English 4 MIN READ 1012 VIEWS May 8, 2024

Understanding the Different Types of Boils on Skin and How to Treat Them

Written By HealthKart
Medically Reviewed By Dr. Aarti Nehra

Boils on skin are usually painful, red, and purplish bumps that can happen anywhere on our body. These nasty bumps can be caused by a bacterial or sometimes even a fungal infection and can be a hassle to deal with. These bumps can be mistaken for pimples too, and they can also have a whitish head that holds pus. Since they’re caused by infections, the skin gets inflamed, which can oftentimes cause pain along with some itchiness. 

Treating and preventing these things can seem a bit hard at first, but they can be taken care of in various ways. This article is all about the types of skin boils, their symptoms, and the ways to prevent or take care of them.

Signs and Symptoms: How to Know if You Have Boils on Skin

If you observe the following signs, it may be an indication of skin boils: 

  1. Red bumps starting/originating from blocked hair follicles
  2. Itchy and irritated, oftentimes painful
  3. White bumps form on the head of the boils on skin called pustules
  4. The skin around the boils becomes red and swollen
  5. Can form in clusters
  6. Fever and fatigue can follow after the formation of a boil.

Types of Skin Boils

Small boils on skin can occur on different body parts for a varying number of reasons. Different types of boils can occur as well. Listed below are some of the most common types of itchy boils on skin that can happen to anyone:

  1. Carbuncles (also called carbunculosis when you develop a cluster of these boils on your skin) 
  2. A hidradenitis suppurativa (these can be found in the armpit or groin and occur due to inflamed hair follicles)
  3. A pilonidal cyst (refers specifically to the boils that happen on the area on your back where the buttocks merge)
  4. Cystic acne (occurs when the oil ducts of your skin get clogged and inflamed)
  5. Stye (boils that occur in a person’s eyelid)

Skin Boil Meaning: Why Do They Occur? 

There are many reasons why a person can develop these kinds of boils on skin. It can be due to varying external conditions such as the weather or some medications or health conditions as well. Listed below you can find some reasons for your reference that can increase the chances of the person developing such boils:

  1. People who live in close community areas such as military barracks, homeless shelters, and other types of close-quarters. 
  2. People suffering from diabetes, which affects bodily function and the ability to regulate sugar levels.
  3. Anyone with skin conditions such as eczema.
  4. Poor nutrition and diet practices can be the reason behind itchy boils on skin as well.
  5. Obese folks are at higher risk of developing these kinds of bumps.
  6. People who have weak immune systems; anyone who may suffer from hypogammaglobulinemia, which causes the body not to make enough antibodies.
  7. People who use medications such as cortisone (prednisone and prednisolone) and medications that are usually prescribed for cancer chemotherapy treatments. 

Treatment and Precautions: How to Prevent All Types of Skin Boils

Prevention of skin boils is important to avoid any associated risks. Below are some treatment and precautions for you: 

  1. Home Remedies
  • Maintaining hygiene

Maintaining good hygiene while taking care of the boils is extremely necessary. Keeping the affected area clean, dry, and covered with a completely new bandage while ensuring that you wash your hands before and after dealing with such boils on skin can help curb its spread. You also need to ensure that any of the clothes and/or bedding that you use if you have a boil is supposed to be cleaned separately as boils can be infectious.

  • Using warm compression

Using lukewarm compressions to treat the boils can help speed up the process. Using a moist warm towel to cover the boil can help speed up the process of healing.

  • Consuming over-the-counter medications

Using generic pain medications that you can find at any chemist can help you deal with the pain of such red and black boil on skin.

  1. Medical Remedies

When certain boils are left untreated for a long time, they can get serious enough to require you to seek medical intervention. There are a few ways through which a boil can be treated medically:

  • Surgically draining the pus from the head of the boil
  • Through the use of oral or IV antibiotics (to treat the infection)


Boils on skin can be painful and cause discomfort, especially when not taken care of properly. The first step to ensuring that these red bumps do not elevate or get worse over time is to take all possible precautionary measures. Getting these small boils on skin treated on time is key to making sure that you do not develop complications further down the road.

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