Impetigo can be an unsightly and unpleasant health condition, but fortunately, there are many home remedies for impetigo, including grapefruit seed extract, ginger, coconut oil, Apple Cider Vinegar, turmeric, manuka honey, goldenseal, green tea, garlic, tea tree oil, and aloe vera gel, among others.
What Is Impetigo?
Impetigo is a contagious skin infection that most commonly affects infants and young children. However, people of any age can get impetigo via direct contact with an infected person or object.
During the summer season, when the weather is warm and humid, poison ivy exposure, bug bites, and other skin injuries are more common. Impetigo is more widespread in children than in adults because children, who still have developing immune systems, often scratch an irritation, giving impetigo an invitation to enter and infect the skin.
Impetigo can spread by direct contact to others from sharing towels, toys, clothing and other personal items. Because impetigo is spread by contact, it commonly appears in athletes of contact sports, such as wrestling.
Types of Impetigo
The three types of impetigo include Non-Bullous, Bullous, and Ecthyma.
Causally referred to as the “crusted impetigo”, non-bullous is the most common type of Impetigo. It manifests with small blisters that turn to red sores on the skin. The sores fill with a yellow or honey-colored fluid. As they begin to rupture, the skin weeps a fluid that turns into a gold-colored crust.
Bullous is a less common form of impetigo. Skin lesions are typically found on the neck, trunk or in the diaper area. Unlike the non-bullous form of impetigo, bullous impetigo has larger blisters.
This is a deep form of impetigo. It causes deeper erosions of the skin – leading to fluid-filled sores that turn into deep ulcers.
Signs and Symptoms of Impetigo
The signs and symptoms that are common to non-bullous impetigo, bullous impetigo and ecthyma include:
- A rash or itchiness on the affected area
- Skin Lesions
- Clustered red spots that take the form of fluid-filled blisters
There are signs and symptoms that are particularly present in a form of impetigo. These are:
- Ecthyma and nonbullous – Swollen lymph nodes, and
- Bullous – Large blisters, diarrhea, fever, and weakness
Causes of Impetigo
Impetigo is caused by either:
- Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus)
- Streptococcus pyogenes (S. pyogenes)
S. aureus exists harmlessly on human skin, and S. pyogenes is present in the normal mouth flora. Both types of bacteria are harmless until they enter through a cut or wound and cause an infection. Bacteria can also invade the skin because another skin condition has disrupted the skin barrier, such as scabies or eczema.
Impetigo is spread by direct contact with infected lesions. The infection can spread if someone touches the sheets, towels, or clothes of an infected person.
Risk factors include:
- Poor hygiene habits
- Chronic dermatitis
- Direct contact with a person who has impetigo
- Crowded conditions
- Using personal items such as towels, linen or clothing of a person with impetigo
- Warm, humid weather
- People with diabetes or a compromised immune system
- Participation in skin-to-skin contact sports such as wrestling and football
Home Remedies for Impetigo
There are many natural home remedies you can use for their infection-fighting properties. Listed below are home remedies that can help ward off impetigo:
Grapefruit Seed Extract
The grapefruit seed extract is known for its anti-fungal properties. Grapefruit seed extract also has anti-bacterial effects against Staphylococcus aureus, one of the bacteria that is responsible for impetigo infections.
Long used in traditional medicine to ward off bacteria and boost the immune system, ginger can be helpful in speeding healing during an impetigo infection. Ginger can be incorporated into your diet by adding to smoothies and salad dressings or drinking orange carrot ginger juice.
The lauric acid in coconut oil inhibits certain pathogens, including bacteria. the antibacterial property of coconut oil contains helps to build healthy skin. Internally, coconut oil gives a boost to the immune system, fights inflammation and provides many other health benefits. During an impetigo infection, you need to incorporate coconut oil into your diet. You can use coconut oil instead of butter on popcorn and toast, or add it to smoothies.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar has powerful healing and antibacterial properties. Well known for its ability to balance blood sugar, detoxify the body, and as a remedy for acid reflux, skin care is another effective apple cider vinegar use. You can apply pure apple cider vinegar on lesions and blisters to destroy the bacteria that cause impetigo.
Turmeric is an age-old remedy that has been used to treat skin infections. Its active ingredient, curcumin, possesses powerful antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus aureus, which is responsible for impetigo infections. Turmeric can be used to reduce the inflammation of the lesions, itching and general discomfort associated with impetigo. Make a paste of turmeric and apply it directly on the sores. Rinse daily and reapply until healed.
Manuka Honey is another effective infection fighter that can be helpful during an outbreak of impetigo to speed the healing of the sores on the skin. It is well known as a potent antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal. Also, Manuka honey used on a daily basis can help to strengthen your immune system and help your body fight the bacteria.
Goldenseal herb has antiseptic and antibacterial properties that can help disinfect the blisters and skin sores. It also helps boost the immune system and fight impetigo. For external use, prepare a strong tea solution and, when cool, use the tea to clean the lesions. Do this 2 to 3 times daily for about a week. Alternatively, you can take goldenseal herb in supplement form. Be sure to consult your healthcare provider for correct dosage and suitability.
Long heralded for its healing and health benefits, green tea also can inhibit and get rid of a wide range of bacteria. In theory, using green tea externally could help prevent the spread across the body, as well as to other non-infected individuals.
Garlic has historically been used as an effective treatment for bacterial, fungal, and viral infections. It is one of the most widely used seasonings that has health benefits. Garlic extracts can be used to suppress the bacteria that cause impetigo. To use this remedy, press garlic cloves, and then apply topically several times a day. You can also add raw garlic cloves to your diet.
Tea Tree Oil
Offering many benefits and uses in traditional medicine, tea tree oil has strong anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties that can help fight impetigo and relieve the symptoms. You can mix a few drops of tea tree oil with one tablespoon of olive oil and apply it over the affected area. After 20 to 30 minutes, you can rinse it off with lukewarm water. You can repeat this a few times daily for several days.
Aloe Vera Gel
Due to its antibacterial, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and skin-repairing properties, Aloe vera can be used to fight impetigo and speed healing. Additionally, its antioxidants give a boost to your immunity to help get rid of the infection. You can apply the gel directly on the affected areas and leave it on for about 30 minutes. Repeat this for 2 to 3 times daily for about a week.
If you found this article about Impetigo interesting, you may be interested in reading Essential Oils Guide: The 7 Essential Oils Everyone Should Have.