Boils are an inflamed swelling, filled with pus which starts deep within the skin. Boils are usually caused by a hair follicle becoming infected and boils generally start as a tender area of skin with a reddening appearance.
It may also occur due to extensive usage of allergic creams or skin ointments.
The hair follicle becomes infected by the bacteria Staphylococcus Aureus, this bacteria is fairly common, infact it is carried on the skin or in the nasal passages of around one third of the population.
Boils can be very tender and painful and if they are recurrent they can cause some scaring which may even be permanent.
As time passes the affected area will grow firmer, harder and become more tender. Your body will try to fight the infection by by sending white blood cells from the bloodstream to the boil, this will cause the center of the boil to soften and fill with pus. The pus is the combination of the white blood cells, proteins and bacteria and it will eventually form a head on the boil. This is called the pustule.
Once the “head” has formed on the boil, the pus may drain out through the surface of the skin, or in some cases it will drain through a small incision made by a medical professional.
Types of Boils
There are a number of different types of boils, these develop on different parts of the body and have different formations.
These are caused by the infection Staphylococcus Aurues in a hair follicle (the root of a hair). Furuncles can occur on any part of the body but are most commonly found on your neck, face, armpits, buttocks and thighs. Furuncles are also sometimes associated with chills and fevers.
These are a cluster or group of Furuncles. Carbuncles are most commonly found on the back of the neck, the shoulders, hips and thighs. They are usually the result of a deeper infection and as such tend to last longer than Furuncles. You may need to seek medical advice if you have carbuncles, as you may need to be treated with an anti-biotic to kill the infection.
These are boils that form between the buttocks and are sometimes called Rectal Boils. Pilondial Cysts are usually recurrent, they can make walking and sitting very painful and can drain spontaneously. They often form after being seated for prolonged periods, such as during a long journey.
These boils are caused by inflamed sweat glands becoming infected. They usually occur under the arms and around the groin area and can be very painful. In extreme cases the affected sweat glands can be removed surgically.
These are boils caused by excessive oil production in the skin which in turn causes bacteria and dirt to become trapped under the skin, blocking hair follicles. Cystic Acne is most commonly found on the face and it differs from Common Acne in that the infection is much deeper in the skin.
Whichever type of boil you have, they can be distressing, painful and can really make you feel at a low ebb.