How can I prevent skin infections, naturally? I find that I am prone to skin infections like ringworm, athlete's foot, infected hair folicles. What are some holistic methods of prevention?
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As . As a podiatrist, i will confine my answer to your concern about athlete's foot and ringworm, which are one-in-the-same. It's unfortunate they picked "ringworm" as the name for a common fungal infection of the skin. It sounds like you have cooties, not just a very common superficial fungal infection. If you're finding that you keep getting reinfected with a fungal infection, it could be that you're just prone to them, like some people are prone to vaginitis. It's not anything you're doing or not doing, and it's not a cleanliness thing. Funguses love dark, warm, moist places, like inside a shoe, and it's these dark, warm, moist places we own that are the most susceptible to fungal growth (despite the fungal spores going pretty much everywhere). So anything you can do to change that environment will minimize fungal growth. Frequent shoe and sock changes, putting a little talcum powder inside your shoes to absorb moisture, and wearing wool socks all help. Yes, wool, not cotton! hard to believe, despite what mom always said? When cotton gets wet, it stays wet, and all the moisture hangs around your skin, and movement inside a shoe next to wet cotton will irritate your skin, leaving little micro-openings for fungal spores to invade. Wool wicks moisture away from your body. It keeps you warm in the winter (even if it gets wet) and because it wicks moisture away from your skin, it keeps you cool in the summer. Ideally, a wool blend of wool and a synthetic fiber like polypropylene makes for the best sock. Also, keep in mind that fungus spores live for 30 days. If you apply a topical anti-fungal medicine and stop after a few days, when the fungus seemingly clears-up, it will return. You need to keep applying the stuff for a minimum of 30 days. If you have a recalcitrant case of fungus, you may want to keep using a topical anti-fungal for 2 months, or even consider taking oral anti-fungal medication. Since fungal infections are not usually due to poor hygiene, scrubbing the heck out of yourself may actually do more harm than good, as it will upset the balance between "good" bacteria that's supposed to be on your skin, and helps prevent fungal overgrowth. I'll leave the remaining part of your question for a dermatologist to answer. Hope this helps.