Scalded skin syndrome: A potentially serious side effect of infection with the Staph (Staphylococcus) bacteria that produces a specific protein which loosens the "cement" holding the various layers of the skin together. This allows blister formation and sloughing of the top layer of skin. It is necessary to treat scalded skin syndrome with intravenous antibiotics and to protect the skin from allowing dehydration to occur if large areas peel off. The disease occurs predominantly in children under 5 years of age. It is known formally as Staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome and as Ritter disease.