It is well-known that skin is the body’s largest organ. Protecting the body from external factors, including germs, is one of the key functions of the skin. When your skin fails at this function and lets germs invade your body, infections happen.
Germs can enter the body due to an opening such as a cut or wound on the skin. A weak immune system caused by a disease or medical treatment can also lead to skin infections.
If you spot an area that is red and swollen, and feels tender, then you could probably be seeing a skin infection. Some skin infections affect only the visible part of the skin. Some infections can penetrate deep into the skin and even spread to other areas.
It is therefore crucial to visit a doctor upon noticing any abnormality in the skin’s appearance.
There are numerous germs that cause different types of skin infections.
Cellulitis, staph or staphylococcal infections, and impetigo are caused by bacteria. Acne is also caused by bacterial action.
Yeast infections and athlete’s foot are caused by fungi
Infections such as warts, shingles and herpes simplex are caused by viruses
Scabies, head lice and body lice are caused by parasitic germs
Bacterial infections usually appear as tiny red bumps. They increase in size gradually. Mild infections respond to topical antibiotics. Severe infections usually necessitate an oral antibiotic.
It is the damper areas of the body that are most prone to fungal infections. Parts such as armpits and feet are the usual spots for fungal infections. Infections caused by fungi do not spread to others nor are they life-threatening.
Infections by parasites can spread from the initial place of attack to other body parts, including the bloodstream.
Bacteria reside on the skin of an individual. If there is a cut or other opening, then the bacteria can enter and cause infection. This is the most common cause for bacterial infections such as cellulitis and abscess.
Apart from certain medical conditions such as immune system diseases and diabetes, specific factors can increase your risk of skin infections.
Already existent skin conditions such as eczema or athlete’s foot
Poor diet and malnourishment
Obesity-induced excessive skinfolds
Chronic swelling in the arms and legs
Holding a single position for a long time such as staying in bed either because of a sickness or due to paralysis
Symptoms of skin infection depend on the specific type of infection. For example, a bacterial skin infection such as cellulitis manifests in the form of redness, swelling, and pain in the affected area. The affected area is also warm or tender to the touch.
An abscess, which is a bacterial infection caused by staphylococcus bacteria, shows similar symptoms as the above. There is a presence of pus, in addition, in the affected area, which can drain out at times.
There are some symptoms common to skin infections.
Tenderness or warmth
The following symptoms may indicate a severe infection:
Sloughing skin or skin that is breaking down
Skin that is dark or discolored, and painful
If you notice your skin infection worsening or not showing any improvement with time, then consult a dermatologist. As some skin infections can enter the bloodstream, it is important to get them diagnosed and treated as soon as possible.
Your doctor determines the cause of the skin infection and then decides the treatment. The doctor performs a physical exam to understand the possible cause of infection. Sometimes, symptoms such as the shape and area of infection can give insights into the possible cause.
In other cases, the doctor may prescribe lab tests to determine the cause. A sample of the skin is used to determine the exact type of infection. Sometimes, blood tests may also be prescribed.
Treatments vary depending on the cause of infection. They may range from no treatment (sometimes infections heal on their own) to antibiotics. Creams or lotions may be prescribed for some infections while oral antibiotics may be prescribed for some.
In cases where pus is present such as an abscess, a procedure may be performed to remove the pus. The infection may then be addressed with antibiotics. Medicated creams are usually prescribed for a parasitic infection.
Following your doctor’s prescription and instructions is the best way to get rid of your infection. In addition, clean the area of infection to facilitate faster healing. If there is swelling, then maintaining your leg in a raised position can help reduce swelling.
While getting treated is the only solution if you get skin infection, reducing the risk of skin infections in the first place, is the best solution. Some ways to prevent skin infections include:
Taking vaccinations for certain infections such as chickenpox
Keeping your hands clean by washing them regularly
Avoiding shaving too closely to prevent inflammatory razor bumps
Use the Right Products
If you are using topical products to treat your infection at home, then there are some key ingredients you need to look for, in the products. The unique properties of these ingredients make them great not only for treating infections but also for preventing them.
Coconut oil is derived from the fruit of the tree. Coconut oil has impressive antifungal and antimicrobial properties, which make it effective against infections. Research shows that virgin coconut oil has excellent antifungal action on Candida species of fungus. This study also concluded that coconut “should be used” to treat fungal infections.
Research also shows virgin coconut oil to have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. When applied on the skin, coconut oil can reduce inflammation.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil moisturizes the skin, helps manage acne, eases inflammation and brightens the skin. This oil has excellent anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties, which help treat bacterial infections such as acne.
Tea tree oil can soothe irritated, itchy and swollen skin. This oil can be applied on dark spots and blemishes to clear them and to restore the natural suppleness of skin.
As a moisturizing agent, tea tree oil keeps your skin well-hydrated and away from dryness. Risk of infections such as acne tends to be more when skin is dry. This is because dry skin forces your skin glands to produce more oil. This increase in oil production is one of the key causes of acne.
Tea tree oil helps prevent acne by controlling excess skin oil production.
Green tea is packed with skin-enriching goodness. This ingredient exhibits a wide of healing properties, including:
Anti-myocardial infraction – Myocardial Infraction (MI) is otherwise called heart attack, It usually occurs when blood flow to the myocardium reduced or stops entirely.
Atherosclerosis – Plaque builds up in the arteries in people with this condition. This situation thins the arteries, increasing the risk of blood clots, stroke and heart attack, in the patient.
Green tea has a range of benefits for different skin conditions, including acne, atopic dermatitis, rosacea, genital warts and even skin cancer. Research shows that topical application of green tea benefits skin with the above condition.
Evidence also suggests that presence of tea polyphenols (found in green tea) in topical formulations can reduce sebum production in the body. They can reduce or prevent acne with this action.
EGCG in tea polyphenols acts by controlling the hormone androgen. An increase in androgens or erratic levels of the hormone can cause the oil glands to produce more sebum. By controlling androgen levels, EGCG prevents excess production of sebum.
The presence of nutrients rich for the human skin, in abundance, makes shea butter a preferred ingredient in natural skin products. Shea butter is also easy to spread, which makes it easier to use and therefore more effective.
Shea butter is known to be good for all types of skin. As a natural ingredient, it does not contain any chemicals that can irritate the skin or disturb its integrity. Though a nut by origin, shea butter is low in protein content. So, chances of allergies resulting from nut protein are nil.
Shea butter can help treat skin infections as it is antifungal and antibacterial. Shea butter acts by destroying the spores of fungi that cause skin infections. Shea butter, in particular, is effective against fungi causing athlete’s foot and ringworm.
The anti-bacterial presence of shea butter in the form of topical formulation on the skin may reduce acne-causing bacteria on the skin. Shea butter has a host of skin-beneficial nutrients, including vitamins A, F, and E, fatty acids, and triglycerides.
These nutrients help preserve moisture in the skin, reducing dryness. As a result, the skin does not feel deprived of sebum, which keeps sebum production in check. When oil levels are maintained and sebum is in control, occurrence of acne is greatly reduced or even prevented.
Anti-inflammatory properties of shea butter make it a great ingredient for soothing inflammatory skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema.
In a study, a cream containing shea butter was used on patients with atopic dermatitis (eczema). Results showed that there was a significant decrease in symptoms and quality of life improved in patients.
This segment puts forth skincare products that show excellent results without harming your skin or body. When natural skincare is the priority, these products lead the way. These recommendations can help you choose reliable home remedies for milder skin infections.
Head-to-Toe Coconut Bundle by WOW Skin Science
This Bundle takes care of your skin, head to toe. You can include the shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, cream and clarifier, in the Bundle, in your daily hair and skincare routine. From hydrating the skin to strengthening skin’s natural protection, this Bundle delivers a bundle of benefits.
Tea Tree Essential Oil
This oil helps fight skin infections caused by bacteria and fungus. The formulation is obtained by cold-pressing technique, which maximizes the oil’s availability in its purest form.
The integrity of the formulation is preserved with its amber glass packaging. This packaging prevents bacterial contamination of the oil. You may want to apply the oil with a carrier oil such as coconut oil, to the affected part.
WOW Skin Science Green Tea Foaming Facewash
Including this cleanser in your daily skin routine helps keep your skin clean, hydrated and less prone to bacterial infections such as acne. This facewash cleanses deep, removing dirt and pollutants from the pores, without drying the skin.
Green tea extract also maintains pH balance of the skin. This is crucial because without pH balance, skin’s natural protection is reduced, which can leave you open to infections.
By maintaining the balance, this green tea facewash reduces your risk of skin infections.
The green tea extract is well-complemented by aloe vera extract, which is known for its excellent skin hydration properties. Also upping the benefits is the presence of pro-vitamin B5 ingredient. This ingredient nourishes your skin and increases the organ’s ability to self-repair.
The formulation of goodness can be applied to the skin with a hypoallergenic brush, which reduces the spread of infection. The silicone bristles of the brush are soft, gentle and flexible, which means even spreading and deep cleaning.
The gentle movements of the bristles also improve blood circulation. Poor blood circulation can also cause skin infection. By improving blood flow, this green tea extract reduces further chances of infection.
This green tea formulation is completely paraben and sulfate free.
Shea & Cocoa Butter Moisturizing Lotion by WOW Skin Science
This formulation helps soothe inflammation and packs the skin with moisture. This moisturizing lotion particularly useful for deep hydration of dry skin. Presence of natural ingredients such as shea butter, argan oil and cocoa butter delivers multiple skin benefits.
Shea butter nourishes skin while argan oil keeps skin smooth and supple. Cocoa butter strengthens skin’s elasticity.
This paraben and sulfate-free formulation comes as a non-greasy lotion with only natural ingredients. No artificial colors or fragrance is part of the formulation. On application, the lotion is completely absorbed into the skin, ready to benefit the skin with its richness.
A simple practice of hand-washing can keep multiple skin infections at bay. For effective germ-free hand-washing, do the following:
Use clean water for washing
Rub all sides of your palms including the inners, outers and in-between fingers, for a complete hygienic wash
Wash for 20 seconds to get rid of infection-causing germs
Dry your hands using an air dryer or paper towel
In case of unavailability of water and soap, use a sanitizer with 60% or more of alcohol. Rub the product on all sides of the hand, and let it dry.