How To Burst A Boil By Using Home Remedies

By Patricia | August 21, 2009

A boil or furuncle surprisingly is an infection of the hair follicle. At times these bumps may also be filled with pus. Our skin is covered with bacteria, and although bathing with antibacterial soaps may reduce the amount of bacteria on the skin, you can never eliminate it. Places in the body such as the armpits, face, neck, and groin area contain more bacteria than other places, and therefore such areas are more prone to formation of boils.

The bacteria commonly associated with causing boils are staphylococcus aureus. This kind of bacteria is commonly found in the nose of almost everybody. It is a totally harmless bacteria, and it only causes an infection when it enters the deeper layers of the skin. This can be due to any reason, from an injury to a blockage in the sebaceous gland. Usually, the boil will appear to be a slight swelling around the infected hair follicle, and it does not last for more than a week.

The infection causes pus, which, in turn, causes the swelling, but once the pus hardens or drains away, the swelling subsides. The boil actually becomes large only when more than one hair follicle is infected. In this case, they all join together to form one large swelling.

It is possible for boils to appear on any part of the body, but some of the most common areas that they affect include the face, armpits, necks, thighs, hips and buttocks.

Treatment Options

There is usually no treatment needed for a boil. Popping a boil is never advised because squeezing around it tends to injure the skin in the surrounding area, leaving it prone to more infection. Also, the pus that comes out still has active bacteria in it and can therefore spread the infection into other hair follicles that it comes in contact with. The only thing that is advised is that a warm compress be applied to the boil at regular intervals. This brings the boil to a head and allows it to drain naturally.

Unless the boil is very severe and there is bleeding, there are usually no complications associated with the boil. A bleeding boil needs to be checked by a doctor as it may be a symptom of a serious problem.

Bathing or washing with antiseptic soap is usually more than enough as a preventive mechanism, albeit  using antiseptic creams after the boil has formed is of no use. Even oral antibiotics do not seem to offer much help.

Given below are a few medical treatment options on how to get rid of a boil that is very painful:

  • Ointments: Most people are advised to keep the area of the boil clean, by wiping it with warm water, after which medicated topical cream should be applied directly on the boil.
  • Medication: In case you are suffering from boils that are recurrent, which are caused by an infection, then doctor may ask you to take certain antibiotics
  • Incision: Large boils are usually drained, by making a small slit, or an incision at their tip. This process helps relieve the pain and discomfort to a great extent and at the same time, it reduces the risks of scarring.
  • Drainage: In case an infection is deep and does not drain easily, then it is usually covered with some sterile gauze, so that the pus keeps draining.

Home remedies

  • The application of a warm washcloth to the affected area: This remedy is the most effective, if it is applied on to the area for around 10 minutes, every few hours. Some doctors also recommend dipping a washcloth into some warm salty water, to make the boil drain more quickly.
  • Following strict hygienic measures: Not only should people wash their hands thoroughly after having touched their boil, but they should also get their clothing, towels, linen, and so on washed on a daily basis.
  • Herbs: A particular herb, known as Tea Tree has been used by people around the globe because it has antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic and antibiotic properties. Therefore, people apply tea tree oil directly on the boil, to get rid of the bacteria and reduce the swelling and inflammation. This remedy is also useful when it comes to preventing boils from spreading.
  • You can also try applying natural oils with antiseptic properties, such as tea tree oils to the boil. Use a clean swab to apply the oil, repeating until the boil bursts.
  • Another alternative is the use of onions, which also contain effective antiseptic ingredients. Place a slice of onion it on the boil and tie a cloth around it, keeping the slice in place for around 4 hours. You will see that the onion helps to ‘heat’ the boil and cause a rupture.
  • In addition to topical remedies, you might want to try a detoxifying diet such as a fruit juice fast. Include fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C, such as squash, oranges, yams, and carrots. It is also believed that foods rich in zinc such as oysters, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds help heal boils.

Prevention Tips

  • Washing the hands with a mild soap and warm water at regular intervals
  • Using a hand-rub which has an alcohol base
  • Cleaning even the smallest scrapes and cuts, to keep the germs from spreading
  • Covering open wounds, with dry and sterile bandages, until they heal completely.
  • Making sure that personal items such as razors, brushes, towels, clothes & sheets are not shared by others.

In case you are suffering from chronic boils, it is important to undergo a physical checkup, to rule out the possibilities of medical conditions, such as diabetes, eczema and allergies.

How to burst a boil?

Although bursting a boil is never recommended, many people do it. This is done either by lancing, where the boil is pricked, or by cutting. Popping a boil is very painful, especially before it comes to a head. Lancing or cutting the boil should be done by a medical practitioner, especially if the boil is on the face or near the eyes. The doctor will usually wait until he/she feels that the boil has come to a head before he/she does anything to drain it. This will ensure that the bacteria present in the pus have already been neutralized by the body’s immune system and is therefore not viral.


A boil near the eye is called a stye, and it is also very painful. Most styes drain by themselves with the application of a hot compress. If, however, the infection does not subside, you may want to visit a doctor to do something about it.


A burst boil is bad only when you have deliberately picked it before it has come to a head. At this stage of the boil, the body has still not had time to neutralize the bacteria and therefore the chances of spreading the infection are very high.

The most important thing to remember about a boil is that it is infectious. Avoid scratching or pinching it as any seepage can cause fresh infections in the surrounding skin. This gives rise to a condition called ‘carbuncle’ where you will have a bunch of boils grouped together. Keep the area around the boil clean and hygienic as you prepare to burst it.

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