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Skin Infections

Skin Infections

Understanding Skin Infections

Your skin has many different functions, including protecting your body from germs. Sometimes, however — especially if there is a cut or wound on your skin – germs find their way in and cause an infection. Some skin infections affect a small area on the surface of your skin. Others can go deep into your skin or spread across a larger area. While common and frequently treatable, certain types of infections can become life-threatening if left unaddressed.

Make an appointment with Dr. Goyal to examine and treat any potential skin infections right away to avoid complications.



Boils are painful, pus-filled blemishes usually caused by the staph bacteria that are naturally present on the skin. When the skin is scraped or broken, the bacteria can enter a hair follicle or oil gland and cause an infection. This can happen anywhere on the body. When multiple boils form together in a cluster, it is called a carbuncle.

It may be tempting to pop your boil, but you increase your risk of developing an even worse infection by doing so. Consult with a dermatologist who can care for the boil properly.


Cellulitis is a common and potentially serious bacterial infection, particularly for those with a weakened immune system, preexisting skin conditions like eczema, chronic swelling in the arms and legs, or obesity. Most patients who contract this infection experience swelling, tenderness and pain in the infected area.

Cellulitis typically manifests in the legs and is recognized by the stretch of red skin it infects. If it is not treated, the infection can become life-threatening. Consult a dermatologist as soon as you spot symptoms.


Chickenpox, caused by the varicella-zoster virus, is notorious for creating small red blisters throughout the infected person’s body. It is highly contagious for people who haven't had the disease or been vaccinated against it. In most cases, chickenpox is a mild infection, but certain factors like a compromised immune system can lead to much more problematic symptoms.

A chickenpox outbreak typically lasts about five to 10 days. We recommend being seen by a dermatologist as soon as possible to get ahead of any complications.


Erysipelas is a superficial type of cellulitis that affects the upper layers of the skin. Like cellulitis, this infection has the potential to become life-threatening if left untreated. Both conditions cause the patient to develop a fever, blisters and firm, red, swollen skin. Erysipelas usually involves more swelling than cellulitis.

Erysipelas and cellulitis are treated the same way: with antibiotics and painkillers when necessary. In severe cases, patients are admitted into the hospital to monitor treatment.


Categorized into two separate types, superficial and deep, folliculitis is a skin condition in which hair follicles become infected and inflamed, causing white-headed pimples or pustules to develop. Many different factors can cause a follicle to become infected, but Staphylococcus aureus bacteria are the most common culprits.

Because this condition resides in the hair follicles, prevention can be tricky. It is best to work with your dermatologist to develop a treatment plan.

Herpes Simplex Virus

There are two types of herpes viruses. Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 causes canker sores and cold sores to develop around the mouth and lips. It generally disappears on its own within seven to 10 days.

Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2 is a sexually transmitted disease that affects 20 percent of the U.S. population. It causes small, pimple-like sores to break open and scab over the course of several weeks. The lesions from herpes Type 2 often develop around the genitalia and are described as itching, burning, tingling or causing pain.


This skin infection is highly contagious and identified best by the cluster of red sores it causes around the nose or mouth. When the sores finally burst, they develop a light amber-colored crust. This condition arises when Staphylococcus aureus or group A streptococcus bacteria find their way into an opening in the skin surface, like a cut or scrape.

While babies and children are most susceptible to impetigo, it can develop in adults as well. Treatment with antibiotics is typically recommended to minimize the risk of impetigo spreading to others.


Intertrigo is a rash that occurs between two folds of skin that rub together. These types of rashes are common in the armpits, on the thighs, underneath the breasts, around the genitalia and on the abdomen. These areas are susceptible to intertrigo because, in addition to being sites of friction, they are often sites of moisture, heat and poor air circulation, which can exacerbate the condition.

Mild intertrigo may be treated with drying agents. Infected intertrigo is treated with antimicrobial agents and low-potency topical steroids.

Lyme Disease

According to the CDC, Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne disease in the United States. Lyme disease is primarily caused by the Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium entering the body through the bite of an infected tick. Typical symptoms include headache, fever, fatigue and a skin rash called erythema migrans that resembles a red target at the point of infection.

If left untreated, the infection can spread to the joints, the nervous system and the heart. Most cases of Lyme disease can be treated with antibiotics.


Ringworm is a type of fungal infection that causes a circular red rash that is often itchy. Since this infection is caused by direct touch, the most common method of contracting ringworm is human-to-human, animal-to-human or surface-to-human contact. It is common in contact sports like wrestling or football.

An over-the-counter antifungal product is enough to combat many instances of this infection. See a dermatologist if your case is severe or persists for longer than two weeks despite using an antifungal product.


Sarcoptes scabiei, a microscopic burrowing mite, is responsible for this highly contagious skin condition. The mites burrow below the upper layer of the skin to lay eggs, which causes an intense itching sensation in the infected area. Their paths appear as raised serpentine lines that are grayish or skin-toned. Scabies is contagious via skin-to-skin contact. Symptoms can take four to eight weeks to develop after infestation.

Prescription-grade medicated creams called scabicides are required to kill the mites. Some also kill mite eggs.


Shingles is an excruciating rash caused by the varicella-zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. Anyone who had chickenpox may develop shingles. It isn't known what reactivates the virus. The shingles rash usually forms in strips or blotches of red, bumpy sores and can occur anywhere on the body.

Having a chickenpox vaccine as a child can reduce the likelihood of developing shingles. Early diagnosis and treatment can help shorten a shingles infection and reduce the chance of complications.

Dermatological Services

Are You Interested In Dermatological Services To Help Your Skin?

If you are experiencing any of these conditions or symptoms, your safest option is to schedule an appointment with Coastal Dermatology & Medspa as soon as possible. Contact or call us today in Jacksonville, Florida, at 904-727-9123 or nearby Ponte Vedra Beach at 904-567-1050 to schedule a consultation. An examination by one of our trained professionals can make a huge difference in the outcome of your health.

Contact us today!