Learn what you need to know about treating these common infections.
  • Vaginal infection
  • Bacterial infections
  • Fungal infection
  • Viral infections
  • Staph infections
 

 
 

 

Skin Infections Overview

Skin infections may occur when breaks in the skin are invaded by bacteria, fungi, or yeast. As the body's largest and most exposed organ, the skin does a remarkable job of providing protection against the external environment, even though skin infections can commonly occur.

Bacteria, fungi, and yeast are microscopic organisms that cause skin infections, and each creates different related diseases. The most common disease for each type of microorganism is as follows:

Bacterial
Cellulitis - an acute inflammation of the connective tissue of the skin.

Carbunculosis - involves a group of hair follicles that forms a lump or mass deep in the skin.

Fungal and Yeast
Cutaneous candidiasis - an infection caused by the fungus candida that usually occurs in the warm, moist, creased areas of the skin, but can occur on any skin surface on the body.

It is important to identify and treat skin infections because some may spread throughout the body and cause serious complications. Contact your health care provider for diagnosis.

There are many types of bacterial skin infections, but most are either uncommon or result from systematic illness.

Certain factors such as age and a weakened immune system can place you at greater risk for developing skin infections. With age, the circulatory system becomes less effective in delivering blood to some areas of the body. The lack of infection-fighting white blood cells where circulation is poor may lead to a higher incidence of infection if skin abrasions result in those areas. Illnesses such as diabetes or chickenpox can also increase the chance of infections because they result in a weakening of the immune system, and breaks in the skin.

Each type of skin infection carries its own risk specific factors.

Risk factors for cellulitis include
  • Insect bites and stings and animal or human bites
  • A break in the skin (skin wounds)
  • History of peripheral vascular disease
  • Diabetes-related or ischemic ulcers
  • Cracks or peeling skin between the toes
  • Use of immunosuppressive or corticosteroid medications
Risk factors for carbuncle infections include:
  • Friction from clothing or shaving
  • Poor hygiene
  • Poor overall health
Risk factors for cutaneous candidiasis include:
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Use of antibiotics and oral contraceptives (birth-control pills)