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Impetigo, ecthyma

Parts of this were taken with permission from Essential Oils Overview and Reference Guide, published by: The Family Tree, 2008

Summary

see also Acne, Athlete's foot, Boils, Chapped Lips, Dermatitis, Eczema, Jock Itch, Melanoma, Psoriasis, Rashes, Ring worm, Scabies, Scar Reduction, Skin cancer, Skin cosmetic problems

ImpetigoImpetigo is a bacterial (may be strep or staph) infection of the skin.  These bacteria are prevalent in our environment and usually the skin provides adequate protection.  If the skin protection is disrupted with an insect bite, a cut or scratch, from chapped skin, and sometimes for no apparent reason an infection may start.  More often it affects children and is typically around the mouth and nose.

The sores are reddish in color, about ½ to 1 inch in size, they develop a crusty scab, and ooze a whitish/yellow fluid. It is highly contagious especially as the fluid starts to form and ooze.  As children scratch or rub the area they can easily transport it to other areas of their body.  It can also be carried to others by using common items like towels, bedding, furniture, or toys.

EcthymaEcthyma is a stage more serious than impetigo which is an infection of the epidermal layer of the skin.  When it is left unattended the infection can worsen and penetrate into the dermal layer of the skin.  This then is ecthyma and is a much more serious condition.  The pus-filled sores and the inflamed area becomes larger and the crusty scabs are darker and thicker than with impetigo.  The larger area is itchy and there is a much higher probability that the infection will spread.  Also because of the deeper penetration the risk of scarring is much higher than with impetigo.

Helpful background information:

Your skin, the protection between you and the outer world, is your body’s largest organ.  It is there to protect you from infectious agents, environmental extremes, bumps, scratches, or invasive objects.  It has a system of nerves to warn against impending dangers, a system of sweat glands for cooling, a capillary system that can bring nutritional helps to the blood stream, and a system to exude poisons from the body.  A marvelous gland and so important for our health and well-being.

The skin is made up of three layers:

The epidermis – This is the outer layer of the skin.  It the primary protective coating of the body and is primarily non-living cells (no blood is delivered to them) that are fed by the lower dermis layer.  The epidermis is continually being rejuvenated from the dermis with the outer layer being completely replaced every 3 to 5 weeks. Skin Layers

The dermis – This layer, immediately below the epidermis, has all of the working elements of the skin.  It has the outermost capillaries of the blood system, it is the location of the sweat glands, it includes lymph nodes housing immune system cells, it has nerve endings for our sense of touch, and the hair follicles.  Around the hair follicles are the sebaceous glands that produce sebum.  The proper amount of sebum, an oily secretion, lubricates and waterproofs our skin.  Too much sebum, common to adolescents, leads to acne.  Too little sebum, common to aging adults, leads to dry skin that promotes wrinkles. Interestingly enough this same sebum is also a very important element in the use of essential oils.  This fatty substance is nearly ideal for absorbing essential oils, which then allows them, if applied topically (directly on the skin) to quickly enter the bloodstream.  A demonstration by Dr. David Hill shows the effects of oils in the blood stream within a matter of tens of seconds.

The subcutaneous (hypodermal) layer – This is the innermost layer of the skin.  It is the insulation for the body and is composed mostly of fat cell (adipocytes).  Besides insulation these fat cells provide texture for a pleasing appearance of the skin.  As these fat cells are lost, often in aging, wrinkles appear and sagging occurs.

 

[search helps: post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis, Staphylococcus aureus, cellulitis, methicillin-resistant staph aureus (MRSA) ]

Oils, blends & products recommended:

Oils & Blends:  Frankincense, GI Cleansing Formula, Helichrysum, LavenderC, Melaleuca, MyrrhC, Protective Blend, Oregano, Cleansing Blend

Essential oils based products: Protective Blend foaming soap and handwipes

Also consider: Topical BlendC, GeraniumC

Suggested protocols:

Impetigo:

·    Topically apply 2 -3 drops of Protective Blend with a carrier oil to the affected area 3 or 4 times per day till infection clears up.

·    If Protective Blend is not available others have found Lavender/Melaleuca or Cleansing Blend/Myrrh blends successful.

·   Try to keep the area dry and free of the liquid in the blister.

·   Use Protective Blend Foam or make a spray (6 – 8 oz spray bottle with water and 15-20 drops of Protective Blend).  Aggressively clean as the infection is highly contagious.

Ecthyma - this requires a more aggressive protocol than is needed for impetigo:

·    Clean area with Protective Blend Foaming Wash.

·   Apply 2 drops each of Frankincense and Oregano topically to the area .  Use a carrier oil to make application easier and to reduce stinging if necessary.  If a child is apprehensive let them inhale Lavender to relax them.

·   Allow oils to be absorbed then cover with protective covering.

·   Repeat application 3 times per day.  Cleanse hands with Protective Blend Foaming Wash to prevent spreading the infection.

·   Give 1 to 3 GI Cleansing Formula capsules or 3-5 drops of Oregano in a gel capsule once per day.  Adjust amount depending on age.

·   Continue the above procedures till the scabs clear and the new skin appears; then continue with 2 drops each of  Frankincense and Helichrysum applied topically to the area to heal and reduce scarring.

·   Continue this for 1 to 2 weeks to prevent reoccurrence.

 

Experiences and Testimonials of others

Rex - We had a very interesting experience with ecthyma.  Ecthyma, like impetigo can be either from bacterial strep or staph but, while impetigo only affects the epidermis layer, ecthyma penetrates to the dermis layer of the skin and includes pussy blisters and potential scarring.  Our 7 year old granddaughter came to visit and had a single area on her foot that looked to be ring worm but quickly spread and had the pussy blisters.  We started using Lavender and Frankincense topically which seemed to slow the spreading but not stop it.  We soon realized it was ecthyma.  We then became more aggressive with Oregano, Frankincense and some Helichrysum.  I was doing the application and was not careful enough and a chapped corner of my mouth was soon exhibiting the same properties.  So now I was treating both of us with the topical Oregano and Frankincense and we were washing the areas and our hands before and after with Protective Blend.  It seemed to slow the spreading but was not stopping it.  My sweet wife suggested adding internal oils as well.  So we each started taking GI Cleansing Formula capsules since they were premade with Oregano and other antibacterial oils. Twice a day for our granddaughter and 3 times a day for me.  We continued the topical oils as well.  Within 3 days my infection was completely cleared up and in the same time our granddaughter's infection had stopped spreading, the early infections were showing new healthy skin and the later ones were scabbing over.  Within another 3 days it was obvious her infection had been treated and all the scabs had come off revealing new healthy skin.

My lesson.  Sometimes you do have to treat, even skin disorders, from the inside and the outside!

Ecthyma example 1Example of ecthyma.  For the first week we were using topical treatment. Two or three times daily cleansed with Protective Blend (foam in photo) and then topical Oregano and Frankincense.  This slowed the spreading and limited it to the area shown but did stop and heal it completely. 

We then became more aggressive and added internal use of oils. Two days prior to these photos we started using GI Cleansing Formula capsules twice a day.  This was chosen because it had Oregano and other oils with antibacterial and antiviral properties.  Immediately there were no new blisters or enlargement of the area of infection. 

StinerEcthymaAfterEcthyma example 2Scabs formed and healing progressed.  The reddish area to the left is where one scab had already peeled off and new skin is revealed (1st photo to right). Within another week all the scabs had peeled off and new skin was revealed . We had used Helichrysum periodically and we believe that helped the healing and also the fact that now, one month later, there is no scarring and all is back to normal (2nd photo to right).

 

Dee – A friend has a three year old with a severe case of impetigo that has been treated by doctors with no improvement. She has even been given antidepressants. Has anyone had good success with helping this?

Pat - I would use Protective Blend with a carrier oil. Try to keep the area dry and free of the liquid in the blister. Spray Protective Blend everywhere she comes in contact with and let her spray her hands with the Protective Blend as often as she wants. Get a small glass spray bottle (6 – 8 oz), add water and 15-20 drops of Protective Blend.

Tiffany - My 4yr old daughter got impetigo this spring. I diluted Cleansing Blend and applied that to the sores, let it absorb, and then diluted Myrrh and applied that as well. It was 70% better within 24hrs and completely gone in 6 days. I applied Cleansing Blend and Myrrh every 3-4 hrs until it was gone, then I did it an extra 2 days just to be safe! The Cleansing Blend cleanses and kills the germs (also dries the sores out), and the Myrrh is great for skin issues. Because the sores are sensitive they will burn if you don't dilute them.  So my daughter said! I also put Protective Blend on her feet and diffused as well. I had her wash her hands with Protective Blend soap literally every hour too!

Jeannie - What is up with a Dr. giving a 3 year old antidepressants!?  I used simple oils topically.  I used Melaleuca then layered with Lavender 4-5 times a day.  It began to disappear in 3 days and is now completely gone.  Lavender is also very calming to children so your little one would gain great benefits from this oil.  I'd even put it on baby’s feet to help with the itching and sleep. 

Leah - Oh yuck, I dread impetigo. I may be close to 30 years old, but I still get it once a year or so. Anyhow... over the years I figured out what works for me. …Now, I find the sores, pop the fluid out of them (much like a zit, but it's all clear) and then scrub them once. My goal is to remove the top layer of skin so the sores can't close up and fill up again. Then I just let them air dry and not add anything.  About 4 or 5 times the first day I visually inspect the site. If I see any more bumps, I try to pop those and remove the skin (like a pinhead's worth). … No more scrubbing. I also check to make sure the sore are scabbing, not refilling with the impetigo fluid. If I'm not sure, I'll pull off the scab.               

Donna – Take baths in epsom salts or sea salt and soak as long as you can. My sister had this every year as a child and when we would take our "red neck Riviera" vacation at the beach after a couple of days swimming in the ocean she was healed!

Protocols folks recommend for children

Rex - We had a very interesting experience with ecthyma.  Ecthyma, like impetigo can be either from bacterial strep or staph but, while impetigo only affects the epidermis layer, ecthyma penetrates to the dermis layer of the skin and includes pussy blisters and potential scarring.  Our 7 year old granddaughter came to visit and had a single area on her foot that looked to be ring worm but quickly spread and had the pussy blisters.  We started using Lavender and Frankincense topically which seemed to slow the spreading but not stop it.  We soon realized it was ecthyma.  We then became more aggressive with Oregano, Frankincense and some Helichrysum.  I was doing the application and was not careful enough and a chapped corner of my mouth was soon exhibiting the same properties.  So now I was treating both of us with the topical Oregano and Frankincense and we were washing the areas and our hands before and after with Protective Blend.  It seemed to slow the spreading but was not stopping it.  My sweet wife suggested adding internal oils as well.  So we each started taking GI Cleansing Formula capsules since they were premade with Oregano and other antibacterial oils. Twice a day for our granddaughter and 3 times a day for me.  We continued the topical oils as well.  Within 3 days my infection was completely cleared up and in the same time our granddaughter's infection had stopped spreading, the early infections were showing new healthy skin and the later ones were scabbing over.  Within another 3 days it was obvious her infection had been treated and all the scabs had come off revealing new healthy skin.

My lesson.  Sometimes you do have to treat, even skin disorders, from the inside and the outside!

Ecthyma example 1Example of ecthyma.  For the first week we were using topical treatment. Two or three times daily cleansed with Protective Blend (foam in photo) and then topical Oregano and Frankincense.  This slowed the spreading and limited it to the area shown but did stop and heal it completely. 

We then became more aggressive and added internal use of oils. Two days prior to these photos we started using GI Cleansing Formula capsules twice a day.  This was chosen because it had Oregano and other oils with antibacterial and antiviral properties.  Immediately there were no new blisters or enlargement of the area of infection. 

StinerEcthymaAfterEcthyma example 2Scabs formed and healing progressed.  The reddish area to the left is where one scab had already peeled off and new skin is revealed (1st photo to right). Within another week all the scabs had peeled off and new skin was revealed . We had used Helichrysum periodically and we believe that helped the healing and also the fact that now, one month later, there is no scarring and all is back to normal (2nd photo to right).

 

Dee – A friend has a three year old with a severe case of impetigo that has been treated by doctors with no improvement. She has even been given antidepressants. Has anyone had good success with helping this?

Pat - I would use Protective Blend with a carrier oil. Try to keep the area dry and free of the liquid in the blister. Spray Protective Blend everywhere she comes in contact with and let her spray her hands with the Protective Blend as often as she wants. Get a small glass spray bottle (6 – 8 oz), add water and 15-20 drops of Protective Blend.

Tiffany - My 4yr old daughter got impetigo this spring. I diluted Cleansing Blend and applied that to the sores, let it absorb, and then diluted Myrrh and applied that as well. It was 70% better within 24hrs and completely gone in 6 days. I applied Cleansing Blend and Myrrh every 3-4 hrs until it was gone, then I did it an extra 2 days just to be safe! The Cleansing Blend cleanses and kills the germs (also dries the sores out), and the Myrrh is great for skin issues. Because the sores are sensitive they will burn if you don't dilute them.  So my daughter said! I also put Protective Blend on her feet and diffused as well. I had her wash her hands with Protective Blend soap literally every hour too!

Jeannie - What is up with a Dr. giving a 3 year old antidepressants!?  I used simple oils topically.  I used Melaleuca then layered with Lavender 4-5 times a day.  It began to disappear in 3 days and is now completely gone.  Lavender is also very calming to children so your little one would gain great benefits from this oil.  I'd even put it on baby’s feet to help with the itching and sleep. 

Leah - Oh yuck, I dread impetigo. I may be close to 30 years old, but I still get it once a year or so. Anyhow... over the years I figured out what works for me. …Now, I find the sores, pop the fluid out of them (much like a zit, but it's all clear) and then scrub them once. My goal is to remove the top layer of skin so the sores can't close up and fill up again. Then I just let them air dry and not add anything.  About 4 or 5 times the first day I visually inspect the site. If I see any more bumps, I try to pop those and remove the skin (like a pinhead's worth). … No more scrubbing. I also check to make sure the sore are scabbing, not refilling with the impetigo fluid. If I'm not sure, I'll pull off the scab.               

Donna – Take baths in epsom salts or sea salt and soak as long as you can. My sister had this every year as a child and when we would take our "red neck Riviera" vacation at the beach after a couple of days swimming in the ocean she was healed!

 

Diet and Nutritional complements to essential oils

 

What Science & Research are saying

Layman’s summary:

Trichophyton mentagrophytes is the technical name for a common found fungus that is the source of superficial infections on the skin of humans and some animals.  It  commonly infects the skin, hair, and nails being a frequent causative agent of chronic infection of the feet, nails, and groin.  The common names of such infections are jock itch and ringworm.

The study only explored exposing this fungus to the vapors of essential oils and did not explore direct (topical) application.  The essential oils tested in this research were Clove, Geranium, Lavender, Oregano, perilla, and tea tree (Melaleuca).  The findings were that they all were effective in killing this fungus.  Oregano was the most effective; Clove and perilla second most effective; and Geranium, Lavender and Melaleuca third.  Further Oregano, perilla, Melaleuca and Lavender were effective in 3 hours while Clove and Geranium required overnight exposure.

 

Original report (from SpringerLink):

The vapor activity of Oregano, perilla, tea tree, Lavender, Clove, and Geranium oils against a Trichophyton mentagrophytes in a closed box.

Inouye S, Nishiyama Y, Uchida K, Hasumi Y, Yamaguchi H, Abe S.

Teikyo University Institute of Medical Mycology, 256 Otsuka, Hachioji, Hachioji, Tokyo 192-0395, Japan. s-ino@p08.itscom.net

The vapor activity of six essential oils against a Trichophyton mentagrophytes was examined using a closed box. The antifungal activity was determined from colony size, which was correlated with the inoculum size. As judged from the minimum inhibitory dose and the minimum fungicidal dose determined after vapor exposure for 24 h, the vapor activity of the six essential oils was ranked in the following order: Oregano > Clove, perilla > Geranium, Lavender, tea tree. The vapors of Oregano, perilla, tea tree, and Lavender oils killed the mycelia by short exposure, for 3 h, but the vapors of Clove and Geranium oils were only active after overnight exposure. The vapor of Oregano and other oils induced lysis of the mycelia. Morphological examination by scanning electron microscope (SEM) revealed that the cell membrane and cell wall were damaged in a dose- and time-dependent manner by the action of Oregano vapor, causing rupture and peeling of the cell wall, with small bulges coming from the cell membrane. The vapor activity increased after 24 h, but mycelial accumulation of the active oil constituents was maximized around 15 h, and then decreased in parallel with the decrease of vapor concentration. This suggested that the active constituent accumulated on the fungal cells around 15 h caused irreversible damage, which eventually led to cellular death.

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NOTE: The advice shared in this site has not been evaluated by the FDA. The products and methods recommended are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease, nor is it intended to replace proper medical help. As members offer or look for answers, kindly understand that essential oils work to help to bring the body into balance - thus helping the body's natural defenses to restore homeostasis. Essential oils are not used to "treat" medical problems.