FolliculitisA boil, or furuncle, is an infection of a hair follicle caused by the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus). This common bacterium inhabits the skin, and approximately one third of the population carry the germ in their noses. S. aureus is usually harmless, but it can cause a range of mild to severe infections, if it gains access to deeper tissues. Certain areas of the body are more susceptible to boils, including the face, throat, armpits, groin and buttocks. A boil on the eyelid is known as a stye. A carbuncle is an aggregate of connected furuncles and has several pustular openings. Boils usually resolve by themselves, but severe or recurring cases require medical treatment. Options include lancing and draining the boil, and antibiotics.
The evolution of a boil includes:
A small area of skin becomes inflamed and tender
A painful lump appears
After a few days, a white or yellow head forms
The boil bursts
The pus drains out
The site heals
A scar may form, depending on the severity of the boil.