Bacterial Skin Infections

Bacterial skin infections are fairly common and can range in severity from mild to serious. Bacterial skin infections can take many different forms depending on type, location, symptoms, and even the age of the affected individual. Fortunately, in most cases, bacterial skin infections can be treated through a variety of topical treatments or oral antibiotics.


At the Dermatology & Skin Surgery Center of Wilmington, our team of board-certified dermatologists are highly-qualified and experienced in diagnosing and treating bacterial skin infections.



What is a Bacterial Skin Infection? 



Bacterial skin infections are caused by harmful strains of bacteria that enter the body by penetrating the skin or through a break in the skin, such as a surgical incision, cut, wound, piercing, or insect bite.


A bacterial skin infection can occur anywhere on the body and range in severity from mild to life-threatening. Treatment for bacterial skin infections depends on the type of infection but most can be easily treated with antibiotics.



Bacterial Skin Infection Symptoms



There are many different symptoms and conditions associated with bacterial skin infections depending on the type of infection.


Common bacterial skin infection symptoms and skin conditions include:


  • Redness and irritation
  • Rash
  • Swelling
  • Red lumps
  • Boils
  • Skin that is tender and warm
  • Blistering
  • Enlargement of the lymph nodes
  • Fever


Overall, bacterial skin infections can cause a wide variety of signs and symptoms. Thus, it’s important to visit a board-certified dermatologist for a thorough evaluation and professional diagnosis if you think you might have a bacterial skin infection.

Bacterial Skin Infection FAQs



To learn more about bacterial skin infections, take a look at our expert answers to common questions below.

How do you get a bacterial skin infection?

A bacterial skin infection often develops when bacteria enter the body through skin that has been wounded, scraped, or cut open.  This break in the skin, which is the body’s natural protective barrier, allows bacteria to enter and grow, causing the infection.


Additionally, those with certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, cancer, or AIDS, have a higher risk of developing a bacterial skin infection.

What are some common bacterial skin infections?

There are many common types of bacterial skin infections. These can include :

  • Cellulitis – A painful, swollen, red infection that is usually tender and warm to the touch. Cellulitis is usually found on the legs, but it can appear anywhere on the body.
  • Folliculitis – An infection of the hair follicles that causes red, swollen bumps (it often looks similar to pimples). One example of which is “hot tub folliculitis,” which may be acquired from improperly treated pools or hot tubs harboring specific types of bacteria.
  • Impetigo – Often found in young children, this bacterial skin infection is highly contagious and causes oozing sores. The bullous form of impetigo causes large blisters while the non-bullous form has a honey-like crust appearance.
  • Furuncle – More commonly known as a boil, this is a deep skin infection that starts in hair follicles. It begins as a red lump, which may be tender, and fills with pus as it becomes enlarged.>
  • Erythrasma – Most often found in areas of the body where skin folds, such as under the arms, in the groin and between the toes. This common infection shows up as skin lesions of prominent pink or brown patches covered with fine scales and superficial fissures.


Keep in mind that there are many other common bacterial skin infections not included on this list. Thus, it’s important to visit a board-certified dermatologist if you think you might have a bacterial skin infection for proper diagnosis.

What are some uncommon bacterial skin infections?

Some uncommon bacterial skin infections include:


  • Necrotising Fasciitis – Otherwise known as a ‘flesh-eating’ bacterial infection, this uncommon bacterial infection causes the death of tissue.
  • Scarlet Fever – A rash that leaves tiny red dots covering the body.
  • Toxic Shock Syndrome – A rare bacterial infection that has been linked to the use of tampons and contraceptive diaphragms.

What does a bacterial infection of the skin look like?

Considering there are hundreds of different bacterial skin infections, they can take on many different forms and show a plethora of different symptoms. Thus, it’s important to visit a board-certified dermatologist for a thorough consultation and diagnosis.

What is the difference between bacterial vs fungal skin infection?

Bacteria and fungi are different organisms and thus are treated differently. Antibiotics do not work on fungal infections, and antifungal medication is not effective at treating a bacterial infection.

Which bacteria cause skin infections?

There are three bacteria strains most commonly associated with skin infections: Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pyogenes, and Corynebacterium species.


Bacterial Skin Infection Photos


To help you get a better idea of what a bacterial skin infection can look like, here are some helpful visuals of the most common types of bacterial skin infections we diagnose.

Find Bacterial Skin Infection Treatment at The Dermatology & Skin Surgery Center



If you need a bacterial skin infection treatment or an infection evaluation and diagnosis, visit the team of board-certified dermatologists at The Dermatology & Skin Surgery Center of Wilmington. We specialize in the evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of many skin conditions and are ready to help you restore your healthy skin.


Give us a call at 910-782-0028 or send us a message to schedule an appointment.