At the end of last year I had developed a skin infection that started from my ear and spread across my face and down my arms. I was mortified when big red sores appeared around my cheeks and mouth and was quite embarrassed by them (as I could see people stare at my face where my sores were when I talked with them). So before following the usual path of taking antibiotics, I wanted to look for natural remedies that people have tried in the past that have helped to heal skin infections naturally.
I also was hesitant to go straight into using antibiotics as there has been a huge rise in antibiotic-resistance, as well as the fact that taking antibiotics can have a huge impact on gut health as it kills of any kind of bacteria living there, whether they’re good or bad.
So, I started researching methods and ways that may help in treating skin infections naturally, and many of the remedies I found were actually used by our ancestors in the past, back before antibiotics were created. Here are a few natural remedies you can use in helping to treat skin infections.
Ways to Treat Skin Infections Naturally
Some natural remedies that stand out above the rest in helping to fight against antibiotic-resistant skin infections include:
- CBD oil
- Sida acuta
- Essential oils
How CBD Oil Helps Skin Infections
Cannabidiol (a.k.a CBD) is a form of cannabis that has been shown to contain important medicinal benefits. Rest assured though it does not make the recipient feel “stoned” in any way. Cannabinoids may have a neutralising effect on MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), a type of superbug that is resistant to most antibiotics.
Cannabinoids may also help increase the skin’s natural resistance to infections by enhancing the response of the endocannibinoid system (a group of molecules and receptors that help with immunity, among many other things).
So by applying a topical form of CBD oil, this may be the best way to obtain the antibacterial, skin-protective benefits of the cannabinoids.
Honey’s Medicinal Properties
Natural, pure, unprocessed honey may help speed up the healing of diabetic wounds, and can aid in treating ringworm, Candida infections affecting the skin, and acne.
Manuka honey, in particular, has a very wide spectrum of medicinal benefits, which is not found in many other known natural antimicrobials. It prevents bacteria like MRSA and Pseudomonas aeruginosa from colonising and spreading on the skin and in wounds. One of the main reasons Manuka honey has such strong antimicrobial effects is due to the methylgyloxal (MGO) present in it, which is a phytochemical found in the nectar of Leptospermum flowers which has the ability to damage bacterial DNA, RNA, and proteins.
It is important to consider the UMF ratings when selecting Manuka honey to use for its medicinal properties. UMF stands for Unique Manuka Factor and is a quality trademark and grading system only given to authentic Manuka honey produced and packaged in New Zealand. It rates the strength of the honey. The lowest strength honey recommended for medicinal use is UMF 10+, which can be good for infections that are less serious, like acne. UMF 15+ or 20+ is recommended for more stubborn infections.
In case you’re sitting there thinking, “What on Earth is Cryptolepis?” (which is exactly what I was thinking when I first read the name), it’s a plant that’s native to Africa and has traditionally been used to treat malaria. But that’s not all it’s good for, Cryptolepis works as a broad-spectrum antimicrobial helping to combat against bacteria like MRSA, Pseudomonas aureginosa, and Candida albicans.
It is said that the best form to use Cryptolepis in is as a salve, and Chris Kresser recommends this one.
Sida acuta as a Treatment Option
Sida acuta is a species of flowering plant in the mallow family and grows around the world. It is a powerful treatment for skin infections, especially for bacteria like Staphylococcus aures, Pseudomonas, aeruginosa, and Candida.
Essential Oils to Use
There is a huge variety of essential oils that have antimicrobial properties that may help in neutralising pathogens on the skin, some of which include:
- Juniper berry
- Tea tree
When using most of these oils, a carrier oil (such as coconut or olive oil) is needed to dilute them before applying them onto the skin, as they can cause irritation and actually damage the skin because they’re too strong to use undiluted. Tea tree and lavender are usually ok to use straight.
Combining the different essential oils will enhance their effects as the combination of health properties boosts healing. As an example, one might be a strong anti-bacterial, while another might work as an antiseptic. You can look around for natural, pre-made blends of essential oils that are meant for topical use on skin infections.
When we think of probiotics, our mind usually associates them with the gut. But they’re not only useful for gut health, they can also be used in the treatment of skin infections!
Lactobacilli contain antimicrobial properties and help fight against skin pathogens, as well as aid in the prevention of biofilm (a build-up of stubborn bacteria on a surface that is very challenging to remove) when applied topically to the skin. Lactobacillus plantarum may also prevent the colonisation of Pseudomonas aeruginosa on the skin and promotes tissue repair in burn wounds.
There aren’t too many skin care products containing probiotics that are explicitly intended for treating skin infections, however, one that might be worth giving a go is Mother Dirt. The ammonia-oxidising bacteria found in Mother Dirt products may help in replacing essential bacteria lost through modern hygiene practices and lifestyle, and may also help to strengthen the skin’s natural defenses against infection.
As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor before trying or using any new products.
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Have you tried using natural treatments to heal skin infections before? What natural remedies did you use? Did they help? Share in the comments below!
Kresser, Chris. (November 1, 2018). 6 Ways to Treat a Skin Infection Using Natural Remedies. Chris Kresser. Retrieved from https://chriskresser.com/6-ways-to-treat-a-skin-infection-using-natural-remedies/
What is CBD?. Project CBD. Retrieved from https://www.projectcbd.org/about/what-cbd