Womens Health

Lowering the Heat on Skin Boils

Skin boils are a skin infection and can appear anywhere on your body from your face to the cleft between your buttocks. Skin boils usually start off as a small red mark, resembling a blemish, but gradually enlarge and fill up with pus. The pus inside the boil often "comes to a head"—a term used to describe the formation of the whitish tip. After whitish tip appears the boil will drain itself and heal, usually without scarring the skin.

Types of Boils and Causes

A boil can grow slowly or rapidly depending on the type of boil. Furuncles and carbuncles are the two main types of skin boils. Furuncles emerge when the staph bacteria (also known as Staphylococcus aureus) infects a hair follicle. The staph bacteria is a harmless microorganism that lives on our skin, but causes itchy painful bumps to appear on the skin when it either seeps through a scratch or tear in the skin, or gets trapped in a hair follicle or a sweat gland.

Furuncles commonly surfaces on your face, neck or thighs. But the armpits and buttocks can also be targeted. Boils that appear under the arms are caused by a plugged sweat gland and are known as hidradenitis supparativa. Boils that appear on buttocks or the cleft between your buttocks are called rectal boils or pilonidal cysts.

Furuncles that grow in clusters are called carbuncles. Carbuncles typically appear on the back of your hips, thighs, and shoulders and tend to heal slower than any other type of boil. This is because the problem, the infection, is deeper in the skin.

Signs and Symptoms of Boils

A couple signs and symptoms of skin boils include: redness or itching on the skin, a formation of a painful bump, the appearance of pus, and excessive swelling of the area. Other symptoms, although less common, include: fever and nausea.

When Should I See A Doctor?

If you notice your boil doesn't spontaneous start to heal and shrink in size or if your boil is causing you intense pain you should seek medical intervention. The doctor can lance your boil, to drain out the infection, and minimize the scarring. If you want try alternative remedies at home for your skin boil, you can look into applying tea tree oil onto your boil or boosting your intake of zinc and iron. This is because those with low zinc and iron levels tend to be more susceptible to skin infections, like boils. However before you experiment with alternative treatments, consult your doctor, to avoid scarring your skin and to stop the infection from spreading.

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