Natural Remedies for a Skin Infection

| Modified on Jan 31, 2024
Chamomile Tea for Skin Infections

While many skin infections get better with time, treatment is often required to prevent the spreading of the infection as well as additional complications.

Most skin infections can be effectively treated using natural remedies such as turmeric, apple cider vinegar, boric acid, hydrogen peroxide, and Echinacea root. Additionally, applying a poultice to the affected area also treats and eliminates infection. Effective poultice remedies include potato, bread, charcoal mixed in with flaxseed, and onion.

Keeping your affected skin clean and dry is also crucial.

Common Skin Infections - Causes and Treatments

Just as the name suggests, a skin infection is quite literally an infection of the skin. Typically, such an infection involves the colonization of foreign species on the skin at any level. The infecting organism generally invades the skin and then multiplies, causing a growing infection and spread of the condition. The pathogen or infecting organism typically interferes with the normal functioning of the host and can lead to additional issues such as chronic wounds, gangrene, the loss of a limb, and even death if left untreated.

The exact symptoms of a skin infection are determined more specifically by the actual cause or type of infection. Nonetheless, many skin conditions cause fairly standard symptoms including redness, tenderness, and swelling of the affected and adjacent skin. Itching, irritation, and pus-filled lesions are also common skin infections. Some severe infections may even cause fever, chills and sweats, extreme tenderness, and swollen lymph nodes.

Common skin infections can be categorized into roughly four groups. Generally speaking, the categories identify the underlying cause of the disorder. The common types of skin infections include bacterial, viral, fungal, and parasitic. Common bacterial infections include cellulitis and impetigo while shingles, warts, and herpes simplex represent viral skin infections. Athlete’s foot and yeast infections are fungal, and body lice, head lice, and scabies are parasitic.

Continue reading below to learn which natural remedies helped Earth Clinic readers with a skin infection.

Related Links:

Acne Rosacea Remedies
Heal Boils Naturally: Effective Home Remedies
Natural Remedies for MRSA: Effective Solutions for Infection Control
Natural Remedies for Staph Infections
Top Remedies for Hidradenitis Suppurativa

Apple Cider Vinegar

2 User Reviews
5 star (2) 

Posted by Sean (Houston, Texas) on 09/19/2009

Thanks for your website. I developed a skin infection several weeks ago. I manifested itself by an itchy, red rash that developed into blister/boil type skin irritation just north of the knee. I soaked a piece of cotton gauze with apple cider vinegar and applied it directly to the area secured by a piece of paper tape overnight for 4 or 5 nights and also during the day a couple times. It completely healed up and is gone. Thank you.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Adam (Melbourne, Australia) on 04/05/2008

Over a year ago I got some skin disorder from wearing dirty gloves. I ended up with about 10 patches on my hand where the skin would constantly peel off. I tried all sorts of moisterisers, then I had positive results from fungle creams and lotions but still kept coming back.So the Doctor was next, His medication never worked either. Then a bloke I know who proclaims to be an Alchemist said "Half water, half apple cider vinegar in a squirter bottle. Spray on the hands a couple of times a day. Plus drink a cap full". And wulla, its gone. Apparently it evens out the PH levels in the skin. I advise to use natural oils (eg. Coconut) to moisterise the skin also. Now to see if it can cure my reflux.

Replied by Courdylia
(London, Ontario, Canada)

How long did you have to drink ACV and spray it on your hands to see results?

Replied by Ken
(Santa Barbara, Ca)

For your reflux problem try green papaya enzyme powder or simply eat a lot of ripe papaya.

Apple Cider Vinegar, Cayenne Pepper and Turmeric

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Mary (Orange, Ct) on 02/03/2014

This is my recipe for an infection (of any kind) and general well being.

1st Step:

1/4 cup boiling H2O, 1 Tablespoon ACV, Cayenne to taste and a squirt of Honey. I make a tea from this. Let it cool and drink down. This is fast and easy.

2nd Step:

Take a large serving spoon add honey and 1/4-1/2 teaspoon Turmeric. Mix with a smaller spoon and gobble down.

The Cayenne in the tea drink will support the Turmeric/Honey mix. Otherwise if you only want to do step 2 then add Cayenne to that.

Chase with water.

I am 66, female, white, weigh 130 and in good health. I am not on any Rx drugs. And I LOVE Earth Clinic.

Replied by Outpouring
2 posts

How often should I take this remedy?

Banana Peel

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Julia (Utah) on 11/09/2016

Ever tried taping the inside of banana peel to an infected wound? Even took gangrene out of one of my fingers once.

Bentonite Clay

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Mama To Many (Tn) on 08/25/2020

My daughter had a finger infected along the side of the nail. I think it was an ingrown nail that got fooled with. The finger was red and swollen and angry and was beginning to get red streaks. I had her take turmeric internally morning and evening. I was keeping charcoal poultices on the finger. It was helping but not solving the problem. We switched to bentonite clay. The clay turned out to be easier, more comfortable and more effective.

I mixed the powder with water to reconstitute the clay. I applied it thickly to her finger and covered it with plastic wrap and a bandage. (The clay won't work if it dries out.) Overnight it was dramatically better. I am continuing to use clay poultices at night until it is completely healed.

~Mama to Many~

Replied by Sandy

Dear Mama to Many, I have infection in my finger nail. It's swelling and I can see the puss. Tried some Indian poultice, but not much effect. Maybe I am not able to apply it hot as it supposed to be. Please suggest any home remedies. I am going to try your remedies mentioned above

Mama To Many

Dear Sandy,

If you have the clay, I think it will work well. A charcoal poultice or a potato poultice would work too, I think.

For potato, you grate up a bit or raw white potato and attach it to the infected area overnight. It draws out infection.

If you can take turmeric and vitamin C internally it will help with swelling and infection, too.

During the day, try soaking in hot salt water or hot Epsom salt water - 1 Tablespoon in a cup of water.

I hope it feels much better soon!

~Mama to Many~

(somewhere, europe)

Sandy and MtM, I've suffered those nail infections and tried many things. As much as I am a fan of clay, it HURT. I finally stumbled on something that works each time: h2o2 (3%). A drop or two on the infected nailbed a few times a day cured it for me each time.

Boric Acid

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Quinn (Cheyenne, Wyoming, Usa) on 02/24/2011

I have had recurring cracked thumb tips on the sides of the fingernail and have tried many types of moisturizing creams, vaseline, bandaids, etc. The cracks would heal and then kept coming back.

After learning from your site that painful, cracked finger tips can be caused by a bacterial infection, I mixed 1/2 tablespoon Boric Acid and 1/2 cup boiling water and allowed the mixture to cool. Every time I walked by the mixture, I dipped my fingertips in the boric acid solution, immediately the pain ceased and within two days the cracks were entirely healed over.

Thanks Earthclinic for all of your wonderful suggestions, and I hope this one will help someone!

Replied by Skyler

Boric *Acid*? or Borax? they're different, and often mixed up. I don't think I would use boric acid on or in any part of my body! But I have used Borax, internally as well as externally.

Replied by Rf
(Seattle, WA)

Boric acid is the ingredient in an eye wash, so I don't think that it would be entirely inappropriate to use on the skin. It might not be so hot internally though.

Bread Poultice

2 User Reviews
5 star (2) 

Posted by Linda (Scranton, United States) on 06/28/2011

evaporated milk over bread you use it to an infected area n it draws out the infection. it even removes glass from your foot.

Replied by Linda Robb
(Hillsboro, OR)

What kind of bread?

Bread Poultice
Posted by Scott (Hanston, Ks, Usa) on 07/03/2010

Bread Poultice - Infection & Splinter Cure

This was a remedy used by my Grandmother for years, living on the farm, it was too far to run to the doctor for small infections, spider bites, splinters, glass, asphalt, scrapes, puss, etc.. You would soak a piece of bread with water, at bedtime, wrap it with bread wrapper to hold moisture in, and wrap with Ace (elastic) Bandage. When you awoke in the morning the venom, splinter, glass, rocks, infection and or puss lay on the surface of the bread. Acts like a sponge drying out, creating suction & removing obstruction. Other than the 3 hour bath (wrinkly) skin, laughing aloud, it works miracles.


2 User Reviews
5 star (2) 

Posted by Scott (Pen Argyl, PA) on 05/14/2007

Calcium can cure certain infections. I learned about this from an infomercial on coral calcium which I initially ignored. I'd cut myself grooming my dog and the cut became slightly infected. I remember the commercial so I decided to try calcium in a 2-1 ration with magnesium with vitamin D, 2 tablets every 4-6 hours. It took 2 days for the infection to go away. I tried this again when I'd gotten bitten breaking up a fight when my dog was attacked by another. This happens occasionally since my dog is for stud and is thus unneutered. I'd gone to the emergency room each time and had antibiotics prescribed which didn't always work and would take between 2 to 4 weeks to cure the infections. I've been developing a resistance to antibiotics.

On this occasion I knew the emergency room would only prescribe expensive antibiotics again. I started taking the calcium but these have been nasty infections so I made an appointment to see a doctor in her office rather than paying the exorbitant emergency room costs.

The doctor confirmed the infection and was surprised it wasn't worse. I explained how I was treating myself with calcium. She declined to prescribe any antibiotics but told me if the infection didn't get any better to call her and she'd call in a prescription to my local pharmacy. I didn't make that call. After 3 days of treatment the infection was completely gone.

The theory behind why calcium works on infections is that bacteria and viruses may need an more acidic environment in which to survive. Lowering the acidity sufficiently makes the body and inhospitable environment for bacteria and viruses and kills them off.

There are two important risks to consider. This may not be true of all infections so if it is a serious infection it is wise to consult a doctor.

The other important risk is with cardiovascular diseases. Calcium might add to plaque in the arteries. This could kill you. Consult with a doctor before you try calcium if you even think you might have cardiovascular problems.

Replied by Larry
(Missoula, Mt. Usa)

The comments on using calcium to reduce the acidity, and thus make the body less a host for the invading organism, is right on. I found, quite by accident, some years ago, that eating hot peppers, such as in spicy mexican food, at the sign of a cold or flu would quickly eliminate all symptoms. The peppers are alkaline, and thus return the body's natural acid/base balance.

On the net a while back, I found a natural "detox" solution that I now keep on hand to treat any type of infections. It is made up of hot peppers, garlic, myrrh gum powder, 100 proof vodka, and ionic silver water. I'm not a doctor, and not advising this for anyone else, or for treatment of any specific ailment. It is only MY observations, based upon what has worked for me.

Replied by Desiree
(Portland, Or)

Hi, Can you please send me your detox recipe, including the amounts and name brands. Name brands will help me locate the product. Thanks!

Replied by Xanadu1jw

It is more likely the magnesium cured the infection as it is a major infection fighter. It does many other things in the body also like stop migraines, regulate the heartbeat, normalize blood pressure, reduce pain and muscle tension, and on and on. Very research worthy.

Castor Oil

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Karen S (Calgary, Alberta) on 03/11/2014

Castor Oil Packs are near miraculous!!

My 12 yr old son caught his big toe under a door and part of his nail ripped off. He was in a alot of pain, and is somewhat of a nervous nellie-patient, so I only had time to wash it with warm soapy water and then lather it with manuka honey and turmeric. While this worked great for a week or two, there was a minor infection underneath the nail and a scab, that he would not let be touched. Castor Oil packs to the rescue! I was able to wrap his toe in flannel and then some plastic wrap, with a hot water bottleon top for 1hr two nights in a row. This was able to turn the skin pink and healthy immediately, and then the scab and torn nail flaked off on their own the next day. The packs were able to heal from the inside. I never woud have even heard of them without this site. I luv EC!!

Castor Oil, Baking Soda, ACV Poultice

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Laurel (Virginia Beach, VA) on 06/21/2021 6 posts

Castor Oil & ACV Apple Cider Vinegar for wounds, skin infections, bites

Make a paste of castor oil, apple cider vinegar and baking soda. Apply to wound and cover w band-aid. Clean & change band-aid 2X a day. Amazing healing results!

Castor Oil, Baking Soda, Turmeric Paste

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by laurel (virginia beach, va) on 05/24/2023 6 posts

Castor Oil, baking soda, turmeric powder paste for skin infections

I make a paste (of the above) and apply to skin abrasion. Cover w band aid. I do this daily until the wound heals. Also works great for removing warts.

Replied by Mesem
(Riez, France)

Thanks David, I will see if I can actually buy colloidial silver, the echinacea yes. I repeat that I no longer have a wound or any sign of. The cat bit my thumb, but it's always been the little finger side that has been most affected.

Cat Bite Infection Remedies

3 User Reviews
5 star (3) 

Posted by Mesem (Riez, France) on 03/15/2013

24 Dec 2012, I was bitten by a cat. Later that day I got a tetanus injection and antibiotics. My hand stayed highly swollen for more than a month. My problem is that there is still infection in my hand (can't make a fist with my hand) still painful, slightly inflammed and circulation decrease. Doctors will not look at it! I have been to 2 and they just say silly things and do nothing. This is in France! The infection has remained isolated in my hand, no sign on skin. Help.

Replied by Dave
(Fountain Inn, Sc)

Cat Bite Infection

Two items will work wonders: For bites use echinacea, an herb. Buy the extract and apply onto white cloth or white paper towel and let dry against the bite. Apply ten drops more and let dry. Do it again.

One spider bite case I came across, I had the application on the bite (neck) for a dozen applications over a twenty four hour period.

While this poultice is working, take five drops of the echinacea in a glass of water and drink over an hour. An hour later another five drops in a glass of water and drink. I learned the amazing wonder of echinacea anti venom effect reading a book written by a Texas doctor who used it for any spider bite and even snake bites. The book was written about 1910. (Certainly I'm not saying to ignore going to an emergency room in case of any bite such as snake or dangerous spider.)

And also don't forget colloidal silver which can kill virus, fungus and bacteria. Apply topically with the same technique as echinacea discussed above. Also drink two tablespoons every waking hour for two days... Longer if the infection has been present for over a month. In the case of a long term infection the "bug" could have gone systemic and so I would keep using the silver or two months to make sure the infection is killed.

The bite you describe would have me using both echinacea and the silver. But if you can't get one, use the other. Echinacea also works great on ANY bite that I've come across... Any insect and when I get odd "itches" on tops of feet or hands, legs etc. , I just drip some echinacea on top of irritated area (any itching spot) and let the drops dry. Ten minutes later I re apply. It will dry slightly "tacky" but after the second application, the itching is gone.

Cat Bite Infection Remedies
Posted by Om (Hope, B.C. Canada) on 03/15/2013

Re: cat bites. I have had many rescue cats and not many bites at all. The ones treated at hospital took weeks and were unpeasant. But here is THE remedy. Would you believe next morning you can hardly discern the bite, all looks good and normal, no pain? The remedy is good quality turmeric. Stick your affected part into the powder and press it on right away. The bleeding will stop, the pain disappears. I always have turmeric in at least two places in the house. Any bleeding will be stopped. Antibiotics suppress the immune system so govern yourself with common sense. Next morning I could hardly see the tooth mark. By the way, when a cat bites, something is wrong with the animal and try to find out what you can do to help. Turmeric is a gift from the gods! Om

Replied by Lisa

YES! After calling several walk in clinics after my BF got bit by a feral cat we feed, I went to Earth Clinic and searched for cat bites. We tried the turmeric powder suggestion (after applying diluted grape seed oil extract first). Worked like a charm. One week later you can't even tell my BF was bitten and it never got close to being infected!


2 User Reviews
5 star (2) 

Posted by Rachel (Cambridge, UK) on 02/20/2008

I tried the Chamomile bath above for an infected cut in my foot after the doctor told me I would have to take oral antibiotics (my fourth course in 2008!) if it did not improve in two days. I bathed the cut twice a day for fifteen minutes (two tea bags in a litre of water). I also used an antibacterial cream and a paste of tumeric and honey (kept on for fifteen minutes after the chamomile bath - dyed my food yellow). Day three and the infection is nearly gone.

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