There area variety of microbes (“germs”) and parasites that can infect the skin and cause a variety of symptoms, including redness, itching, swelling, skin thickening, and a change in pigmentation (color) of the skin.
- Bacteria, such as staphylococcal (staph) and strep, can cause painful skin infections that can quickly spread, such as cellulitis, impetigo or folliculitis. These bacterial skin infections may be treated with topical or oral antibiotics.
- A variety of viruses can infect the skin, such as the varicella virus that causes chickenpox and shingles, the herpes virus that causes cold sores, and the human papilloma virus (HPV) that causes warts on the skin and genital warts.
- Fungal skin infections are very common, such as athlete’s foot (tinea pedis), jock itch (tinea cruris) and yeast infections
- Some parasitic organisms can live on the skin or hair and cause symptoms, such as bed, bugs, head lice, and scabies
Your dermatologist will recommend a treatment based on several factors, including:
- The type of infection (A bacterial infections need treatment with antibiotics while fungal infections require treatment with anti-fungal medications)
- Its location (A skin infection on the face may warrant more aggressive treatment than an infection on the arm)
- Its severity (A skin infection affecting a large part of the body or causing other symptoms, such as fever, may warrant more aggressive treatment)
- Your response to past treatments (If a first-line treatment was attempted and failed, a different treatment option may be prescribed.)
- Other factors. (This includes any drug allergies you may have or other medications you may be taking)