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What Is BOIL And How Can You Treat It? | Sanjivani Homeopathy Diet and Yoga Clinic


A skin abscess happens when pus collects in hair follicles, skin tissues, or under the skin. A furuncle, also known as a boil, is a painful infection that forms around a hair follicle and contains pus. Aboilis a skin infection that starts in a hair follicle or oil gland. At first, the skin turns red in the area of the infection, and a tender lump develops. After four to seven days, the lump starts turning white as pus collects under the skin.


A carbuncle is collection of boils that develop under the skin. When bacteria infect hair follicles, the follicles can swell and turn into boils and carbuncles. A furuncle starts as a red lump. It may be tender. The lump rapidly fills with pus, and as it grows it may burst. Furuncles, boils, and carbuncles typically affect the thighs, armpits, buttocks, face, and neck.Individuals with weakened immune systems, adolescents, and young adults are more susceptible to furuncles than younger children or older adults.Furuncles and carbuncles are similar but with some differences.

Furuncles, or boils, are skin abscesses that result from staphylococcal infection. They affect a hair follicle and surrounding tissue.Carbuncles are groups of furuncles that join together under the skin. They affect the deeper layers, and they can lead to scarring.The most common places for boils to appear are on the face, neck, armpits, shoulders, and buttocks. When one forms on the eyelid, it is called asty If several boils appear in a group, this is a more serious type of infection called acarbuncle

Types of boils

  1. Carbuncle

    When several boils form close together and join beneath the skin, it's called a carbuncle.They are most commonly found on the back and the neck but can develop anywhere.Men are more likely to develop carbuncles than women.A carbuncle tends to lie deeper beneath the skin than a boil and can take longer to heal.

  2. Cystic Acne

    Cystic acne is a type of skin abscess that forms when oil and dead skin cells clog a hair follicle, creating a place where bacteria grow and thrive.It affects deeper skin tissue than regular acne, leading to firm, painful cysts.It's most commonly on the face and shoulders and typically occurs in the teenage years.

  3. Armpit and Groin

    When lumps and pus-filled abscesses repeatedly develop in these areas of the body, it may be a chronic condition called hidradenitis suppurativa.Hidradenitis Suppurativa - A chronic skin condition featuring lumps in places such as the armpits or groin.Infection starts in sweat glands and hair follicles that become blocked. Mild cases heal with home care.

  4. Pilonidal Abscess

    When a boil forms in the skin just above the buttocks crease, it may be a pilonidal abscess.Hair is believed to play a role, and irritation, pressure, and prolonged sitting may also contribute to the development of a cyst here.If a cyst becomes inflamed and infected, it becomes an abscess. Some children are born with a "pilonidal dimple" where infections can crop up.

  5. Stye

    The familiar "stye on the eye" is a boil, usually caused by staph bacteria.It starts in the follicle of an eyelash and may be red, warm, swollen, and uncomfortable. A sty is sometimes confused with a chalazion, which is also a lump on the eyelid, but a chalazion is usually painless and is caused by a blocked oil gland, not an infection.

Symptoms of Boils

Furuncles and carbuncles both result in swelling under the skin, and there may be other symptoms, too.

  1. Furuncles

    Furuncles develop rapidly as pink or red bumps. They are often painful. The surrounding skin is typically red, inflamed and tender.

    The lesions often appear on the neck, breast, face, buttocks, or thighs. They occur in places prone to hair, sweat, and friction, and they tend to start in a hair follicle.

    The bump fills with pus within a few days, and it grows. The bigger it gets, the more painful it becomes.

    A boil starts as a hard, red, painful lump usually about half an inch in size.

    Over the next few days, the lump becomes softer, larger, and more painful. Soon a pocket of pus forms on the top of the boil. These are the signs of a severe infection :

    • The skin around the boil becomes infected. It turns red, painful, warm, and swollen.
    • More boils may appear around the original one.
    • A fever may develop.
    • Lymph nodes may become swollen.

    Furuncles may go away without any intervention. Sometimes they burst and heal without a scar within 2 days to 3 weeks.

    They are common among teenagers and young adults, and they affect males more than females. Overcrowded and unhygienic living conditions increase the risk.

  2. Carbuncles

    A carbuncle is less common than a furuncle, or boil. It is a collection of boils on one site. It is larger than a single boil, measuring up to 4 inches across. A carbuncle usually has one or more openings that drain pus onto the skin.

    The most common cause of a carbuncle is a bacterium known as Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus). The infection may lead to generalized body symptoms, including a fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, and a general feeling of being unwell, weak, and exhausted.

    The infection can spread to other parts of the body, and it can spread to other people too, so that other household members may develop one at the same time.

    Carbuncles are most likely on the back, the thighs, or the back of the neck.

    They affect males more frequently than females, and especially older men with poor health or a weakened immune system.

    Carbuncle infections tend to be deeper and more severe than those caused by furuncle. The risk of scarring is higher, and they take longer to develop and to resolve than furuncles.

Causes of Boils

Most boils are caused by a germ (staphylococcal bacteria). This germ enters the body through tiny nicks or cuts in the skin or can travel down the hair to the follicle.

These health problems make people more susceptible to skin infections :

  • Diabetes
  • Problems with the immune system
  • Poor nutrition
  • Poor hygiene
  • Exposure to harsh chemicals that irritate the skin

Risk factors

Although anyone — including otherwise healthy people — can develop boils or carbuncles, the following factors can increase your risk :

  • Close contact with a person who has a staph infection. You're more likely to develop an infection if you live with someone who has a boil or carbuncle.
  • Diabetes. This disease can make it more difficult for your body to fight infection, including bacterial infections of your skin.
  • Other skin conditions. Because they damage your skin's protective barrier, skin problems, such as acne and eczema, make you more susceptible to boils and carbuncles.
  • Compromised immunity. If your immune system is weakened for any reason, you're more susceptible to boils and carbuncles.


Rarely, bacteria from a boil or carbuncle can enter blood stream and travel to other parts of body. The spreading infection, commonly known as blood poisoning (sepsis), can lead to infections deep within body, such as heart (endocarditis) and bone (osteomyelitis).


It's not always possible to prevent boils, especially if you have a weakened immune system. But the following measures may help you avoid staph infections :

  • Wash your hands regularly with mild soap. Or use an alcohol-based hand rub often. Careful hand-washing is your best defense against germs.
  • Keep wounds covered. Keep cuts and abrasions clean and covered with sterile, dry bandages until they heal.
  • Avoid sharing personal items. Don't share towels, sheets, razors, clothing, athletic equipment and other personal items. Staph infections can spread via objects, as well as from person to person.
  • If you have a cut or sore, wash your towels and linens using detergent and hot water with added bleach, and dry them in a hot dryer.


Doctor will likely be able to diagnose a boil or carbuncle simply by looking at it. A sample of the pus may be sent to the lab for testing. This may be useful if have recurring infections or an infection that hasn't responded to standard treatment.

Many varieties of the bacteria that cause boils have become resistant to certain types of antibiotics. So lab testing can help determine what type of antibiotic would work best in situation.


  1. Arnica Montana

    Tendency to small boils which are painful, one boil is cured, when the other comes out; occurrence of boils in crops; skin is black and blue; itching, burning, eruption of small pimples. Arnica produces a crop of boils all over, beginning with soreness, go on to suppuration, and another crop follows. When the boils partially mature and shrivel up Arnica is the remedy indicated.

  2. Belladonna

    Remarkable remedy for boils; redness with throbbing and pain; this medicine should be used in theBeginning; skin dry and hot, swollen, sensitive, erythema, suppurative wounds, indurations after inflammations. In boils with much swelling and redness Belladonna is the remedy to be used in the early stages. Boils recurring in the spring also indicate the remedy.

  3. Arsenic album

    Excellent remedy for boils malignant pustules, gangrenous inflammation; itching, burning, swelling; ulcers with offensive discharge; burning as if coals of fire were put on affected part. Cutting and burning pain worse after midnight.

  4. Hepar Sulph

    One of the best medicines for boils and abscess; boils with marked suppuration; unhealthy skin; slightest injury suppurate; burning, stinging pain; extreme pain and tenderness, in early stage of pus formation; it will stop formation of pus or will abort pus in very less time period.

  5. Thuja

    Crops of boils on face neck and nose. The main action of Thuja is on the skin and genito-urinary organs.Perspirtion sweetish, and strong. Dry skin, with brown spots. Complete loss of appetite. Dislike for fresh meat and potatoes. Rancid eructations after fat food. Cutting pain in epigastrium. Cannot eat onions. Flatulence; pain after food; sinking sensation in epigastrium before food; thirst. Tea-drinking dyspepsia.

  6. Silicea

    It acts well when there is slow healing power; felons, boils, ulcers, and abscesses; pus offensive; long lasting suppuration, keloid growths; promotes expulsion of the foreign body from the tissue. This is a great boil remedy, and, in conjunction with Hepar sulphuris, prescribed for the general indications of abscess will cover many cases. It is a remedy to prevent boils. It produces inflammation of the connective tissue, and following the boil will be a plastic indurated and often inflamed lump, which Silicea will remove.

  7. Lachesis

    Boils are bluish in color; exudation of acrid and offensive pus; boils are very sensitive to touch with burning pain. Hot perspiration,bluish, purplish appearance. Boils, carbuncles, ulcers, with bluish, purple surroundings. Dark blisters. Bed-sores, with black edges. Blue-black swellings. Pyemia; dissecting wounds. Purpura, with intense prostration.Senile erysipelas. Wens. Cellulitis. Varicose ulcers.

  8. Carbolic Acid

    Boils with accumulation of pus and discharge of very foul odor; marked burning pain. Very markedacuteness of smellis a strong guiding symptom. Stomach symptoms are also important. Pains are terrible; come and go suddenly. Physical exertion brings on abscess somewhere.

  9. Tarantula

    Abscesses, boils, felons, carbuncles; hard, tender, inflamed hair follicles; boils at any stage. Sudden alteration of mood. Foxy. Destructive impulses;moral relaxation. Must constantly busy herself or walk.Sensitive to music. Averse to company, but wants some one present. Ungrateful, discontented.

  10. Ledum pal

    Boils and felons caused by needles pricks. For punctured wounds, produced by sharp-pointed instruments or bites particularly if thewounded parts are cold, this is the remedy. It affects also the skin, producing an eruption like Poison-oak.

  11. Bellis Per

    Boils all over the body with soreness, pain and marked swelling. Externally, in nævi. Acne.Boils all over. Sore, bruised feeling in the pelvic region. Exudations, stasis, swelling, come within the range of this remedy. Boils. Ecchymosis, swelling, very sensitive to touch. Venous congestion due to mechanical causes. Varicose veins with bruised sore feeling. Exudations and swellings. Acne.

  12. Evans says the trinity of remedies for boils is Belladonna, Arnica and Lycopodium. Berberis vulgaris hastens suppuration in boils and prevents their recurrence. Anthracinum is recommended by Clarke for succession of boils, with no other symptoms to guide. Arctium lappa and Echinacea are excellent remedies with which to break up the “boil habit”. In the latter remedy profound prostration is an indication.