10 Home Remedies for Boils
As the name suggest, boils aren’t an attractive prospect. They are painful bumps filled with pus that form under your skin when one of your hair follicles become infected by bacteria (Staphylococcus aureus), or become inflamed. Boils start off as a small, red and tender bumps, but these bumps can quickly become filled up with pus causing them to grow larger. This process ends when the boil is burst and drained.
Boils can happen anywhere on the body, but they most often occur on the face, back, neck, as well as in the armpits, thighs and on the buttocks. Although boils can generally be cared for at home, it’s important to note that boils should not be squeezed or pricked with the intention of draining them, this may spread the infection even further.
How to identify a boil?
As stated above, boils may occur anywhere on your skin but it’s a good idea to look out for them occurring in the most common areas. Here are the most common symptoms:
- A painful red bump forms on your skin, and may enlarge up to 2 inches in diameter
- The skin around the bump is swollen and red
- An increase in the size of the bump as it becomes increasingly filled with pus
- The tip of the bump turns a yellow or white colour. This tip is the part that eventually ruptures allowing the pus and fluid to drain out
What causes boils?
Boils are most commonly caused by a bacterial infection. These bacteria are naturally found on our skin, especially around our nose, and boils generally form when we have a drop in our immune system function. When the infection starts, the boil starts to form. Boils often occur where there had been a break in the skin due to some kind of injury or an insect bite.
Boils in rare cases do require medical attention. If you experience any or a combination of these symptoms, it’s a good idea to visit your doctor right away:
- If you develop a fever
- If you start to get chills
- If your lymph nodes swell
- The skin around the boil starts to turn a deep red
- The level of pain becomes uncomfortable
- The boil doesn’t rupture or drain
- A second or a third boil appears
- If you have diabetes or heart problems, immune system issues, or are going through chemotherapy
If you’re in good health and want to avoid using pharmaceuticals it’s a good idea to try these 10 home remedies for boils:
#1 – Practice good hygiene If you’ve already developed a boil, you want to make sure that you don’t inadvertently spread it to other parts of your body, or to other people. Make sure to wash your hands after touching your boil and avoid touching it more than necessary, boils are contagious so it’s important not to share towels, wash cloths, razors or any other personal care tools such as trimmers with anyone else. It’s also a good idea to gently wrap the boil in a bandage if possible, this will help avoid spreading the boil causing bacteria to other parts of your body and/or to others.
#2 – Tea tree oil Tea tree oil has been used as a natural remedy for centuries. Due to its natural antibacterial and antiseptic properties, it makes a great treatment for boils. It’s important to note that tea tree oil is very potent and should be diluted with a carrier oil before applying to any part of your skin or your boil. Dip a cotton swab in your diluted tea tree oil, and apply it to your boil three times per day.
#3 – Turmeric Turmeric has very potent anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, and that makes it a great natural treatment for boils. Studies show that applying turmeric powder to your boil, as well as ingesting it (best done using turmeric as an additional spice in your cooking) can help heal a boil quickly.
#4 – Epsom salt Epsom’s salts are often added to a bath to promote relaxation, but there is quite a bit of anecdotal evidence that shows it can help treat your boils as well. Epsom salt is antibacterial, and like any other salt in can help dry out the pus in your boil, and even help it drain.
You can either add epsom salt to your bath, or dissolve the salt in warm water and soak a compress in it. You’ll want to apply the compress to the boil for 20-25 minutes, and repeat this three times per day.
#5 – Antibiotic ointment While this may not be the most natural method, if you’re in a hurry to get rid of your boil without having to see a doctor, you can visit your pharmacy and pick up so over-the-counter antibiotic ointment for boils. A very popular ointment found in most medicine cabinets is Neosporin, this will also help keep the infection from spreading.
#6 – Castor oil Castor oil can be an effective remedy for boils because it contains a compound called ricinoleic acid. Ricinoleic acid works well as an anti-inflammatory, this combined with castor oil’s natural anti-bacterial properties makes an effective treatment.
Apply castor oil directly to your boil three times per day until your boil disappears.
#7 – Neem oil Neem oil can make a great treatment for boils because of its antiseptic, antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. Neem oil is often used to treat different skin infections, one of those being boils.
Apply the neem oil directly to your boil three to four times per day until your boil disappears.
#8 – Apply heat to your boil Applying heat can work by increasing circulation and bringing more white blood cells and antibodies around the area of the boil. This will help fight the infection that is causing the boil, and is thought by some to be the most effective treatment for boils you can do at home.
Apply a warm compress for 20-25 minutes, three to four times per day until the boil has disappeared.
#9 – Apply onions If you don’t mind the smell, this might just be the right home remedy for your boil. Onions are one of the few occurring antibiotics, and the one contained in onions is called allicin. This is the compound that makes onions so powerful, and what makes you cry when you’re in their presence. When onions are applied to your skin, they can boost your circulation, help draw out the pus and help heal the wound quicker. You can do this three times per day until the boil goes away.
#10 – Garlic Garlic is another rare naturally occurring antibiotic, and works much in the same way that onions do. You don’t want to apply garlic directly to your boil but instead, squeeze the juice out of a clove of fresh garlic and apply that to your boil. You can actually mix garlic and onion juice for a more powerful concoction. You can do this three times per day until the boil goes away.
It’s a great idea to treat boils at home naturally, but it’s important to note for any of the symptoms listed above that mean you need medical attention. But if you’re healthy and not experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, these 10 home remedies for boils are a great way to go.
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Boils References and Boils Information
- Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/boils-and-carbuncles/symptoms-causes/syc-20353770#:~:text=A%20boil%20is%20a%20painful%2C%20pus%2Dfilled%20bump%20that%20forms,start%20as%20red%2C%20tender%20bumps.
- Web MD: https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/guide/boils#1
- Web MD: https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/guide/boils#1-4
- Better Health: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/boils#:~:text=Wash%20the%20boil%20with%20antiseptic,prevent%20the%20spread%20of%20infection.
- Hindawi: https://www.hindawi.com/journals/bmri/2014/186864/
- Healthline: https://www.healthline.com/health/home-remedies-for-boils#7-remedies
- Web MD: https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/guide/boils#1
- US National Library of Medicine: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3931201/
- US National Library of Medicine: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92761/