Clogged pores and infections are the perfect breeding grounds for boils to form. You may be able to treat the boil at home, but if severe enough, it may warrant the care of a licensed health care provider. Boils can be a very serious condition that should not be overlooked.
Boils are infections under your skin that can result from clogged pores and are typically due to a staphylococcus infection. Boils are very painful and can infect and inflame deep tissues in your skin. When boils become very infected or start to spread, you may need to see your dermatologist or primary care physician for professional treatment. Boils can also resemble cystic acne, but are much deeper beneath the skin and are severe infections, according to KidsHealth.org.
The Mayo Clinic says boils characteristically begin as tender, red, swollen lumps beneath your skin. They quickly grow larger as they fill with pus and infection until they become so large and inflamed that they rupture. As a boil grows larger, it becomes more painful each day. When you first develop a boil, it can start as small as a half-inch to three-quarters of an inch in diameter.
Boils are typically infections of a hair follicle or groups of hair follicles. Boils tend to develop on regions of your body such as your thighs, underarms, neck, face, buttocks and other areas where your skin is prone to friction, according to the Mayo Clinic. The staph bacteria generally enter your body through a cut or break in your skin, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Boils can become so severe that they can cause chills, fever and red streaks. The red streaks around the boil can indicate that the infection has spread to your lymphatic system, according to the Mayo Clinic. Boils can also become so severe that they begin to form in clusters, which indicate the infection is spreading throughout your body.
Do not attempt to lance a boil at home by yourself. Popping and squeezing the boil can worsen your condition by spreading the infection to other regions of your body. Boils may form due to other reasons such as infected hair follicles and clogged pores; they also can develop from blood infections, which are very serious and need treatment by a licensed health care professional. Sepsis, which is a poisoning within your blood, can cause boils. Some types of boils are penicillin-resistant and are difficult to treat; these types are referred to as MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.
The Mayo Clinic recommends applying a warm compress, such as a washcloth to the affected area for 10 minutes every few hours to provide quick relief from the boil. Wash your boil two to three times per day with an antibacterial soap and apply a topical antibiotic over the affected area, then cover with a bandage.