A boil is also known as an abscess, and is caused by an infection that affects the hair follicles or oil glands of the skin. It appears as a red, tender area, which eventually becomes hard. Boils remain filled with pus, a mass of white blood cells, proteins, and bacteria. The white blood cells help fight the infection-causing microorganisms. Later on, a yellow or white point develops at the center of a boil, through which the pus can be discharged. Boils can be of different types, such as furuncle or carbuncle, cystic acne, and hidradenitis suppurativa.
Causes and Treatment
They are usually caused by the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus, that infect the hair follicles or the oil glands. Clogged oil ducts or inflamed sweat glands can also cause this skin condition. For relieving the pain caused by boils, a warm compress can be used. You can soak a washcloth in warm water and apply it gently on the affected area.
Once developed, boils can remain for at least a week or so, and then ripen or become ready to discharge the pus. Once the pus drains out, the area should be washed properly. You can also apply a medicated ointment on the affected area. Boils should never be pricked by needle or nails. If they are extremely large and painful, you might need to take antibiotics to cure the infection. However, any kind of medications should be taken only under the supervision of a physician.
Natural Cure for Boils
A number of home remedies are available for treating this skin condition. They are effective in accelerating the healing process, and reducing the inflammation and redness, without producing any side effects. The following are some of the effective home remedies that can help heal boils and other skin eruptions.
- A mixture of grated carrot and wheat germ oil can be an effective remedy for a skin abscess.
- Onion and garlic are known to improve the circulation of blood and reduce inflammation. Onions are also believed to have antiseptic properties, and so, they can be used for treating this skin condition.
- You can also put some warm honey on the affected area. Another home remedy for this condition can be prepared by mixing honey with oil and wheat germ. Honey can also be mixed with cod liver oil, or orange and lemon juice for treating this skin condition.
- The leaves of chickweed, yarrow, pansies, and catnip can prove effective in treating boils. The leaves can be softened by steaming, and then applied on the affected area.
- Tea tree oil has antiseptic properties, and so, it can be used to treat carbuncle and acne.
- Iodine has been found to inhibit the development of boils.
- You can also dip a piece of bread in warm milk and apply it on the affected area.
- An important herb for treating this skin condition is neem (Margosa). You can make a fine paste of neem leaves to apply on the affected area.
- A paste of turmeric can also be applied on the affected area to accelerate the healing process. Turmeric can be applied alone, or it can be combined with ginger.
- A fresh banana leaf, if applied on the carbuncle, can help reduce pain and speed up the healing process.
Disclaimer: This HolisticZine article is for informative purposes only, and should not be replaced for the advice of a medical professional.