What is the definition of Scalded Skin Syndrome?

Scalded skin syndrome (SSS) is a skin infection caused by staphylococcus bacteria in which the skin becomes damaged and sheds.

What are the alternative names for Scalded Skin Syndrome?

Ritter disease; Staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome; SSS

What are the causes for Scalded Skin Syndrome?

Scalded skin syndrome is caused by infection with certain strains of staphylococcus bacteria. The bacteria produce a toxin that causes the skin damage. The damage creates blisters, as if the skin were scalded. These blisters can occur at areas of the skin away from the initial site.

SSS is found most commonly in infants and children under the age of 5.

What are the symptoms for Scalded Skin Syndrome?

Symptoms may include any of the following:

  • Blisters
  • Fever
  • Large areas of skin peel or fall away (exfoliation or desquamation)
  • Painful skin
  • Redness of the skin (erythema), which spreads to cover most of the body
  • Skin slips off with gentle pressure, leaving wet red areas (Nikolsky sign)

What are the current treatments for Scalded Skin Syndrome?

Antibiotics are given by mouth or through a vein (intravenously; IV) to help fight the infection. IV fluids are also given to prevent dehydration. Much of the body's fluid is lost through open skin.

Moist compresses to the skin may improve comfort. You can apply a moisturizing ointment to keep the skin moist. Healing begins about 10 days after treatment.

What is the outlook (prognosis) for Scalded Skin Syndrome?

A full recovery is expected.

What are the possible complications for Scalded Skin Syndrome?

Complications that may result include:

  • Abnormal level of fluids in the body causing dehydration or electrolyte imbalance
  • Poor temperature control (in young infants)
  • Severe bloodstream infection (septicemia)
  • Spread to deeper skin infection (cellulitis)

When should I contact a medical professional for Scalded Skin Syndrome?

Call your provider or go to the emergency room if you have symptoms of this disorder.

How do I prevent Scalded Skin Syndrome?

The disorder may not be preventable. Treating any staphylococcus infection quickly can help.


Paller AS, Mancini AJ. Bacterial, mycobacterial, and protozoal infections of the skin. In: Paller AS, Mancini AJ, eds. Hurwitz Clinical Pediatric Dermatology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 14.

Pallin DJ. Skin infections. In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 129.

  • Condition: Lid Margin Keratinization (LMK)
  • Journal: Indian journal of ophthalmology
  • Treatment Used: Mucous Membrane Grafting (MMG)
  • Number of Patients: 0
  • Published —
This article describes the technique of mucous membrane grafting (MMG) for the treatment of lid margin keratinization (LMK).
  • Condition: Total Symblepharon and Lid Margin Keratinization after Stevens-Johnson Syndrome
  • Journal: BMJ case reports
  • Treatment Used: Oral Mucous Membrane Grafts
  • Number of Patients: 1
  • Published —
This case report describes a patient with total symblepharon and lid margin keratinization after Stevens-Johnson syndrome that was treated using oral mucous membrane grafts.