What Causes Boils?

Dealing with a painful boil? Find out what might be to blame.

If you have ever had a boil, boy do you know it! This skin infection might just affect the hair follicle at first but eventually it will spread untilboils a painful, tender lump forms under the skin. While boils can form just about anywhere they tend to show up more often on the face, neck, armpits or butt. If you are susceptible to boils, find out why they form and how our Wellesley Hills, MA dermatologist recommends treating it.

The Causes of Boils

If you are dealing with this skin infection you may be asking yourself, “how did this even happen to me?” The Staphylococcus (staph) bacteria are usually to blame for boils. These bacteria can infect healthy skin by entering through microscopic breaks in the surface of the skin. There are also certain issues that can put people at a higher risk of developing boils including:

  • Diabetes
  • A weakened immune system
  • Bad hygiene
  • Poor nutrition
  • Being exposed to harsh chemicals

Treating a Boil

If you have a very small boil then at-home treatment may be all that’s needed. However, if the boil is larger than a pea, or if the area surrounding the boil is red, you will need to schedule an appointment with us so that we can properly treat it.

Those with small boils can apply warm compresses or soak in warm water to reduce pain and help to bring pus to the surface of the boil. It will usually take several days of warm compresses to finally drain the boil. Whatever you do, do not use a needle to pop the boil, as this can spread the infection.

If the boil is large and uncomfortable then our Wellesley Hills skin doctor will drain the abscess. The boil is numbed with local anesthesia before we make a small incision into the skin to drain the boil. If there is an infection present, we may also recommend antibiotics.

Preventing Boils for the Future

If you’ve ever had a boil you can probably agree that you don’t ever want to deal with one again. You can prevent this skin infection by following these simple rules:

  • Practice good hygiene
  • Always clean any cuts or open wounds
  • Wash all of your clothes, bedding and towels immediately after (also make sure to do this with any family member who may have boils)
  • Boost your immune system with a healthy, balanced diet

Whether you are dealing with an uncomfortable boil or you want to know how to fight back against acne, our Wellesley Hills, MA skin care experts at Newton Wellesley Dermatology Association know how to handle all of your skin issues. Call us today!