Teenage Marie laments her cold sores: they are back worse than ever! Her mother Karina suffers from boils that are painful and embarrassing. But take heart, homeopathy can help.
Homeopathic remedies have strong medicinal properties that fortify and offer short-term skin infection relief. For constitutional remedies that prevent recurrences and raise your level of health over the long term, you should seek professional help.

Bacterial Infections

Abscesses, boils, and carbuncles are all painful bacterial skin infections. Use hot, moist compresses to bring the infection to the surface in the early stages before pus has formed. Then take a few doses of Belladonna to alleviate redness, heat, and tenderness deep in the skin. Hepar sulphuris relieves more developed, excruciating abscesses, whereas slowly developing and less painful abscesses respond well to Silica. Consider giving Arsenicum album if burning and anxiety is associated with these skin infections.

Wounds are an easy source of infection, but keeping the area clean and giving appropriate remedies early on is excellent prevention. Use homeopathic Arnica for wounds with a lot of bruising (such as those that follow surgery). Homeopathic Calendula can help if soreness at the site signals the beginning of an infection.

For other wounds such as bites, stings, and punctures, give Ledum, unless there is marked swelling and heat, in which case Apis is the better choice.

Herpes-Related Skin Problems

Another group of skin infections relate to the herpes virus: cold sores, genital lesions, chicken pox, and shingles. All respond well to homeopathic remedies.

Cold sores usually signal stress that can be soothed with homeopathic remedies. Take Natrum muriaticum when cold sores result from hurt feelings, grief, or too much sun. Choose Rhus toxicodendron for crops of small, very itchy, burning blisters that appear after you’ve gotten wet and cold. Remember to use Arsenicum album for burning cold sores that feel better when warm compresses are applied, when they are so painful they produce anxiety and restlessness, and when acidic foods aggravate them. Take Hepar sulphuris for unbearably painful cold sores.

If cold sores are annoying, even embarrassing, genital herpes can be devastating. Genital herpes can be treated naturally with homeopathy to reduce the number and length of outbreaks, but because this condition requires skill to treat, professional homeopathic care is recommended.

Chicken pox is another herpes-related skin condition. Although vaccinations are available, this illness is still often a normal part of childhood; complications are rare. When itching is the main complaint, Rhus toxicodendron will ease restlessness and aid sleep. Antimonium crudum is recommended if the child is irritable, wants to be alone, and cries when looked at or touched. Other indications are a white-coated tongue and eruptions that ooze yellow fluid and develop into white scabs that crust over. Use Antimonium tartaricum instead for irritable, clingy children if the scabs are large, especially if a loose, rattling cough is present. Lastly, consider Pulsatilla for the clingy, weepy, but mild child who just wants to be held and refuses to drink.

The herpes virus remains dormant in the nerves and may erupt as painful shingles, usually in times of extreme stress. Remember the remedies Arsenicum, Rhus toxicodendron, and Natrum muriaticum? When symptoms appear similar to those described for cold sores, these remedies are excellent treatment for shingles, too.

Use Apis for very red, swollen outbreaks on the face. Mezereum is appropriate if a cold, numb feeling accompanies intolerable itching and burning, with pains that come and go suddenly.

These simple remedies made Marie and Karina excited about the powers of homeopathy, but cleaning up the diet is the best foundation for healing virtually all skin conditions. Whenever infections return or remedies do not hold, a qualified homeopath can help strengthen overall resistance.

Dosages

Choose one remedy that best suits symptoms; then use the 30c potency, 3 to 5 pills twice daily for 2 to 3 days. Some improvement should be noticed within 12 to 24 hours; if not, switch to the next most suitable remedy. Always reduce and stop the remedy as symptoms subside.

A Word of Caution

Septicaemia is a dangerous condition that can develop from a skin infection. If you see a red line extending from an infection, seek medical attention immediately.

About the Author

Nicole Duelli, CCH, RSHom, enjoys sharing her love for homeopathy. She is a certified classical homeopath with a background in naturopathic medicine and practises in Vancouver.