24 Effective Home Remedies For Skin Infection

Soothe the pain and swelling on your skin with nourishing ingredients from your pantry.

Medically reviewed by Dr. CP Thajudheen, MD
Written by Ramona Sinha, MA (English Literature), Certified Skin Care Coach
Edited by Anjali Sayee, BTech
Fact-checked by Shiboli Chakraborti, MA (English Literature), Certified Skin Care Coach  • 

How do you treat a skin infection naturally? What are the best home remedies for skin infections? Let’s see what we can find out!

The skin is the first line of defense against viruses, germs, and fungi. And if it becomes infected, you are in grave danger. While serious infections require medical assistance, minor skin infections can be prevented or treated at home. No, you do not need to be a dermatologist to accomplish it. There are several simple home remedies for skin infections that work as an alternative to treat skin issues. Although you should always consult a dermatologist before using any home treatment, you can try these for immediate relief.

Before we go into the list of home remedies for skin infections, let’s define what a skin infection is and the various types of skin infections. Scroll down for more information.

What Is Skin Infection?

You get a skin infection when a bacterium, a parasite, a virus 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, holistic diagnosis to determine that. Skin infections can be of many types. Let’s explore them in the next section.

Types Of Skin Infection

Woman experiencing a type of skin infection
Image: Shutterstock

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:

  • Boils
  • Cellulitis
  • Impetigoi  XA contagious skin infection found in children, causing red sores around the nose, mouth, and limbs, which burst and form crusts in a week.
  • Carbunclesi  XAn infection deep beneath the skin, usually involving multiple hair follicles, causing a lump with pus.

Sarah, a YouTuber, recounts her personal experience with bacterial infections and how it affected her skin and overall appearance. She states, “Ever since I was in high school I have had pimples, whether it was worse or better, I have always had them (i).” She further shares, “I had these red pimples that would stay for a lot of days, some would even stay for like two weeks.”

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:

According to a survey of European long-term care facilities (LTCF) that was undertaken between 2016 and 2017 and published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, the prevalence of healthcare-associated infections (HCAI) is 3.7% or around 4.4 million cases. The most frequent types of HCAI in LTCF were respiratory tract infections (33.2%), UTIs (32.0%), and skin infections (21.5%).

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

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:

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 herpesvirusi  XA virus with DNA as its genetic material with Types 1 and 2 which cause cold sores and genital sores, respectively. , 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).

protip_icon Quick Tip
Some plants are also parasitic. For example, Rafflesia, the world’s largest flowering plant, is a parasite and resides inside tropical trees. Touching it may lead to skin infections like irritation or allergic reactions.

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

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, ointments, and salve). However, if you have a minor infection, you can try treating it with home remedies.

Home Remedies For Skin Infection

Woman applying yogurt to skin infection as a home remedy
Image: Shutterstock

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

Turmeric powder is a home remedy for skin infection
Image: Shutterstock
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).

protip_icon Trivia
Turmeric has a long history of treating skin infections and wounds. It became an ingredient in Ayurvedic medicine during 500 BCE.

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
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

Green tea is a home remedy for skin infection
Image: Shutterstock
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 damagei  XOxidative damage caused by highly reactive molecules with unpaired electrons to cell components like DNA, proteins, and cell membranes. 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

Sea salt is a home remedy for skin infection
Image: Shutterstock
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 is a preferred therapy for treating infections as salt has 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. Cucumber

You Will Need

  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 heat-proof bowl
  • 4 cups of water
  • 1 teaspoon of rosewater

What You Have To Do

  1. Slice the cucumber into small pieces and place them in the bowl.
  2. Add water to the bowl and heat it over a low flame, for 5 minutes.
  3. Once done, transfer the contents to a blender.
  4. Blend into a smooth paste and strain it using a fine mesh sieve.
  5. Pour the liquid into a sterilized container or spray bottle and add a teaspoon of rosewater to the mixture.
  6. Apply to the affected area and let it sit for 30 minutes before rinsing with cool water.

How Often You Need To Do This

Twice a day

Cucumber calms skin irritation and reduces inflammation. It also helps relieve the discomfort caused by sunburns (26).

24. 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.

Other than the above-mentioned remedies, you can also try soaking in an oatmeal bath to soothe skin infections. Poultice and colloidal silver dressings also provide relief from skin infection inflammation. Flowers like echinacea, calendula, witch hazel, and chamomile, as well as essential oils like lavender, peppermint, and rosemary, and apple cider vinegar may also help manage symptoms of skin infections.

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 prevention measures to avoid contracting a skin infection. Mentioned below are a few tips that will help you do so.

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 immune-boosting vaccinations for preventing infections and diseases such as measles, chickenpox, shingles, and human papillomavirus.

Infographic: Effective Home Remedies For Skin Infections

Our skin comes in direct contact with a lot of things that may lead to infections. While serious infections require medical attention, minor infections can be managed with some home remedies. We have shortlisted the most effective home remedies in thet the infographic below. Check it out for more details.

effective home remedies for skin infections (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

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Skin infections can develop due to bacteria, fungus, or viruses entering your skin through a cut or wound. It can result in symptoms such as redness, swelling, pus, or fever. You can treat minor skin infections at home with ingredients such as ginger, garlic, tea tree oil, or honey. To reduce the risk of developing skin infections, wash your hands regularly, avoid contact with infected individuals and be up to date with your vaccinations. If your symptoms show no improvement in a week after trying the above home remedies for skin infections, consult your doctor.

Frequently Asked 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.

What is the best antibiotic for skin infection?

Some of the most commonly used and effective antibiotics used for treating skin and soft tissue infections include amoxicillin/clavulanate, ampicillin/sulbactam, piperacillin/tazobactam, cephalexin, cefotaxime, ceftazidime, ofloxacin, ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin, and moxifloxacin (27). You can also use mild antiseptic hydrogen peroxide to treat mild skin infections.

Can a skin infection clear up on its own?

Whether or not a skin infection can clear up on its own depends entirely on the kind of infection it is. Some can clear up on their own, some require topical antibiotic ointments, while others require stronger oral medications and pus drainage.

Key Takeaways

  • Microbes like bacteria and viruses can infect open wounds and cause skin infections.
  • Natural ingredients like yogurt, aloe vera, and honey may soothe minor skin infections.
  • The antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory nature of coconut oil and tea tree oil may help treat the infection faster.
  • Proper personal hygiene and maintaining distance from an infected person can prevent the spread of contagious skin infections like chicken pox.

Try some of these home remedies that truly work against fungal infections in this informative video. These natural solutions will help you combat these common skin ailments. Check it out!

Personal Experience: Source

References

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

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