Home Remedies for Impetigo

Nov 05, 2017

Impetigo is a very contagious bacterial skin infection that normally affects children, but adults can also catch it. Natural cures for impetigo include include grapefruit seed extract, colloidal silver, heat, turmeric and dietary changes.

Natural Cures for Impetigo

Although impetigo usually heals naturally over two to three weeks, natural remedies can work fast to heal impetigo with fewer symptoms. Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE) is the most popular impetigo remedy for Earth Clinic readers.

Grapefruit Seed Extract is a very powerful antioxidant and non-toxic disinfectant. Among its many benefits, it is effective when used for topical skin infections, such as impetigo.

An Earth Clinic contributor, Jj from Bournemouth, UK sent us a detailed post about the treatment which begins, "Hello, I'm so happy and relieved to say that Grapefruit Seed Extract worked brilliantly to heal my impetigo!" Read the entire post to learn how he cured the impetigo with Grapefruit Seed Extract and Aloe Vera Juice, which cools the skin and helps with the itching.

Heat

It may sound somewhat strange, but some Earth Clinic contributors discovered that heat can cure impetigo. They used either hot water or a blow dryer to heat the affected area until it was too hot to be comfortable. The theory is that if the body raises body temperature (fever) to kill bacteria, then external heat might accomplish the same purpose.  Read the posts and decide for yourself.

Colloidal Silver and Turmeric

Colloidal silver is a "must-have" for many Earth Clinic readers. A contributor named Markell had really good results with a silver solution gel. "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."

Dietary Changes to Support the System and for Future Health

  • Try an all-fruit diet for the first 2-3 days.
  • Support the immune system with organic fruits, vegetables and whole grains. 
  • Eat fewer animal-based proteins.
  • Use extra-virgin olive oil as the primary fat, replacing polyunsaturated vegetables oils, margarine, vegetable shortening, etc. 
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids are important for daily health.
  • Ginger and Turmeric should be consumed regularly because of the antiinflammatory effects.

What Is Impetigo?

Impetigo is a highly contagious skin disorder that typically affects infants and children, but adults also suffer from it. The first symptoms are normally red sores, usually around the nose and mouth. As the sores progress, the lesions typically burst and form a honey-colored crust.  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. The bacteria can pass directly from one person to another or be transmitted via a towel or other item handled by that person. Towels or bed linens, etc. should only be used by the infected person and washed frequently.

Continue reading below for many more impetigo remedies from our wonderful Earth Clinic readers and let us know about your own favorite home remedy!

Additional Pages of Interest:

Impetigo in Children



ACV, Tea Tree Oil and Grape Seed Extract  

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Posted by Diane (Colorado) on 06/19/2016
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I had impetigo in two places, one spot on my face and a big area on my legs from eczema. To cure the one on on my face, I put tea tree oil and apple cider vinegar on maybe twice a day for one day I think. A couple hours later I would apply heat. I also took grape seed extract (120mg) once a day for one week and the impetigo on my face cleared up.

I would note that none of these methods worked with my legs. I had to resort to antibiotics for the legs.


Antiviral Medication  

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Posted by Sara (Grand Rapids, Michigan) on 04/08/2014
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I wanted to write about impetigo: I experienced what I thought was a cold sore on my lip and then I noticed blistering on my chin. I was then diagnosed with impetigo on my chin with blistering, inflamed skin, oozing/leaking yellow liquid and then crusting and scabbing. This recurred 4 times over and over.... and took over a week to move through the stages with each occurrence. I was put on the topical Mupirocin... which worked but then it came back. I tried other antibiotics such as Doxycycline, Batrum and Keflix which also worked to some degree but then it came back. I also tried Grapefruit Seed Extract (GFSE) which worked as well or better than the antibiotics and drew out the yellow liquid and resulted in shorter time with scabs. I was very impressed with the GFSE.... however it came back again!! I was sent to a dermatologist who said that it might be a combination of impetigo and herpes simplex 1/cold sore virus as the infection kept returning in the exact same place on my chin every time. She put me on an antiviral, Valtrex. I also started to take large amounts of Lysine and limited my foods that contained arginine. It finally went away and has not returned!

I share as I wanted to let others know if you have what looks to be impetigo that keeps recurring in the exact same place it might be both impetigo and herpes simplex 1!!!!!

Thank you for this awesome website!! Sara

Replied by Dookie
United States
08/12/2015

I have had the same problem as you. Going on 20 years. Life is in ruins. I've managed to keep my lips area in check. Search Amazon for Lysine lip ointment. I don't know if they have GNC where you live, but I just buy mine there. Use it in the AM and PM and as needed. Keeps my lips in check while the rest of my face looks like an apocalypse. :(


Apple Cider Vinegar, Coconut Oil  

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Posted by Margaret (Knoxville Tn) on 02/03/2014
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ACV compress followed by pure coconut oil cleared impetigo up in a matter of days.


Apple Cider Vinegar, Dietary Changes  

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


Black Walnut  

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Posted by Herbal (Cedar Rapids, Iowa Usa) on 08/12/2012
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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 Papaya
Warsaw
12/17/2014
4 out of 5 stars

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.


Coconut Oil  

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Posted by Chema (San Diego, California) on 01/19/2012
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I went and bought some Coconut Oil worked fantastic!

EC: For medicinal purposes, use Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, the kind that smells like coconut.


Colloidal Silver  

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Posted by Monique (Coffs Harbour) on 02/28/2017
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Colloidal silver cures EVERYTHING!!!! It has worked for impetigo in myself and children, mouth ulcers, chest infections, u name it. Also wild oil of oregano works wonders for everything too, glad to read about someone else using colloidal silver as most people think I'm crazy 😁

Replied by Lena
Hawaii
10/27/2017

How would you reccommend the use of CS on a 2year old. she is currently usung abx cream, keeps popping up anyway


Colloidal Silver, Aloe Vera  

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

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

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. Following these remedies, you will be feeling much better but need to also boost your antioxidant status thru supplementation.

Replied by Cgio
New York
07/19/2016

Regarding the cell phone? I would say maybe it's the bacteria on the cell phone? We put our cell phones down in all sorts of places.... I try to disinfect mine frequently, but still.... it picks up bacteria and germs.

Replied by Robyn
Tx
11/04/2017

Wondering if you have tried an ozone machine? It's worked for me if I use it regularly.


Echinacea  

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


Grapefruit Seed Extract  

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Posted by Karen (San Francisco, Ca) on 06/07/2017
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I was using a strong topical antibiotic on my recurring impetigo. I was warned by my doctor to not overuse it, but little spots would show up on my legs and I struggled to keep outbreaks under control. After checking Earth Clinic, I tried grapefruit seed extract. It has basically cured my impetigo. As soon as I detect a spot, I apply the extract directly, and by the next day the rash is gone. Truly remarkable. Thanks, Earth Clinic!

Replied by Lena
Hawaii
10/26/2017

hi, I am@wondering which brand GSE you used. I have been informed that since they've removed the synthetic preservatives GSE actually has no real antiseptic properties. I am desperately seeking a cure for my 1yo


Posted by Charlotte (Toronto, Canada) on 02/13/2013
4 out of 5 stars

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?


Posted by Jj (Bournemouth, UK) on 01/12/2013
5 out of 5 stars

Hello, I'm so happy and relieved to say that Grapefruit Seed EXtract 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


Posted by Pigeongurl (Lowell, Mi) on 08/09/2012
5 out of 5 stars

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!


Posted by Teknut (Seattle, Wa) on 04/13/2012
5 out of 5 stars

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 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.



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