As the body’s largest organ, your skin is typically an effective barrier to internal infection. At times, however, the skin may be host to a number of rashes and other conditions that occur due to the presence of bacteria, fungi or viruses that can cause skin infections. Read below to learn about the difference in the three types of skin infections.

Bacterial Skin Infections

While bacteria are normally present on the skin, they are usually harmless. However, any break in the skin may increase the risk of developing a bacterial infection. The most common types of bacteria that cause skin infections are staphylococcus (staph infection) and streptococcus (strep infection).

Fungal Skin Infections

Fungi are typically found in warm, moist areas of the body with skin-to-skin contact, such as between the toes, under toenails, in the genital area, under the breasts and between skin folds in obese people. Fungal skin infections are most commonly caused by yeasts or dermatophytes (a group of fungi that invade and grow in dead keratin, a protein found in the outer layer of skin, as well as hair and nails).

Viral Skin Infections

Most of the time, viruses that cause skin infections enter the body through a break in the skin or direct contact with an infected person. The most common types of viruses that cause skin infections are herpes simplex, herpes zoster, human papillomavirus (HPV) and poxvirus.