A boil is a skin infection caused by a type of bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus. When the bacteria enter the body through hair follicles or cuts on the skin, boils appear. Blocked sweat glands also cause boils. Usually, the reasons for getting boils are poor hygiene, weak immune system, tight clothing causing friction in the skin, poor nutrition, diabetes, chemotherapy and skin getting exposed to harsh chemicals.
Signs of a Boil
When infection happens in the skin, the skin will appear red and a tender lump will appear on the skin. After a few days, say 4 days to a week, pus gets collected underneath the lump and the lump starts to appear white. Gradually, the infection spreads deep into the skin and the lump turns into an abscess. Boils usually appear on face, armpits, neck, shoulder and buttocks. It also appears sometimes on the eyelid. In case of serious infection, several boils appear together and it is called carbuncle.
Treating Boils at Home
Boils give an ugly look and are sometimes painful too. But it can be treated naturally at home. If natural remedies don’t work, then medical help should be sought where antibiotics are given to treat the infection. Here are some popular remedies used in the treatment of boils.
1. Warm Compress
The warm compress is one of the easiest and effective ways in treating boils. For this treatment, a clean cloth is taken and dip it in warm water. Sometimes, salt is added to the water for more effectiveness. Then, the cloth is placed over the boil for around 10 minutes. This process can be repeated up to 8 sessions per day. Relief is seen after 7 or 8 sessions.
2. Castor Oil
Applying castor oil to the boil is an effective way for the treatment of boils.
As turmeric has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, it is applied to the boil. Turmeric is also mixed with fresh ginger paste and applied to the affected area.
Milk helps in the healing process. There are 2 ways of using milk in boils:
1. Milk is boiled, cooled and added to required amount of salt and flour to make into a thick paste. It is then applied to the boil.
2. Add turmeric powder and vinegar to milk and then apply it on the boil.
5. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is an antiseptic used to treat boils. It is applied directly on the boil. But it should not be consumed internally.
The white of the egg is used to cure boil. Boil the egg, peel it, take the white portion of the egg and apply it to the boil. Cover it with a cloth.
Onion is considered to be having antimicrobial properties and helps in draining the pus from the boil. Slice the onion and place it on the boil. Remove it after half an hour. Repeat the process 2 or 3 times a day to get desirable results.
8. Cumin Seeds
Grind cumin seeds into a paste and apply it on the affected area. It is effective in the treatment of boils.
9. Parsley Leaves
Parsley leaves helps in bursting out the boils and taking the pus out. Warm the leaves by boiling it in water for few minutes. Take them out, immediately wrap them in a clean cloth and place it on the boil.
Neem not only has antibacterial properties but also soothes the skin by relieving the pain. Apply the paste made out of the neem leaves and apply directly to the boil to see visible results. Neem leaves can also be boiled in water and used while taking bath.
There are multiple ways of using garlic. One can either consume 2 to 3 garlic cloves to get rid of any skin infection or heat a clove and place it on the boil or make a paste and apply it to the boil.
As nutmeg increases the blood circulation in the body, consuming it with a cup of warm milk or water helps in preventing bacterial infection in the boil.
13. Eucalyptus Oil
Slipper Elm, few drop of eucalyptus oil and warm water are made into a paste and applied to the boil. This drains the pus from the boil and helps in the healing process.
Marshmallow leaf can be used as bandage to treat boils.
The juice of Basil Leaves, crushed ginger and a pinch of asafoetida is made into a paste and applied on the boil for faster healing.
16. Other Home Remedies
Taking tub bath with Epsom salt, using bread as a bandage by soaking it in water or milk, applying cornmeal paste on the boil and keeping salted pork or bacon on the boil are some of the other common remedies used at home to treat boils.
If none of the above home remedies work, then it is better to start a course of antibiotics after advise from the doctor to treat the bacterial infection. Some of the topical antibiotics used in the treatment of boils is Neosporin. It is applied in the affected area for few days to see visible results.
It is better to practise some measures to prevent the occurrence of boils. Practising a hygienic lifestyle, following a healthy diet and using a good soap / cleanser are important factors to keep boils at bay.