Any good methods of preventing boils and good care techniques for when they come?
October 11, 2007 6:59 PM   Subscribe

Any good methods of preventing boils and good care techniques for when they come?

36, getting boils with my PMS. I'm using phisoderm, a loufa, and am generally healthy. The only daily meds I take are celexa, slow FE, and claritin. No insurance so I can't go to a specialist.

I'm looking for any homeopathic techniques or pills that are good for assisting in preventing boils (if possible) and a good something that will help lessen pain and shorten their lifespan if they do arrive, preferably homeopathic as well.

The last time I had a boil I did go to a local doc as an emergency and he put me on keflex for three weeks. But I really can't afford going to the doctor every month when I get a boil.
posted by missed to Health & Fitness (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
you might want to change soaps. i like neutrogena's unscented liquid soap--it's the best thing i've found for my very acne-prone skin.

also, regular application of a face lotion containing salicylic acid works really well for me.
posted by thinkingwoman at 7:26 PM on October 11, 2007



posted by unSane at 7:29 PM on October 11, 2007

There isn't really a medicine that will prevent or shorten the life span of boils, at least that I know of.

Definitely exfoliate (but don't over exfoliate), and keep the area clean.

Where are you getting the boils? If in your groin area, keep that area dry.

Change your clothes and wash them frequently (meaning, don't wear the same pair of pants every day for a week if you're getting boils on your thighs, because you're just keeping the germs there).

Use a warm, wet compress on the boil a few times a day to encourage it to burst. When it does, keep the area clean so as not to spread infection.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 7:31 PM on October 11, 2007

I've heard that boils on the face can be related to consumption of tree nuts -- something about tannin causing a reaction. Seems to apply to me, but this is still hearsay.

If they're like I think they are, then surface treatments like loofah, Phisoderm, etc. may not have much of an effect.
posted by amtho at 7:37 PM on October 11, 2007

Response by poster: groin and knee area are the locations of the boils.
posted by missed at 7:52 PM on October 11, 2007

For skin infections, the magic word when I was talking to the doctor was 'topical'. They kept giving me antibiotic pills to take, which didn't clear things up. A prescription topical solution applied directly to the area worked like a charm. ("Why do you guys keep giving me pills when this stuff is marching around on the outside of my body?") Might help to ask if you're in the doctor's office again.

In addition to changing clothes, changing and washing bedclothes more than normal can help as well. The hotter the water, the better.
posted by gimonca at 5:30 AM on October 12, 2007

I've talked about my personal findings (and my magic salve, which is hard to find) in a couple of threads, one in the past week - I'm on my way out the door or I'd recap, but check my recent posts or search for boil, you can't miss me.

The one thing I may not have said in my other responses is that pads make it worse, as does too-enthusiastic underwear elastic.
posted by Lyn Never at 6:10 AM on October 12, 2007

Prevention is the best defense and as previously said above, keeping things as dry as possible is the first step.

Be careful with that loufa - it is possible to cause flareups if you rub too hard or too much. Dry the loufa throughly between each use and don't use it when wet.

Vermont Country Store (or maybe Lillian Vernon) sells a cotton liner to wear with bras to prevent (or ease) under boob sweat.

Boil Ease is an OTC which can bring some relief when you get a boil but beware of the store brand boil remedies - some of them contain tar which will stain your clothes (I've also heard of using Vicks Vaporub - cheaper but greasier than Boil Ease)

Oil of Oregano and Tea Tree Oil are also supposed to help but I haven't had much luck with them and Quret wasn't worth the $. Haven't tried Prid Salve from vermont country store either.

My dermatologist gave me a scrip for a 5% solution of Benzoyl Peroxide to use every day and it does seem to help over any OTC or homeopathic thing I've tried. Could your regular GP write a prescription for you?
posted by jaimystery at 11:47 AM on October 12, 2007

I have to share this, because I heard it yesterday from my hairdresser who is also a really good friend of 10+ years.

She said she had a boil when she was 25 and had no medical insurance, and it was on her hip. She couldn't get it to fully surface, so she called her mother.

Her mother told her to put several hot compresses on it until a white spot formed, then wash the area with alcohol, and poke the middle of it with a sewing needle that had been disinfected.

Then, empty a coke can and heat it up briefly on the stove (make sure it's hot, but not hot enough to burn skin).

Then, put the opening of the coke can DIRECTLY over the pinprick you made with a needle.

She said it IMMEDIATELY sucked all of the pus out and it felt much, much better.

Now, I googled this home remedy to no avail, so not sure how common a solution this is, but my mom had heard of this, too.

I just got done with a 3-week struggle with MRSA (a giant infected boil) and the dr. gave me antibiotics and vancomycin...

You might just want to have a boil cultured for this, because if that's what it is, it'll recur every 6 months or so and it's a systemic infection that won't go away without a VERY specific set of treatments (nasal medication, oral medication, medical wash... the works). 50 percent of people in the world have it now, so you may be suffering from a recurrence of that and not realize it.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 1:12 PM on October 12, 2007 [1 favorite]

Unicorn on the cob :
The old timers called that "candling"; you hold a candle under a glass to heat the air out, put it on something, and when it cools down, the perfect gas law kicks in and forms a vacuum.
If you keep getting them in the same spot, you should consider it may be a sebaceous cyst. Regrettably, they do not always come to a head. Sometimes they just get more and more miserable, and the long range cure is to remove them surgically. When mine get ugly, I start taking Vit C and it's likely to shrink back down until next time. (I can't swear for anyone else; mine show improvement in maybe 12 hours if they are going to, but I'd give it a couple of days before I'd decide it wasn't working. It's a water soluble vitamin; it won't hurt you in reasonable dosages.)
posted by unrepentanthippie at 12:04 PM on October 13, 2007

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