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Is Cornstarch or Talcum Powder Good for Yeast Infections?

Choosing Between Cornstarch, Baby Powder, and Talcum Powder for Yeast Problems


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Cornstarch is a viable way to reduce friction in areas where skin touches skin. But, it may not be the best for an area with a yeast infection as Candida can use cornstarch as food.When it comes to reducing moisture in body areas covered by clothing or diapers, cornstarch or talcum powder are very popular choices; albeit there is an ongoing speculation that talcum powder may cause ovarian cancer. And, as you may know, baby powder primarily consists of talcum powder or cornstarch; and, possibly both powders depending upon the brand. Cornstarch and talcum powder dominate in terms of popularity for use on the body. And, if you currently have a genital yeast infection, you may be wondering how cornstarch or talcum powder will interact with the infection. If you make keeping the infected area dry the first priority, and are careful not to over cleanse and irritate the skin, using talcum powder should help in terms of fighting the yeast infection, but cornstarch may make it worse. Candida can metabolize cornstarch, and therefore its use may result in aggravating an existing yeast infection. Let’s operationalize this a little further.

Generally, talcum powder has no harmful effect on Candida; but, it can soak up moisture where it is applied. And, as you will see, moisture in the area of Candidiasis is a principle determinant for how well the yeast can grow. Cornstarch also has no harmful effect on Candida and it will also absorb some moisture; however, cornstarch is a starch. Cornstarch is comprised of the carbohydrates amylose and amylopectin. Different types of cornstarch will have different proportions of amylose and amylopectin. As mentioned, both of these substances are carbohydrates and therefore they are polymers (a group of molecules all linked together; e.g., a plastic is a polymer of hydrocarbons) of sugar molecules. The yeast Candida, responsible for yeast infections, can break down starch and use it as a food source. If enough cornstarch is present, and the infected area is quite dry, this may greatly reduce yeast’s ability to utilize cornstarch as a food. Yet, since sweat and other body fluids can easily build up in areas where yeast is attacking, keeping the skin suitably dry is often difficult.

A possible solution for the boon cornstarch provides to Candida, and a beneficial talcum powder augmentation, is to blend in very finely ground antifungal spices to these powders. Many spices can help counteract the development of Candida; thus, their incorporation into a powder can add a check to any benefit the yeast cells derive from feeding on the powder and improve powders with zero biological activity against the fungus. But, overall, the simple application of cornstarch or talcum powder is not going to rapidly cure a yeast infection. These powders do provide comfort, some moisture control, and greatly reduce the damage any friction on the skin will cause. But, that is about all they can do. Consequently, you will need to find some additional measure to actually kill the yeast cells and get your health back.

The Trend of Powder Use in the Female Perineal Area

It is not uncommon for women to use two or more feminine hygiene products.  Many women choose to include some form of powder in their feminine hygiene routine.

As you may have guessed, it is actually not uncommon for women to use a powder of some kind in the perineal area on occasion. A study published in the academic journal Menopause [21.3 (2014): 281], discusses women’s use of over the counter (OTC) hygiene products such as powders. Of the 114 women who were analyzed by the researchers, 58 (50.9%) of them reported using one or more OTC hygiene product in the prior three months. Many women also used two or more OTC hygiene products during this same time period. In total, there were 37 (32.5%) women using two or more of these products. Concerning the use of powders, of the 114 women 34 (30%) of them, used powders on the vagina or vulva in the previous three months. The participating women’s OTC powders use frequency reported by the study is as follows:

  • Talcum powder 26 (22.8%)
  • Zinc oxide powder 7 (6.1%)
  • Cornstarch powder 3 (2.6%)

According to this same study, surprisingly, the number one cause of chronic vaginitis is contact dermatitis--which is a rash on the skin caused by some substance. Perhaps one of the greatest advantages a powder can provide in regards to preventing vaginal infection is the reduction of friction; as painful rubbing can lead to contact dermatitis. Friction and abrasion of the skin can even be solely responsible, as well as cofactors, in the causation of irritant contact dermatitis. According to a study from the British Journal of Dermatology [154.1 (2006): 154-156], friction as an etiological (causal) factor of contact dermatitis that is downplayed by dermatologists--possibly due to them not giving enough thought to the capability of physical forces to induce eczematous rashes (inflamed, itchy, and possibly fluid oozing rashes) on the skin.

Helping further explain this primary cause of chronic vaginitis, MedlinePlus offers a well rounded summary of this malady. MedlinePlus states there are two types of contact dermatitis: irritant dermatitis, a nonallergic reaction occurring when the skin becomes damaged by a chemical; and, allergic contact dermatitis, when the skin rash results from an allergic reaction to some chemical. The previous study in Menopause [21.3 (2014): 281] also states that using incorrect products to deal with contact dermatitis (such as treating a non existent microbial infection) may cause further harm. And, as other research shows, inflamed or macerated skin is also more susceptible to Candida growth. Since excessive irritation to the delicate vulvovaginal skin can lead to infection; you should try to avoid over cleansing and wiping that area. And, if you have recently tried a new product that could be the source of your vaginitis, it would be prudent to discontinue its use and fall back on prior products that use of was not antecedent to infection.

When it comes to healthy skin in the vulvovaginal area, the role of the skin’s natural acid mantel is key to understand. The acid mantel on the skin is made from lactic acid; and, cleansing with highly alkaline cleansers will of course neutralize this acid. Normally, this does not present much of a problem; although using an acidic soap with a low pH is generally very preferable to alkaline soaps (more about soap for yeast infection). However, when over cleansing and wiping of the skin is carried out, this can lead to a loss of this acidic layer on the skin that assists in stopping germs from overgrowing. And, over cleansing can also cause physical damage to the skin; especially wet skin.

An interesting study, published in the Indian Journal of Sexually Transmitted Diseases and AIDS [30.2 (2009)], also concurs regarding the importance of the skin’s acid mantle. The authors state that people with diabetes mellitus frequently suffer from their skin not secreting enough lactic acid--especially in the body’s intertriginous areas (places where there are creases in the skin, such as under the breasts). In turn, this equates to a vulnerability for those with diabetes mellitus to have yeast infections of greater severity and frequency on the skin. The authors state the following regarding this topic:

Homeostasis of the skin is very important, which is achieved by a thin acid film - the acid mantle. Human skin has an acid mantle of pH 4-6. It prevents invasion by pathogenic organisms, acting as a first-line defence and helping in a disease-free existence. The vaginal mucosa has a similar acid mantle. Here, the natural acidic pH is maintained by lactic acid, an integral part of the vaginal ecosystem. This can be easily lost due to the lack of awareness of local care or various aggressive hygiene practices in addition to various diseases. Gentle cleansing along with good moisturization can go a long way in keeping the vulva healthy.
http://dx.doi.org/10.4103/0253-7184.62778

Does Candida Feed on Cornstarch?

Seeing that Candida will utilize cornstarch as a food source, it makes sense to choose another type of powder similar to baby powder to use on skin when a yeast infection is attacking that area.

Research published in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology [39.1 (1980): 41-47], elucidates the issue of Candida feeding on starchy foods quite well. The study involved Candida tropicalis and states that Candida tropicalis has the enzyme alpha amylase which is requisite to the hydrolysis of starch. Consequently Candida tropicalis can use soluble starch, corn powder, and cassava powder for food. The study states that Candida tropicalis can efficiently digest foods that contain starch. Therefore, amylaceous (starchy) foods can give yeast more resources to grow leading to a more severe infection.

Another interesting study, that examined Candida albicans use of starch, was published in Letters in Applied Microbiology [60.3 (2015): 229-236]. The study focused on bioethanol production of Candida albicans. The researchers collected various samples of Candida and analyzed them for their ability to metabolize starch. After this process, the researchers selected just five strains of Candida albicans based on various factors--one of which was how well the yeasts hydrolyzed (broke down) insoluble starch. All five of these selected strains were of the Candida albicans species. After these original wild yeasts were finally chosen, the strains were altered to produce mutated versions of the yeasts to hopefully augment their ability to eat starch. The five strains were first subjugated to UV irradiation and then exposed to ethidium bromide to produce the mutated versions of these strains.

The mutated yeast strains did consume starch more than their unaltered parents. These mutant strains produced more glucoamylase (an enzyme that specifically works to break down amylose; which is, of course, a major carbohydrate found in starch) and also produced more ethanol from their metabolism of starch. One mutant strain did metabolize starch to a greater degree than the other strains. This strain produced about 392% more glucoamylase and 393% more ethanol (which was 12.52 g / L of ethanol) directly from starch compared to a different original strain which produced the least glucoamylase and ethanol.

The best ethanol producing strain in the study was allowed to grow with various starches to see how much ethanol this strain could produce. Concerning the starchy foods the Candida strains were given to consume, these included: soluble starch, corn starch, wheat flour, barley maize flour, tapioca, rice flour, potato starch, sweet potato, sorghum flour, sago, and bajra flour. The chart below, taken from this study, shows how much ethanol one strain of Candida albicans produced in the presence of 5% of each of these foods rich in starch:

The amount of alcohol a Candida albicans strain produced from using starch as it’s food.

But of course this study’s exploration of mutant Candida albicans strains, that have their latent starch fermenting ability artificially improved, is not of too much concern regarding yeast infections. But, as you may have already guessed, the wild strains that the researchers collected do hold significance as they are just wild Candida albicans yeasts; as wild Candida cells live all around us. Of course there were different degrees of glucoamylase and ethanol production amongst the wild strains; and, only five were eventually selected amongst all the yeasts initially gathered. But, in general, we can see from this study that it is very possible for the most common and virulent Candida species, Candida albicans, to eat starch and produce ethanol as a byproduct. The wild strains, which are likely better at feeding on starch to some degree than other strains of Candida albicans, synthesized around 20% of the starch it was in contact with into ethanol. The chart below (also taken from the study) further delineates the ability of the five wild strains of Candida albicans to ferment starch. The chart reveals how much glucoamylase and ethanol these strains created in the presence of 3% starch.

So, in light of this research, we can assume starch may not be the best to use on a yeast infection. The key thing to really remember here is that the yeast were allowed to grow in a low concentration of starch. When a lot of starch is directly in contact with Candida, this may prevent it from growing due to a lack of moisture.

Using Cornstarch on Candidal Diaper Rash

When considering what type of powder to use on a baby with a diaper rash caused by Candida, you may wish to avoid cornstarch and opt for another type of powder.

Diaper rash is caused by a variety of microbiological factors; and, of course, Candida albicans is a primary antagonist to moms everywhere! Candida often finds its way to the diaper area from the gastrointestinal tract; and, can begin to spread once it has gained a foothold on skin. The primary factor in determining just how well yeast will grow and spread on the skin is moisture. If an area of skin is regularly covered, this can be a key place moisture can accumulate in. Moisture is, again, a significant variable that determines how well yeast spread on the skin. A study relating just this was published in Pediatric Dermatology [1.4 (1984): 322-325].

To address the issue of yeast growth under diapers or plastic panites; with and without the presence of cornstarch; subjects participating in the study were inoculated on three sites of the skin with 20 microliters of saline fluid that contained Candida albicans cells. One site had 150 mg of United States Pharmacopeia cornstarch added to the area, the next site had 150 mg of a commercial brand of cornstarch applied to the area; and, finally, the last site served as a control that had no cornstarch applied to it. These areas were then covered by occlusive dressings (a material that fully covered the area). These coverings did not allow moisture to escape; and, subsequently, closely approximated the effects of diapers or other similar synthetic garments on the skin. Additionally, in another nearly exact iteration of the cornstarch experiment, 150 mg of talcum powder was used in lieu of cornstarch on skin sites inoculated with Candida albicans and placed under occlusive dressings. Control sites without talcum powder were also created and tested.

The results of the study, except for one experiment, found that the presence of cornstarch or talcum powder under the occlusive dressings made no significant change to the growth of Candida albicans. The one experiment that was an exception to the other experiment’s consensus had sites treated with cornstarch. The experiment found that the presence of cornstarch somewhat reduced the growth of Candida albicans. The study concluded that the moisture is a far more important determinant of yeast growth on the skin than the presence of cornstarch or talcum powder. The authors also state that yeast is prone to grow on intertriginous areas of the skin (that is, where there are creases or folds in the skin) and that talcum powder and cornstarch can both significantly help reduce friction in these areas. Both cornstarch and talcum powder can make the skin around 60% more resistant to friction; and may help even more than this. Therefore, since these powders can help stop mild skin abrasion (which allows yeast to grow more effectively) and do little to alter yeast growth, they are a reasonable choice to use in intertriginous areas and can help prevent yeast infections. Moisture was found to be the variable that stood out when it came to skin damage via friction. Wet skin is much more readily damaged by friction than dry skin is. Thus, the study seems to point to the common sense wisdom of keeping the skin dry to help it stay free of infection.

Regarding the seeming conflict between the earlier study on bioethanol production, presented in Letters in Applied Microbiology [60.3 (2015): 229-236], and this currently discussed Pediatric Dermatology [1.4 (1984): 322-325] study on diaper rash, this seeming antagonism may be due to two factors. First, the amount of moisture present with the starch in the two study’s experiments; secondly, a lower innate ability of the Candida used in the current Pediatric Dermatology study on diaper rash to ferment starch. Therefore, how helpful cornstarch will be for a yeast infection may boil down to the cellular workings of the yeast causing the infection, and, how diluted the cornstarch becomes with moisture.

One study also strongly concurs that keeping the skin dry is critical in the prevention of diaper rash. The study was published in Pediatric Dermatology [31.1 (2014): 1-7]. The authors relate that both parents and pediatricians state that diaper rash is one of the most common skin infections; and, it happens to nearly every child when they are in the early years of life. The authors do state that it is vital to prevent diaper rash by frequently changing diapers to lessen exposure to urine and feces, allowing the area covered by the diaper to be in the air and dry for as long as possible. Dryer skin will allow for there to be less friction, and subsequently less damaged skin. And, of course, feces contains digestive enzymes such as protease (which breaks down protein) and ureases (which breaks down urea) that can create ammonia from urea and raise the pH in the soiled diaper. So, stay vigilant and keep skin covered by a diaper dry and clean as a first priority for stopping diaper rash. The following chart was taken from the study and shows the general process by which excrement can attack the skin:

The process by which diaper rash can begin to occur in the presence of excrement in a diaper.

Caption: SC stands for stratum corneum, which is the outer layer of the skin. DD stands for diaper dermatitis (the scientific term for diaper rash).

Using Talcum Powder (Talc) for Yeast Problems

Talcum powder is ideal to use for yeast infections if you are not concerned about a possible risk of ovarian cancer.  Although there is no conclusive consensus on talc being carcinogenic, many suspect this mineral powder is indeed dangerous.

is a common mineral with whose chemical formula is Mg3Si3O10(OH)3. is in fact the softest of the common minerals, with a Mohs hardness scale measurement of about 1. Since this mineral is so exceptionally soft, it can be scratched with a fingernail. And, of course, when made into a powder it feels great on the skin and can help prevent chaffing and general friction. um powder will absorb oil and water as well. Thus, at first glance, talcum powder seems like a great product that will help reduce friction on the skin, assist in keeping the skin dry, and is not a food for yeast or other germs. But, there may be some risk to using talcum powder as there is some outcry against it due to the possibility it may be carcinogenic.

A study entitled Perineal Talc Use and Ovarian Cancer: A Critical Review, published in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention [17.2 (2008): 139], focused on just this subject. The authors state that many studies have been done in the 25 years prior to their review which have demonstrated a link between using talcum powder in the perineal area and ovarian cancer. According to the study, the rationale in the 1970’s for the concern that talcum powder could induce cancer was the similarity between talc and the well known silicate asbestos. Asbestos, as you may know, is a very dangerous carcinogen employed ubiquitously in the past in industry and construction. This issue became a popular topic of the news media in the early 1980’s. Eventually, in 2006, the International Agency for Research on Cancer added perineal talc application as potentially carcinogenic for humans.

The authors state that the biological rationale for talc carcinogenicity has generally been poorly understood in regards to the mineral’s physical and chemical properties. These properties of talc aside, other proposed avenues, such as inflammation, have not been validated by data showing that talc use leads to ovarian cancer. Concerning genotoxicity (something that can damage or alter DNA), talc is not genotoxic. The authors also cite a 1995 study which examined lab rats who had their entire bodies exposed to talcum powder for the full extent of their lives; and, the research found that the rat’s ovarian tissue was not contaminated with talc and the occurrence of ovarian tumors was not elevated in these rats. Additionally, the study relates that the use of condoms and diaphragms dusted with talcum powder has not demonstrated an association to ovarian cancer. The authors come to the final conclusion that a comprehensive analysis of the data regarding this issue does not demonstrate cosmetic talc use causes ovarian cancer. It seems that this issue is perhaps more a phenomenon of media sensationalism and lawsuit lottery dreams than real science. Below is a quote taken from the study:

It may be argued that the overall null findings associated with talc-dusted diaphragms and condom use is more convincing evidence for a lack of a carcinogenic effect, especially given the lack of an established correlation between perineal dusting frequency and ovarian tissue talc concentrations and the lack of a consistent dose-response relationship with ovarian cancer risk. The absence of mesotheliomas in patients treated with therapeutic concentrations would appear to demonstrate a high degree of safety.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/CEJ.0b013e32811080ef

Additionally, the American Cancer Society states the following about inhaled talcum powder: “Based on the lack of data from human studies and on limited data in lab animal studies, IARC classifies inhaled talc not containing asbestos as ‘not classifiable as to carcinogenicity in humans.’”

Natural Herb Powders that Fight Candida

Try mixing two or more antifungal herb powders into cornstarch powder to help fight off an aggressive yeast infection in the vulvovaginal area or under the breasts.

If you have a desire to start using some type of powder in the vaginal area to ward off or fight a yeast infection, you may want to consider some other less thought of powders. The powders being referred to are those of antifungal spices. Cinnamon, clove, and ginger are among a few herbs that are very capable antifungals. When these herbal powders are placed on the area yeast is infecting, they can actually help the body fight off the infection. And, of course, they are all natural and generally very safe to use. The problem, as you probably know, can be that the spices are almost always not as fine as cornstarch or talcum powder. Grinding these spices into an even finer powder should help to remedy this glaring issue. You may want to try something along the lines of a burr grinder that can produce a very fine powder.

Using very fine cinnamon, ginger, and clove powders together on your skin in lieu of cornstarch may be just the solution you have been looking for. As discussed, cornstarch may actually provide some additional food for yeast cells to consume; and, cornstarch does not have any antifungal ability on its own. And, using two or more antifungal herbs in congress can create a synergistic antifungal action that allows the mixture to perform better against Candida infections than an individual herb alone. You may want to make a mixture of half cornstarch and the other half comprised of your personal spice mixture. And, of course, you do not have to stick with cornstarch; you can use an alternative powder as well. Candida Hub has an entire section dedicated to herbs that are active against Candida; you can learn more about these herbs here: herbs for yeast infections.

Linda Allen and her Remarkable 12 Hour, Natural Candida Cure

Linda Allen’s 12 Hour Yeast Infection Cure: "Yeast Infection No More."

One very popular expert on Candidiasis is the acclaimed author Linda Allen. In addition to being an expert on the topic of Candidiasis, Linda has a personal history with this health concern. Like many women, Linda had a long, drawn out battle with systemic yeast overgrowth. In her late teen years, around the same time she came down with a sinus infection, Linda found that she had developed a yeast infection. Linda did the obvious thing to do, she made an appointment with her doctor and got a prescription. After using the drug, Linda found her yeast infection went away fairly easily. However, after some time passed Linda came down with yet another yeast infection. Again, Linda decided to try getting help from her physician and got another prescription. Like before, the prescription did get rid of the Candida; but, it didn’t stay gone. This pattern is actually quite common for men and women.

What would follow in Linda’s life is a situation many find themselves going through. Linda was beset with deteriorating health, and the misery of recurrent yeast infections. The money Linda was spending on her medical bills was just ridiculous. By the time Linda should have bought a house, she found herself living in a cramped apartment; and, had little to show in terms of feeling better. Linda’s story did improve; her health situation started to turn around when she made an appointment with a naturopath to again get some kind of fix for her strange health problems. The naturopath knew pretty quickly what the source of Linda’s poor health was: systemic yeast overgrowth. Linda’s body had an unhealthy amount of Candida living in it, causing infection and pumping out poison into her blood around the clock. Unfortunately, the naturopath did not provide her with a definite permanent cure; but, the experience did get Linda focused on curing her Candida problem.

Linda spent close to a decade researching Candida and trying a wide array of treatments for this condition. Linda also talked with health professionals and garnered their advice. Eventually, with her growing knowledge of Candidiasis and her experience with Candida treatments, Linda began to create a unique, natural treatment to solve her Candida problems. Linda spent around a year refining her approach and eventually formed her treatment plan.

Linda finally tried her new approach on herself; and, it worked amazingly well. Linda found that her yeast infections simply stopped happening. And, as time progressed, her health began to get better and better. Eventually, it was certain that Linda had cured herself and that her yeast infection misery was a thing of the past. Linda knew quite a few people that were also suffering from severe yeast infections; and, she shared her plan with them and waited to see their results. Linda found that the people who tried her treatment approach were also permanently cured of their Candida problems.

Linda went on to publish a book which provides a detailed explanation of her yeast infection treatment. Linda Allen published the first version of her book in 2004; via one of the largest digital publishers in the world. Linda’s publisher is owned by the large, U.S. firm Keynetics Incorporated, whose headquarters is located in the state of Idaho. Keynetics truly makes getting an e-book secure and easy; you can also pay with PayPal for further peace of mind. Also, the support from this company is a step above the rest; it is a pleasure to do business with this corporation.

Since the original publishing of Linda’s book, over 100,000 people from around the world have successfully repeated Linda’s initial success and have been given their health and lives back. Linda also explains a fast, easy, and of course natural way to get rid of a yeast infection in 12 hours time. If you are suffering from a chronic, systemic Candida problem, or just want to get rid of a yeast infection in a safe, natural way fast; Linda Allen’s book may be something to look into. To find out more about Linda Allen and her book, you can learn more at Linda Allen’s website.

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