candida by their doctor.

Sometimes you just want an answer… and everyone typically points to Candida as a culprit.

This can lead down the path of taking lots of anti-candida herbs that don’t make you feel any better. And that’s why I like to have more information in front of me than just a checklist (or that pointless spit test you’ve probably read about online… which has zero science to back it up and is frankly open to lots of interpretation).

In no way am I trying to minimize the symptoms and strain that Candida places on your body. The struggle is very real!

But the truth is… guessing isn’t efficient. It’s not always effective either (think of it more like throwing a dart in the dark hoping to hit the target).

Scared woman looking in broken mirror

Problems With Alternative Candida Skin Rash Remedies

As a point of caution, I hear from a pretty substantial number of clients and readers who have been rather traumatized by trying candida cleanses on their own. They found a DIY kit online that only ended up making their Candida Skin Rashes worse!

Nothing they’ve tried has made an improvement after the flare-up of their symptoms. And they feel such a sense of defeat because they blame themselves for making everything worse.

Yes, anti-fungal herbs can work on candida… but keep in mind that they are powerful agents.

Just because something is natural doesn’t mean that there can’t be side effects. We have to have respect for herbs and botanical agents just as much as we wish doctors would be more cautious and judicious with antibiotic use.

Plus, eliminating Candida to get rid of candida skin rashes means that you have to balance what’s going on in your gut with ensuring healthy bowel elimination. All while supporting your liver detoxification system (typically Phase II Detox) to handle the added burden.

All so that you don’t experience those dreaded flu-like symptoms along with a flare-up of skin symptoms that are often described as “die off” or a “herxheimer reaction”.

I cannot stress how important it is to have healthy elimination — meaning that you poop 1 to 3 times each day. And your stools are well-formed without any struggle to go.

It also means that you do not “detox” and end up with diarrhea. That’s equally irritating to your gut and costs you nutrients. Plus it’s disruptive for the good gut bugs living in your microbiome.

So you’ve got to manage the gut clean-up (as I call it) with elimination and liver detox. And then once your symptoms subside, it’s imperative to re-establish a healthy gut bug community to help manage candida moving forward.

People preparing healthy food

What Candida Diet Changes Should I Make?

If you’ve had candida for a long time and the symptoms are quite severe (as has been in the case in several of my seborrheic dermatitis clients), you may have to remove all dietary yeast.

This includes fermented beverages like kombucha and alcohol for quite some time (at least 6 months if not more). Also — soy sauce, coconut aminos, vinegars, sauerkraut, kimchi and hard cheeses.

If you’re wondering my thoughts on the anti-candida diet — and why not just do that?

I’ve not found the diet alone when used with clients in my clinical practice to drive results well enough to recommend it as your sole course of action. Plus, the symptoms tend to return once the eliminated foods are reintroduced.

It’s not to say that the diet doesn’t work, but it’s really just a band-aid.

You’re managing symptoms at that point. The environment of the gut has become unfriendly to healthy gut flora as a result of the imbalance (also called dysbiosis).

I wish the mantra of “feed the good bugs and starve the bad” was nearly as effective, but you have to remember that most people in our community have been dealing with health issues for a long time. Typically there are a number of challenges present that perpetuate the state of dysbiosis.

And that’s why food, or in this case, diet, just isn’t enough.

As for the rashes on your skin… Obviously, living with candida rashes (and candida itself) is incredibly frustrating and embarrassing.

Clients have found that topical probiotic application method that I’ve discussed on the blog is helpful too in rebalancing the skin’s microbiome. I will link to the post on how to do that in the show notes!

Woman going on a journey

Managing Your Expectations On Your Candida Skin Rash Journey

And one piece to this that people don’t like to hear is… chronic candida takes time to address. It’s not something that you can be done in a week.

My clients with seborrheic dermatitis (dandruff) often take 5 to 7 months to see a resolution.

They’ve been living with it so long (not realizing that the scalp problem was actually a gut problem). As a result, it can take a few rounds of shifting the anti-candida gut protocol (and sometimes having to deal with other microbes as well) to get things to stick.

I say this because I know how much you just want things gone, but to truly resolve the underlying issue takes time.

Maybe you’ll get lucky and the process is faster for you. I’ve found that it’s best to set your expectations reasonably rather than fixate on a quick win.

There’s a lot more to the candida skin rash puzzle and all of the connections that it has to eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, seborrheic dermatitis, and tinea versicolor.

We’ll cover more about this in an upcoming article for you so stay tuned!

As always, I deeply appreciate you tuning in and am happy to answer any questions that you might have about this episode. Simply head on over to the post and leave your experiences and questions in the comment section.

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"The best test for candida is a urine test that looks for the organic acid D-Arabinitol. The spit test you’ve probably seen online is way too subjective and has no science behind it."