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How To Treat Cellulitis Without Antibiotics

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How To Treat Cellulitis Without Antibiotics March 29, 2018

If your skin is unusually red, tender or swollen, it’s most probably a case of cellulitis. Cellulitis is one medical condition that you should not wait to resolve on its own. The reason? If left untreated for too long, it can lead to complications such as bone and blood infections or even gangrene. So, if the test results are unfortunately positive, do not worry. Just treat the skin infection immediately by using these home remedies for cellulitis discussed in this article. 

Table Of Contents

What Is Cellulitis?

Cellulitis is a bacterial infection of the skin and the tissues beneath it, which is caused by bacteria. This infection usually affects the deeper layers of the skin like the dermis and subcutaneous tissues.

What Causes Cellulitis?

Cellulitis is mainly caused by the Staphylococcus and Streptococcus bacteria. This infection occurs when these bacteria enter the skin via cuts or cracks. Skin injuries or wounds like cuts, insect bites, and surgical sites are the common sites that may harbor an infection.

Some factors can also increase your risk of getting infected. They include:

  • Weakened immunity
  • Diabetes
  • A family history of cellulitis
  • Skin conditions like eczema and athlete’s foot
  • Diabetes

Now, let’s look at the different symptoms that may result from cellulitis.

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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Cellulitis?

The most common signs and symptoms of cellulitis are:

  • The affected area becomes tender and painful to touch.
  • Red and inflamed skin.
  • A growing skin sore or rash.
  • The skin looks tight, glossy, and may even be swollen.
  • The affected area feels warm.
  • A pus-filled abscess in the affected area.

A more serious cellulitis infection can cause the following symptoms:

  • Chills and tremors
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Muscle aches
  • Frequent sweating

And if you happen to notice any of the symptoms listed below, you must be careful as these are the signs that your infection is spreading.

  • Drowsiness and weariness
  • Lethargy
  • Blistering of the skin
  • Red streaks on the skin

Cellulitis can occur anywhere on your body, and based on the same, it is classified into different types.

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What Are The Different Types Of Cellulitis?

Cellulitis is mainly classified into five types:

  • Orbital Cellulitis: When the infection occurs inside the sockets of the eyes, it is termed as orbital cellulitis. Eye injuries, sinus infections, and infections of the middle ear or teeth increase the risk of orbital cellulitis.
  • Perianal Cellulitis: A cellulitis infection in the anal region is referred to as perianal cellulitis. This infection is quite common in children, and more so in boys than girls.
  • Periorbital Cellulitis: This infection develops around the eyelids and is more common in children. Those suffering from insect bites and eye injuries are more prone to developing this infection.
  • Facial Cellulitis: This is a facial infection that affects people of all ages and may lead to serious complications if left untreated.
  • Breast Cellulitis: Breast cellulitis affects the skin on the breasts. Women with a history of lumpectomy or those who have breast cancer are at a higher risk of developing this infection.

Cellulitis can be quite unpleasant to deal with. To help you get rid of this condition, we have put together some of the best home remedies for cellulitis that can help in speeding up your healing.

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Home Remedies To Get Rid Of Cellulitis

  1. Essential Oils
  2. Coconut Oil
  3. Hot Or Cold Compress
  4. Turmeric
  5. Epsom Salt Bath
  6. Garlic
  7. Fenugreek
  8. Apple Cider Vinegar
  9. Vitamins
  10. Honey
  11. Ginkgo Biloba
  12. Dandelion
  13. Grapefruit Seed Extract
  14. Yogurt

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How To Treat Cellulitis Naturally

1. Essential Oils

a. Tea Tree Oil

Home Remedies For Cellulitis - Tea Tree Oil Pinit

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You Will Need
  • 2-3 drops of tea tree oil
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
What You Have To Do
  1. Add two drops of tea tree oil to a tablespoon of coconut oil and mix well.
  2. Gently apply this mixture to the affected area.
  3. Leave it on for at least 2 to 3 hours.
  4. Wash it off with water.
How Often You Should Do This

You must do this twice daily, preferably every morning and evening.

Why This Works

Given the wonderful antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties of tea tree oil, it’s no surprise that it can help in treating cellulitis. This oil is quite effective against a wide range of microbes, and can hence be used to fight the bacterial infection causing cellulitis (1). The anti-inflammatory properties of tea tree oil can also help in reducing the swelling and redness in the affected area (2).

b. Oregano Essential Oil

Home Remedies For Cellulitis - Oregano Essential Oil Pinit

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You Will Need
  • 3-4 drops of oregano essential oil
  • 1 tablespoon of any carrier oil (coconut or olive oil)
What You Have To Do
  1. Mix a few drops of oregano essential oil with a carrier oil of your choice.
  2. Apply this blend to the affected area and leave it on for 3 to 4 hours.
How Often You Should Do This

Do this 2 to 3 times every day.

Why This Works

Oregano essential oil possesses amazing antibacterial properties that can help in getting rid of the staph bacteria responsible for causing cellulitis (3). Additionally, the wound-healing potential of oregano oil can help reduce the symptoms of cellulitis and accelerate healing (4).

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2. Coconut Oil

Home Remedies For Cellulitis - Coconut Oil Pinit

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You Will Need

1 tablespoon of virgin coconut oil

What You Have To Do
  1. Take a tablespoon of virgin coconut oil and massage it gently on the affected area.
  2. Leave it on and allow your skin to absorb it completely.
How Often You Should Do This

You must do this twice daily.

Why This Works

Coconut oil has excellent antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties due to the presence of medium-chain fatty acids (5), (6). It also helps in keeping your skin well moisturized. These properties not only help treat cellulitis but also prevent its recurrence.

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3. Hot Or Cold Compress

Home Remedies For Cellulitis - Hot Or Cold Compress Pinit

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You Will Need

Hot bottle water or ice pack

What You Have To Do
  1. Take a hot water bottle or an ice pack and apply it directly to the affected area.
  2. Leave it on for about 15 minutes. Repeat twice.
How Often You Should Do This

You must do this 2 to 3 times every day.

Why This Works

A hot or cold compress can provide instant relief from the symptoms of cellulitis. While a hot compress can reduce the pain, a cold compress can reduce the pain and inflammation (7), (8).

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4. Turmeric

Home Remedies For Cellulitis - Turmeric Pinit

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You Will Need
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 2-3 drops of tea tree oil
What You Have To Do
  1. Mix the turmeric, honey, and tea tree oil in a bowl.
  2. Apply this mixture to the affected areas.
  3. Leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Wash it off with lukewarm water.
How Often You Should Do This

Do this twice daily for a week.

Why This Works

Turmeric possesses amazing antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties due to the curcumin present in it (9), (10). The medicinal properties of turmeric, combined with the healing properties of honey, one of the best home remedies for cellulitis.

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5. Epsom Salt Bath

Home Remedies For Cellulitis - Epsom Salt Bath Pinit

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You Will Need
  • 1 cup of Epsom salt
  • Bathwater
What You Have To Do

Add a cup of Epsom salt to your bathwater and soak in it for 15 to 20 minutes.

How Often You Should Do This

You must do this every alternate day for effective results.

Why This Works

The magnesium in Epsom salt helps reduce the inflammation, swelling, and pain associated with cellulitis (11).

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6. Garlic

Home Remedies For Cellulitis - Garlic Pinit

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You Will Need

2-3 cloves of garlic

What You Have To Do
  1. Mince the garlic cloves to form a thick paste.
  2. Apply it directly to the affected areas and
  3. leave it on for a couple of hours.
  4. Wash it off with water.
  5. You can also chew on a few garlic cloves daily to fight cellulitis from within.
How Often You Should Do This

You must do this twice daily.

Why This Works

The major constituent of garlic, allicin, is known for its exceptional antimicrobial properties (12). The antimicrobial properties of garlic help prevent further infection, and its anti-inflammatory properties help reduce the swelling and pain often associated with cellulitis (13).

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7. Fenugreek Seeds

Home Remedies For Cellulitis - Fenugreek Seeds Pinit

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You Will Need
  • A handful of fenugreek seeds
  • A bowl of water
What You Have To Do
  1. Soak the fenugreek seeds in a bowl of water overnight.
  2. The next morning, grind the soaked fenugreek seeds into a thick paste.
  3. Apply this paste to the affected areas and leave it on for an hour or two.
  4. Wash it off with lukewarm water.
How Often You Should Do This

You must do this 1 to 2 times daily.

Why This Works

Fenugreek seeds are a rich source of flavonoids that can help reduce the pain and inflammation with their anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties (14). The antimicrobial properties of fenugreek can help in destroying the staph bacteria responsible for causing cellulitis (15).

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8. Apple Cider Vinegar

Home Remedies For Cellulitis - Apple Cider Vinegar Pinit

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You Will Need
  • 1-2 cups of apple cider vinegar
  • Bathwater
What You Have To Do
  1. Add two cups of apple cider vinegar to your bathwater and soak in it for 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Alternatively, you can also apply diluted apple cider vinegar directly to the affected areas.
How Often You Should Do This

You must do this once daily.

Why This Works

Apple cider vinegar, with its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, can help combat the inflammation caused due to cellulitis and also ward off the bacterial infection (16), (17).

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9. Vitamins

Home Remedies For Cellulitis - Vitamins Pinit
 

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You Will Need
  • 1000 mg Vitamin C
  • 400-899 IU Vitamin E
What You Have To Do

Consume 1000 mg of vitamin C and 400-899 IU vitamin E daily.

How Often You Should Do This

You must consume the given dosage of vitamin C twice daily and vitamin E once daily.

Why This Works

Supplementation with vitamins C and E is an alternative therapy for cellulitis. The intake of these vitamins promotes healing and improves the condition of your skin. Vitamin C boosts your immunity, while vitamin E promotes your overall health and the healing of your skin (18), (19).

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10. Honey

Home Remedies For Cellulitis - Honey Pinit

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You Will Need

Organic or manuka honey

What You Have To Do
  1. Take some organic or manuka honey and apply it directly to the affected areas.
  2. Leave it on for a couple of hours before washing it off with lukewarm water.
How Often You Should Do This

You can do this 2 to 3 times daily.

Why This Works

Both manuka honey and organic honey are quite popular for their natural healing and antibacterial properties (20). The application of honey to the affected area will not just speed up healing but also ward off the bacteria responsible for causing cellulitis.

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11. Ginkgo Biloba

Home Remedies For Cellulitis - Ginkgo Biloba Pinit

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You Will Need
  • 1-2 teaspoons of ginkgo biloba herb
  • 1 cup of water
  • Honey (optional)
What You Have To Do
  1. Add two teaspoons of ginkgo biloba herb to a cup of water and bring it to a boil in a saucepan.
  2. Steep for 5 minutes and strain.
  3. Add honey to it.
  4. Consume the tea before it turns cold.
How Often You Should Do This

You must consume ginkgo biloba tea thrice daily.

Why This Works

Ginkgo biloba is also known as the maidenhair tree. It exhibits anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that can help combat cellulitis naturally (21), (22). Ginkgo biloba can also stimulate your metabolism and improve your blood circulation, which further accelerates your recovery.

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12. Dandelion

Home Remedies For Cellulitis - Dandelion Pinit

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You Will Need
  • 2 teaspoons of dandelion herb
  • 1 cup of hot water
  • Honey (optional)
What You Have To Do
  1. Steep two teaspoons of dandelion herb in a cup of steaming hot water for 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. Strain and add some honey.
  3. Drink the tea before it turns cold.
How Often You Should Do This

Consume dandelion tea thrice daily.

Why This Works

Dandelion is a flowering plant that is widely used for its medicinal benefits. The roots of this plant possess antimicrobial properties, and its other constituents exhibit anti-inflammatory activities (23), (24). Therefore, consumption of dandelion tea is one of the most effective home remedies for cellulitis.

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13. Grapefruit Seed Extract

Home Remedies For Cellulitis - Grapefruit Seed Extract Pinit

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You Will Need
  • 5-10 drops of grapefruit seed extract
  • 5 ounces of water
What You Have To Do
  1. Add a few drops of grapefruit seed extract to water and mix well.
  2. Consume this daily for best results.
How Often You Should Do This

Do this thrice daily.

Why This Works

Grapefruit seed extract (GSE) exhibits antimicrobial activities against a wide range of pathogens (25). They can help in eliminating the staph bacteria responsible for cellulitis. Additionally, grapefruit seed extract is also anti-inflammatory and can help reduce the pain and inflammation (26).

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14. Yogurt

Home Remedies For Cellulitis - Yogurt Pinit

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You Will Need

1 bowl of plain yogurt

What You Have To Do
  1. Consume a bowl of plain yogurt.
  2. You can also apply some yogurt to the affected areas.
How Often You Should Do This

Do this once daily.

Why This Works

Yogurt is a natural source of probiotics, i.e., it helps increase the number of good bacteria in your body to fight cellulitis. It also possesses anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce the swelling and pain in the affected area (27).

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You can follow any of the above remedies to treat cellulitis. Listed below are a few tips to prevent contracting the infection and avoid recurrence.

Prevention Tips

  • If you break your skin, clean the affected area and apply an antibiotic immediately.
  • Cover your wound with a bandage and change it daily.
  • Monitor your wound closely for unusual redness, drainage or pain as these could hint at an underlying infection.
  • Keep your skin moisturized to prevent it from cracking easily.
  • Avail early treatment for infections like athlete’s foot.
  • Wear protective equipment while working or playing.

Despite taking these precautions, if you end up developing this skin condition, make sure that you treat it as early as possible. Otherwise, it can lead to certain complications.

Potential Complications Of Cellulitis

If left untreated, cellulitis can spread throughout your body and lead to the following complications:

  • Blood infection
  • Bone infection
  • Inflamed lymph vessels
  • Gangrene

Hence, it is wise to start treating cellulitis as soon as you notice the onset of the infection. And what could be better than opting for natural options for the same? Try these home remedies for cellulitis and let us know which ones worked for you by commenting below.

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

Which areas of the body are mostly affected by cellulitis?

Although cellulitis can affect any part of the body, it most commonly occurs in the lower legs and damaged and inflamed areas of the body.

How long does it take to cure cellulitis?

If you begin your treatment right away, cellulitis may go away in just three days. But if your symptoms begin to worsen, it may take 7-10 days or even longer for you to heal completely.

What is the best cream for cellulitis?

A good anti-itch or antiseptic cream can help treat cellulitis. However, you must apply the cream gently and remember not to rub it on your skin as it may aggravate the condition. For mild cases of cellulitis, your doctor may prescribe a tetracycline agent like doxycycline. But if you are looking for a natural alternative, you can follow any of the remedies listed in this article.

What are the medicines used to treat cellulitis?

Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics such as penicillin to recover from cellulitis. Nonetheless, to accelerate your recovery from this infection, you can supplement it with any of the remedies given in this article.

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