Cellulitis is a fairly common but potentially dangerous bacterial infection that affects the skin’s middle layer (dermis) and the tissues below that layer. It could also affect the muscle tissues around the affected skin.
Normally, the skin has numerous bacteria living on it but when there is a break in the skin, these bacteria could cause a skin infection.
Cellulitis is most often caused by staphylococcus and streptococcus bacteria. Furthermore, your skin is most susceptible to cellulitis when the skin has broken open, such as in cases of insect bites, cuts, scrapes, ulcers, burns, and surgical wounds, as well as in cases of skin diseases that break down the skin such as in psoriasis, eczema, and fungal infections.
Factors that increase your susceptibility to cellulitis include;
- peeling or crack skins especially between the toes
- having a history of a peripheral vascular disease
- skin trauma or injury that breaks the skin
- using corticosteroids or other drugs that suppress the immune system
- stings or bites from insects, animals, or other humans
- skin ulcers
Symptoms of cellulitis include; tenderness or pain of the affected area, fever, inflammation or skin redness, rash or skin sore that starts and spreads quickly, tight and glossy skin texture, skin feels warm in the affected area, swelling of joints and joint stiffness around the affected area, as well as nausea/vomiting.
Other general signs of infection include; fatigue, sweating, warm skin, general malaise, muscle pains and aches, as well as chills.
In most cases, cellulitis tends to be mild and resolve on their own. However, in some cases, cellulitis may exacerbate to a serious infection and may even become fatal.
Furthermore, if the cellulitis-causing bacteria get into the bloodstream or lymph nodes, it could lead to severe complications.
As such, it is advisable to get a proper doctor’s diagnosis and treatment if you believe you have cellulitis especially if your symptoms are getting worse.
Here are some tips and good practices, to consider if you are dealing with cellulitis;
- Endeavor to clean the wound daily with water and antiseptic soap.
- You could apply an antiseptic cream or ointment around the affected area.
- Ensure you continually monitor the affected area for worsening signs of infections such as increased inflammation, pain, and drainage. Seek medical evaluation/attention if necessary.
- If you are diabetic or susceptible to skin ulcers, take extra care to avoid skin injuries.
- Keep your skin moist with lotion in order to prevent skin cracking.
- As cellulitis often occurs around the feet, ensure you wear shoes that fit well and are comfortable for your feet.
Below are home remedies and natural treatments for cellulitis
1. Tea Tree Oil
Commonly known as melaleuca oil, tea tree oil is widely known for its antifungal, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antiviral components. It is for this reason that this component has been incorporated in the manufacture of cosmetics and used as a treatment for infections of the skin. Take a small piece of cotton wool and moisten it using water. Then, apply approximately 3 drops of tea tree oil on the moistened piece of cotton wool and rub it against the infected area. Wait for a few hours and then use clean water to wash it off.
Another way of using tea tree oil is by mixing it with a few teaspoons of unprocessed honey or aloe vera gel and applying it on the infected part of the skin. Wash it off after a few hours have elapsed. Follow either of the two procedures, two times every day, until the infection is cleared off completely.
2. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is mostly used to moisturize the skin by many people. In addition to moisturizing the skin, coconut oil also contains properties that make it antiseptic and soothing to the skin. Monolaurin, which is a byproduct of coconut, has the ability to prevent occurrence of skin infections caused by bacteria.
For this remedy, apply a small amount of coconut oil on the area of the skin that is affected. Leave it to settle for a couple of hours and wash it off afterward. For faster results, repeat the procedure several times every day until the required results are achieved.
Extracts from the calendula flower helps to soothe inflammations of the skin and helps in the treatment of bacterial skin infections. The extracts from the calendula flower are highly soluble in water and upon application on the infected surface of the skin, they increase the circulation of blood. This further enables the affected area to heal faster.
For this remedy, put 2 teaspoons of calendula flower in hot water and let them soak for around ten minutes. Dip a small piece of clean cloth into the solution and gently apply on the affected area of skin and leave it for about 20 minutes. For best results, ensure you repeat the procedure 3-4 times a day for a couple of weeks.
Alternatively, you can apply calendula cream on the affected skin surface several times every day until you are satisfied with the results.
Turmeric has antibiotic properties due to its active ingredient called curcumin. Like calendula, it is also very good in soothing inflammations of the skin. Turmeric is also used in the eradication of acne on the skin. To a glass of milk, add 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder and bring the milk to a boil. You may also decide to add some honey to the milk. Drink the solution 1-2 times every day. Do this until the infection is fully cleared. An alternative for this is consuming standardized turmeric powder supplement, about 600g, every day for a couple of weeks.
Alternatively, you can mix 1 tablespoon of honey with 1 tablespoon of turmeric powder and 2 tablespoons of bentonite clay or 3 drops of tea tree oil and make a paste. Then, apply the paste on the area of skin that is infected and wash off after 15 minutes. Turmeric should not be consumed by people with gallbladder infections, blood clotting complications or diabetic people on medications.
5. Manuka Honey
Being a native New Zealand product, this honey is known to speed up the healing of wounds. An alternative for Manuka honey is the raw organic unprocessed honey. Spread the honey on the area of the skin that is affected and wait for it to settle for about 20 minutes. Wash off the honey thereafter. For effective results, repeat this procedure several times every day.
6. Oregano Oil
Oregano oil is a potent natural antibiotic that also contains other properties necessary for treatment of viral, fungal and bacterial infections on the skin. For this remedy, take any carrier oil, such as coconut oil or jojoba oil or olive oil, and dilute 10-12 drops of oil of oregano and apply on the area of the skin that is affected. Leave for 20-40 minutes and wash off thereafter.
Alternatively, you can mix 3 drops of the oil of oregano with 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and consume 5 times every day for 4 days, then, reduce the dosage. You can also add a teaspoon of honey into the mixture. You can also mix in 5 drops of oregano oil in a fruit juice and consume every day. This remedy should not be consumed by pregnant women and it should not be applied to broken skin.
7. Hot Or Cold Compress
This remedy involves the use of hot water or ice. It helps a lot in the soothing of skin inflammations. For this remedy, place a bottle of hot water or an ice pack on the affected area of the skin and leave for fifteen minutes. Repeat the procedure two times every day.
8. Epsom Salt Bath
The magnesium ions in Epsom salt are responsible for soothing of inflammations on the skin. In your bath water, add 1 cup of the Epsom salt and soak yourself in the water for about twenty minutes, once every day. You could also use sea salt if Epsom salt is not readily available.
Garlic has potent properties that inhibit microbial activity. For this remedy, pound the garlic cloves to form a paste. Then, apply the paste directly onto the affected area and wash off after 30 minutes. Perform this remedy twice every day. Alternatively, you can chew on the garlic cloves or add them to your meals.
10. Fenugreek Seeds
Fenugreek seeds are rich in flavonoids that help to soothe pain and skin inflammations. For this remedy, soak the seeds of fenugreek in water overnight. Then, grind the seeds in the morning to form a paste. Apply the paste on the affected area of the skin and rinse off with warm water after 20-30 minutes. Do this twice every day.
11. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has antimicrobial properties that make it potent against cellulitis. ACV also helps in balancing the skin pH. For this remedy, add 2 cups of the apple cider vinegar into your bath water and soak in it for about half an hour. Another way is by applying a dilute solution of the apple cider vinegar on the affected area of skin. Both procedures should be done only once every day for effective results.
Taking vitamins E and C is an effective alternative remedy for cellulitis. Daily consumption of 4000g of vitamin C and around 400-900g of vitamin E is beneficial against cellulitis. Ensure you consult your healthcare provider before taking any supplement.
13. Gingko Biloba
Gingko Biloba is a natural remedy for cellulitis due to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Put 1 teaspoons of the herb in water and boil. For 5 minutes, steep the water and then strain out the herb. Add some honey into the water and drink it while still hot. For effective results, repeat this procedure three times every day.
The roots of the dandelion plant are known for their ability to soothe skin inflammation. In a cup of hot water, steep 2 tablespoons of dandelion roots and leave for about fifteen minutes. Thereafter, strain the mixture and add a little honey and drink while still hot. Repeat the procedure three times every day for effective result.
15. Grapefruit Seed Extract
The seed extracts from the grapefruit consist of bioactive constituents that inhibit pathogen activities. In a cup of water, add several drops of the extract and drink the water. This procedure should be repeated three times every day for the best results.
16. Plain Yogurt
Yogurt is a well-known source of good bacteria (probiotics) into the body. It is also an anti-inflammatory substance that reduces inflammation and swelling of the skin. Consumption of plain yogurt once every day is recommended. The yogurt can also be applied directly to the affected part of the skin, twice daily, and rinsed off after 20 minutes.
Echinacea is used for numerous health issues due to its therapeutic and medicinal values. In addition to its anti-inflammatory properties, the herb also exhibits antibiotic, antimicrobial and anti-allergic properties. The herb can be prepared and consumed as a tea. Furthermore, extracts from echinacea herb can also be applied on the affected parts of the skin.
Thyme is a potent inhibitor of bacterial growth. However, people who are taking medication for thinning blood should not take thyme. Consumption of approximately 2g of thyme is recommended only once every day. You could also add thyme to your meals. You could also opt for diluted thyme oil if thyme is not readily available.
19. Sweet Clover
Sweet clover helps to improve the circulation of blood in the body and hence speeds up recovery. For this remedy, chop the sweet clover. Then, mix 2 tablespoons of the chopped sweet clover with hot water and bring to a boil for ten minutes. Allow the mixture to cool and drink it. Follow this remedy two or three times every day until the cellulitis subsides.
A native perennial herb from southeastern Canada and eastern United States, goldenseal has long been used for medicinal and beauty products. It has anti-inflammatory properties that make it suitable for treatment of cellulitis. For this remedy, mix the goldenseal powder with little water to form a paste which you apply on the affected skin and leave for a few hours. You can use a bandage to hold the paste in position.
Many people do not know the pineapple for its healing properties on the skin. However, the pineapple has a potent enzyme, called bromelain, which is responsible for cellulitis treatment. Daily consumption of pineapple, alongside meals, is recommended.
22. Neem Oil
Neem is very popular for the treatment of wounds and bites from insects. You can either use diluted neem oil and apply it on the area of the skin that is affected. Ensure to use neem oil in low concentrations.
Consumption of a lot of water enables your body to get rid of toxins and other wastes in your body. Some of these wastes are contributory factors for numerous skin infections and inflammations. Hence, drinking a lot of water is one of the natural remedies for cellulitis as water detoxifies the body. Furthermore, an optimally hydrated body hastens the healing process.
Always ensure that your hands are clean at all times. This is particularly important when you have open wounds on your skin. Clean hands reduce the likelihood of contamination of wounds by bacteria and other pathogens which could lead to cellulitis.
25. Moisturize Your Skin
When skin is not well moisturized, it leads to drying of the skin which, in turn, results to cracking of the skin. This is due to the increased feeling of skin itchiness and resultant scratching of the skin which could lead to skin cracking. In addition to being unattractive, broken skin increases your susceptibility to cellulitis.
26. Rosemary Oil
Rosemary oil is popular for lubricating the skin, and therefore preventing drying and cracking of the skin. Apply a couple of drops of the rosemary oil on the infected part of the skin. Do this until the infection is eradicated completely.
27. Proper Hygiene
Taking a warm shower frequently can also help treat the cellulitis infection. Proper care and dressing of the wounds is also effective in the control of cellulitis.
28. Activated Charcoal
Activated charcoal is porous and therefore helps in drawing out toxins and chemicals that may be responsible for inflammation on the skin. In a ratio of 1:1, mix the charcoal with flaxseed that has been ground and add a little water to make a paste. Spread the paste on a paper towel, then place the paste on the infected area and firmly secure the paste by using a tape. Leave the paste overnight. Follow this procedure every day for a couple of days.
With proper care to prevent excess pressure, massage is aimed at ensuring that there is proper blood circulation around the affected area. It is, however, important to consult a doctor first before opting for massage therapy.
30. Ledum Palsture
Ledum palsture is a commonly used treatment for cellulitis caused by insect bites. It is used to get rid of the pain that is caused by the cellulitis. For long-term cellulitis that tends to turn your skin color to green, this is an effective home treatment.
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