Did you know impetigo is the most common bacterial infection in kids under 5 years? Impetigo or infantigo is an extremely infectious skin condition caused by two types of bacteria – staphylococcus aureus (staph) and streptococcus pyogenes (streph).
Nicknamed “school sores,” children could come into contact with the bacteria from daycares and schools. Adults could also pick up the bacteria from public places like gyms or during contact sports. Bacteria could penetrate the skin if it’s broken from eczema, herpes, or even tiny wounds. Impetigo appears near the nose and mouth as large red blisters that ooze out fluid. The blisters eventually bursts, forming flaky yellow crusts.
Home Remedies To Treat Impetigo
Impetigo isn’t usually a serious skin condition. If you catch the infection early on, home remedies should be enough to treat impetigo.
The remedies listed below are equally safe for both adults and children.
1. Grapefruit Seed Extract
“One study found out grapefruit seed extract reduces bacteria buildup in just 15 minutes after contact.1”
Several people reveal grapefruit seed extract helped completely heal impetigo. This is because grapefruit seed extract is antibacterial in nature and is packed with antioxidants. This combination makes it very difficult for the bacteria to thrive.2
- Mix two drops of grapefruit seed extract into 2 tablespoons of water. Dip a cotton ball into this mixture and gently dab it on the affected areas. Do this multiple times a day. Follow it up with vitamin E oil to reduce dryness and scars.
- Another option is to take grapefruit seed extract supplements thrice a day.
2. Tea Tree Oil
Your skin loves tea tree oil. And for good reason. It’s antibacterial (a reason why it’s used to treat staph infections) and it’s anti-inflammatory in nature. In the case of impetigo, tea tree oil can destroy bacteria and reduce swelling.3
- Add a few drops of tea tree oil to a tablespoon of olive oil. Apply the combined oil on the affected areas of the face. Wash it off after 15 minutes with warm water.
“Several people found impetigo lesions had crusted over in just a day after using crushed garlic directly on the skin.”
- For itchy skin, mix two tablespoons of olive oil to crushed and peeled garlic. Apply this on the affected areas.
- Another option is to chew garlic directly. Also, add garlic to your dishes.
- To apply crushed garlic directly on the face, beat peeled garlic using a mortar and pestle. Apply it on the face multiple times a day.
4. Apple Cider Vinegar
Antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and packed with antioxidants – apple cider vinegar is very effective to reduce the signs of impetigo. It’s also safe to apply on children.5
- Use an apple cider vinegar compress on the areas and apply coconut oil.
- You could also apply diluted ACV directly on the skin. Repeat this several times a day.
5. Heat Therapy
“When choosing any home remedy to treat impetigo, make sure to do heat therapy as well.”
Heat makes it impossible for bacteria to thrive and spread. The heat from hot water reduces bacteria buildup, cleanses the skin, and acts as a detoxifying agent.
- Dip a hand towel into a bowl of hot water. Squeeze out the water and slowly press the cloth against your skin. Do this multiple times a day.
6. Aloe Vera
- Since aloe vera is safe, you could apply a layer of the gel directly on the affected parts of the skin.
- Another option is to drink aloe vera juice daily during treatment.
Goldenseal’s antibacterial and antiseptic properties makes it impossible for the bacteria to spread.7 In fact, goldenseal’s cleansing powers has gained a reputation of being a natural antibiotic. In impetigo cases, goldenseal cleanses and nourishes the skin to heal faster.
- Make a goldenseal paste by mixing goldenseal powder with water. Apply it on the blisters and let it rest for a few minutes. Wash it off with lukewarm water. Repeat this several times a day.
8. Manuka Honey
Antiseptic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and full of nourishment – honey is great to treat any skin related issue, including a bacterial infection. Honey contains an antibacterial compound known as methylglyoxal (MGO). Manuka honey, in particular, has a higher concentration of MGO when compared to normal honey.8 This feature makes manuka honey a more powerful source to treat impetigo.
- Massage manuka honey on the affected areas of the face. Wash it off with lukewarm water. Repeat multiple times a day.
Turmeric is an ancient remedy to treat several skin infections. One study found out the active ingredient, curcumin, in turmeric destroyed staphaphylococcus aureus. Curcumin is also anti-inflammatory and antiseptic in nature.9 Also, turmeric strengthens your immune system to fight off infections.
- Drink a glass of turmeric milk daily and try to sprinkle turmeric into your dishes.
10. Lavender Oil
Lavender is another strong essential oil that could reduce the signs of impetigo. Its antibacterial and antiseptic properties can cleanse the skin from bacteria and germs associated with infantigo.
- Dip a cotton ball in two drops of lavender oil and coconut oil. Dab it on the affected areas of the skin.
The purplish flowering herb is another ancient remedy to fight against bacterial infections. It hydrates the skin and strengthens the immune system as well.10
- Grind echinacea with water. Apply it on the blisters and rinse with warm water after 15 minutes.
12. Epsom Salt Bath
While Epsom salt doesn’t directly help with infantigo, it can be used as a coping part of the treatment. Epsom salt helps to cope with the pain and skin irritation associated with infantigo. It can also give relief to itchy skin.
- Take a bath in Epsom salt bath. This should soothe your skin.
13. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is rich in compounds that can destroy bacteria in infantigo and soothe irritated skin. It is one of the safesr remedies to use on children with infantigo. It can heal blisters and reduce the appearance of scars.11
- Massage extra virgin coconut oil on the affected areas. Let it rest for 30 minutes. Rinse with warm water. Repeat multiple times a day.
A Note Of Caution
While few people suggest using colloidal silver to reduce impetigo, studies reveal it could cause irreversible side effects. It could cause a permanent bluish-gray discoloration of the skin. FDA declared using colloidal silver isn’t safe to treat any disease.12
Dietary Changes You
- Fruits are your friends during this time. Make sure to load up on fruits, especially during the initial days.
- Also, increase your veggie intake, making sure to add sources high in antioxidants.
- Stay clear from fried food and avoid red meat until impetigo is completely healed.
- Add beans in your diet because it contains high amounts of zinc.13
- Your diet needs to be rich in omega 3 fatty acids to help fight the infection.
Follow These Steps
“Always cover your sores with a cloth, sterile gauze, or plaster to prevent it from spreading or getting worse.”
- We know it might be tempting, but try not to touch or itch the affected area. Otherwise, you risk spreading it to other parts of the body. Make sure to keep your nails trim and short.
- Wash your hands before and after touching the blisters and crusts.
- Change bedsheets, blankets, and towels daily. Do not share any of these things. Ensure you wash these items in warm soapy water.
- Please avoid public places until impetigo signs clear up.
Impetigo should take a week to heal completely. But, if it takes longer than that, visit your doctor again. The same applies if you or your child develops a fever as well. Keep in mind, when taking remedies orally, especially for children, to consult your doctor.
|↑1||Heggers, John P., John Cottingham, Jean Gusman, Lana Reagor, Lana McCoy, Edith Carino, Robert Cox, and Jian-Gang Zhao. “The effectiveness of processed grapefruit-seed extract as an antibacterial agent: II. Mechanism of action and in vitro toxicity.” The
|↑2||Heggers, John P., John Cottingham, Jean Gusman, Lana Reagor, Lana McCoy, Edith Carino, Robert Cox, and Jian-Gang Zhao. “The effectiveness of processed grapefruit-seed extract as an antibacterial agent: II. Mechanism of action and in vitro toxicity.” The Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine 8, no. 3 (2002): 333-340|
|↑3||Martin, Karen W., and Edzard Ernst. “Herbal medicines for treatment of bacterial infections: a review of controlled clinical trials.” Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy 51, no. 2 (2003): 241-246|
|↑4||Ankri, Serge, and David Mirelman. “Antimicrobial properties of allicin from garlic.” Microbes and infection 1, no. 2 (1999): 125-129|
|↑5||Johnston, Carol S., and Cindy A. Gaas. “Vinegar: medicinal uses and antiglycemic effect.” Medscape
|↑6||Vázquez, Beatriz, Guillermo Avila, David Segura, and Bruno Escalante. “Antiinflammatory activity of extracts from Aloe vera gel.” Journal of ethnopharmacology 55, no. 1 (1996): 69-75|
|↑7||Ettefagh, Keivan A., Johnna T. Burns, Hiyas A. Junio, Glenn W. Kaatz, and Nadja B. Cech. “Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis L.) extracts synergistically enhance the antibacterial activity of berberine via efflux pump inhibition.” Planta medica 77, no. 08 (2011): 835-840|
|↑8||Mavric, Elvira, Silvia Wittmann, Gerold Barth, and Thomas Henle. “Identification and quantification of methylglyoxal as the dominant antibacterial constituent of Manuka (Leptospermum scoparium) honeys from New Zealand.” Molecular nutrition & food research 52, no. 4 (2008): 483-489|
|↑9||Teow, Sin-Yeang, Kitson Liew, Syed A. Ali, Alan Soo-Beng Khoo, and Suat-Cheng Peh. “Antibacterial action of Curcumin against Staphylococcus aureus: A brief review.” Journal of Tropical Medicine 2016 (2016)|
|↑10||Yotsawimonwat, S., J. Rattanadechsakul, P. Rattanadechsakul, and S. Okonogi. “Skin improvement and stability of Echinacea purpurea dermatological formulations.” International journal of cosmetic science 32, no. 5 (2010): 340-346|
|↑11||Agero, A. L. C., and V. M. Verallo-rowell. “A randomized double-blind clinical trial comparing extra-virgin coconut oil with mineral oil as a moisturizer.” Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology & Venereology 18 (2004): 38|
|↑12||Colloidal Silver. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)|
|↑13||Darmstadt, Gary L., Saskia JM Osendarp, Saifuddin Ahmed, Candace Feldman, Joop MA Van Raaij, Abdullah H. Baqui, J. G. A. J. Hautvast, and George J. Fuchs. “Effect of antenatal zinc supplementation on impetigo in infants in Bangladesh.” The Pediatric infectious disease journal 31, no. 4 (2012): 407-409.|