What Causes Boils?
There are numerous causes of boils. Some boils come from a bacterial infection caused by Staphylococcus aureus, a type of bacteria found on the skin and inside the nose. Others might be caused by an ingrown hair or a splinter/foreign body that’s been lodged in the skin. Many times, it’s difficult to pin down the exact cause of a boil. The bottom line is that any break in the skin, such as a cut or scrape, can develop into a boil if it becomes infected with bacteria.
Treatment for boils uses both home remedies and dermatological methods depending on the severity of the boil itself. Some of the most common treatments for boils at home include the following. Contact us to learn more about your treatment options.
- Don’t touch it. Refrain from squeezing, scratching, draining, or popping the boil on your own — this can push the infection deeper into the skin.
- Gently wash. When you need to clean the boil, be sure only to use gentle soap and water, and lightly wash the area. Afterward, make sure the boil and surrounding skin is dry.
- Utilize heat. Put a wet, warm compress on the boil for 20–30 minutes, four times a day. Do this as soon as you notice the boil.
- Let it drain. Using consistent heat aids helps the boil drain after 5–7 days. If the boil starts draining, continue to clean it gently and apply heat for three days after it opens.
- Avoid sharing. If you have a boil, don’t share towels or washcloths with other people — this helps prevent the infection from spreading.
When To See A Dermatologist
Sometimes home treatment for a boil isn’t enough, and it’s time to book an appointment with a dermatologist. Medical treatments for boils mostly involve professional lancing/draining of the boil or antibiotics. Seek medical attention if you notice any of the following, and contact our team immediately.
- Boil is on the face, spine, or anus
- Keeps getting larger
- Painful lumps near the boil
- Severe pain
- Red streaks leading from the boil
- You have diabetes
- Boil is the size of a ping pong ball
- No improvement after 5–7 days
- Consistent boils over several months