The skin is the body’s largest organ, accounting for roughly 18% of an adult’s weight. It serves as a protective outer layer that keeps in moisture and keeps out invasive organisms. Our skin is host to a number of bacteria, most of which are beneficial. When the integrity of the skin breaks down, however, these bacteria can penetrate the skin and create an infection.
Cellulitis is a skin infection that is caused by bacteria, typically step or staph, that normally helps protect you from infection. If you have a cut, sore, or insect bite, bacteria can get into the skin and spread to deeper tissues. If it is not treated with antibiotics, the infection can spread into the blood or lymph nodes, which can be deadly. Some people can even get cellulitis without having a break in the skin, which includes older adults and those with diabetes or a weakened immune system.
Visit your dermatologist immediately if you have an infected area of skin that is getting redder, more painful, larger or has red streaks extending from it. You should also seek medical attention if you have a fever and if the infected area is on your face. Treatment often includes the use of antibiotics.
Impetigo is a highly contagious skin infection that mainly affects infants and children. It appears as red sores on the face, especially around a child’s nose and mouth. Although it commonly occurs when bacteria enter the skin through cuts or insect bites, it can also develop in skin that is perfectly healthy. Seldom serious, impetigo usually clears in two to three weeks on its own. Since impetigo can sometimes lead to complications, your child’s dermatologist may choose to treat it with an antibiotic ointment or oral antibiotics.
Skin Care Routine
Maintaining a proper, healthy skin care routine throughout your life can help to reduce the symptoms of aging and infections. For proper skin care, make sure to:
- Wash your face using a gentle cleanser and lukewarm water twice a day.
- Pat skin dry. Do not rub it.
- Exfoliate the skin twice a week to remove dead cells.
- Apply a moisturizer to skin immediately after a shower or bath.
- Wear sunscreen with a SPF of at least 15 every day.
- For women who wear makeup, be sure to leave time each day when the skin is clean and free of makeup.
- Do not use tanning beds.
- Maintain a healthy diet and drink lots of water
- Get an adequate amount of sleep every day.
- Quit smoking.
- Avoid stress.
- Conduct a monthly self-examination of your skin to detect any changes that might lead to cancer.
- See your dermatologist once a year.
A healthy skin care routine is vital to protecting your skin from damage and harmful infections. Begin today and implement a proper routine. Contact your dermatologist for further treatment and a consultation on proper skin care.