5 Ways to Treat Skin Boils

May 7th 2016

Skin boils are fairly common and usually do not require immediate medical attention. Home remedies may heal the painful sore, but if extreme symptoms occur or the skin boil does not heal within 10 days, it is necessary to consult with a medical professional.

Warm Compress

A skin boil appears to be hard and red at first, but within a few days, the boil fills with pus that needs to be drained. A warm compress held firmly on the site of the boil can help to reduce pain and naturally drain the skin boil. Soak a wash cloth in warm water and apply it directly to the boil so it comes to a head and bursts. It may take up to 10 days of application for the boil to drain completely.

Wash the Skin

Skin boils develop because bacteria gathers on the skin and its tissues. Keep the site of the boil clean to avoid developing additional boils or deep infections within the skin. Wash boils that drain with rubbing alcohol and antibacterial soap two to three times a day until the boil completely heals.

Medicated Ointment

Cover cleaned or drained skin boils with sterile gauze or a bandage. Apply a topical cream or medicated ointment to the site of the skin boil to help speed up the healing process.


Have a skin boil that does not drain within 10 days evaluated by a medical professional. Avoid popping the boil with a needle or foreign object to prevent the risk of bacteria entering the skin. Physicians can drain skin boils and carbuncles by making an incision in the tip of the boil to drain excess pus. It is likely the skin boil needs to be packed with sterile gauze to soak up excess pus and keep it free from bacteria that can worsen the infection.


Patients who experience extreme symptoms such as a fever or swollen lymph nodes in addition to the skin boil may need a boost to the immune system to eliminate bacteria in the body. Physicians can prescribe antibiotics to provide this boost and help prevent recurrent infections on the skin.


Skin boils are painful, red bumps that form on the skin and hair follicles. The sores are caused by Staphylococcus aureus bacteria and fungi that enter the skin through small cuts and abrasions and travel from the hair to the follicles to grow deep into the skin tissues. Skin boils are commonly on the thighs, buttocks, armpits, face and neck and can appear in clusters known as carbuncles. Treatment options vary from home remedies to procedures performed by a physician to eliminate bacteria in the body and drain the painful sore.

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