The Blog

July 28, 2023

Can Candida Cause Acne Breakouts?

Can Candida Cause Acne Breakouts?

by Cris Brown, RHN CNE / KSW Programming Director

Candida is a massive issue we see with our acne clients in The Clear Skin Solution. Over 99% of them are dealing with some level of candida overgrowth that’s either the main cause or a major contributor to their acne.

What Is Candida?

Candida, in the form of Candida albicans, is a well-known and common type of yeast (aka fungus). It normally lives on and in the body in small amounts, but issues arise when the candida overgrows. It can be widespread throughout the body, however, candida overgrowths typically hang out in the mouth, intestinal tract, and vagina. It can become more systemic, severe, and chronic when the immune system is not operating well which can affect the skin and other mucous membranes.

Possible contributors to candida overgrowth:

  • Diet rich in refined, processed foods that break down as sugar
  • Antibiotic use (1, 2, 3)
  • Birth control (4, 5, 6)
  • Heavy metals and chemical toxicity (7)
  • Diabetes (8)
  • Oral corticosteroids (9)
  • Immune-compromised individuals or weakened immune system

These factors are triggers to an already existing internal issue. Your body thrives on maintaining homeostasis (balance) and when your body’s pH balance becomes more acidic, you have a greater chance of opening the floodgates for candida yeast to grow. This is especially true if your immune system is overloaded as it is pivotal for fighting this infection.

What Symptoms Could I Have?

If you have one or more of these symptoms in conjunction with acne, the culprit may be candida overgrowth.

Chronic Fatigue

  • Utter exhaustion for 6+ months that is leaving you fatigued all the time.
  • All blood labs are likely normal and it can be coupled with other symptoms like brain fog, poor memory recall, joint stiffness/pain and headaches.

Oral Thrush 

  • An oral yeast infection, the same strain of candida that affects other mucous membranes, hello vagina. Contributors can be through the use of prednisone, oral corticosteroids, or antibiotics. As well, candida can be transmitted to newborns while passing through the vaginal canal or children playing with other toys that have been in contact with infected saliva.
  • Left untreated, it may spread to other areas of the body including the digestive tract, lungs, liver and heart valves. When working on eradicating oral thrush, I love oil pulling and tongue scraping as general maintenance. 

Recurring Vaginal Yeast Infections (Yeast and/or UTIs)

  • The Itchy Vagina! If you’ve ever had recurring infections (or are curretnyl dealing with one), welcome to The Raging Vagina Chronicles. This can be transmitted through sexual experiences, diets high in food intolerances or reactionary substances (everyones different).

Fungal Infections

  • Since we’re on the topic of infections, Athlete’s foot and skin/toenail fungal infections are also common yeast infections. It’s the same strain as candida and can indicate you’re most likely in a chronic state of an acidic environment (your insides are acidic). This creates a beautiful haven to encourage easy population growth of the yeast. We can even see this show up on the skin as fungal acne

Anxiety 

  • Anxiety and acne are like twin sisters and we see the connection with clients on an ongoing basis. Anxiety is what I call the “What If” Syndrome.
    • “what if it doesn’t work”… 
    • “what if I just use the cleanser”… 
    • “what if I will always have to live with acne…”
    • “What if I fail to see results…”
  • Even the ugly step sisters: mood swings, depression, irritability, constant nervousness and panic attacks can all be symptoms.

Brain Fog

  • From hard to focus days, and lack of concentration (a.k.a. squirrel brain), poor physical coordination and poor memory, brain fog is no joke when it comes to getting things done.

Sinus Infections

  • Every allergy suffers nightmare! Usually the sinuses are not the only thing causing havoc and we get to enjoy things like post-nasal drip, a persistent cough, an increase in congestion in the lungs, seasonal allergies or food intolerances, and the good-ole flu-like symptoms. Sinus infections are the complication of acne conglobata, acne fulminans, acne inversa, rosacea conglobata and rosacea fulminans (pyoderma faciale).

Hormonal Imbalance

  • So many acne suffers come into The Clear Skin Solution with a laundry list of common hormonal symptoms like mood swings, headaches/migraines, low va-va-voom (sex) drive, edema (water retention), PMS, fatigue, weight gain, hormone-related bloat, endometriosis, or PCOS.

Intestinal Distress

  • If you’re not having amazing bowel movements every day (2-3x daily – even better!), then I can almost guarantee poor gut health is some shape or form is afoot.
  • Here are a few more common symptoms under this topic: gas, constipation, diarrhea, burping, bloating, and stomach cramps. Often these symptoms rise and cause alarm when the intestinal tract microbiome is out of whack (a.k.a. dysbiosis). 

5 Ways Candida Causes Acne

#1 Inflammation and Gut Health

Candida overgrowth can disrupt the balance of beneficial bacteria in the gut, leading to an inflammatory response. Research suggests that gut inflammation may influence the development of skin conditions like acne. An imbalance in gut flora can trigger an immune response, causing systemic inflammation that can manifest as skin inflammation and acne lesions.

#2 Leaky Gut Syndrome

Candida overgrowth may also contribute to increased intestinal permeability or leaky gut syndrome. When the gut lining becomes more permeable, it allows toxins, undigested food particles, and other harmful substances to enter the bloodstream. This can trigger immune responses and inflammation, potentially affecting the skin and leading to acne breakouts.

#3 Hormonal Imbalances

Candida overgrowth can also disrupt hormonal balance, particularly by affecting estrogen and progesterone levels. Hormonal imbalances are a well-known factor in acne development, especially in adult women. As candida impacts hormone levels, it could exacerbate acne or cause flare-ups.

#4 Nutrient Absorption

Candida overgrowth may interfere with nutrient absorption in the gut. Deficiencies in certain nutrients, such as zinc and vitamin A, have been linked to an increase of acne development. Impaired absorption of these essential nutrients can contribute to skin issues, including acne.

#5 Toxin Production

Candida can produce toxic byproducts, such as acetaldehyde, which can further contribute to inflammation and disrupt normal bodily functions. Acetaldehyde can also damage collagen and elastin, affecting skin health.

6 Simple Tactics to Start Reducing Excess Candida

#1 Increase water

  • Let’s get flushing! The body uses water for so many reasons. Bowel motility, energy (another symptom we could have listed above), concentration, skin & cellular hydration along with detoxification pathways (hello, acne).
  • Aim for half your body weight in ounces (ie. 140lbs = 70 oz. per day – increase if more active).
  • Opt for filtered water or non-caffeinated herbal teas.

#2 Ditch the junk food

  • Consuming refined and sugary foods is like proving candida with a free all-you-can-eat buffet. Things like conventional bread/bagels, baked goods, boxed foods, pasta, chips, crackers, candy, chocolate, soda pop, sweetened drinks, and fast food all break down into sugar that provide a feast for candida.
  • Word of caution: When you start reducing sugary foods, killer cravings often arise. Opportunistic yeast/bacteria don’t like to go down without a fight so hang on because even your dreams may consist of brownies and ice cream sundaes.

#3 Focus on Nutrient Dense Foods

  • In order to help with the cravings, include protein, fibre and healthy fats at each meal to stabilize your blood sugar. And while we’re on the subject, don’t skip meals either.
  • Increasing anti-inflammatory, whole foods abundantly into our diets helps to reduce the refined items naturally.

#4 Eat Prebiotic Rich Foods

  • Prebiotics help feed the GOOD bacteria in your gut which encourages their growth. By increasing the good gut bacteria, you’re helping to crowd out the bad. 
  • They also act as a gentle broom for your intestinal tract to help keep your bowel movements moving in the right direction.
  • Try raw chicory root, dandelion greens, Jerusalem artichoke, garlic, leeks, jicama, or asparagus. Cooked onions, cooked quinoa, and under-ripe bananas are other great options.

#5 Include a quality multistrain probiotic supplement.

  • Probiotics help repair intestinal damage (leaky gut) by repopulating the beneficial bacteria. Since we are more bacteria than human DNA, this is critical when trying to combat candida and clear acne-laden skin.
  • Opt for probiotics that contain one or more of these strains. Remember that the effectiveness of probiotics may vary from person to person and recommendations for strains and colony-forming units (CFUs) will vary based on your health history.
    • Lactobacillus acidophilus: Helps maintain a healthy gut environment and supports digestion. It can also produce natural antibiotics that combat candida.
    • Bifidobacterium bifidum: Helps control candida growth and promotes a balanced gut flora.
    • Lactobacillus rhamnosus: Supports the immune system and inhibits candida colonization.
    • Saccharomyces boulardii: A beneficial yeast that can compete with candida, reducing its overgrowth.
    • Lactobacillus plantarum: Produces hydrogen peroxide, which can limit candida growth.
    • Bifidobacterium longum: Enhances the gut barrier function, reducing candida’s ability to enter the bloodstream.
    • Lactobacillus casei: Supports a balanced gut environment and may inhibit candida growth.
    • Streptococcus thermophilus: Produces lactic acid, creating an unfriendly environment for candida.
    • Bifidobacterium breve: Helps maintain gut health and balance, reducing candida’s impact.
    • Lactobacillus salivarius: Produces antimicrobial substances that can target candida.

#6 Practice Stress Management

  • When you’re doing everything right, the opportunistic bacteria will find other sources of foods such as stress hormones (it’s like candy!).
  • Chronic stress impedes the immune system and causes the body to go out of balance. 
  • Try these stress reduction practices like restorative exercising, yoga, meditation, breathwork, regular massages, grounding/earthing, or getting out in nature.

Thinking of Doing a Candida Cleanse?

A therapeutic candida protocol with the right dietary guidelines, antimicrobial supplements and lifestyle habits will be key for fixing the yeast overgrowth.

Here are a few super duper important things to remember:

  1. Never put yourself on a “candida cleanse”: there’s a myriad of things to consider like foods to focus on, specific foods to avoid, when to reintroduce those foods, correct supplementation, medication contraindications, length of time, adverse reactions, and how to navigate, etc. You must be properly monitored and have the correct protocol in place for your body.
  2. Work with a knowledgeable practitioner: many clients that have previously done a candida cleanse with other practitioners often don’t see results because the protocol wasn’t done correctly. The main reasons it’s unsuccessful are the length of time is too short, the food combinations aren’t accurate, the wrong combination of anti-fungal supplements was used, and additional health factors or underlying issues weren’t taken into consideration.

Bottom line: You need to work with a practitioner who is well-versed in candida and can properly tailor one to your body.

How to Check Your Gut Bacteria Quality

Often blood and urine do not pick up anything lying dormant in the body, meaning you may need to be in an active infection to get a confirmed positive (even when riddled). Conventional stool tests, unless tested at the right time, will also present as “normal”. Functional tests will break down the type of species and strains, which is a great tool for your action plan.

Types of Testing:

  • GI Map or Comprehensive Stool Analysis
  • Stool testing and Stool PCR
  • Candida DNA test
  • Urninatlisys
  • Microbial Organic Acids (MOATS)

If you haven’t checked Katie & I’s podcast, The Clear Skin Chronicles, out yet – give our gut health episode a listen. It’s a great companion to this blog on Acne & Candida.

ADDITIONAL SOURCES

  • Mahmud, M. R., Akter, S., Tamanna, S. K., Mazumder, L., Esti, I. Z., Banerjee, S., Akter, S., Hasan, M. R., Acharjee, M., Hossain, M. S., & Pirttilä, A. M. (2021). Impact of gut microbiome on skin health: Gut-skin axis observed through the lenses of therapeutics and skin diseases. Gut Microbes, 14(1). (https://doi.org/10.1080/19490976.2022.2096995)
  • Salem, I., et al. (2018). “The Gut Microbiome as a Major Regulator of the Gut-Skin Axis.” In Frontiers in Microbiology, 9, 1459. DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2018.01459. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6048199/)

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Cupcake ipsum dolor sit. Amet icing candy sesame snaps toffee oat cake jelly I love macaroon.

I love sweet bonbon. Tiramisu I love apple pie. Lollipop macaroon pastry danish. Sweet roll jujubes gummies tootsie roll fruitcake I love liquorice. Wafer chocolate halvah. Liquorice apple pie lollipop sweet roll powder. Oat cake sesame snaps marshmallow cookie jujubes. Croissant pie I love croissant cookie.

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Cupcake ipsum dolor sit. Amet icing candy sesame snaps toffee oat cake jelly I love macaroon.

I love sweet bonbon. Tiramisu I love apple pie. Lollipop macaroon pastry danish. Sweet roll jujubes gummies tootsie roll fruitcake I love liquorice. Wafer chocolate halvah. Liquorice apple pie lollipop sweet roll powder. Oat cake sesame snaps marshmallow cookie jujubes. Croissant pie I love croissant cookie.

client love

next

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Cupcake ipsum dolor sit. Amet icing candy sesame snaps toffee oat cake jelly I love macaroon.

I love sweet bonbon. Tiramisu I love apple pie. Lollipop macaroon pastry danish. Sweet roll jujubes gummies tootsie roll fruitcake I love liquorice. Wafer chocolate halvah. Liquorice apple pie lollipop sweet roll powder. Oat cake sesame snaps marshmallow cookie jujubes. Croissant pie I love croissant cookie.

client love

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