A boil is an infection of a hair follicle or an oil gland. It is a bacterial skin infection which begins as a painful, red bumps and progress into a pus-filled eruption. It usually develops in the regions of the body that are subjected to friction or pressure, such as the face, armpits, groin, shoulders and buttocks. A boil starts as a hard, red, painful lump and by the next few days, it becomes softer, larger, and more painful. Soon a pocket of pus forms on the tip of the boil. When boils appear in a group, it is called a carbuncle. A boil that affects the eyelid is called a stye. Usually the boils burst, drain, and heal within 2 days to 3 weeks of formation.
Stages of Boils
First Stage: Inflammation of the affected area.
Second Stage: A red, hard eruption appears on the skin.
Third Stage: Formation of the pus under the skin around the hair follicle.
Fourth Stage: Formation of yellow or white centered elevated lump filled with pus.
Types of Boils
Boils are of three types in reference to the location of the lesions.
Cystic Acne: They appear on the face, back or chest. Teenagers are mostly affected by this condition. They are more severe and painful than regular acne.
Hidradenitis Suppurativa: They appear as large lumps in the armpits, buttocks, under the breasts, and in the groin area which are prone to friction. This condition is rare, non-healing, appear as recurrent abscesses and leave behind scars.
Pilonidal Cyst: It is a condition in which a boil appears on the base of the skin especially in the crease of the buttocks, and lead to formation of an abscess in the area. This causes extreme pain, discomfort, difficulty in standing, sitting or lying.
Signs and symptoms
A firm reddish eruption on the skin
Inflammation of the skin surrounding the eruption
Tenderness and intense pain
Oozing of pus
Formation of crust
Appearance of many boils
Sometimes fever and chills
Causes of Boils
The boils are usually caused by staphylococcal bacteria. They enter the body through any nicks or cuts in the skin and infect a hair follicle.
Chronic skin diseases
Compromised immune system
Poor nutrition and hygiene
Exposure to skin irritants
Management of boils
Warm compresses about 15 minutes 3 to 4 times a day which will decrease the pain and help draw the pus to the surface.
Washing the area with an antiseptic to remove the pus.
Application of medicated ointment and a bandage.
Avoid popping the boil with a needle as this could make the infection worse.
Clean the infected area two to three times a day until the wound is healed.
Avoid touching or rubbing the sore.
Wash the hands properly after touching or cleaning the boils.
Prevention of Boils
Wash the clothes, bedding, and towels of the person affected separately..
Clean and treat minor skin wounds.
Practice good personal hygiene.
Eat and stay as healthy as possible.
Stay hydrated and exercise regularly.
Clean and cover any broken or damaged skin with a sterile dressing, such as a bandage or gauze
Most boils heal on their own with basic at home care and good hygiene within 3 weeks of forming. Rarely, however, boils can cause complications, especially in people with weakened immune systems.
Spread of infection to other vital organs through bloodstream.
Homeopathic medicines for boils
Psorinum: It is the best homeopathic medicine for boils on the head. Tendency to develop skin diseases. Boils due to the secretion of excessive sebum. The eruptions bleed easily and continuously and tend to suppurate. The scalp looks dirty, and boils have a fetid, offensive odor.
Calendula: This remedy is used as a homeopathic antiseptic and topical application for boils and infected sores. It can be used as a tincture, ointment, or compress. Taken internally it helps the body overcome infection.
Echinacea angustifolia: This homeopathic medicine is used to purify the blood and boost the immune system. It is indicated for recurring boils.
Arnica Montana: It is one of the best homeopathic remedies for boils where small boils appear in crops, one after another, that are extremely sore, especially when touched. The pain is more severe than the swelling.
Belladonna: It is indicated when boil comes on suddenly with a fiery red or inflamed appearance with swelling of the glands under the arms or in the groin. Fever with great sensitivity to noise, jar, light, and touch. It is indicated in early stages of inflammation, before pus has formed. The area is red, hot, throbbing, and tender, often with intense or stabbing pains. The color of the skin may turn blue in the later stage.
Hepar sulphuricum: The boils are extremely sensitive, tender and irritable with violent pains. Very chilly and want to be wrapped up. It helps to speed up the draining of pus and the process when the healing is too slow. The skin is unhealthy and tends to form pus on the slightest injury. It is recommended in cases where there is the formation of inflammatory boils in the lymph nodes and cellular tissues. Large boils with multiple openings with discharge that smells like cheese.
Lachesis: This remedy is very effective in cases of very painful boils that become bluish and form rapidly. The person is worse from heat and very sensitive to touch.
Silicea: Boils accompanied by swollen glands and offensive discharge. It helps to promote opening of the boil and discharge of pus. It relieves skin conditions that tend to suppurate easily and recur. It promotes suppuration and thus hastens recovery. Hard, nodular boils that tend to suppurate and does not heal quickly.
Myristica Sebifera: It is effective for treating abscesses and carbuncles. It is used extensively to avoid surgery for boils, and it hastens the suppuration process.
Sulphur: It is one of the best homeopathic rmedicines for skin diseases. It is indicated for recurring boils. Boils usually come in crops and occur on various parts of the body, developing in quick succession. Boils that appear recurrently and periodically. Burning, redness, flushes of heat, and boils that come in groups.
Calcarea Sulph: It is indicated for boils with thick, yellow discharge. Crops of boils tend to appear recurrently. One boil is preceded by the occurrence of another, even when the older one has not healed.
Lachesis: It is indicated for boils with bluish purple area around them. Recurrent boils in succession, painless boils and carbuncles. Carbuncles do not tend to run a full course, and every eruption further gets deteriorated. Excessive burning of the skin, malignant furuncles, painful, turn blue and spread easily, and large boils with intense pain.
Arsenic Album: It is the best homeopathic Medicine for boils with excessive burning sensation and thin, acrid discharge. Tendency to multiple boils with marked periodicity. Warmth and hot applications ameliorates. Feels exhausted and weak. Restlessness from the pain and discomfort.
Some of the best products for boils from Schwabe India are Azadirachta indica 1x, Biocombination No. 20, Echinacea angustifolia 1X, Hepar Sulphuris Pentarkan, Topi Azadirachta Cream, Topi Heal Cream and Topi Sulphur Cream.