Boils. Pimples. Eczema
Boils, pimples and eczema are common skin problems. These have different etiology and different presentations but may present together and might confuse you. Their differentiation from each other and early recognition is necessary for their management. Following are their salient features for differentiation and management.
Boil is an infection of a hair follicle present upon your skin. It presents as a red and tender lump initially and turns white after four to seven days when pus starts collecting in it. Common areas where boils appear on the skin are face, armpits, neck, shoulders and buttocks.
Pimples are the clogged-up pores or sebaceous glands present upon your skin. They give a vivid presentation according to the severity and area of body involved.
Eczema is a term used for the inflammatory conditions of skin. This is also termed as dermatitis which are of different types e.g. atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis etc. This condition is characterized by marked itchy and inflamed patches of skin. Commonly affected areas are face, folds of elbow and knees. Children and teenagers are affected most commonly.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
BOILS: It begins as a small red lump which is hard and painful on touch. Usually less than half an inch, it becomes larger and softer after a few days along with pus formation inside. Generally, it subsides on its own but if the surrounding skin becomes infected, its severity and course of duration might increase and you’ll need medications for the same. Following are the signs of severe condition:
- Skin around the boil becomes infected and turns red, swollen, more painful and warm on touch.
- More eruptions appear around the first one. When these coalesce together, it is termed as carbuncle.
- Accompanied by fever.
- If surrounding lymph nodes swell-up.
PIMPLES: These are small pustules, i.e., small bumps filled with pus. These develop due to inflammation of sebaceous glands after their blockage with dead cells or debris entrapment in them. Common sites for pimples are face, forehead, chest, upper back and shoulders. These heal slowly and sometimes may even persist for a longer period of time. Sometimes their appearance might also become periodic, i.e., they disappear and come back frequently. Most commonly affected age group is of adolescents though it can affect people of all age groups.
In females, these may flare up before menses and become better after menses. Pimples can scar the skin while healing and may also cause emotional distress for the person.
ECZEMA: This condition is presented as itchy inflammatory condition of skin with roughness and dryness. Commonly affected areas are arm, inner elbow, wrists, back of knees, feet etc. The patch can be red or brownish in color and is crusty in appearance. There can be some oozing of fluid from the crust which oozes more after scratching and may lead to further progress of the eruptions.
People presenting with following conditions are more prone to develop boils, pimples and eczema:
- Diabetes mellitus
- Immuno-compromised persons
- Poor hygiene
- Frequent exposure to skin irritants
- People of all age groups can get affected with boils, pimples and eczema. But most commonly affected are children and teenagers.
- Positive family history.
BOILS: These are caused by a bacterial infection, generally by staphylococcus.
PIMPLES: This occurs when the secretion from oil glands is prevented to get a vent due to trapping of dead skin cells and excessive sebum into it or due to bacterial involvement or excess of hormones which are androgens in general.
ECZEMA: The exact cause of eczema is not known. The most probable proposed theory for its causation is said to an overactive inflammatory response by body’s immune system to an irritant. Under many studies, it has been observed that it is linked with personal and family history of other allergies and asthma.
Medicinal intervention is required when any of these conditions don’t get reverse on their own and get worse than before. There are many homeopathic medicines for these conditions which are selected according to the law of similia, i.e., individualized treatment is given to the patients. So a registered homeopathic physician should be consulted to get your individualized medicine. Some of the commonly used Homeopathic medicines for boils, pimples and eczema are described below:
Arnica montana: Given when there are crops of small boils. When there are small pimples with marked itching and burning. For acne indurata, when distributed symmetrically upon the skin.
Graphites: For pimples when they exudate a sticky discharge. For eczematous condition when there is rawness in the bends of extremities, groins, neck and behind the ears. Indicated for people having unhealthy skin, where every little injury tends to suppurate.
Hepar sulphuris calcareus: Especially for pimples occurring in young people. For pimples which bleeds easily, suppurate quickly and have prickly pain sensation in them. Boils which suppurate easily and early. For the eruptions having great sensitivity to slightest touch. Suited to people who cannot stay uncovered, always want to be wrapped up warmly.
Petroleum: Especially indicated for eczematous condition of skin where itching is marked and aggravates at night. There is thick, greenish crust with itching, rawness and burning sensation in it. Cracks in the lesions bleed easily.
Sulphur: Suited to people having dry, scaly and unhealthy skin where every little injury tends to suppurate. For boils, pimples and eczematous eruptions where there is intense itching and burning which gets worse after scratching and washing. Itching aggravate from warmth especially in evening and often recurs in spring time and in damp weather.
Calcarea sulphurica: It is a biochemic remedy which helps in eczema and skin eruptions, boils, pimples, swollen, tender gums that bleed easily.