Boils (Skin Abscesses)

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Quick GuideBoils: Causes, Symptoms, and Home Remedies

Boils: Causes, Symptoms, and Home Remedies

What causes boils to form?

There are many causes of boils. Some boils can be caused by an ingrown hair. Others can form as the result of a splinter or other foreign material that has become lodged in the skin. Others boil, such as those of acne, are caused by plugged sweat glands that become infected. Often the exact cause of a boil cannot be determined.

The skin is an essential part of our immune defense against materials and microbes that are foreign to our body. Any break in the skin, such as a cut or scrape, can develop into an abscess should it become infected with bacteria.

Reviewed on 2/19/2016
References
REFERENCES:

Kasper, D., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Professional, 2015.

Satter, Elizabeth Kline. "Folliculitis." Medscape.com. Dec. 11, 2013. <http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1070456-overview>.

Singhal, Hemant. "Skin and Soft Tissue Infections - Incision, Drainage, and Debridement." Medscape.com. May 8, 2012. <http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1830144-overview>.

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