• Definition

    Cellulitis is a common skin infection caused by bacteria.

    See also:

    • Orbital cellulitis
    • Periorbital cellulitis

    Alternative Names

    Skin infection - bacterial

    Causes, incidence, and risk factors

    Staphylococcus and streptococcus bacteria are the most common causes of cellulitis.

    The skin normally has many types of bacteria living on it. When there is a break in the skin, however, bacteria can enter the body and cause infection and inflammation. The skin tissues in the infected area become red, hot, irritated, and painful.

    Risk factors for cellulitis include:

    • Cracks or peeling skin between the toes
    • History of peripheral vascular disease
    • Injury or trauma with a break in the skin (skin wounds)
    • Insect bites and stings, animal bites, or human bites
    • Ulcers from diabetes or a blockage in the blood supply (ischemia)
    • Use of corticosteroid medications or medications that suppress the immune system
    • Wound from a recent surgery