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Treating Boils

Our bodies are constantly changing throughout our lives, but not all changes should be neglected—especially when the change involves the painful, large, red bumps on the skin, called boils. Our team of dermatologists with Shenandoah Dermatology & Aesthetics in Staunton, Afton, Raphine, Fishersville, and Waynesboro, VA, encourage you to pay attention to your boils for any signs of concerns.

Causes of Boils

An abscess indicates when there is an isolated bacterial infection of the skin, appearing as a reddened bump, filled with puss, and often causing great discomfort.

When the staph bacteria (i.e. staphylococcus aureus) that normally lives on our skin and inside our nose, enters a hair follicle from a lesion of the skin, a boil forms. The painful bump is a result of your immune system trying to rid of the uninvited bacteria.

Since we have hair follicles all over our bodies, your initial thought may be that boils can appear anywhere on your skin—and while partially true, boils are often found on areas of the skin that frequently chafes, has an abundance of hair, or often sweats (e.g. the armpits, thighs, face, buttocks, chest, and back).

Types of Boils

The best way to determine if you have a boil is to visit with our dermatologists at Shenandoah Dermatology & Aesthetics in Staunton, Afton, Raphine, Fishersville, or Waynesboro, VA, but we still believe the importance of identifying the boil on your own.

Common boils include:

  • A furuncle is a singular boil, and clustered boils are referred to as a carbuncle, and in such instances, are usually found on the shoulders, thighs, or the back of the neck.
  • An infected hair follicle in the buttocks area is called a pilonidal cyst, which are commonly a result of remaining seated for long periods of time.
  • Other clustered abscesses, or Hidredenitis Suppurativa, form in the armpits or groin area as a result of clogged sweat glands.
  • Cystic acne can cause boils in the surface of the skin, primarily impacting teenagers.

Common Symptoms of Boils

Boils initially appear small, but can grow larger (i.e. as large as a baseball) when left untreated. Boils that grow large often mimic a similar feeling as touching a water-balloon, but instead is filled with dead tissue and pus.

While the pain of an untreated boil increases, other common symptoms you may experience, include:

  • the bacteria spreading to other areas of the skin
  • rapid growth
  • oozing, or weeping from the pus
  • inflammation or redness
  • prior itchiness to the area
  • fatigue
  • fever

Treating Your Boils

While these abscesses can heal on their own in mild cases, most boils need to be opened and drained to encourage the healing process. However, improperly opening a boil at-home promotes the spread of the infection, which is why our dermatologists at Shenandoah Dermatology & Aesthetics, encourage you to visit with them for a thorough examination.

To treat your boils properly in Staunton, Afton, Raphine, Fishersville, or Waynesboro, VA, schedule an appointment with our office today, by calling (540) 885-4500.

Our Locations

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Shenandoah Dermatology


1600 N Coalter St #19
Staunton, VA 24401

10950 Rockfish Valley Highway, Suite C
Afton, VA 22920

45 Commerce Park Drive
Raphine, VA 24472

16 Ivy Ridge Lane, Suite 138
Fishersville, VA 22939

400 S Magnolia Ave
Waynesboro, VA 22980

  • "The staff was extremely efficient and friendly in a lovely and accessible location. They were remarkable in fitting appointments into my busy schedule. They represent a great team under positive leadership."
    A patient from Harrisonburg, VA