Skin infections and other skin conditions

Our medical staff is expert at diagnosing and successfully treating all types of skin infections.

Skin infections affect millions of Americans each year. These may manifest as simple rashes, or one may have more serious symptoms. While most skin infections are not life threatening, many are serious, and some can be deadly if left untreated.

The majority of skin infections can be divided into 4 groups:

  • Bacterial: The skin is your first line of defense . . .
  • Viral: Viruses of the skin affect millions . . .
  • Fungal: Fungal infections may affect skin, hair, nails. . .
  • Warts: Common, benign skin tumors . . .

Bacterial

The skin is your first line of defense against a bacterial infection.

Healthy skin is designed to withstand the bacteria that we encounter everyday. Bacterial skin infections can affect a small spot or may spread, affecting a large area.

Causes

Certain conditions or diseases can weaken the skin’s defenses and increase risk of infection, including:

  • Cuts or scrapes
  • Sunburn
  • Weakened immune system
  • Diabetes

Numerous bacterial infections can affect the skin. Some of the more common are:

  • Impetigo
  • Cellulitis
  • Boils
  • Staphylococal (Staph infections)

Treatment

Bacterial infections are generally treated with antibiotics. Exact treatment will vary by type of infection and a patient’s individual health. While most are treatable, bacterial skin infections can be life-threatening.

Contact us to learn more about Bacterial Infections of the skin, or to schedule a consultation to discuss the treatment options available you.

Viral

Viral skin infections affect millions of Americans each year. These viruses are often extremely serious, and can affect a patient’s overall health.

Causes

Viruses are typically contracted as a result of contact with an infected person. Viruses are more likely to infect you if your immune system is depressed.

Four main groups of viruses cause the majority of viral skin infections:

  • Herpes simplex virus (causes cold sores)
  • Herpes Zoster (causes shingles & chickenpox)
  • Papillomavirus (causes warts)
  • Poxvirus (molluscum contagiosum)

Treatment Options

Treatment varies by disease. Often, viral infections run their course, and your immune system develops anti-bodies to fight the virus (as in chicken pox). In other cases, anti-viral medications can be used. Preventative measures such as vaccinations are available for many viruses.

Fungal

Fungal infections are quite common and may affect many areas of the body including skin, hair, and nails.

Fungi generally live in the dead, top layer of skin in moist areas of the body, such as between the toes, and groin. They can cause multiple types of infections, with varying severity, although, most are not serious and are easily cured.

Causes

Fungal infections can pass from person to person, or be transmitted by pets, rodents, other animals, or contaminated soil. Very moist, sweaty areas of the body are at higher risk for fungal infections:

  • Palms of your hands
  • Soles of your feet
  • Scalp
  • Groin
  • Under the breasts

You may be more prone to a fungal skin infection if you have:

  • Cuts or scrapes
  • Sunburned skin
  • Weakened immune system

Common fungal skin infections include:

  • Athlete’s foot
  • Thrush
  • Ringworm
  • Jock itch

Treatment Options

Treatment options vary by the type of infection, the patient, and the area to be treated.

Common treatments include:

  • Antifungal ointment or cream
  • Prescription antifungal drugs
  • Antifungal shampoos

Warts

Warts are common, benign skin tumors that are caused by viruses called papillomaviruses.

Warts are described by how they look (common, flat, filiform) or by location (genital, plantar, respiratory papillomatosis).

Symptoms

Warts are very common, and are easily recognized by their rough, raised shapes.

Causes

Warts are passed from person to person, and occur more easily if the skin has been damaged in some way.

Treatment Options*

There are a variety of treatments available:

  • Salicylic acid gel
  • Cantharidin
  • Cryotherapy (freezing the wart with liquid nitrogen)
  • Electrosurgery (burning)
  • Laser treatments

*South Shore Skin Center is currently not accepting new wart patients.  This condition can be treated by your primary care physician.

Contact us to schedule a consultation to discuss how these and other treatment options can benefit you.