Causes and Treatments of Furuncle (Boils) | Dermatology

Furuncle (Boil)

What is the furuncle?

A furuncle or boil is a disease of the hair follicle. The follicle is a small hole in the skin where hair forms. Most people have a furuncle. These grow deep into the skin. Clusters of boils are called carbuncles. Boils are commonly found on the face, neck, breasts, armpits, and buttocks.

Alternate name

  • Boils

Why does the furuncle occur?

Most people with boils are healthy and have good personal hygiene. However, they carry Staphylococcus aureus on the surface of their skin (Staphylococcus carrier state). In general, it is not known why this occurs, but it is estimated that between 10 and 20% of the population are carriers of staph.

Staphylococcus aureus is usually carried in the nostrils, armpits, between the legs, and between the buttocks. It can be transferred from the nostrils to other sites through the nails.

Types of furuncle

There are several different types of boils. Among these are:

  • Carbuncle
  • Hidradenitis suppurativa (seen in the armpit or groin)
  • A pilonidal cyst (area on the back where the buttocks merge)
  • Cystic acne
  • Sty (stye)

Causes of furuncle

Furuncles are caused by bacteria (germs) that multiply under the surface of the skin. Your immune system is important in fighting infection. If germs get under your skin and your immune system doesn’t kill them quickly to keep them from multiplying, you run the risk of developing a boil or carbuncle.

These health problems make people more prone to skin conditions:

  • Diabetes
  • Problems with the immune system
  • Poor nutrition
  • Poor hygiene
  • Exposure to harsh chemicals that irritate the skin

Risk factors for furuncle

Anyone can develop boils. The child is at greater risk if he or she:

  • You have diabetes or a weakened immune system
  • There are other skin diseases
  • The skin is in close contact with those who have a tumour, boil, or carbuncle.
  • There are skin lesions such as scrapes, cuts, or insect bites
  • In a hot tub or spa water that has not been properly treated

Symptoms of furuncle

A boil on the affected area of the skin begins as pale, pinkish-red, and swollen. Over time, it feels like a water-filled balloon or cyst.

The pain is aggravated when it fills with pus and dead tissue. The pain goes away when the boil dries up. A boil can drain on its own. Most of the time, the boil must be opened to remove it.

The main symptoms of a furuncle include:

  • Deep swelling of the skin, a red bump (sometimes a hair grows out).
  • Painful, especially when touched and in certain areas of the body (such as the nose or ear)
  • The size can vary from a pea to a golf ball.
  • A whitish-yellow central “head” may develop that breaks down and releases pus
  • It spreads to the surrounding skin, creating a carbuncle

Other symptoms may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • General ill-feeling
  • Itching before the boil develops
  • Skin redness around the boil

Diagnosis of furuncle

Your doctor can diagnose a boil by examining your skin. If you have multiple boils in a short period of time, your doctor may run blood tests to check for diabetes or other medical conditions, which can increase your risk of recurring infections.

Treatment of furuncle

Very simple boils can be treated at home. A good way to speed up the healing process is to boil a warm washcloth for 10 minutes, three to four times a day. The hot boil increases blood circulation, which means that more infection-fighting white blood cells are sent out.

After it boils, cover it with clean gauze or dressing to prevent the spread of infection. Wash your hands well with soap and hot water, as this will help prevent bacteria from spreading to other parts of your body or other people.

Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, ease the pain caused by boils. Your doctor may want to make a small opening in the boil to let the pus out. This is called lancing the boil. You’ll numb the area first. Sometimes gauze is draped over the cut to help it stay open and dry.

Your doctor may also guide antibiotics to stop the infection. Take your antibiotics as prescribed. Do not stop taking them because you feel good or because the boil looks good. You must take a full course of antibiotics.


  • Abscess of the skin, spinal cord, brain, kidneys, or different organs
  • Brain infection
  • Heart infection
  • Bone infection
  • Infection of the blood or tissues (sepsis)
  • Spinal cord infection
  • Spread of disease to different parts of the body
  • Permanent scarring


To help prevent furuncle:

  • Keep your face and body clean and dry.
  • If your skin is susceptible to it, apply an antibacterial wash such as benzyl peroxide 10% on your body (be careful, it can be irritating and bleach clothes and clothing) or a high gloss wash (do not use it on your neck )
  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Cover open wounds and keep them clean
  • Don’t share razors, towels, makeup, etc.
  • Don’t pick, pop, or squeeze the area

When to contact the doctor?

  • Boil on your face, near your spine, or your anus
  • Produces fever or severe pain
  • Do not cure with home treatment in 1 week
  • Cause of pain or discomfort
  • You will get a lot of boils in many months

Departments to consult for this condition

  • Department of dermatology

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