Pictures of Skin Infections

Skin infections caused by bacteria, viruses, and fungi are common. Often when someone gets a rash, they worry that it's an infection. Take a look at these pictures of rashes caused by various infections. 




Alex Tihonov / Getty Images

This is an example of a classic early chickenpox lesion, known as a dewdrop on a rose petal.

Note that there are clusters of vesicles on an erythematous base. These clusters usually grow together after a couple of days to make one distinct lesion.


Fungal Nail Infection

Fungal Infection in Nail
Lester V. Bergman

While a fungal nail infection is not technically a skin infection, it is a common infection that causes people to seek medical treatment.

The medical names for fungal nails are onychomycosis and tinea unguium. Features of fungal nail infections you can see here include:

  • The nail separates from the nail bed.
  • The end of the nail turns yellow or white and debris forms under the nail.
  • The fungus grows into the nail, causing it to become fragile and crumble.

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

Rocky Mountain spotted fever
Smith Collection/Gado / Getty Images

Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) is a potentially fatal disease that occurs most often in Oklahoma and the South Atlantic states, although it has been found in most states. It is caused by an infection with the bacteria Rickettsia rickettsii.

The rash associated with Rocky Mountain spotted fever usually starts around four days into the illness. It looks like small, red, flat spots starting most often on the ankles and wrists, and then moving to the palms, soles, and trunk. As the rash progresses, it becomes bumpier. Approximately 10 percent of those infected never get a rash.




Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Smallpox is a disease that has been successfully destroyed; the last naturally occurring case of smallpox occurred in Somalia in 1977. But with the risks of biological warfare or terrorist acts, this conquered disease has again risen to the forefront of public health. Smallpox is a highly contagious skin disease that can result in death.


Cold Sore

cold sore
Todd Keith / Getty Images

Cold sores and fever blisters are caused by the herpes simplex virus. Cold sores are caused by herpes simplex type 1 (HSV 1) more often than herpes simplex type 2 (HSV 2). Cold sores start like this one with vesicles and progress like genital herpes lesions to ulcers, crusting, then healing without a scar. There are both topical and oral medications that can be used in the treatment of cold sores.



Red papules on the skin due to scabies

Scabies is a rash caused by a mite that burrows under the skin. Scabies typically occurs on the wrists, in between fingers, in the armpits, around the waist, and in the genital area. This is a picture of a scabies rash in between the fingers. Scabies is one of the few rashes that can be found between the fingers. If you have a rash in this area, you should see your doctor.



Impetigo rash beneath a mans lower lip

Impetigo is a common bacterial infection of the upper layers of the skin caused by Streptococcus or Staphylococcus bacteria.

The most common form of impetigo often occurs on the face or limbs and is known for its "honey-colored" crust, which you can see here. This crust often looks like small blisters. There is a less common form of impetigo that causes large blisters, called bullae. This form tends to occur more in newborns and younger children.



Tinea corporis infection (ringworm)

OGphoto/Getty Images

Ringworm, or tinea corporis, is a fungal infection that occurs on the body. The rash is typically round, red, raised, and scaly on the outside of the lesion. Ringworm can be easily diagnosed and effectively treated with oral or topical medications.


Ingrown Toenail

ingrown nail.
apomares/Getty Images

An ingrown toenail is caused by the pressure of the nail against the skin on the side of the nail. A long period of pressure on the skin can cause irritation, pain, swelling, and infection of the skin.

Ingrown nails are usually seen on the big toes of people in industrialized nations. People in cultures that don't wear shoes rarely get ingrown nails.


Athlete's Foot

Athlete's foot

ProjectManhattan/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 3.0 

Athlete's foot, or tinea pedis, is a common fungal infection. Athlete's foot is divided into 3 categories:

  • Chronic interdigital athlete’s foot
  • Chronic scaly athlete’s foot (moccasin type)
  • Acute vesicular athlete’s foot

This is an example of chronic interdigital athlete's foot, which is the most common type.

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Article Sources

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  1. Merck Manual Professional Version. Chickenpox. Updated February 2018.

  2. Pang SM, Pang JYY, Fook-Chong S, Tan AL. Tinea unguium onychomycosis caused by dermatophytes: a ten-year (2005-2014) retrospective study in a tertiary hospital in SingaporeSingapore Med J. 2018;59(10):524–527. doi:10.11622/smedj.2018037

  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF). Updated May 7, 2019.

  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. History of Smallpox. Updated August 30, 2016.

  5. Cleveland Clinic. Cold Sores. Updated October 12, 2019.

  6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Scabies. Updated November 2, 2010.

  7. Pereira LB. Impetigo - reviewAn Bras Dermatol. 2014;89(2):293–299. doi:10.1590/abd1806-4841.20142283

  8. Merck Manual Professional Version. Tinea Corporis. Updated October 2018.

  9. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Ingrown Toenail. Updated September 2012.

  10. Ely JW, Rosenfeld S, Seabury stone M. Diagnosis and management of tinea infections. Am Fam Physician. 2014;90(10):702-10.