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Types of Skin Infection and How to Relieve Them

7 mins

Rahul Bhatia

Skin is vulnerable to a range of skin infections. Find out more about the various types of skin infections and effective methods for treating them.

The skin is the largest organ of the human body, covering an average area of around 20 sq. ft. in an adult human. 

Being the largest organ, it is also the most exposed organ of the body, which makes it highly susceptible to infections. If the skin integrity is compromised in any way, it becomes vulnerable to a host of viral, fungal, and bacterial infections.

Even though the skin possesses remarkable abilities for protecting against environmental pathogens, skin infections are quite a common occurrence. 

In this article, we will cover the various types of skin infections and also the ways in which you can relieve yourself from some of them.

Table of Contents:

  • Know Your Skin
  • What is a Skin Infection?
  • Types of Skin Infection
  • Common bacterial skin infections
  • Common viral skin infections
  • Common fungal skin infections
  • Common parasitic skin infections
  • Yeast Infection
  • Treatment of Skin Infections
  • Ingredients that can help with various types of infection

Know Your Skin

Before we get to the topic of skin infections, it is important to know some important things about your skin. 

The skin is the body’s first line of defense against various types of skin infections. The epidermis is the first layer of the skin, which provides protection to your body from the onslaught of viral, bacterial, parasitic, and yeast infections. 

The dermis or the second layer, on the other hand, supports the surface layer by providing it with the necessary nutrients. 

The subcutaneous layer is the final layer of the skin that functions as a shock absorber. It also stores energy and keeps the body temperature steady. 

All the layers of the skin work together in keeping the skin infections at bay.

What is a Skin Infection?

Even something as small as a tiny cut can lead to a skin infection, as a microorganism can invade the skin through this entry. Whenever your skin integrity is comprised in any way, it can make that area more vulnerable to skin infections. 

A skin infection usually occurs because of environmental pathogens like fungi, bacteria, and viruses. These microorganisms infect the skin when the skin barrier is broken, however, in some cases, they can also infect the deep tissues beneath the skin.

skin infection

Most skin infections are caused by fungi, bacteria, and viruses. In some cases, they can also be caused by parasites and yeasts. 

We already have a lot of naturally occurring bacteria on the surface of our skin. The trouble is actually when these pathogens invade our skin. A cut or compromised skin integrity is not always the reason for a skin infection. 

Many a time, skin infections can be caused because of a weak immune system. There can be a variety of causes behind different types of skin infections.

Types of Skin Infection

There are basically four types of skin infection. 

Here is a comprehensive overview of all these four types:

Common bacterial skin infections

If you have small and red bumps on your skin that are slowly increasing in size, it is indicative of a bacterial skin infection. Most bacterial skin infections are mild and can be treated with topical products, however, some others might require oral antibiotic treatment. 

Here are some common bacterial skin infections:

Cellulitis

Cellulitis is a bacterial skin infection that triggers swelling, redness, and tenderness in the arms and legs. This is often accompanied by a hot feeling on the skin, and in some cases, people can also experience fever, confusion, and an unusually fast heartbeat. Cellulitis is treated with the help of antibiotic treatment.

Impetigo

This bacterial infection is very common during summers, and also quite contagious. It can easily spread from one person to another. A person infected with Impetigo might see crusty sores coming up on their hands and face. In most cases it can be treated using topical ointments, while antibiotics can be required in severe cases.

Boils

Boils and carbuncles usually develop when the subcutaneous layer of the skin becomes infected. This type of skin infection is commonly found at the back of the neck. Boils usually tend to heal on their own, however, in some cases cutting and draining the boil is required along with oral antibiotics.

Leprosy

This skin infection, caused by the Mycobacterium leprae microorganism, usually grows very slowly. In many cases, the symptoms of leprosy emerge almost 20 years after the onset of the infection. It is treated using a multidrug therapy, however, natural ingredients can also help in relieving some of the symptoms.

Common viral skin infections

These types of skin infections are usually caused by a virus, and the symptoms of these infections can range from mild to severe.

Here are some common viral infections:

Shingles

Shingles are also known as herpes zoster, and this skin infection is the result of the return of chickenpox infection. Shingles often begin in the form of a painful sensation, which leads to red, blistering rashes after a while. This skin infection can be treated with the help of antiviral drugs.

Chickenpox

This skin infection usually begins in the form of red spots and bumps that eventually turn into blisters. These blisters take some time to heal up, after which the skin is left with scabs. Chickenpox usually starts from the face and torso, slowly making their way to the entire body. Since the development of the vaccine, the results of this infection have become less severe.

Molluscum Contagiosum

People living in crowded and hot areas are more susceptible to this disease. It results in the form of papule clusters on the skin. These papules are commonly known as Mollusca. According to dermatologists, it can be difficult to kill this virus. However, there are treatments for Molluscum Contagiosum in the form of chemical/laser removal, surgical removal, and cryotherapy.

Warts

Warts are small tumors in the skin which usually result out of papillomavirus infection. Most warts go away on their own, however, for some stubborn warts, medical intervention might be required. These are easily treated using salicylic acid and natural ingredients.

Measles

This skin infection is caused by a virus from the paramyxovirus family. This virus first affects the respiratory tract, after which it spreads to the other parts of the body through the bloodstream. Measles occurs in the form of red rashes, and it is often accompanied by cough and fever. It is a common skin infection, although the severity has been decreased because of widespread vaccination.

HFMD

HFMD or hand, foot, mouth disease is a contagious skin infection caused by a virus from the Enterovirus family. This skin infection results in sores and blisters near the mouth and rashes on feet and hands. HFMD is usually quite mild and can be treated at home.

Common fungal skin infections

Fungal infections of the skin are usually caused by fungal growth in damp body areas like the armpit and feet. Some common types of fungal infection are as follows:

Athlete’s foot

Athlete’s foot is a common skin infection affecting around 15-25 percent of people at any point of time. It usually happens because of fungal growth between the toes, which can eventually spread to the rest of the legs. It is treated using antifungal medications and topical treatments.

Ringworm

This fungal skin infection is pretty common among people. It manifests in the form of a ring-shaped rash which can be quite itchy. In most cases, it can be treated using topical creams and lotions, however, in severe cases, anti-fungal medications might be required.

Oral Thrush

Oral thrush is a fungal skin infection that is common among immunocompromised patients. It results in the form of red and painful lesions and cracks at the corners of the mouth. Oral thrush is often treated using topical creams, while immunocompromised patients also require systematic therapy.

Diaper rash

Diaper rash is a common fungal skin infection that results in the form of reddish and small lesions, with a scaly surrounding. These rashes occur because of moisture-trapping and poorly absorbent diapers. It is often treated with the help of topical creams of exposing the area to the air.

Common parasitic skin infections

These skin infections are caused by a parasite, and they can be quite uncomfortable for people. Parasitic infections often spread into the organs and bloodstream too. 

Some common parasitic skin infections are:

Lice

Lice are parasites that often make their way into hair, and in some cases body too. Lice often lay eggs (nits) behind the ears and around the neckline. Body lice are also known as clothes lice, are usually found on clothes, moving to the skin when it comes in contact. Both these types of lice need human blood to survive. They can be treated using over-the-counter products and natural ingredients as well.

Scabies

This parasitic skin infection is caused by small mites known as Sarcoptes scabei. This type of skin infection is common in crowded areas, as it spreads easily from one person to another.

It is often treated using ointments, creams, and lotions.

Yeast Infection

Our bodies host Candida yeast in the guts, and many people have it on different parts of their bodies too. In most cases, it does not cause any problems, however, sometimes it can lead to skin infections. They can be treated using anti-fungal medications.

Treatment of Skin Infections

The treatment for the different types of skin infection varies, and also depends on the seriousness of the infection. 

While some infections go away on their own, others can be easily treated at home with lotions and creams. 

In severe cases, however, medicines or other procedures might be required to treat the infection.

Ingredients that can help with various types of infection

When you are looking to treat skin infections with lotions and creams at home, you should look for the following things in the ingredient list:

Coconut Oil: This ingredient is great for soothing irritated skin by providing it the necessary hydration. According to some research, it has been found that coconut oil possesses some great anti-inflammatory agents which help in improving the skin barrier. It can, in fact, be very useful for treating psoriasis, eczema, and other skin infections that cause dryness and itching. This Wow Skin Science Head-to-Toe Coconut Bundle is a great option for treating skin conditions in various areas of the body. All of these products contain the essential ingredient – coconut oil.

Green Tea: This ingredient is widely known for its anti-aging and sun protection properties. It consists of polyphenols that help in soothing and treating sun-damaged skin. Research has shown that the natural antioxidants in green tea are also great for eliminating bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. The Green Tea Foaming Face Wash from Wow Skin Science can be great for treating mild skin infections that affect the facial skin.

wow face wash, gentle face wash

Oatmeal: This ingredient possesses some great anti-irritant and anti-inflammatory properties. It consists of chemicals known as avenanthramides, besides starches and beta-glucans, which are all great for treating rashes and eczema. The best form of oatmeal in skincare products is colloidal oatmeal, since they don’t cause any irritation or allergies. Body washes and moisturizers with oatmeal as an ingredient can be great for treating a variety of skin infections.

Shea Butter: Shea butter is not only great for hydration but also possesses itch-relief and anti-inflammatory properties. It can be very hydrating for the skin as it is loaded with fatty acids. Products containing shea butter can be great for providing relief to itchy and dry skin that results from many skin infections. It is also great for treating eczema. The Shea & Cocoa Butter Moisturizing Lotion is a great option for a skincare product containing the healing benefits of shea butter.

Tea Tree Oil: This ingredient is power-packed with anti-microbial and blemish-fighting agents. Skincare products with tea tree oil can help in combating bacteria, fungus, and germs. They can prove to be very useful for treating inflammations like tender papules and pustules which result out of many skin infections. This Wow Skin Science Tea Tree Essential Oil can be combined with a range of skincare products or used as-is for treating mild inflammations.

With this, we have covered everything there is to know about different types of skin infections. 

With our recommendations of products and ingredients, you will be able to treat milder forms of these skin infections easily at home. 

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Rahul Bhatia

Rahul is the published author of "Heads Or Tails" and Quora writer with over 1.6 million views. He is a keen observer who enjoys the simple joys of life. He strongly believes true beauty is not how beautiful your face is but how beautiful your heart is.

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