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Abscess (Boils)

When an abscess develops, it can cause pain and further infection. You should seek medical attention as soon as possible once an abscess develops. Our providers at Borealis Dermatology examine the area and provide treatment to reduce the pain and risk of further infection.

What are Abscesses/Boils?

A skin abscess or boils are pus-filled lumps around a hair follicle that result from a bacterial infection. They are pockets of pus that are larger and deeper under the skin. They contain bacteria, white blood cells, and dead skin cells and can occur anywhere on the body but most often occur along the face, chest, underarms, back, groin, and buttocks.

Did you know…

Boil is the non-medical term for an abscess. There are two main types of abscesses- furuncle and carbuncle. Abscesses can grow in any solid tissue, such as the lungs, gums, tonsils, brains, and kidneys, but most often occur in the skin. In the skin, they usually start as bumpy, red, pus-filled lumps around a hair follicle.


How do Abscesses/ Boils develop?

Skin abscesses/boils occur due to the body attempting to protect itself from infection by creating a wall around a pimple. The abscess/boil wall seals the infected tissues from healthy cells as a defense mechanism to prevent the pus from affecting other tissues. However, it also prevents immune cells from attacking the bacteria in the pus, increasing pain and inflammation.

What causes Abscesses/ Boils?

Bacteria usually cause abscesses, typically the Staphylococcus aureus and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria. When these bacteria penetrate the skin through minor cuts, hair follicles, and wound edges, they cause infections. Other causes for abscesses can include parasites and foreign materials such as splinters, thorns, and injection needles.

How is an Abscess treated?

Small abscesses tend to go on away with antibiotics or on their own, but if an abscess is large or interfering with your lifestyle, you may need to have it drained. Abscess drainage is a minor procedure performed in an office, where the area is numbed and incised slightly to drain its content. For more details you can click here.

How can I prevent Abscesses/Boils?

If you are prone to getting abscesses or boils, you should wash hands frequently with antibacterial soaps. If you notice an abscesses forming early on, our providers may prescribe antibiotics to prevent it. Our providers can also offer long-term care solutions for those suffering from frequent abscesses/boils.

Contact Borealis Dermatology to schedule an appointment with one of our providers to treat and manage your abscess. Borealis Dermatology offers two convenient locations to provide various treatments for our patients in the Queens and Long Island areas. You can experience the highest medical and aesthetic expertise available through our treatment options by visiting our clinic.