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What Are the Causes of Recurring Cellulitis?

author image Louise Lyon
Louise Lyon has been a writer since 1989. Her work has appeared in "Family Doctor," "AARP Bulletin," "Focus on Healthy Aging" and other national publications covering health and science. She holds a Master of Science degree from the Columbia University School of Journalism.
What Are the Causes of Recurring Cellulitis?
Mature male doctor talking with female nurse talking by railing. Photo Credit: Jochen Sands/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Cellulitis is a common bacterial infection in the deepest layer of the skin, according to It’s usually caused when bacteria get into an injury in the skin. It is treatable with antibiotics, but in some cases the infection can spread rapidly through the body and may endanger the patient’s life. There are some chronic conditions that increase the risk that the condition will recur.

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Chronic Skin Diseases

Ongoing illnesses that cause the skin to crack or blister can predispose a person to have repeated bouts of cellulitis, according to These conditions can include eczema; athlete’s foot; and any open or unhealed wounds or incisions, including body piercings. Patients with lymphedema, which is caused by poor drainage of lymph fluid, can be susceptible to recurrent cellulitis because the condition can cause the skin to split.

Poor Healing

Some conditions can lead to recurrent cellulitis because they make it hard for the body to fight off infection or to completely heal an infection once it has occurred, according to Circulatory disorders that impair blood flow can slow healing and raise the risk of recurrent cellulitis. Any disease that weakens the immune system, such as AIDS or cancer, can also lead to recurrent cellulitis.


To prevent a recurrence of cellulitis, it’s important for patients to keep their skin clean and moisturized, according to Patients should also try to prevent cuts and scrapes that can lead to cellulitis by wearing appropriate protective clothing, such as gloves and padding, when playing sports or doing other activities that could lead to injury. Patients at risk for recurrent cellulitis should seek medical care as soon as there is any indication of a skin infection. For some patients at high risk, long-term antibiotic treatment may help prevent repeated episodes.

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