Skin in Health and Disease

Some Topics

Skin Infections with Bacteria and Fungi

Skin Infection

Bacterial Skin Infections

Bacteria are residents of the skin shared with other people in a variety of ways. Infections may result from skin injury, insect bites, but often arise spontaneously by bacterial invasion of hair follicles and skin glands. A golden-crusted surface infection with streptococci is called impetigo that can be treated with a 10-day course of a topical antibiotic preparation like bacitracin ointment. Many organisms grow in hairs follicle causing folliculitis. Hot tubs, pools, or whirlpools may spread bacteria such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa that causes folliculitis. Loofah sponges support the growth of bacteria and can be a source of infection. A boil is a localized abscess created by the growth of staphylococci in a hair follicle. Spreading infections, described as cellulitis, are commonly caused by group A streptococci. Rarely, infections with virulent stains of Strep A progress to cell death in deep tissue (necrotising fasciitis).

Common acne is an example of ecological problems on the skin. The disfiguring pimples and nodules of acnes are infections of the oil glands (pilosebaceous ducts) in the skin. The infectious agents are common bacteria, propionibacterium acnes that grow well in the oily secretions of the glands (sebum).Oil secretion is increased by testosterone, the male sex hormone. Oil secretion increases in adolescent males and females. Since acne lesions appear on the face primarily their negative impact on appearance and social status is a major concern to teenagers and young adults. Acne persisting or arising for the first time in adults is the most common cause of cosmetic concern. Careful skin cleaning with some method of removing the surface stratum corneum skin layer are essential strategies of controlling acne. The use of antibiotics and/or antibacterial topical agents is the third method of control.

Hand cleansing in hospitals is an important method of infection control. Cleaning skin wounds with warm water and antiseptic detergents is a primary method of infection control. Topical antibiotics and a protective bandage are secondary infection control measures. The identification of infecting organisms is not easy. Skin swabs will grow a mixture of organisms, suggesting the need for an unnecessarily broad antibiotic coverage. Antibiotics that inhibit the growth of group A streptococci and Staph. aureus are used when an infection is not controlled by local measures. Bacterial resistance to many antibiotics has made most penicillins obsolete, so that the choice of antibiotic requires physicians expertise and knowledge of local bacterial strains.

Fungal Skin Infections

Fungi are found everywhere and yeasts form part of the normal skin flora. Fungal infections of the skin, hair and nails are common skin diseases. Fungi can infect the skin of people of all ages. Increased incidence occurs in immune compromised patients who have AIDS, diabetes, or are being treated with chemotherapeutic agents and therapy directed at reducing inflammation. People with diabetes and people who are simply getting older have more skin infections.

Skin infections can divided into the most common superficial group that stays in the outer layers of the skin and an invasive group that extends beyond the skin in adjacent tissues and may spread to other organs. Invasive skin infections such as blastomycosis often develop after a primary lung infection is established. The infecting yeast travel in the blood from the lung to skin areas.

Fungal infections are probably the most common cause of skin abnormalities in part because fungi become permanent residents of the skin. Most fungal infections are superficial but a few a invasive and dangerous. Fungi grow best where is there is moisture, so that skin inflammation between the finger and toes, in the groin and around the anus is often caused by fungal growth. The skin of the scalp is commonly infected with fungi that cause itching and dandruff. Nail  infections cause  discoloration and deformity.

Physicians can attempt to identify infecting fungi by scraping scaly lesions to obtain specimens. Nail samples are obtained scrapings from  under the nail. The specimen is placed on a glass slide; a few drops of potassium hydroxide are added to digest keratin and the slide is examined under the microscope for fungal elements.  Specimens can be sent for culture on agar containing Sabouraud medium, combined with antibiotics to eliminate bacteria and with cycloheximide to inhibit saprophytic fungi. Growth is usually apparent in 3 to 14 days. Dermatophyte test medium culture can be used in the office and is both accurate and inexpensive. When both KOH preparations and cultures are negative, a biopsy may be useful in identifying the infecting organism, usually by special tissue stains such as periodic acid-Schiff or Gomori methenamine-silver stains.


Skin in Health and Disease

is a book about skin health and skin care that offers solutions to specific skin disorders. The good news for many suffers some chronic skin disorders is that complete diet revision will often improve and sometimes resolve skin symptoms. This book focuses on the most common skin disorders that can be controlled by changes in skin care, diet and the environment. Eczema, for example, is sometimes an expression of food allergy, or allergy to contact materials. Dermatologist may deny the food allergy causes, so that their patients often have to make independent decisions. In all aspects of medicine, we advocate responsible self-management and offer this book as primer and reference for self-managers with skin problems.


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The book, Skin in Heath and Disease is intended to be used with the Alpha Nutrition Program. This text provides background knowledge, helpful in understanding skin disorders and the relevance of diet revision. Often a food holiday on Alpha ENF is the best way to begin recovery and the Alpha Nutrition program is an ideal way to design a safer, healthier long-term diet. If diet revision is appropriate to solve your Skin Disorders, you can order the the Starter Pack Option.

We recommend diet revision to people with

  • Moderate to severe eczema
  • Persistent or recurrent hives of more than 4 weeks duration
  • All skin disorders associated with digestive disorders.
  • All skin disorders associate with inflammatory arthritis
  • All skin disorders associated chronic ill-defined illnesses.
  • Dermatitis Herpetiformis
  • Moderate to Severe Psoriasis

Starter Packs bundle the Alpha Nutrition Program, with other books and formulas to help you get started solving your health problems. The starter packs are sold at discounts to make it easier and affordable for you to learn more and try our nutrient formulas.

Order Starter Pack

All Alpha Nutrition Books, Formulas and Starter Packs are ordered at Alpha Online. Physical shipments by the Post Office to all destinations in Canada and the USA. eBooks are downloaded and can be delivered to any destination on the planet. Click the Download button to order and download PDF files from Alpha Online.

Alpha Online is a hub for twenty five Medical Information Centers. Each center acts as its own web site with a home page and a list of links to relevant topics. Take advantage of 800 pages of text which describe common medical problems and introduce you to innovative solutions such as Alpha ENF and the Alpha Nutrition Program.

Alpha Nutrition is a trademark and a division of Environmed Research Inc., founded in 1984 at Vancouver, BC, Canada. Online Since 1995.
Experts in Self-Managed Care. Experts in Elemental Nutrient Formulas. Head Office is located in Sechelt on the Sunshine Coast, British Columbia.
Send email to alphaonline@nutramed.com