Bacterial infections, or the inflammation of one or more hair follicles, can result in the formation of a boil. They are usually painful and can be quite distressing, especially if they are recurring. A boil generally starts off as an inconspicuous pink and tender bump localized to one area. This soon develops into a firm, hard, inflamed lump that is filled with bacteria-fighting white blood cells and dead skin tissue (pus).
The affected area usually gets larger and more painful until the boil bursts and the pus is able to drain. While some boils disappear within a few days, many can take up to two weeks to heal, which can be very painful and frustrating.
Boils can occur anywhere on the skin, although they tend to develop on the face, neck, armpits, buttocks, or thighs. They also occur most frequently in areas containing hair and/or sweat glands, or in areas where chafing or recurrent friction occurs, thus a major cause of skin boils. In some cases, boils can occur in interconnected clusters called carbuncles. In severe cases, they can develop into abscesses.
While anyone can develop boils and carbuncles, people who have diabetes, a suppressed immune system, poor hygiene, acne, or other skin problems are at a higher risk.
If you are developing a boil, it is recommended that you follow up with a health care practitioner or call one of our clinics to examine the area, confirm the diagnose, and treat the abscess or boil.