Facial inflammations or facial infections are the inflammatory diseases of the skin and the underlying soft tissue in the area of the face, especially in the area of the nose and the lips. The extent of a facial infection can vary greatly: from a limited infection that can be treated with local measures to a systemic disease that can, at worst, become a life-threatening situation.
The most common facial inflammations are:
- Nasal entrance eczema: Long-term irritation, e.g. by nasal secretions or in diabetes mellitus, can cause this chronic change in the skin with redness, dryness, itching and crusting.
- Folliculitis of the nasal entrance: This is an inflammation of the hair follicles caused by staphylococci. The most common location is the tip of the nose with painful redness and swelling.
- Furuncle: Inflammation of the skin with purulent, central fusion arising from folliculitis. The most common localisations are the nose and upper lips. Extensive or untreated boils can lead to involvement of the underlying cartilage and systematic, life-threatening complications (meningitis and cerebral venous thrombosis).
- Erysipelas: inflammation of the skin with redness, swelling and hyperthermia and occasionally fever, most commonly due to streptococcal infection. The nose, cheek and ear areas are most commonly involved.
- Sinusitis with skin involvement: Severe, untreated, extensive sinusitis can lead to infiltration of the skin.
The diagnosis of facial inflammation is purely clinical. An ENT specialist can make the diagnosis and offer the right therapy. Redness, painful swelling, skin dryness, tension of the skin, abscess formation and occasionally general symptoms such as fever, headache, feeling of pressure or burning are the most common symptoms. Blood sampling to assess inflammatory parameters is recommended for general symptoms. In case of abscess formation or if a dangerous extension of facial inflammation with involvement of the large cerebral veins is suspected, imaging procedures, e.g. ultrasound, computer tomography or magnetic resonance imaging, can be performed.
For small, limited facial infections, local treatment with antibiotics, ointments containing cortisone and moist compresses with disinfectant solution is the correct therapy. For extensive infections, high-dose antibiotic treatment against staphylococci or streptococci through the veins is indicated. An important tip for doctors and patients is never to squeeze out a large boil! A facial abscess must be split and further treated by an ENT specialist. If an incipient inflammatory involvement of the veins is suspected, the splitting of a vein in the corner of the eye (angular vein) is urgently indicated! However, such severe complications of facial inflammation have become very rare since the use of antibiotics. The majority of facial infections can be successfully treated with local measures and antibiotics.