Dermatology Series: Skin Infections & Blisters

Ranging from lesser common skin infections to very common viral infections, there are a variety of skin issues that can arise throughout one’s lifespan. These include both bacterial (generally caused by S. aureus & S. pyogenes) & viral infections but also various blistering skin disorders.

Skin Infections


Cellulitis tends to occur following another infection or due to broken skin after some form of physically traumatic event. They come on quickly and are painful as the infection spreads deeper into the skin and into deeper tissues.


These are very contagious and are defined as being “honey-colored crusting.” They are quite superficial as well and caused by Staphyloccocus Aureus. 


Full of pus and originates from deeper inside the skin. They often require drainage + antibiotics.


Caused by the HSV-1 & HSV-2 viruses, they spread via oral (HSV-1) and genital (HSV-2) contact. They tend to cause painful sores during outbreaks around the mouth and/or genitals; however not all people who catch herpes will have outbreaks. Interestingly, they can also manifest on the finger.


Caused by the varicella zoster virus, chickenpox is a large breakout of lesions consisting of both vesicles to crusts. Young children tend to get it and it resolves without any major issues


Also caused by the varicella zoster virus. Shingles occur later in life and are a reactivation of the virus. The symptoms tend to be worse than chickenpox and the lesions have a specific distribution pattern.

Blistering Skin Disorders

Erythema Multiforme

As the name would suggest, these are essentially a variety of skin lesions that simultaneously occur in one region. They look like target signs with multiple rings. The causes vary and includes drugs & infections.

Bullous Pemphigoid

Our skin contains junctions in between the cells which allow for cell-to-cell communication. In bullous pemphigoid, our body develops an antibody that attacks one type of our junctions and this results in very “tense” blisters.

Pemphigus Vulgaris

A much more severe version of bullous pemphigoid. This time the body creates antibodies against a different type of junction. The epidermis can separate and this disorder can actually become fatal.

Histology of Pemphigus Vulgaris

Histology of Pemphigus Vulgaris

Dermatitis Herpetiformis

Itchy skin lesions that usually occur at the elbows. This tends to be associated with celiac disease.


Hopefully that was an informative post regarding both common and lesser common dermatological disorders. Next article will cover uncategorized skin disorders which will be followed by tumors & cancer.