✛ Candida Battle Plan, Part 2: Topical Treatments

In Part 1 I wrote about diagnosis, improving digestion and diet, which is already very powerful. But topical treatments are often needed as well, so here I want to share treatments options and the how to.

I feel topical yeast is completely misunderstood. The treatment of both medical professionals, and natural health advocates, often don't seem sufficient...or topical treatments are simply skipped.

It is right that technically the body could clear your yeast problem from the inside out....but it doesn't always work this way, with a weakened immune system and less than good digestion your body will be unable to fight off yeast.
 Not every type of medication or remedy works for getting rid of facial yeast either for example....and just because you took medication orally, it doesn't mean you will never battle yeast again or that you are fully cured. It can diminish problems at first, but they can return.
If there is a bit of fungus left somewhere, it can even spread again. A fungus on your skin can be contagious to someone susceptible to these kinds of problems (we are talking about spores). Someone with a weakened immune system or digestive issues, including yourself.
Often, it can also take a long time for the body to get back on track with improved digestion, health and all, so you may have to use topical treatments to keep the fungus on the outside from overgrowing.

If you do feel that you have a fungal issue somewhere on your body, my recommendation is to treat it as well. There are natural and synthetic options and I will highlight the pros and cons of both.

Topical yeast is often not recognized as such, you could be having a problem and not know

Have you ever had patches of dry skin? Dandruff? Pretty much everyone has dealt with this right?
Did you also know that the underlying cause is usually related to a fungus? Probably not.

What we often mistake for "dry skin", where we think it needs "more moisture", can actually be a beginning fungal issue. Dry skin can be solved by using less harsh products, a moisturizer with oils or plain oil. 
If that doesn't do the trick and a patch/ area of dryness keeps coming back, it is not regular dry skin. Dry skin also is NOT flaky or a thick layer of dead skin.

I used to have slightly red, dry, somewhat flaky areas on my cheeks near my nose (1999-2012). They often developed tiny pimples too. I was never able to cover up that area with foundation either because it would look very flaky. I would scrub it and use strong fruit acid peels to keep it under control, which actually worked to some degree.
Then at some point, these patches simply went away..."pouf!"...now they are so clear, soft and never red. It likely wasn't a dry skin problem.

Having to use scrubs on your skin often, to keep it soft and to avoid dead skin from building up also can indicate that there is a yeast problem. You see, with a minor yeast problem, it can create a very thin, hardly noticeable layer of dry skin. This can happen on your face, but also on other body parts like your arms and legs.
Look up images of Keratosis Pilaris. This condition can in fact also be nothing else but an annoying fungus where the dry layer of yeast causes hairs to become ingrown and form bumps! (I experienced a mild form of this too).
Many cases of Rosacea are thought to be actually related to yeast, or a combination of eczema (caused from the inside out, usually by diet) and a fungus. So if you were diagnosed with these, you may want to test if your problem is actually a fungus, or at least partially.

Now on to Dandruff. No one really worries about it....yet it can actually pose a big problem to your hairs health and thickness. There are different types of dandruff and eczema that can cause your scalp trouble, but they should all respond to an anti fungal treatment.
Scalps react differently to dandruff. Some people still have great hair that isn't affected. Whereas others can lose more hair due to dandruff or grow less healthy hair in general.
Imagine the fungus clogging up your scalp. Some types, will cause increased stress to your scalp and therefore you will shed a few hairs more all over, experience slower growth, scalp bumps. Ringworm for example, can actually destroy your hair follicle though, and if not treated, eventually the hair won't grow back, which leads to premature thinning of the hair, just like we are told it happens with old age.

Hair savvy readers might have heard of the "Monistat treatment", and how people claim to grow hair faster and thicker or healthier....well, I don't doubt it if they solved a fungal problem ;)

How to treat?

Anti-fungals, whether they are natural or chemical, can be used topically to get rid of the overgrowth. They must be applied religiously and fairly often. Especially treating the scalp is a rather difficult task. Natural anti-fungals may help, but for many they aren't potent enough. You can try the natural route first though.

(click to enlarge)

Natural Anti-Fungals

Essential Oils like: Thyme, Rosemary, Oregano, Tea Tree, Lavender and Cassia can be added to shampoos.
Apple Cider Vinegar (raw, cloudy) can be added to shampoo, used as a topical solution.
Garlic, can be applied topically by rubbing it onto the skin in small amounts.
Coconut Oil (raw)
Grapefruitseedextract (isn't fully natural in it's production but often sold as such and I think it fits best with the natural products still)
Baking Soda (Deutsch: Natron)

What I have tested:
1. Apple Cider Vinegar, undiluted, applied to the face and scalp, taken orally. Minor improvement to the face, much like when you use an acne mask, but did not rid me of the problem. It also causes my scalp to itch more right after I apply it, my hair won't dry properly, tangles easily and the stink keeps me awake at night.
For the scalp it reduced my scalp itch after 5 days and my scalp was visually dandruff free. It did however hardly reduce the shedding.
It upsets my stomach when taken orally but others have seen improvement. Must really depend on the person.
2. Coconut oil, raw, applied to the face multiple times a day, eaten with food. Very minor improvement at first, then stalled and the yeast remained the same. Calms redness for me.
It is one of the main fast I cook with and I seem to tolerate it well.
3. Garlic, cuts or minced, rubbed onto the face. Needs to be used very carefully as it can burn your skin. Moderate improvement after the first use. Nothing that blew me out of the water or fixed the problem though. Also very inconvenient and stinky.
4. Grapefruitseed extract. Used orally and topically. I applied more than recommended to my face. 4 drops all together. It really helped "soften" up the dry, flaky skin at first. I also feel it makes weaker anti-fungals a bit more potent. It does only give me moderate results by itself though. I like using it along with anti fungal cream though! Taken orally it really messed up my digestion, causing me to have cramps after eating for a few weeks. 
5. Baking Soda, used as a scrub. This really kept the problem at bay even before I was using the cream! The anti fungal properties combined with scrubbing some of the yeast off really did the trick for me. Though it only resulted in my acne being a little less bad. So it is not a cure, but a great helper.

Synthetic Anti-Fungals

Anti-fungals creams
Anti-fungal solutions
Anti-fungal sprays
Dandruff Shampoos

What I have tested:
1. Ciclocutan 1% strength, containing Ciclopirox. Cleared up my fungal acne with great success. 
2. Clotrimazole based cream, 1% strength, fairly good results, much like Ciclocutan. Also the only product that works for Vaginal yeast in my case. I am currently testing the 2% for very persistent yeast on my eyelids.
3. Canesten solution, 1% strength, containing clotrimazole. Worked great for my scalp fungus, itch went away after a few applications. Canesten seems to stop my shedding for several days after I use it but I am still doing more tests to confirm that! (I have observed this 5 times so far but stopped the applications)
4. Monistat, containing Miconazole - I'm allergic to it! It causes me painful swelling.
5. Terbinafin 1% strength. Did not work at all. I actually had dry patches come back after only a week with only Terbinafin and no Clotrimazole.

How I apply antifungals to the face

When my skin was still dry and flaky I would exfoliate every 2-3 days to get things jump started. Dead skin also came off in actual small patches when I started using the anti-fungal cream. After a few months the dryness was completely gone and my skin smooth and supple.

Here are the steps:

1. Remove Make Up.
I don't wear foundation normally, so I can't give the best advice on this. But I think a gentle, natural make up remover would probably be best. To avoid any possibly irritating ingredients. Oil may work for lighter foundation. When my acne was bad I would cover it with Everyday Minerals "matte" foundation. It comes off with oil or a gentle soap.

2. Exfoliate with baking Soda (Alternative - face brush)
Do it as much as needed, but not more often than every 1-2 days to avoid irritation from the scrubbing. It works much like microdermabrasion and will help to losen up the skin overgrowth caused by the yeast and helps your actual skin underneath breathe. The antifungals will also have a easier time penetrating. Scrub your face very gently, in a circular motion. Don't rush. Since this is a gentle scrub it takes a little time to get all the dead skin off. You should feel the difference and know when you are done. Don't scrub until your skin gets irritated of course.

- if you don't exfoliate wash your face with water or a gentle soap. Avoid harsh cleansers containing sodium laureth or lauryl sulfate, benzyl alcohol. Instead opt for organic brands. Some gentler brands I have tested: US - Juice Beauty, Devita, Aubrey Organics, Germany/ EU: Aubrey Organics, Sante, Alverde, Alterra

3. Apply antifungals
Grapefruitseed extract must be applied to a damp face for dilution purposes. If your skin burns you have used to much. I let the GSE sink in for a bit and when my face was dry I applied anti fungal cream thickly. Especially at night I would really pile it on because no one would really see me anyway.

That is it for the face. During the day I would blot away oil with tissue paper. The creams aren't the oiliest it can get but a bit greasy, especially when a lot is used.

As far as adding Make Up goes, I was able to use my powder foundation for the first two weeks without any problems. My acne cleared up quickly and I stopped wearing the foundation. Nowadays I either wear nothing or a bit of lose powder for a more matte look. When I get zits I cover them with Everyday Minerals foundation that I have left. Since clearing up my acne I only get the occasional zit around my period, or sometimes randomly. No small bumps or blemishes at all really. If I do get one it is a bit bigger :/.
The red marks faded more with every month and after about 9 months they were practically invisible, even if my face was blushed from heat or after a hot bath etc.

How I apply antifungals to the scalp

Here it depends on what you use of course

Antifungal solution, ACV
Can be applied directly to the scalp. I use a method that is used for dyeing hair, which is to part the hair vertically inch by inch and squeeze out a bit of solution. Then I rub it into the part I created. You should be able to feel the liquid on your scalp. I used quite a bit of solution.
I start out on the top of my head, then do the sides, the nape and then everything in between.

Antifungal cream
You will have to water it down in order to get it to the scalp. Squeeze anti fungal cream into a bottle for application. I use an empty shampoo bottle, but most "squeezable" bottles will work. The opening of the bottle shouldn't be too small, since the liquid will be a bit thicker. I add water to the anti fungal cream , - as little as possible, so it is liquid enough to get to the scalp. Less "waxy" anti fungal cream will work best for this, the kind that would spread easily on the skin as well. I shake the bottle and then apply it directly to the scalp just like the anti fungal solution (see above).

Antifungal Additives like GSE, coconut oil
GSE can be added to anti fungal solution, as well as coconut oil or ACV. I just didn't feel they make enough of a difference to bother adding them.

You can however, add a few drops of GSE to your shampoo during a wash (so onto your hand, not the bottle)

Scalp massages:
Are a very helpful tool in fighting many scalp problems. It will improve blood circulation, which is important to keep the hair "nourished" well. When using a hard comb, you can also loosen up old, flaky skin cells before a wash. Remember...when you have a fungus they overgrow. You can do this with coconut oil to help softening things up a bit. It can even be applied hours before starting the scalp massage. It really depends on your preference.
Be careful in case you have open spots or painful eczema. Only massage your scalp using a comb if it feels good. Using your fingers can be an alternative, though it won't get rid of dead skin all the same. 

How much and how often to apply:

It is hard to give a recommendation for this, because everybody is different and not every case of yeast is severe...but generally speaking, applying anti fungals often gives the best results.

You are fighting and organism that regrows in between treatments. So it is best not to give it much time. I personally noticed that my head started itching again after 1-3 days without treatment. Atm, I wash my hair every 2nd day even because it seems to keep the problem at bay best. The wash removes dead skin cells and I can get the anti-fungal shampoo onto my scalp more often. On the day after the wash day I apply the solution.

I am thinking once the problem starts to subside, the application of anti-fungals can be reduced. But in the beginning it is best to literally bombard the fungus, so it won't have time to regrow. I'm sorry to say there is no convenient way.

What about oral medication?

Oral medications have a lot of bad side effects. Most significantly the damage they can do to your liver. In a few cases it can even cause immediate liver failure. That is a very scary risk to take. 
That said, sometimes medication can't be avoided. You can try the gentle route, but if it just doesn't work, you may want to give anti-fungal tablets a try.
Also, keep in mind that medication is likely not going to keep the problem away long term. So I strongly recommend taking other steps too.

Be sure to have your liver tested during and after, and get blood work done.


  1. Hey I've really liked reading your blog and I think it's pretty informative. One of my friends had been asking me to help him about his penis infection. He was quite upset and even said that his girlfriend no more wanted to sleep with him. He really wants to know how to get rid of candida and since I have a family full of doctors he thought I might be having some information on the subject. Well I couldn't get in touch with my family back in London so I just did an online search and came across your blog. Thanks for the information.

    1. So you're spamming and talking about penises? Wtf....

  2. Hi Emi, could you list the enzymes that helped you? You are very knowledgeable. I've been studying about and fighting Candida for about 5 years. It's a beast.

    1. Oh wow that is a very long time. I just recently figured out my Candida is mostly hormone related, but hormones affect digestion also so fixing both should help lots. I used digestive enzymes and probiotics from Linden's Apothecary. It can be ordered from Ebay.co.uk. I also have an older post here that talks about supplements in detail that should help with Candida because they regulate hormones. Page 4 I think. Instead of Ciclocutan you can use any product with Clotrimazole. Miconazole did not work for me but might work for others.

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  3. Also, we cannot get Ciclocutan here...which is frustrating.

  4. Oh hoffenltlich hilft die Salbe,ich habe seehr ähnliche Hautprobleme, nie hat mir etwas geholfen nur accutane aber nur für einige Monsten und dann war die Haut noch schlechter. Danke für so viele Infos! :)

  5. Thank you so much for posting this information! I am interested in how you are treating your face now that you got rid of your facial yeast rash. Did you only take the grapeseed oil and anti-fungal for the suggested period of use, and then haven't had recurring breakouts?

  6. when, if ever, did you switch to a different anti fungal as i hear you can get use to them? did you put on cream 2 or 3 times a day? what about rashes caused by a fungus?

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  7. Thank you for sharing your experience it's helped a lot to understand whats going on with me. My doctor prescribed Ciclopirox Shampoo applied every other day for my face and hair and it's helped some but I feel the cream would be so much better applied every day so I called into see about getting a prescription today but I can get the Clotrimazole over the counter. My question is how did you go from Ciclopirox to Clotrimazole. Which came first and when and why did you start using the other. It sound like the Ciclopirox worked great for you but then you talked about testing the other creams too and now your using the Clotrimazole on your eyelids. Can you tell me why you used or are using both of them? I had the same experience with Terbinafine 1% strength. I've used it for about 2 weeks and progress is very slow, so after reading and seeing your results I'm going to try and use what clearly worked for you.

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