Boils are an infection that manifest themselves as pus-filled bumps on the skin.[1] They usually affect hair follicles and nearby skin tissues. Boils are very common, but can get very serious if not treated properly and promptly.[2] If you discover a boil on your skin, you can use a variety of treatments at home to help relieve the pain and kill any bacteria.[3]However, if you have diabetes, other skin problems, or if you are immunocompromised,[4] you should skip the home treatment and speak with your doctor right away.

Figure out if you have a boil. Boils can happen for a number of reasons, but are usually caused by a Staphylococcus aureus bacteria infection on your skin.[5] Figuring out if you have a boil can help you most effectively decide on the right treatment for you at home.

  • A boil may present itself as an inflamed area with pain that starts the size of a pea and increases as it fills with pus. There may be a tiny, pimple-like bump or tip on the boil.

Avoid squeezing or lancing a boil. You may want to squeeze or lance the boil, but avoid the temptation to remove it this way. Picking at and touching your skin can spread bacteria and may cause further infection.[7]

  • Picking or touching your boil may also cause further irritation and swelling

Place a warm compress on the boil. Place a warm to hot compress on the boil and surrounding skin. This can help rupture and drain a boil more quickly, and may also reduce the pain.[9]

  • Heat a glass of water to a comfortable, warm to hot temperature that won’t burn your skin. Dip a soft cloth or washcloth in the water and apply it to the affected area. Do this procedure several times a day.[10]
  • Gentle, circular rubbing may help release rupture the roil. It’s not unusual to see a small amount of pus or blood if you do this.

Soak in a lukewarm bath. Take a short bath in lukewarm water.[12] If you feel that the boil is about to burst, take a warm shower instead.

  • Consider sprinkling the water with baking soda, uncooked oatmeal or colloidal oatmeal, all of which may help calm your skin and treat the boil.[13]
  • Stay in the bathtub for only 10 – 15 minutes and repeat as necessary or as you wish.

Keep the affected area clean. Bacteria can inflame and infect the boil even more. Keeping anything that comes into contact with the boil clean will inhibit the growth of infection-causing bacteria.[14] In particular, avoid letting anyone else touch the area, as they may have different or more resistant bacteria that can worsen the infection.

  • Wash the area with a mild antibacterial soap. After you have applied the washcloth and the boil starts to drain, clean the area with a mild, antibacterial soap. Dry it with a towel by dabbing the area.[15]
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after touching or treating the boil.[16]
  • Wash anything that comes into contact with your boil such as clothing, sheets, towels, and even the washcloth you use as a compress.

Utilize colloidal silver on the boil or internally. Colloidal silver is a natural antibiotic. Ingest it internally or use it topically to treat your boil.[18]

  • Mix one tablespoon of colloidal silver with one 8oz. glass of water and drink three times a day to help heal the boil.[19]
  • You can apply colloidal silver to your boil using a bandage or by spraying it on in a mixture of water. It is painless and won’t hurt your sensitive skin like many other treatments may.[20]
  • You can purchase colloidal silver for topical or internal use at pharmacies and medical supply stores.

Apply tea tree oil to the boil. Use a bit of tea tree oil on your boil and the surrounding skin. This antiseptic, antibiotic, and antifungal is a centuries-old treatment, though there is little scientific evidence of its efficacy.[21]

  • There is a high incidence of sensitivity to tea tree oil. It is always a good idea to first do a patch test on an area that is not affected.
  • Mix a 1-1 solution of tea tree oil and water. Use diluted tea tree oil twice daily on the affected area.

Employ turmeric powder internally or topically. Turmeric is a spice that has antiseptic and antibiotic properties. You can either ingest turmeric powder or make a paste, which may help dissolve and heal the boil in as little as three days.[23]

  • You can mix one teaspoon of turmeric powder with one glass of warm water three times a day.[24]
  • You can also purchase turmeric capsules and take at least 450mg each day.[25]
  • You can make a paste of turmeric powder and place it directly on the boil. Cover it with a piece of gauze to help it heal and prevent it from staining your clothes.

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