Myth: Acne can be cured with frequent face washing.
Fact: It is good hygiene to wash the face on a daily basis.
However, scrubbing, using abrasive cleaners, and over
washing does not cure acne. Instead these practices may
irritate the skin and make the condition worse.
What are Boils?
Boils are painful, pus fi lled bumps that form under the
skin when Staphylococcus bacteria infect one or more of
the hair follicles. This bacterium generally enters the skin
through a cut, scratch, or break in the skin. When this oc-
curs specialized white blood cells move to the site to fi ght
the infection. This typically leads to infl ammation and pus.
Boils can occur anywhere on the skin, especially areas
where sweat is likely (e.g., face, neck, armpits, buttocks,
and thighs). It is not uncommon for boils to appear in
clusters called carbuncles. Carbuncles often occur on the
back of the neck, shoulders, or thighs and cause a deeper
and more severe infection than a single boil.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Boils?
Usually boils will fi rst appear as red, tender lumps about
a 1⁄2 inch in diameter. The surrounding skin may also be
red and swollen. These lumps quickly fi ll with pus, making
them grow larger and more painful. The boils fi nally develop
a white tip that ruptures and drains.
While some boils may disappear after a few days, most take
about two weeks to completely heal. Small boils usually
heal without scarring, but a larger boil may leave a scar.
What are the Risk Factors Associated With Boils?
Although anyone can develop boils, the following factors
can increase one’s risk:
Poor general health
Clothing that binds or chafes
Other skin conditions
What is the Treatment for Boils?
A health care provider may drain a large boil to help relieve
pain, speed recovery, and lessen scarring. Antibiotics can
be prescribed to relieve severe or recurre