What Do Boils Look Like?

by jake on January 15, 2012

Boils are skin infections that form in or around a hair follicle, or an oil gland. They may look like regular pimples but they do tend to be bigger and more painful. They too are unsightly and if they are not attended to soon enough, there are high chances that the infection can spread to other parts of the body. Once you have familiarized yourself with the way a boil looks like, you will easily know what to do when you have one.

Facts about boils

The interesting thing about boils is that they are a way of the body riding itself off infection. Most boils form around a hair follicle or oil gland that has become infected. Not a lot of people know that boils are highly contagious and can easily be passed on from one person to another. If you find that you are prone to getting boils a lot, then it may be due to the fact that you have a low resistance to bacterial infections. There are several ways the infection can spread. If you squeeze a boil, the infection can spread into the bloodstream the same way if the boil bursts, you run a risk of spreading the infection to other parts of the body. There are also high chances that a boil can develop into a carbuncle.


They are shaped like domes and when they start out, are red at first. However, as they grow, the boil forms a white head which is filled with pus. The white head may be white or yellow in color depending on the boil. The sizes of boils vary as some can be as large as golf balls, others as big as walnuts while others may be as small as a pimple. The bigger boils tend to be more painful and have higher risks of infection.

Locations on body

Boils commonly occur in places where there is a lot of sweat and friction. Such places are like the arms, neck, face and buttocks. These are the top most places for boils to form.


You can easily get a boil infected even if wait for it to drain. The drain coming from the boil can easily cause an infection in other parts of the body. Due to the pain, you can use hot water and a towel to compress the boil several times a day. This should help the boil mature quicker and once it’s ready to drain, make sure you have antiseptic and a clean cloth nearby.


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