Boils are reddish, tender bumps filled with pus that form under the skin when one or more hair follicles are infected with bacteria. Boils can grow as large as a baseball and can be really painful. Common causes for boils include slight skin injuries or insect bites that give easy entry to boil-causing bacteria. When that happens, inflammation occurs, and pus will start to develop. Boils commonly affect areas with hair follicles and usually appear on body parts with sweat glands such as breasts, buttocks, groins, and armpits.
Boils can also be acquired when a person lacks proper hygiene. For example, dirt build-up can attract infectious bacteria to minor cuts on the skin and cause bumps as a result. Sharing shavers, razors, and towels with someone who’s had boils can also be a reason for acquiring them. Other risk factors include skin diseases (such as acne or eczema), autoimmune disorders that make skin vulnerable to bacterial infections, and in some serious cases, Hidradenitis Suppurativa, which calls for professional care.
When boils appear small or medium-sized, they should be common and don’t need extensive medical attention. Below are natural and home remedies that can help treat boils.
The easiest and most effective way to treat boils at home is by applying hot compresses. Heat is a good source of pressure in bringing in more white blood cells and attracting antibodies to help fight the infection. Most people think that applying warm compresses on the boil will worsen the inflammation, but it’s otherwise. When exposed to heat, circulation will increase around the area where the bump appears and will cause it to rupture faster and drain more quickly. A warm compress can help lessen the swelling on the affected area and prevent the boil from growing larger or going deeper into the skin.
Use a heating pad for a steady heat source, soak a clean towel (or washcloth) in hot water and squeeze most of the water out before putting the damped cloth onto the affected area for ten to fifteen minutes. Repeat the process at least three times daily until the boil opens. Then, keep applying heat for a better and faster outcome.