23 Effective Home Remedies For Skin Infection

by Ramona Sinha

The skin is the outermost shield and the first line of defense that protects you from viruses, bacteria, and fungi. And when it gets infected, you are in deep trouble. While deeper and severe infections require medical attention, mild skin infections can be treated easily at home. And no, you don’t need to be a skin specialist to do that. There are some common home remedies for skin infections that you can follow to treat any minor skin issue. Though it is always recommended to check with a dermatologist before trying any home remedy, you may try these for initial relief.

Before we move on to the list of skin infection treatments you can try at home, let’s first understand what skin infection is and the types of skin infection you may experience.

What Is Skin Infection?

You get a skin infection when a bacterium, a parasite, or a fungus enters your skin through a cut or an open wound and spreads. This causes pain, swelling, redness, changes in your skin color, and other symptoms. Skin infection should not be confused with skin rashes. You get rashes when your skin is irritated (by any external agent, including chemicals). Skin infection and skin rashes may have similar symptoms like swelling, redness, and pain. You may get a skin rash because of an infection, but not every skin rash is an infection. You need a proper diagnosis to determine that. Skin infections can be of many types. Let’s explore them in the next section.

Types Of Skin Infection

Skin infections are classified into the following types based on the causes:

1. Fungal Infections

Fungi love the warm and damp folds and areas in your body, especially your armpits, the areas behind your knees, and your feet. Fungal infections are pretty common and usually not contagious. Some common types of a fungal infection include:

2. Bacterial Infections

You might have noticed small red bumps on your face, neck, back, or hands. Often, these red bumps increase in size and are filled with pus due to bacterial invasion. Some common types include:

3. Parasitic Infections

Parasitic infections are not life-threatening but can be uncomfortable. They are usually not localized to the skin and might spread to your bloodstream and organs. Common examples include:

  • Scabies
  • Lice
  • Bedbugs

4. Viral Infections

Viruses can give you mild to significant skin infections. Common viral infections include:

Now, the question is, how do you know if you have a particular skin infection? Simple. You have to check for the symptoms.

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Symptoms Of Skin Infection

A tattoo, a piercing, a cut, or a bruise – germs are always looking for openings to invade and infect your skin. While some infections occur on the surface of the skin, some may go beyond that and cause serious issues. Here are a few symptoms you should watch out for:

  • Pus or fluid leaking from an open wound
  • A reddish bump or a pimple (with or without) a yellow pus-filled crust
  • The reddish hue of the skin around the wound
  • Sores that appear more like blisters
  • Swelling around a bump or wound that gets worse with time
  • An open wound that is not healing even after 10 days
  • An injury accompanied by a fever

Consult your doctor immediately to identify what is causing the infection. It’s important to know that as that will determine the course of treatment:

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What Causes Skin Infection?

Whether it is a fungus, bacteria, virus, parasite or bug bite – anything can cause a skin infection. The causes depend mostly on the type of infection you have. Here are a few factors that might cause a skin infection:

1. Bacteria

Open wounds, cuts, and sores are perfect gateways for bacteria to enter your body. A cut or a bruise always doesn’t mean you will get an infection, but it makes your body more vulnerable to bacterial attacks.

2. Viruses

These are the most common factors that cause an infection. Why? Viral infections are highly contagious. The most common viruses that cause skin infections are herpesvirus, poxvirus, and human papillomavirus (this causes skin warts).

3. Fungi

Fungal infections depend a lot on your lifestyle (and cleanliness, of course!) Wearing sweaty clothes for long and not cleaning the folds of your body properly make you vulnerable to fungal infections.

4. Parasites

These are tiny bugs that burrow themselves deep into your skin, laying eggs on your skin and feeding on you (for instance, lice).

While you may treat these issues with over-the-counter medications, you can also treat them with simple home remedies. Wondering how? Read on!

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How To Diagnose A Skin Infection?

For initial diagnosis, you may check the common symptoms caused by different skin infections. However, a doctor is the best person to run a thorough diagnosis and determine what type of skin infection you have. The doctor can identify the type of infection by checking the appearance of the area where you got it. However, they may also do some more tests for a better diagnosis. The tests may include examining the skin sample and taking a closer look at the lesion.

If the infection is severe, the doctor will suggest antibiotics and other topical medicines (spray and ointments). However, if you have a minor infection, you can try treating it with home remedies.

Home Remedies For Skin Infection

1. Yogurt

You Will Need
  • Unsweetened yogurt
  • Cotton pad
What You Have To Do
  1. Soak the cotton pad in unsweetened yogurt and apply it to the fungal infection.
  2. Leave it on for 30 minutes and then wash with cold water.
How Often You Need To Do This

Twice a day until the infection is gone.

Why This Works

Plain yogurt contains probiotics that help prevent microbial infections by producing lactic acid (1).

2. Garlic

You Will Need
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 drops of olive oil
What You Have To Do
  1. Mince the garlic cloves and mix with olive oil.
  2. Apply the paste on the affected area and leave it on for 30 minutes.
  3. Wash it with lukewarm water.
How Often You Need To Do This

Twice a day.

Why This Works

Garlic has diallyl sulfide and diallyl disulfide that help manage fungal infections (2).

3. Turmeric

You Will Need
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon honey
What You Have To Do
  1. Mix both the ingredients and make a paste.
  2. Apply it to the affected area and allow it to dry.
  3. Wash it off with warm water.
How Often You Need To Do This

Twice a day.

Why This Works

Turmeric contains curcumin that has antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties, which help heal infections (3).

4. Aloe Vera

You Will Need

Pure aloe vera gel

What You Have To Do
  1. Apply the aloe vera gel on the affected area.
  2. Leave it on for some time and then wash with cold water.
How Often You Need To Do This

Twice or thrice a day.

Why This Works

Aloe vera gel contains anthraquinones, which have antibacterial and antifungal properties (4).

5. Tea Tree Oil

You Will Need
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2-3 drops of tea tree oil
What You Have To Do
  1. Mix both the oils and apply the blend to the affected area.
  2. Leave it on for about half an hour and then wash off.
How Often You Need To Do This

Twice a day.

Why This Works

Tea tree oil has antimicrobial and antifungal properties (5), (6). It can kill a wide range of fungi and bacteria quite efficiently.

6. Honey

You Will Need
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon onion juice
What You Have To Do
  1. Combine honey with the onion juice.
  2. Apply the mixture to the affected area.
  3. Leave it on for at least 30 minutes and then wash off.
How Often You Need To Do This

Twice a day.

Why This Works

Both onion and honey have antimicrobial properties (7), (8). Honey has been used since ancient times (in traditional medicine) for healing wounds and infections (8).

7. Ginger

You Will Need

Ginger paste OR a fresh stalk of ginger OR Ginger extracts

What You Have To Do
  1. Apply raw and fresh ginger paste (or the fresh stalk cut into half or the extract) directly on the affected area.
  2. Leave it on for 30 minutes and then wash it off.
How Often You Need To Do This

Twice daily.

Why This Works

Ginger has antifungal properties that help inhibit the growth of fungus on the skin (9), (10).

8. Fenugreek

You Will Need
  • 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • Cotton pads
  • Water
What You Have To Do
  1. Boil the fenugreek seeds until they become soft.
  2. Allow the water cool.
  3. Use cotton pads to apply the liquid to the affected area. Let it dry.
  4. Wash with cold water.
How Often You Need To Do This

Twice a day.

Why This Works

Fenugreek seeds possess antibacterial properties that inhibit the growth of acne-causing bacteria on the skin (11).

9. Coconut Oil

You Will Need
  • 2-3 drops of coconut oil
  • 30 mL of olive oil
What You Have To Do
  1. Mix both the oils and apply the blend to the affected area.
  2. Leave it on for 30 minutes (or overnight) and wash it off later.
How Often You Need To Do This

Once a day (if you are using it for overnight application) or else twice a day.

Why This Works

Coconut oil contains monolaurin and antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral agents that help prevent skin infection (12).

10. Baking Soda

You Will Need
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • Water (for making a paste)
What You Have To Do
  1. Mix the baking soda with water and apply it to the affected area.
  2. Leave it on for a few minutes (until it dries) and then wash it off.
How Often You Need To Do This

Twice a day.

Why This Works

Baking soda inhibits the growth of bacteria, especially Streptococcus mutans, and other infections that breed in the area around your mouth (13).

11. Olive Oil

You Will Need
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon beeswax
  • ½ teaspoon honey
What You Have To Do
  1. Mix all the ingredients and apply the mixture to the affected area.
  2. Keep it on for at least 30 minutes and then wash it off.
How Often You Need To Do This

Twice a day.

Why This Works

Olive oil has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties and is effective against some strains of bacteria (14).

12. Lemon Or Lime Or Any Citrus Fruit

You Will Need
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (or juice of any citrus fruit such as orange)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (or any carrier oil)
What You Have To Do
  1. Mix the lemon juice with olive oil and apply the solution to the affected area.
  2. Let it sit for 30 minutes.
  3. Wash it off with water.
How Often You Need To Do This

Once or twice a day until the infection heals.

Why This Works

Lemon juice has antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. Compared to lemon and lime, orange juice has been found to be much stronger against fungal infections (15).

13. Green Tea

You Will Need
  • 5-6 green tea bags
  • Boiling water
What You Have To Do
  1. Soak the green tea bags in boiling water.
  2. Remove the tea bags.
  3. Apply the water to the affected area. If the infection is on your hands or feet, soak them in this water for at least 10 minutes.
  4. Wash and wipe clean.
How Often You Need To Do This

Twice a day.

Why This Works

Green tea has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that are effective against skin pathogens (16).

14. Warm Milk

You Will Need
  • A glass of warm milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
What You Have To Do

Mix the turmeric powder with warm milk and drink it.

How Often You Need To Do This

Once or twice a day.

Why This Works

Turmeric contains curcumin, which has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties (3). Milk contains lactic acid that boosts collagen and makes your skin smooth. The topical application of lactic acid boosts collagen production and makes your skin smooth (17).

15. Cranberry Juice

You Will Need

A glass of cranberry juice (unsweetened)

What You Have To Do

Drink a glass of unsweetened cranberry juice for a month (or until the infection is gone).

How Often You Need To Do This

Once a day.

Why This Works

Cranberry juice was found to be very effective against the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus (18).

16. Margosa Leaves (Neem)

You Will Need

1 tablespoon paste of neem leaves

What You Have To Do

Apply the paste directly on the affected area.

How Often You Need To Do This

Once or twice a day until the infection is healed.

Why This Works

Neem is widely used in Ayurveda and Chinese medicine for its healing and therapeutic properties. It has antioxidant and antibacterial properties that protect your skin from free radical damage and inhibit the growth of bacteria (19).

17. Onion Juice

You Will Need
  • 1 tablespoon onion juice
  • 1 tablespoon betel juice
What You Have To Do

Mix both the juices and apply the mixture on the area that’s infected.

How Often You Need To Do This

Twice a day (until the skin infection has healed).

Why This Works

Onion contains quercetin and thiosulphinate and is exceptionally effective in treating fungal and bacterial infections, including warts (20).

18. Epsom Salt

You Will Need
  • ¼ cup Epsom salt
  • 500 mL distilled water (warm)
  • Gauze
What You Have To Do
  1. Mix the Epsom salt in distilled water and soak the gauze in it.
  2. Squeeze out the excess water and place the compress on the infected site for 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. Repeat the process.
How Often You Need To Do This

Once or twice a day.

Why This Works

Epsom salt does not cure skin infection but helps soften the skin so that the medications that you are using eliminate the infection faster.

19. Tomato

You Will Need

1 tomato

What You Have To Do

1. Blend the tomato to make a paste.
2. Apply it evenly on the affected area.

How Often You Need To Do This

Once a day.

Why This Works

Tomato contains succinic, tartaric, and citric acids that give it antibacterial properties, making it a good remedy to treat skin infections (21).

20. Sea Salt

You Will Need
  • 1 cup sea salt
  • 1 bucket water
What You Have To Do
  1. Mix the sea salt in the water and bathe with it.
  2. You can also add it to your bathtub and soak in it.
How Often You Need To Do This

Once a day.

Why This Works

A study shows that saltwater baths help in treating infections as they have antimicrobial properties (22).

21. Thyme

You Will Need

  • 2-3 drops thyme essential oil
  • 2 tablespoons aloe vera gel

What You Have To Do

  1. Mix the thyme oil with aloe vera gel.
  2. Apply the mixture to the affected area and leave it on for 30 minutes.
  3. Wash with cold water.

How Often You Need To Do This

Once a day.

Why It Works

Thyme contains chemicals that fight bacteria, fungi, and other infections (23).

22. CBD Oil

You Will Need

  • ¼ cup CBD oil
  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil

What You Have To Do

  1. Mix the two oils.
  2. Gently massage the mixture on the affected area.
  3. Leave it on for 30-60 minutes before washing it off.

How Often You Need To Do This

Once-daily.

Why It Works

Cannabis or CBD oil has therapeutic benefits and is useful in managing acne vulgaris. It also has antibacterial properties and can reduce the growth of bacteria like staphylococci and streptococci that cause skin infections (24), (25).

23. Hot Compress

You Will Need

  • A clean washcloth
  • A bowl of warm water

What You Have To Do

  1. Soak the cloth in warm water and wring out the excess water.
  2. Place the warm washcloth on the infected area (abscess or boils).
  3. Hold it in place for a few minutes, remove, and repeat the process.

How Often You Need To Do This

2-3 times a day

Why It Works

A hot compress provides relief from the pain and helps in draining abscesses or boils, thus clearing the infection.

These home remedies may take several days to show results. However, if you don’t see any signs of healing within a week, consult your doctor.

Most skin infections can be easily treated with medicines and ointments. However, certain strains of bacteria might be tough to treat as they are often resistant to antibiotics. And that’s why you should try to avoid contracting a skin infection. Mentioned below are a few tips that will help you do so.

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Tips And Precautions For Preventing Skin Infections

  • Wash your hands frequently and do this before touching any wound or applying ointment to it.
  • Avoid popping blisters and pimples (sounds tempting, but it’s a strict no-no).
  • Cover your mouth and nose. Many infections spread through coughs and sneezes.
  • In case you are down with an infection, avoid contact with others. Stay at home and treat it appropriately.
  • Make sure you are getting vaccinated for preventing infections and diseases such as measles, chickenpox, shingles, and human papillomavirus.

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If your infection shows no signs of healing despite trying these treatments, contact your doctor immediately. The doctor may suggest other treatment options such as OTC creams, antihistamines, oral antibiotics, and other medications for faster healing.

We hope that the remedies and tips listed here will make combating skin infection easier for you. Do let us know your feedback in the comments section below.

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

Is It possible to fight bacterial skin infection without antibiotics?

There is always a chance that the infection may spread without antibiotics. It is better to consult a doctor for proper treatment.

25 sources

Stylecraze has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.

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Ramona Sinha

Ramona is a journalist-turned-content writer. She holds a Master’s degree in English Literature and has been writing for the digital world for over five years. She specializes in writing for Skin Care. She has done a certificate course titled ‘Dermatology: Trip To The Skin’, offered by Novosibirsk State University. She believes that beauty begins with a good skin care regimen and is on a mission to eliminate all toxins from her routine. She helps and guides readers in selecting products and ingredients specific to their skin type/issue. When Ramona is not working, her books and passion for music, good food, and traveling keep her busy.
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