Abscesses are localized collections of pus that form as a response to infection, while boils specifically develop around hair follicles or oil glands.

Our experienced dermatologists offer comprehensive services, from accurate diagnosis through physical examinations to personalized treatment plans. We focus on relieving pain and promoting healing, often incorporating drainage techniques like incision and drainage (I&D).

Through prescription medications and preventive measures, we aim to not only address the immediate concern but also reduce the risk of recurrence. Trust us, the Dermatology Associates & Surgery Center, for expert care, education on skincare practices, and ongoing support for your skin health journey.

Symptoms of Abscesses and Boils

  • Boils manifest as red, tender, and painful lumps on the skin, typically filled with pus.
  • The affected area may be swollen and warm to the touch.
  • Boils contain a center filled with pus, which may require medical intervention
  • The surrounding skin is often red and inflamed.
  • In some cases, individuals may experience a fever, especially if the infection is severe.
  • Boils and abscesses can be sensitive to the touch.

Causes of Abscesses and Boils

  • Boils and abscesses can form as a result of a cut or break in the skin, which leads to a bacterial infection. 
  • Some boils are caused by an ingrown hair.
  • Others are caused by plugged-up sweat glands, such as some types of cystic acne.
  • They grow quickly and are usually painful until they drain.
  • People with weakened immune systems are more susceptible to boils than the general population. 

How to Prevent Abscesses and Boils

It's crucial to avoid squeezing or puncturing boils, as this can worsen the infection and lead to complications. You can help prevent boils and abscesses by maintaining good hygiene, regularly cleansing and moisturizing your skin, and avoiding tight clothing that may cause friction. You should treat cuts and wounds promptly, and avoid sharing personal items. If prone to recurrent boils, consult one of our dermatologists for guidance on preventive measures. 

FAQs for Abscesses and Boils

While both involve a collection of pus, a boil specifically refers to a skin infection around a hair follicle. An abscess, on the other hand, can form in various body tissues, including organs and deeper layers of the skin.

Abscesses and boils often present as swollen, red, and painful lumps on the skin. They may be warm to the touch and can develop a white or yellow center (pus-filled head) as they progress.

Treatment may involve draining the abscess by making an incision, which can provide relief and promote healing. Antibiotics may also be prescribed to address the underlying infection. In some cases, more extensive surgical drainage may be necessary.

Over-the-counter creams may not be effective in treating abscesses or boils. While antibiotics can help with bacterial infections, they are typically prescribed by a healthcare professional after a proper evaluation. It's important to consult with a doctor before using any medications to ensure appropriate treatment.

Yes, abscesses and boils can be painful due to inflammation and the buildup of pressure. Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, may help alleviate pain. However, it's essential to consult with a healthcare professional for proper guidance on pain management and to address the underlying cause of the abscess or boil

From our QualDerm Family of Brands: Diagnosis and Treatment of Skin Care Needs

Treatments for Abscesses and Boils

If you suspect a boil or abscess, schedule an appointment with one of our dermatologists for proper diagnosis and treatment. Our skin experts will clean, lance, and drain the boil and prescribe an antibiotic to alleviate the infection.