Impetigo Home Treatment

Last Modified on Jan 22, 2015

What Is Impetigo?

Several conditions affect the skin in adverse ways. Impetigo is a highly contagious skin disorder that typically affects infants and children. Generally manifesting as red sores located on the face, impetigo usually develops around the nose and mouth. As the sores progress, the lesions typically burst and form a honey-colored crust.

A fairly common infection, impetigo presents characteristic symptoms. The classic signs and symptoms of impetigo involve red sores that rupture, ooze or seep for a few days and then form a honey-colored or yellow-brown crust. While the sores typically develop around the nose and mouth, the lesions can also spread to other parts of the body including the fingers, buttocks and arms. More serious forms of impetigo include bullous impetigo and ecthyma. Bullous impetigo typically features larger blisters that occur on the trunk and diaper area of infants and children while ecthyma actually penetrates the skin, causing deep, painful fluid- or pus-filled sores that may develop into deep ulcers.

Impetigo is caused by bacteria, most commonly Staphylococcus aureaus. Individuals develop the condition by being exposed to the bacteria via the infected sores of another individual. The bacteria is spread by touching the sores or an item infected with the bacteria including clothing, bed linen, towels and toys.

Natural Impetigo Cures

While impetigo typically heals naturally over two to three weeks, treatment can shorten the duration of the condition and lessen the symptoms of the condition. Tea tree oil and jojoba oil mixed half and half treat the condition and prevent spreading. Likewise, manuka honey, olive oil, buriti and rosehip seed treat impetigo and prevent scarring from the sores. Other elements that help heal the skin and diminish the condition include lemongrass, eucalyptus oil, lavender oil, ravensara and helychrysum. Continue reading below for detailed remedies for impetigo from Earth Clinic readers.

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Most Popular Impetigo Remedies:

Grapefruit Seed Extract6

User Reviews

Antibiotics   0  0   

Posted by Denisee (Sacramento, Ca) on 07/09/2011

dont worry this too will pass.... You will get rid of your impetigo, try the remedies natural posted and also make sure to take those antibiotics... I had a real bad case of it and half my face was swollen and I went to er and got the antibiotics, after many herbal oil treatments were not working, for it was so far advanced... By the second day on antibiotics it was clearing up.... Your will clear up also, , , , , , staphyloccus aureas is always everywhere and on everyones skin everyday , , , just gets infected when we rub on an area or have a cut or someway it gets in...... You too can be cured dont worry...... And dont keep quiting your antibiotics unless you have a real bad side effect or you will have less antibiotics to work on it in case you ever get it again....... if you dont treat it it just grows on.

Replied by Diana
Standish, Michigan

I have to deal with occasional outbreaks. I haven't figured out what triggers the outbreaks. I use tea tree oil & jojoba oil mixed half & half to keep it under control and from spreading. I never cover the sore up. I use a clean tissue if it drains. I wash my hands frequently and put the oil mixture on it every time I think of it. I have used the tea tree oil enough that I can use it full strength and sometimes this keeps it from flaring up, if I catch it in time.
Replied by Podtree Holistics
London, Ontario, Canada

I use Manuka honey straight onto my face as a face wash and then a salve. It kills the bacteria, sloughs off the scabbing naturally without irritaion and provides a barrier from it spreading. You can get varying strengths of Manuka Honey, I use Active 12

Do not try to use regular pasteurized, store-brand honey. It does not contain the antimicrobial properties that Manuka Honey does and will not work. To boot if you have used antibiotic creams they have a side effect of creating a fungal environment when used too long and regular honey not having the properties to kill this will only feed it and make it worse.

At night I use a carrier oil with essential oil blend in it specifically for Impetigo.

Olive Oil
Jojoba Oil (Close to skin sebum)
Buriti (Use 10% max in carrier mix, as it stains)
Rosehip Seed (Antiscarring)

Essential Oils (Add 4-8drops of each to 50ml of oil):

  • Lemongrass (Antiviral, Antibacterial, Astringent)
  • Tea Tree (Antibacterial, Antifungal)
  • Eucalyptus (Antiviral and Antibacterial)
  • Lavender (Antiviral and Antibacterial, Soothing)
  • Ravensara (Heals Scarring)
  • Helychrysum (Heals Scarring)

Carrier oils that are good to use are Organic Cold Pressed (Use one or all together)

Replied by Pachi
Miami, Fl

My 3 year old has just been diagnosed with impetigo. Although I've been constantly touching the rash and cleaning it and doesn't seem to be contagious at all. He doesn't have blisters either. He just has like 4-5 red little dots on his cheek/chin and now on his knee. The dr prescribed an antibiotic ointment but doesn't seem to work. I don't want to take him back because they keep saying the same thing. Is there any other skin rash similar to impetigo but with these differences? I'll start trying the natural remedies posted here. Thank you.
Replied by Lee

Go to the supermarket or chemist and buy a bottle of phisohex. Use it as a wash to wash the entire body in the shower or bath. It can be drying on the skin so take note. It's not a natural remedy but a dr suggested it when I had impetigo and it dried up all the sores within a week or two. Hope this helps.
Replied by Sls
Wayne, Pa

I am 15 year old female and have been suffering from impetigo for about 6 years and since last year I have just been thinking it was acne. So I went to many doctors that could not figure out what it was so finally one doctor I went to came to the conclusion of impetigo and they gave me mupirocin. This helped it only a small amount but it makes my face look incredibly greasy (the impetigo is all around and in my nose) and makes it unbearably itchy. So usually it just runs its course then goes away for a month or so then comes back. Now that I'm in high school I can't have this all around my nose! I cover it up with makeup everyday it's so embarrassing even though it takes a lot to get it just barley covered I keep doing it so it's not as red looking. I don't know why it keeps coming back. It is usually worst after I kiss my boyfriend but he does not have it on his face or body, but every time after we kiss it becomes horrible and recently nothing is working to make it better. I just found this website and it has good suggestions but everything I try doesn't work. How long is it supposed to take for the GSE to start woking I have been putting it on for about 3 days now and have not noticed any change at all. Should I be putting it into my drinks? I have also tried coconut oil which takes away the itch but thats it and tea tree oil and it just burns like crazy, I have also tried hydrogen peroxide and that also does nothing. I really need help I don't know what to do and my mom refuses to take me to the doctor because we already know what it is but this time it's not going away I've had this outbreak for about 2 weeks now and nothing is working. Please help, I'm completely lost on what to do.
Replied by Mama To Many
Tennessee, Usa

Dear Sls,

So sorry! Six years is a long time to be dealing with this!

Impetigo can really hang on, but you should be able to treat it naturally. I have treated this a couple of times in my children.

Take turmeric, internally. 1 teaspoon twice a day. You can take it in milk or take 4 capsules twice a day. This helps so much! Even when you notice improvement, continue taking for at least a week after it is healed and even keep taking it a few times a week as a preventative after you heal.

You can continue using the GSE. It may just take a little longer to work.

Did you use the tea tree straight? If you haven't tried diluting it in the coconut oil, try that. Get a little dab of coconut oil and add just one drop of tea tree to it. Use this several times a day if it doesn't bother you.

We used a colloidal silver spray topically on the impetigo, several times a day. (Not at the same time as coconut oil, though.)

Your make up could be reinfecting you, depending on how you are using it. (If a brush touches your face and you put it back into the make up.)

Garlic, internally, is a great help, but not great when you are going to school...on the weekend if you will be home, you can take 1 clove of crushed garlic in some honey 3 times a day.

Plenty of water will help your body eliminate infection better. Avoiding soda and white sugar will help your body to heal faster.

Please let us know how it goes. I hope you are healed very soon.

~Mama to Many~

Replied by Mike62

Sis: Rub the area with the peel of an organic banana and search raw food for impetigo videos.
Replied by Dave
Fountain Inn,sc

To Sls from Wayne,

Re the Impetigo: You report the infection has been with you for six years and only recently diagnosed as Impetigo...which is either staph or strep in causation. I read that a MRSA form can also cause Impetigo which is more stubborn. If the current antibiotic fails to work, I'd consider using Colloidal Silver topically and the herb Echinacea. There are other anti bacterias; tea tree oil, olive leaf oil also.

But one note of caution; If I'd had this a long time, as you report, it may be in your system, if this were me, I would take oral Colloidal Silver for six months, orally...two tablespoons a day. I'd also keep applying topically for many months.

I ran across a recent case of a person who was hospitalized and as a normal precaution the hospital did a swab of the nose and the patient did have MRSA in her sinus cavity. She was not in the hospital for that but the nurses took extra caution after discovering that she was MERSA infected. The hospital did not treat the MERSA and a day later she went home and began swabbing her sinus cavity with Colloidal Silver. A follow up visit to the hospital a month later ... same hospital.... and another MRSA swab, found NO MRSA. She concluded the CS killed the MRSA.

Replied by Rosanne

You've had some great responses, but I just wanted to add one more thought - are they truly sure it IS Impetigo? I wonder if it might be perioral dermatitis, especially since you say your boyfriend is not affected by it. I'm sorry you are struggling with this, and I hope you figure it out and get healed soon.
Replied by Tracy

Hi, my daughter has had impetigo for about 5-6 years, she gets it when she is run down, long flight, cold etc. and it used to last about 2 weeks. She has cream from the doctor which she applies to the affected area and nostrils; however I have found if you boost the immune system the healing process is a lot quicker. She now uses a combination of the cream, effervescent multivitamin daily and actimel drinks (or similar), I have also given her manuka honey (teaspoon on a small piece of bread). I am going to start her on coconut oil (which helps the immune system). Using the combination it reduces the symptoms by about half.

My question is, will she grow out of it?

Apple Cider Vinegar, Dietary Changes   2  0   

Posted by Healthier (Austin, Tx) on 01/07/2013

[YEA]  I use apple cider vinegar applied directly to the impetigo infected skin and it kills the bacteria. It eventually heals in a few days and the recovery time is so much faster than any prescription I have ever taken for it as well as any other topical treatment. I have also changed my eating habits to eating more vegetarian/vegan options and noticed that I dont have as many yearly flair ups as I used to when I ate meat.

Replied by Samantha
Louisville, Kentucky

How often do u apply it? My son has been dealing with it since football season. He has been on oral and topical antibiotics and it just won't go away. The topical somewhat keeps it under control. But just seems like a never ending battle. He also has eczema on his face so I just don't know if that could be effecting the healing and how do you treat both.
Replied by Peter S.
Diamond Bar, Ca

The eczema does effect the healing. Because the dry skin, I too am struggling to keep it under control. I've had it for about a yr now on and off with the topicals, but one day the infection went bad and the topicals didn't work as effectively. Got to go to the derm soon.
Replied by Margaret
Knoxville Tn

[YEA]   ACV compress followed by pure coconut oil cleared impetigo up in a matter of days.

Black Walnut   1  0   

Posted by Herbal (Cedar Rapids, Iowa Usa) on 08/12/2012

[YEA]  Black Walnut tincture works very quickly for impetigo. I learned this from other herbalists. You can use the green or black hulls, infuse them with alcohol (vodka works well) and then apply twice daily. You can also purchase it in health food stores. It appears impetigo is making the rounds again and very common.

Replied by Tx Mom Of 3
Fort Worth, Tx United States

Have you tried this before with good results? My four month old has had it for about two weeks, so we're switching methods for recovery!
Replied by Papaya

[BETTER BUT NOT CURED]   Hi, thank you very much for this advice. I applied it only once undiluted and observed astonishing results. Scabs which formed ceaselessly for two months and were wet, started to dry up and fall off and these weeping sores/ ulcers begin to heal. I continue to use this tincture but I wonder whether or not it should be diluted and in which proportions if applied directly on these open raw red sores.
Replied by Jenn

Reading your post about scabs, impetigo etc got me wondering about leg ulcers. I have had Cellulitis for quite awhile now and this continually causes ulcers to break out on the surface of my skin, even though I take supplements, which eventually heal the surface of the skin on top.. Where would I obtain Black Walnut tincture from?

EC: Hi, see various black walnut tincture brands on Amazon here.

Replied by Papaya
Warsaw, Poland

Hi, I'm using NOW Foods Fresh Green Black Walnut Wormood Complex. Could you tell how have you been managing ulcers until now? Have you tried pouring sugar on them? Maybe this drawing salve will help prevent these ulcers forming.

Chlorine Water   1  0   

Posted by Help (Sadville, USA) on 06/11/2013

does it work?? I am trying this afternoon. I have to get rid of impetigo because I am traveling to indiana soon and we dont my old grandma get:/ HELP!!

Posted by Divinity (Colombus, Georgia) on 11/14/2011

[YEA]  I'm twenty years old and I have been getting bursts of Impetigo since I was five, I don't get them as often anymore but I do on occassion the fastest way for me to get rid of them was to go swimming for an hour or so in a chlorine pool. The chlorine turns them white and it just falls off after an hour or so. then just keep it clean and bandaged.

Replied by Mike C
Waterford, Ireland

You might let us know where you swim, I wouldnt like to be next into the pool after you!
Replied by Mountain Mama
Jasper, Alberta Canada

Are you kidding me? This is why all these kids are getting it!! You should be reported!
Replied by Motherof2
Happy, Ky

She probably has her own. This isn't the worst thing in public swimming pools. Chlorine kills a lot of it!


That's disgusting! Get some help naturally!
Replied by Rambogoddam
Los Angeles, Ca

oh please, you aren't going to catch it in a chlorinated pool.
Replied by Xgrioux
Denver, Co

That's how I first caught it 5 years ago! After I went swimming is when it all started! I had no idea what it was for days! Through a pic I sent, My aunt is the first to diagnose it, my uncle who was a doctor thought it was herpes. Then he agreed it to be impetigo. I was relieved at the time because it was only a bacterial infection. However, I don't know if its any better than herpes, it comes back every 3-4 months and I clean it with anti-bacterial soap, put 90% rubbing alcohol on to dry it out, then I put Mupirocin on it, sleep, drink water, wash my hands constantly, don't itch it, have minerals and vitamins all day, (bee pollen is a good source of this). It seems to go away in aprox 3 days. But don't swim in the POOL!!! This is how I caught it!!!!
Replied by Mmsg
Somewhere, Europe

Xgrioux, as they say: the "terrain" is everything. Why are you "catching" the Moluscum and other might not?

Coconut Oil   1  0   

Posted by Sarah (Monrovia, CA USA) on 12/29/2008

[YEA]  Coconut oil work wonders for impetigo. My daughter had impetigo. her doctor prescribed iodine and Bactroban cream which worked well. But recently she has break out on the lips inside the mouth. I tried the cream for a few days, but it does not help much because of the saliva. So I tried coconut oil. Wow, it works so fast! I appllied VCO on her lips just like applying lotion before sleep and the next morning the lesion became black and dried up.

Replied by Andrea
Ridgefield, Wa

How old was she when you used it? I have a 5.5 mo old, and he has it all over his ear/cheek. Started last night with the CO and haven't noticed a difference.
Replied by Chema
San Diego, California

Thanks! I went and bought some worked fantastic!
Replied by Jgs
Indianapolis, In

Maybe a dumb question: but where do you get coconut oil?
Replied by Jimmie

Coconut oil can be purchased from a health food store and I have seen it in some markets out west but def. a health food store.... it is used for cooking and what not...
Replied by Podtree Holistics
London, Ontario, Canada

Make sure its is non RBD (Refined, bleached, deodorized) :) Love Coconut oil!

Colloidal Silver   1  0   

Posted by Markell (Provo, Ut) on 09/25/2012

[YEA]  I used a silver solution gel (ASAP) on my spreading Impetigo. It worked immediately and effectively. I applied it nearly every hour or whenever I thought of it. Essential oils did nothing for the rash. It only took two days for it to dry up.

Colloidal Silver, Aloe Vera   0  0   

Posted by Cameron (Brisbane, Qld, Australia) on 03/07/2011

[BETTER BUT NOT CURED]  My 5 year old daughter started coming out with several large weeping sores, I didn't know what they were so simply reached for the Colliodal Silver just in case they were Bacterial and to stop an infection if it wasn't. It turns out they are probably School Sores as they have spread quickly and look and behave exactly like Ulcerative Impetigo. I covered the sores with a waterproof dressing and soaked the dressing with Colliodal Silver, this killed the Infection in about 2 days without any itching or side effects. We then used Aloe Vera to help the healing process and covered them with dressings or bandaids. Unfortunately my wife left some of these sores uncovered early on which left my little girl able to scratch and spread another few sores around various parts of her body. Expect the whole process to take about a week and the light scarring to fade slowly depending on where the sore was. Because of the infection she has now come down with a Cold or Flu, beware of this also.

We have had a few illnesses in the family but my 2 children have not yet had to visit a Doctor except for a dislocated elbow, even Whooping Cough for them both was uneventful if you can believe that. My first stop is always right here :)

Thankyou Earth Clinic!

Dietary Changes   0  0   

Posted by Misfit (West Coast America) on 11/10/2014

[BETTER BUT NOT CURED]  I'm going on 20 years with impetigo. And though it hasn't ruined my life, its definitely sucked all the joy out of it and robbed me of many good years. Mine is so bad that merely looking at cell phones causes me to break out in my eyelids or around the bridge of my nose. I've been to 100 doctors, both Mayo Clinics and Johns Hopkins. Everyone just gives up on me. With me, I've had to cut out cell phone use completely and can only use an IPhone with Siri. You need to buy yourself a yearly dayplanner and keep notes on what you do and what you eat. I've discovered a few triggers over the years. I've had to cut out fruit completely. Here I was drinking orange juice and stuff to boost my immune system, but all it did was make orange ooze come pouring out of my skin. I found chocolate and yogurt and licorice were triggers. Also, heat is a trigger. I can take a hot shower, but any type of radiant heat like from a furnace or oven will cause a breakout. My life is almost liveable because I can dodge some triggers, but I have at least 2-4 outbreaks per month. I'm convinced this will be the rest of my life and when it comes to die, I'll give a sigh of relief. Nonetheless, I push on. What else can you do? Doctors laugh at me when I tell them I'm allergic to looking at cell phones.

Replied by Timh

You would surely improve by doing any number of "Detoxification" and "Cleansing" remedies found here on E.C. This process of total body detox/cleanse will take up to 1 yr. Fallowing these remedies, you will be feeling much better but need to also boost your antioxidant status thru supplementation.

Echinacea   1  0   

Posted by Annie (London, Uk) on 10/04/2012

[YEA]  Hi, I would like to tell you that I find that echinacea taken in tablet form, as soon as I feel it starting(often with a chronically itching inside of the nose, similar to the feeling of coming down with a cold), or under the skin swelling, has worked wonders in stopping it in its tracks. Its stopped it actually appearing anywhere. I take up a large dose(6-8 tablets) straightaway. Keep taking it, paying attention to diet, early nights and rest. Echinacea tincture/vodka sterilises the site of it. Make sure you wipe vodka inwards. It works just as well as fucidin. Although, that helps to soften the lesions. I strip off old dead skin, with tweezers, applying more vodka/echinacea tincture. It stings but its works. Lots of sterilising needed throughout the day of skin, hands tweezers etc.

General Feedback   0  0   

Posted by Ashanti (Malaysia) on 07/31/2013

My son was infected by Impetigo 3 weeks ago after getting into contact with a child with Impetigo but after doctor prescribed him with antibiotic, it healed but 3 days ago it started to come back and this time doctor asked us to observe just by applying antiseptic cream that was prescribed earlier when he had this. My questions are:

1. Since he has taken full course of antibiotic, does he need to take it again? (am not keen on antibiotic and moreover, he just took it in April, then again end June and now looks like he needs again).
2. Does taking antibiotic frequently will create resistancy for body to fight against bacterial infection?
3. Will the bacteria causing Impetigo stays in his body even after he has healed completely?

Please advice. Thanks, Ashanti

Replied by Mama To Many
Middle Tennessee Usa

Dear Ashanti, If he has impetigo again, he needs to do something, but antibiotics is probably not the best option, and yes taking antibiotics over and over can create resistance, plus they will hinder his immune system.

The bacteria that causes impetigo (usually staph) generally lives on our skin and doesn't cause harm. But, if immunity is low, the bacteria is more likely to cause trouble. A cut in the skin can let it in. (That is why it is common for children to get it under the nose--from picking there and breaking the skin.)

There is a lot of info on the Earth Clinic Impetigo page:

We have successfully treated impetigo in our family with garlic and turmeric internally and colloidal silver externally.

Hopefully we will be reading your success story there, soon! :)

~Mama to Many~

Grapefruit Seed Extract   6  0   

Posted by Rosanne (Toronto) on 02/15/2014

My son had a few spots of impetigo around his mouth and nose. I swabbed them three times a day with GSE in water. I use a solution of 1 tablespoon of water and 10 drops of grapefruit seed extract. I was really pleased with how quickly it worked.

Posted by Charlotte (Toronto, Canada) on 02/13/2013

[BETTER BUT NOT CURED]  Hi Guys, I am a 25 year old female. I recently came back from a backpacking trip in South East Asia where I believe I somehow contracted Impetigo on my face. At first it was dry, even if I'd lotion repeatedly. Then, it became raised and then eventually started weeping yellow crusts.

Over the next few weeks, in and out of different doctors offices, I tried an anti-biotic course, some cream, and finally Fucidin. Fucidin seemed to work. I also want to note that during the time it flared up, I would avoid make-up. Well, a week or so after it would disappear, it would return again. Slowly. With redness, then warmth, then itch and finally small, barely noticeable 'weeps'. I would go back to using Fucidin but as a female, its difficult, because its extremely shiney, oil-y and embarassing. I also have adult acne, so oil was not helping. I would treat the impetigo, and develop more acne.

After weeks and weeks of this back and forth reccurence, I found this forum which led me to a CURE - Grapefruit Seed Extract. I bought the pills and started taking 2 pills 3 times a day. As soon as I ran out, I wanted to see if it would come back, and it HAS. That is how I know Grapefruit Seed Extract was really working. I have not tried topical, but I will this week. My only question is what makes it flare up? Do you think eating foods with yeast, drinking alcohol, using make-up, make it worse?

Replied by Mom Of 2 Year Old
Dallas, Tx

Hi, I'm glad to hear the grapefruit seed extract is giving you some relief. As to why it keeps returning, have you considered that your make up or make up brushes may be infected?
Replied by Charlotte
New York, Ny

Hi! Thanks for your reply and support. Yes I have thought about brushes but not my make-up specifically. I will definitely look into it.

I have found that alcohol consumption produces flare ups. Perhaps I have a sluggish liver and this further weakens it, making me more succeptable to skin issues. Also ties in possibly with yeast overgrowth and candida. If anyone has any other ideas about what causes flare ups, please do share.

Thanks again.

Replied by Sky
Boston, Ma

I had a yeast infection and was prescribed Diflucan. As soon as I took the pill I got a reaction on my upper lip which quickly turned into Impetigo. I had chronic Impetigo outbreaks between 2007-2009 and now wonder if it is tied to Candida? (Which has always been problematic for me.) I've stopped drinking alcohol as well as eating sugar and wheat to hopefully starve the Candida. The Impetigo has to unfortunately run its course, which is 2-3 weeks for me. I will try the Grapefruit Seed Extract asap..

Posted by Jj (Bournemouth, UK) on 01/12/2013

[YEA]  Hello, I'm so happy and relieved to say that GSE worked brilliantly to heal my impetigo!

I've never had impetigo before and I didn't know what it was. Initially I mistook it for a cold sore and treated it with cold sore treatments and antiviral pills, however, I did notice it was behaving differently to a cold sore and I was slightly puzzled.

Then one day, boom, the rash and blisters spread like wildfire across my whole chin, around my mouth, on my lips and cheeks. It was scary and incredibly painful, and the chills and fevers meant I couldn't sleep at night either, so I was exhausted too.

I was prescribed antibiotics by my doctor and on the 4th day of taking them my chin dried up BUT the rash continued to spread at a good pace up my face and on to my forehead. Most of my face was either covered in oozing blisters, heavy crust or burning like crazy. I couldn't open my mouth much either so it was very difficult to eat too. Straws and teaspoons became my best friends as I used them to eat and drink with.

Because the rash continued to spread I knew the antibiotics weren't fully working so basically I prayed for a miracle. That's when I stumbled on this webpage and the GSE comments really struck a chord with me. That day I went to a health food shop and luckily for me they sold the GSE pills (tub of 100 pills) and liquid so I bought both, along with a huge bottle of Aloe Vera Juice.

As soon as I started taking the GSE pills (2 pills, 3 times a day), that same evening really, I noticed the rash had stopped spreading. 2 or 3 times a day I gently patted my whole face with a mix of Aloe Vera Juice with drops of the GSE liquid, as I'd read on here that using the GSE liquid undiluted really burns, and I didn't want that. The Aloe Vera Juice really was great at cooling my face which was just so hot, burning and itchy. This is compared to say tea tree oil which I tried patting on my face at the beginning of my ordeal but it really did nothing for me.

During the next 5 days after I'd started taking the GSE pills and using the aloe and GSE liquid mix, the thick crusts dried and started falling off my face, and on the 6th day my face was completely clear of crusts! My face was really raw afterwards though, and I have some post inflammation hyperpigmentation (where the skin darkens from the inflammation) but this can be covered in makeup and will fade in good time.

I also used vitamin E oil after the crusts fell off to soften my skin again because it was really dry and flaky, despite drinking lots of water. I did finish my course of antibiotics too just in case. It also took a few days for the itchiness to completely disappear. During this time I made sure not to scratch anything and washed my hands if I touched my face.

Basically GSE worked wonders for me and I'm incredibly grateful to everyone who posted their stories here, as they really helped me and gave me hope. So I thought I'd post my story in the hope that it will also help someone else who is suffering.

If you can, please buy GSE pills and liquid as soon as possible. I will always have these pills with me now I know what impetigo is and how awful it can be. The infection is hugely challenging and my heart goes out to those reading this who have it, but thankfully it's a superficial infection and only effects the epidermis (outer skin layer) so it will heal fine. Good luck to all of you, and thanks again to the previous posters, I appreciate you sharing your stories! JJ

Replied by Stacey
Madison, Wi

Thank you so much for your post, I have been suffering from impetigo for 2 month now. at first I didn't know what I had so I did nothing but after two weeks it started to spread like crazy, so I went to the Urgent Care and was prescribed Muciproin and antibiotic pills. I took them for 2 weeks and my cream ran out as did the pill. 3 days later it flared up again and it was worse than before. I ballooned up and was extremely swollen. I rubbed garlic on it and it became a dark scab. People thought I was a burned patient survivor. It looks extremely bad and scary --perhaps I left it on a bit too long. Right now I am about to hit the 2 month mark and I've only had an ok face for about 3 days. I don't ooz too much liquid but yet it is still contagious. I want to buy GSE -- pls let me know what brand to buyu. I bought Nutribiotic concentrate- but it has not been shipped it, the reviews are scarying me. I am afraid this is not strong enough.
Replied by Valleygirl

Wondering how things ended up for you. I am dealing with this on my leg...I'm thankful I can hide it....but I am a runner and this is limiting anyways. I got the GSE yesterday and am using it directly on the sore and also taking it internally. It's only been 24 hours and I've put it on maybe 4 times so far. I was hoping for a quick change but I fear the small blisters are still spread out. I have to keep getting bigger and bigger gauze to keep it covered. I don't want to start antibiotics but I fear it's getting out of hand. It's been a month already but I just recently figured out what it was. This was from a bug bite gone bad. If someone could tell me the stages of might help me to know if I am on the right track or not. I feel so hopeless!
Replied by Susan B.
Pasadena, California

Hi Valleygirl. Has a doctor diagnosed impetigo or have you self-diagnosed? Sounds like either staph (MRSA) or shingles infection to me. Can you describe the blisters? Painful, hot, itchy, etc. If it's a staph infection, turmeric taken twice daily will help immediately.
Replied by Valleygirl
Kansas, US

Thanks for your reply. I self diagnosed. Going to the dr tomorrow. I was hoping to avoid but need to find out for sure what I am dealing with. I have no pain with it at all....just itchiness. And that's gotten better. It started from a mosquito bite and too much scratching so the red area just kept growing. I thought nothing of it till it scabbed over and then all peeled off after a shower. That made it much less itchy but that's when I noticed all the tiny blisters around the red rashy part spreading out. I have been taking the turmeric and don't notice any difference.
Replied by John
Pa, US

I was wondering if someone could help me. I too am suffering from this terrible freaking rash. This is the third time that this happened. Went to multiple derms, wasted 2-3 thousand dollars in exams and cultures, and they still don't know what it is.

Mupiricin, antibiotics, steroids, they seem to work the first 4-5 days but then the rash comes back even worse. It usually starts on my right legs which is oddly enough where I always get insect bites. From there, one blister forms and then it pops, and then somehow it travels up my legs and then appears on my arms. They become this nasty yellow and sometimes get all weepy.

At my wits end on what to do. Gonna go pick up GSE today because every body seems to love it. Quick question though, how exactly do I apply it. I WILL NOT be eating the pills. I will be buying the liquid form. I read from some that a cheap GSE will make it worse. Which one should I buy? I plan on stopping by the vitamin shoppe so I can get started immediately. Also, how exactly do I mix this stuff? Again, some people said that putting it on directly made it worse and it made the rash SUPER itchy and to try to dilute it. Does anyone know the ratios on what to use? Do I use water? Aloe? Milk (lol)? SPECIFICS PLEASE? I'm kind of excited at the prospect of this working. You guys have no idea how crummy it is going to a family vacation and being unable to swim because of the embarrassment on my legs and arms.

Replied by Rosanne

John, definitely dilute the GSE. I use 1 tbsp water to 10 drops of GSE. Apply with a cotton ball or swab.

Something I would say is worth a try is Turmeric, taken internally. I have had great success in using it not only for boils, but other skin issues too. I use 1 tsp of the spice mixed with some applesauce or yogurt, a dash of black pepper and a wee bit of olive oil (the pepper and oil help the body to absorb the turmeric). I take that three times a day initially, and then taper down the dose to twice a day and once a day as the skin condition improves.

There's lots of info on this site about Turmeric. Perhaps it will help cure your condition from the inside. You may find you feel a little ill when you first start taking it, but it does work quickly, and the nausea will pass.

Replied by Sp
Wb, NJ

Hi John, from what you posted it sounds exactly like you are having a reaction to the steroids. Please go to the international topical steroid awareness network ( and read up! There is a forum there as well with tons of posts. Also, lots of people have blogs about their experiences with this. I went through this and I am still going through the "withdrawal" process. Good luck!!!
Replied by John

Thank you guys so much for the reply. Couple of questions, Rosanne, I saw that you would apply GSE three times a day. Do you apply it and then just let it dry? Or do you apply it, let it dry and then apply some sort of moisturizer?

I would def prefer to mix it with water over olive oil because as childish as it sounds, I'm not a fan of the feeling oils (whether olive, virgin, coconut) gives on the skin.

At the moment, I've been cleaning the wounds (which are now open) everyday with some warm water and soap. I'm just hoping in some miraculous way that the soap will kill the bacteria (not using antibacterial though as I heard that's not recommended) and my skin will improve but all its doing is leaving my skin extremely dry. The point where it feels as though there is zero moisture in the skin.

Just upsetting that I've used so much money on doctors yet they werent able to find the cause. That medicine, things that were supposed to help me, actually made it worse.

I'll be trying the turmeric thing as well. At this point, I'm up for anything holistic that I know doesn't involve lab chemicals that can make this worse.

Replied by Rosanne
Toronto, Canada

Regarding "Rosanne, I saw that you would apply GSE three times a day. Do you apply it and then just let it dry? Or do you apply it, let it dry and then apply some sort of moisturizer?"

I would just apply and let it dry. Mind you, dryness hasn't been an issue here with impetigo. But when I was using the GSE for perioral dermatitis, dry, irritated skin was a factor. Then I had great success with a gentle calendula ointment which had a base of beeswax.

I would be interested to hear your results if you do try the turmeric. In theory, it should help heal you from within, but I've never tried it myself for impetigo, only other types of infections.

Posted by Meg (Vancouver, Wa) on 10/08/2010

[YEA]  I developed impetigo last year after a student of mine had it all over his face for weeks and frequently touched it with his hands. Not knowing what it was when I first had the outbreak I went to the doctor and was given a topical antibiotic. It worked but the ointment was sticky and took a long time to get rid of the rash/blisters. Then a few weeks later I got it again and I treated it the same way. This year as I returned to the classroom I was hit with impetigo within the first two weeks of school. I am not sure what (or who) the trigger was this year since I've been really good about keeping things disinfected and encouraging everyone to keep their hands clean (including myself). I have been told that once you have had impetigo you no longer have the antibodies to fight the staph infection and are more prone to getting them. I was not happy with the prospect of being written another prescription and turned to my favorite website (Earth Clinic- of course) to investigate a holistic cure. Sure enough, grapefruit seed extract caught my eye. By the time I obtained my bottle of GSE the impetigo had spread all over my chin and part of my jaw plus a few spots near my eyebrow and bridge of my nose and the sores were spreading quickly, were oozing and itched! I put the GSE onto the rash straight from the bottle and it made my skin itch like you wouldn't believe and turned it flame red within about 20 minutes. I had to wash it off and try mixing it with aloe instead. It still itched for a few minutes while it was soaking in and drying but wasn't nearly as intense as straight GSE did. I saw an improvement within about four days but the whole time I could tell that something positive was happening since the blisters were drying and the itching was quickly diminishing. The rash started peeling at that point and it took about 4 more days for it to be gone from my face. No drugs, no doctors.... Ahhh... What a relief! Unfortunately I started getting small blisters in several locations on my face and neck this week and one of them spread but luckily I was armed with GSE mixed with aloe and caught it before it got too out of control. This one only took 3 days total to go away instead of 7-8 last time when I didn't catch it as quickly. Because I seem to be getting these outbreaks more frequently and I know the embarrassing and uncomfortable effects of not catching it in time I am starting to take a few drops of GSE in juice every couple of days and also putting GSE in aloe on my face and neck several times a week just to keep me from having another outbreak. Thank you Earth Clinic!

Replied by Littlegoslings
Philadelphia, Pa

[BETTER BUT NOT CURED]   Impetigo on my face has cleaned my clock. It is approx. 6 weeks after the beginning of this ordeal and just now, after a month and a half, I can say with good confidence that I have healed, at least for now. March 2011 was a tough month; it really sucked.

Friday, Feb. 25, 2011 - My 7yr old daughter gets sent home from school with a rash on her body. Her pediatrician was experienced enough to swab for streptococcus aureus even though she didn't have a sore throat.

Weekend - I have sex with my wife before any of us knew anything about the strep. I give her the "oral pleasure". Not saying this was the catalyst, but man I wish I had put 2 and 2 together beforehand.

Monday Feb 28 - I have spots all over my face. Nasty rash, but no sore throat. We're thinking scarlet fever. My daughter's culture comes back positive for strep. Pediatrician puts us all on Cefprozil, a Keflex-type antibiotic.

Day by day, I just got worse and worse. The impetigo raged on without pause. The cefprozil did nothing. Bacitracin did nothing. There was massive swelling and weeping yellow crusty stuff. Almost on a weekly timetable it would clear up to a large degree, not completely, but then it would come right back, and spread more. Up toward my temples, down under my chin, etc. Later I read that bacitracin (Neosporin) is useless – it can't fight this kind of infection and it just helps to spread it around. St. Patrick's Day I was out at a bar and no one looked twice at me. By Sunday I looked so bad I didn't even go to church. Every time I thought I had seen the worst of it and was clearing up, it came back. (My little girl is fine, BTW, neither she nor my wife had to deal with this hell.)

By Monday, March 14th I realized it was coming back just as often as it was healing. I tried H202 mixed 50/50 with water about 2 or 3 times, misting my face after a hot shower with a spray bottle. This is hell on your skin, let me tell you, and it really burns for about a minute. It made me as red as a tomato, literally. But I could feel the peroxide working on the infection. Even so, it cleared up a bit, then came back.

I got a Rx for topical Mupirocin cream and a Rx for a broad spectrum antibiotic about the middle of the week. Since I had been thru a course of Cefprozil, and it did no good, I was very reluctant to take the broad spectrum. I did not take it, even though after it kept flaring up my wife urged me to take the systemic pill.

The Mupirocin topical stuff is strong, and it made me red and swollen, not as painful to apply as the peroxide but I looked like hell. As you can imagine, this was totallly affecting my job, as it is difficult to work like that, seeing customers, etc.

Even with the mupirocin, the impetigo kept coming back.

By March 21st I had seen 2 different doctors and 2 dermatologists. I was diagnosed 100% positive for impetigo and the one doctor here in PA told me she has seen a lot of it recently. But none of them could get a culture to grow. It was just my luck that every time I was in a doctor's office, there was no discharge and I was "better".

Two dermatologists told me STOP USING PEROXIDE, and the one guy said to keep using the mupirocin 5 days after that appointment. I was pretty clear for that appointment (for the 4th or 5th??time!! ) but I couldn't keep up the mupirocin. I had to give it a rest because it was hell on my skin.

I read some very helpful posts on the internet, and started using a neutral face cream (I happened to have Vanicream) mixed with 4 – 6 drops of grapefruit seed extract. It doesn't provoke swelling as much as mupirocin, and after 2 days of GSE both topical and using as a pill, the heat and swelling went down (again). Problem with the GSE and Vanicream is it's ITCHY LIKE YOU CAN'T BELIEVE!!!!! One of the posts here says "Don't touch it" and I can't agree more. Light rubbing of my face brought ANOTHER relapse, even with clean hands. I wash them a lot now that I'm dealing with this horror. Just let it crust over, and touch your face only when you wash it. And know that when you wash your face, it will probably make it start weeping again. I washed my face 3-4 times a day.

Grapefruit Seed Extract with the Vanicream was very hard because it made me want to itch and rub. I tried Aveeno mixed with GSE and it was better, not as itchy.

March 28th, more or less, I believe I started to really heal. My skin was starting to split, with deep red creases by my chin. That's how hard mupirocin, and this disease, is on your skin. I missed about 3 days of work during this whole thing, and that doesn't count the times I had to leave early or come in late after seeing doctors. I also read a PH web page that talked about being alkaline, rather than acid, and how it affects your health, and so I started eating more fruits and veggies (I am mostly vegetarian anyway) and started with a one-a-day potassium/calcium/magnesium supplement. I tested my saliva, I was ph of 7 at that time.

I found pure aloe, already mixed with GSE in a health store. It's very runny in its pure form. Every day I used the aloe w/GSE, plus pure GSE, mixed together, and put on after my morning shower, and in the evening after I washed my face.

So here I am now, April 15, almost seven weeks after my first symptoms. I can detect a slight puffiness at the height of my cheekbones, but you would never notice it. Still a bit red there too, but once again, you can't see it except under very bright light, like a flash photo. I got a week of FL sun, wearing a wide brim hat the WHOLE time, but too afraid to put anything on my face except the aloe and GSE, every day, twice a day. I can rub my face lightly if I have an itch, and it's not there anymore. Not that I will try and provoke it, no way. I am VERY GLAD I made the decision to not take the broad spectrum anti-biotic, but that was my decision and I'm not saying it's right for you. I wanted my own defenses to fight this off, because I have this tendency toward this kind of stuff.

Here's the other complication I didn't even mention – when I was a kid I got poison ivy real bad on my hands and arms. For decades after that, I could scratch my wrists and forearms, seemingly at will, and "bring it back". I read over and over in all the sci and med literature that poison ivy is urushiol, totally topical, and cannot live in your system. I thought I was a living contradiction to this – rubbing would bring about swelling on my forearms, a pimply, rough raised rash, weeping yellow stuff – poison ivy, right? WRONG! I guess that was the strep/staph virus living on my skin, and once in awhile taking hold. Well, on my forearms it was a nuisance, and a curiosity. But on my face, it's a total nightmare.

Still another possibly relevant factoid – for a year, more or less, before this spring 2011 battle with impetigo on my face, I would come out of the shower, sometimes, and notice a single, bright red streak on my cheek. Usually just one side, not always in the same place. Always after using a washcloth that was kept in the shower and not a fresh one. Almost as if I had scraped my cheek along a rough wall in one spot. I believe this nastiness has been trying to break thru on my face for a long time, and either the strep that was in my family, or the up close and personal encounter with my wife brought it on full force. I am going on and on just to give you as much info as I possibly can. This is a serious infection that just DOES NOT want to go away, and I don't think there are that many doctors out there who really understand it. It took a LONG TIME to run its course with me, and I had it in the worst possible place. If you see this coming, my advice to you is use the GSE and a neutral skin moisturizer right away, take the GSE pills, and DON'T RUB it. It's gross, but let it crust. Wash it off, let it crust again. For weeks I was carrying a rag with me to dab my weeping face. Uhhh, so gross. And you have to keep yourself and all those things your skin touches away from everybody else. (Although I don't think it's as contagious after weeks and weeks as people think. Still, you think I'm gonna take a chance with my family?! ???)

So every time I have an itch on my cheek or jaw, I scratch it lightly and stop. I'm still very scared of this nonsense and it will be awhile until the terror fades.

Replied by Skilledlion
Decatur, Ga

i must say that the info that is given here reads like a book for me. i greatly appreciate the in depth month by month info---i am a man of color (afro-amer. , if you like) i thought my impetigo was brought on by a nasty ingrown hair (which i often have).

i've had to have my face lanced before and thought about it this time---however this was my first episode with impetigo. the ingrown hair grew to enormous bump, which was drained instead of being lanced. from there the impetigo has had its way with me. this would be the second occurence within a year.

i have tried everything listed in the previous post--from grapeseed extract to colliod silver, frequent use of tea tree oil/lavender, in addition to tea tree soap as a constant facial wash. i will most def try the coconut oil.

i must certaintly say that having to deal with customers in any environment is most uncomfortable and embarassing --for all of that are out there enduring this nightmare/daymare--- continue to pray to the creator of all things to send a natural cure not a man-made fix.


Replied by J
Farmington, Nm, Usa

Interesting- I read the reason for not using neosporin is because after prolonged usage, you can develop an allergy to it!

I get occassional impetigo outbreaks on my chin and recently on my cheek. The first time it happened, I assumed it was a zit that got infected.

Because I don't have insurance, I have to treat non-serious health issues at home. The last outbreak was pretty scary as I developed large clear blisters on my cheek which never happened before.

I use a combination of things to treat an impetigo outbreak:

1. I wash the area with a medical grade sterile wash.

2. I then dab some rubbing alcohol, then dress the area with sterile bandages and Neosporin.

3. 2-4 times a day I will soak a paper towel in vinegar and hold it on the infected area up to 20 minutes.

4. 2-4 times a day, I will make a paste of garlic cloves and leave it on the affected area as long as I can stand it.

5. Generally, I keep the area bandaged until it scabs over.

6. If I even suspect I might get an outbreak, I start rubbing a cut garlic clove on the suspicious area and do the vinegar treatment. It saved me from getting an outbreak about 1 month ago.

I will have to try the grapefruit seed extract and colloidal silver sometime. Thanks for the tips.

Replied by Teknut
Seattle, Wa

[YEA]   My Impetigo just kept getting worse and worse, started from my leg ( 2 giant spots ), then up to my arms. I've tried antibiotics nad ointments. It seemed like they would work, but after going through the whole bottle of pills, it was was still apparant the impetigo was running rampant.

I googled ' impetigo remedies ' and it brought me here. Went to Walgreens and bought a $10 GSE bottle that came with 100 pills.

AND OMG AM I HAPPY!!!! The scars are fading, the swelling has gone down, and my skin looks like its clearing up. Its been day #2 of taking 3 pills, twice a day morning and night. Waking up on my 3rd day, and the impetigo is dry and feels like its healing really well.

thank you for this suggestion.

btw, the garlic and olive oil did not work for me. but GSE is amazing.

Replied by Melle
London, Uk

Wow thanks for the advice!!!!! I caught this from a "friend" who I kisssed over the weekend just realised this morning the cut he had was actually impetigo as I woke up to the same on my chin, I rushed out this afternoon to the health food store treating it with a good soaking of water then tea tree followed by Grapefruit seed oil and re applied ever few hrs it's no longer weeping an has almost totally dried up!

thanks you thank you thank you!!! X

Replied by Quiet
Wisconsin, Wisconsin, Usa

@J from Farmington, Nm, Usa: Regarding touching impetigo with rubbing alcohol--that is something I quickly learned *not* to do. Rubbing alcohol 70% was so irritating to my itchy blisters that they would immediately swell up even higher and itch more ferociously. I think the consequent swelling helped them to spread, not really what I wanted to see happen. I switched to using hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) between washing and before applying topical oil treatments. It is much more gentle on your skin and the oxygen is good.
Replied by Pigeongurl
Lowell, Mi

[YEA]   YEA! I believe I've had impetigo before, but thought it to be poison ivy that was randomly spreading. This time, It happened after bathing the dogs. I had what appeared to be tiny flea bites all under my shorts and shirt. By the next morning I had even more and they began to itch relentlessly just like poison ivy! Rubbed hydrocortisone cream on which helped, but they grew bigger, more like a large mosquito bite with a tiny white head.

After a few days they'd calm down, but then new ones popped up. Couldn't figure out why fleas would go after me and no one else in the family, so next conclusion was an allergy to sunscreen. Spots seemed to pop out shortly after being outside in the sun and sweating. Seemed to last longer than at first. Still just mainly on my truck of my body. No face, arms or lower legs.

Then I made the mistake of shaving and trimming up my bikini area. Appearently this spread the impetigo to a very unpleasant region! Again, I had figured it was a simple allergy, nothing spreadable. When it spread down there, it got BAD. Large, blistering, itchy oozing sores that spread VERY quickly. I began to wonder if my husband had cheated on me and somehow given me herpes! But he didn't have any lesions, and only got 3 after intercourse with me (just before the spots popped out everywhere in my lower regions. No doubt this caused it to spread). After running through an entire list of possible STD's, rashes and ailments, I finally found info on impetigo.

By this time it had spread so badly in my "under region" that I could not even pee. Everything was badly swollen and infected. It looked and felt like %%%%! I was in AGONY! Tried cranberry juice to help, drank an entire jug in one day with NO relief!

Before finding this site, here's what I tried on my "bad" spots: hydrocortisone cream -didn't work.

  • over the counter menthol and spray anti-itch ointments -- burned VERY badly but numbed the area (didn't cure it)
  • Iveyrest Poison Ivy Cream: worked on the not so bad spots, kept it under control and dried lesions, but didn't keep new spots from developing, and hard to keep it dry "down there".
  • Triple Anti-Biotic Cream: didn't work.

****Remedies tried from this site and others I tried:

  • Vinegar: works well. Saturated a paper towel and held it on my bad spot areas. Burned slightly but vinegar is a natural bacteria killer. Seemed to help keep them from spreading when done twice a day (change underwear too! )
  • BATH: added epsom salt (about 1-2 cups) into warm bath with tea tree oil and crushed garlic cloves. Very soothing and a good way to wash gently.
  • Hydrogen Peroxide: used as an antiseptic similar to vinegar. Burned less than vinegar, worked to dry spots out after shower/bath. May dry too much and cause scarring though...
  • TUMERIC (PILLS): Tumeric added to food at the rate of 1 tsp is harsh to eat. Tumeric pills are MUCH better! Take 3 pills 3 times a day. TUMERIC DID HELP!!! After 24 hrs on it I could pee with NO pain, and the swelling had gone down a lot. However the spots were still spreading and VERY itcy after 4 days of pills (took me FOREVER to locate Grapefruit Seed Extract)
  • GRAPEFRUIT SEED EXTRACT: BEST REMEDY! After just 12 hrs on the pills 3 times a day, I notced the spots fading away, and not so much itch. Spots stopped spreading and seem to be finally gone after 1 week of pills!
  • OLIVE OIL/GARLIC: For my itchy spots I poured 2 tbs extra virgin olive oil into a small dish and mashed a garlic clove and added it to oil. Used fork to mash it into oil more and release juices. Let sit 1 hr then apply with q-tip or cotton ball to spots. STOPS ITCH, STOPS SPREAD. This was a VERY SOOTHING treatment on my under-regions and despite the oil you didn't notice fealing greasy. Only soothed. Olive oil has healing properties and garlic is a natural sulphuric antibiotic.

BOTTOM LINE: Keep the olive oil/garlic always ready in the bathroom. When a spot pops up apply the mix to it and it will calm down and not spread.

Thank you thank you thank you for this site and ALL the helpful remedies!

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