Skin Infection: Types, Causes, and Treatments

The skin is the body’s largest organ. It protects your body from infection but is also susceptible to infection.

There are several causes of skin infection, and the severity of symptoms varies. 

You may treat mild infections with home remedies and over-the-counter medications, while more severe cases may require expert advice from a dermatologist Singapore.

Types of Skin Infections

The four types of skin infections are:

Parasitic Skin Infections

This type of infection usually occurs due to a parasite. The infection can spread from your skin to your bloodstream and organs. 

While it is not life-threatening, it can make you feel uncomfortable.

The following are the different types of parasitic skin infections:

  • Bedbugs
  • Cutaneous larva migrans
  • Lice
  • Scabies

Fungal Skin Infections

A fungus is the primary cause of this type of infection. The fungus likely develops in damp places on your body, such as the armpit and feet. 

There are different types of fungal infections but some of them are not contagious. 

Fungal skin infections are also normally non-life-threatening.

Below is a list of various types of fungal infections:

  • Athlete’s foot
  • Diaper rash
  • Nail fungus
  • Oral thrush
  • Ringworm
  • Yeast infection

Viral Skin Infections

A virus is the main culprit for this type of skin infection. The level of infection ranges from mild to severe. 

The different viral infections are:

  • Chickenpox
  • Hand, foot, and mouth disease
  • Measles
  • Molluscum contagiosum
  • Shingles (or Herpes zoster)
  • Warts

Bacterial Skin Infections

This type of skin infection often starts as red, small bumps that increase in size gradually. 

Some bacterial infections are mild cases that can be treated using topical antibiotics, while others may require an oral antibiotic.

There are different types of bacterial skin infections, and they are:

  • Boils
  • Cellulitis
  • Impetigo
  • Leprosy

Symptoms of a Skin Infection

The symptoms of a skin infection vary according to the type of infection that you are diagnosed with. 

The common symptoms include rash and redness of the skin. Other symptoms that you may experience include tenderness, pain, and itching.

When you begin to see pus in your blisters, you need to see a doctor immediately. It is also advisable to consult a doctor when your skin infection is getting worse or shows no sign of improvement. 

Keep in mind that skin infections can spread to the bloodstream and cause more trouble. When that happens, the skin infection becomes life-threatening.

You will know that your skin infection has become severe when you see the following signs:

  • Necrotic-appearing, dark skin, or when your skin becomes painful and discolored
  • Your skin is breaking or shedding
  • Blisters begin to form
  • Presence of pus

Causes and Risk Factors of Skin Infections

The different skin infections have different causes that are unique to them. 

A bacterial skin infection occurs when certain bacteria manage to invade the body via a break in the skin, such as a gash or a graze. 

However, getting a cut or scratch does not necessarily mean that you should expect a skin infection to occur. Your risk of getting a skin infection is elevated when you have a compromised immune system.

An illness or medication side effect can also be the cause of a debilitating immune system. You may ask your doctor for supplements that can help you boost your immune system.

The usual culprits for the occurrence of viral skin infections are herpes virus, human papillomavirus, and poxvirus. 

A fungal infection may occur when fungus makes its way to the damp areas of your body and begins to propagate. Your lifestyle and body chemistry can increase your risk of fungal infection. If you run every day or sweat a lot, you may develop athlete’s foot. 

Remember that fungi often thrive in damp, warm surroundings. Wearing wet or sweaty clothes puts you at risk of contracting skin infection, especially if you have a cut or break in your skin.

Parasitic infection occurs when tiny organisms or insects start burrowing underneath your skin to lay their eggs. This type of skin infection can make you ill-at-ease but is typically not life-threatening.

Diagnosis of a Skin Infection

A thorough physical or medical examination is the most viable solution in determining the cause of your skin infection. Doctors often identify or recognize the skin infection type according to the affected area and appearance.

Your doctor may ask you a few questions to study your symptoms and examine any bumps, lesions, or rashes at close range. 

Ringworm, for example, often leaves a distinct scaly, circular rash. In other cases, your doctor may take a sample of your skin cells to help him identify the type of infection that you have contracted.

Treatment for Skin Infections

There is no one-treatment-fits-all method when it comes to a skin infection. Your doctor needs to determine the cause of infection as well as its severity before he can give you the most suitable treatment for your skin infection. 

Some types of viral skin infections may vanish within a few days or weeks even if you do not do anything.

Bacterial infections usually go away after a few direct applications of topical antibiotics in the affected areas. Your doctor may also prescribe oral antibiotics to help you get rid of your skin infection. 

If the bacteria strain is too stubborn or is able to resist the treatment, you may need to go to the hospital so you can doctor can administer intravenous antibiotics.

You may also use over-the-counter antifungal creams and sprays to get rid of fungal infections. You can ask your doctor for a better solution if this does not work. 

You can use medicated creams to treat parasitic skin infections. You may also your doctor for a medication that can help you reduce the discomfort.

Alternative Solutions and Home Remedies

You may do the following to reduce the symptoms of skin infection:

  • You may apply a cold compress on the affected area several times a day to help reduce swelling and itchiness
  • To lessen itching, take an over-the-counter antihistamine
  • You may also apply topical ointment and cream on the affected area to bring down the level of discomfort and itching

Common antibiotics do not work on certain strains of bacteria, such as methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). For proper treatment, it is advisable to consult your doctor.

Preventing Skin Infections

Frequent hand washing is one of the best practices to prevent skin infections. 

However, consult your doctor right away if your skin infection becomes troublesome.