Is there any difference between a boil and a pimple?

Acne comes in several different forms: cystic acne, whiteheads, blackheads, but what about boils? Can they be mistaken for acne?

Let’s face it, acne and boils look quite similar. A red swollen bump on your skin is probably brushed off as an acne breakout –but before trying to squeeze it or touch it too much, you have to make sure it’s not a boil.

What is a boil?

A red swollen bump on your skin is probably brushed off as an acne breakout –but before trying to squeeze it or touch it too much, you have to make sure it’s not a boil.

A boil appears as a red, painful, swollen bump that is filled with pus, but it is an infection often caused by bacteria S. aureus, or staph infection of the hair follicle.

Boils vs Pimples

Acne cysts can usually be mistaken for boils, but acne will usually have inflammatory papules, whiteheads, blackheads and pustules, but boils are usually isolated. But both, boils and pimples, appear on the surface of the skin as a result of bacteria in an inflamed hair follicle or pore, but acne usually appears in clusters.

A boil is a localized bacterial infection –usually staph or strep– in the skin.

A boil is a localized bacterial infection –usually staph or strep– in the skin. Boils are painful, hard bumps that are red and warm to the touch. While pimples usually go away on their own after several days, boils take longer, often weeks, and may need professional intervention.

Pimples are caused by other bacteria P. acnes, typically formed inside of a clogged pore, or hair follicle, when sebum and dead skin cells are combined. They are usually smaller with cysts under the surface of the skin.

The treatment

Pimples are caused by other bacteria P. acnes, typically formed inside of a clogged pore, or hair follicle

First, determine whether you have a boil or a pimple, then you have to relieve pressure. A hot compress can help to increase blood flow and bring the lesion to the surface and if you need to drain the boil at home, it would make it easier to pop the pus bump with a needle –do not squeeze the lesion as it can spread the infection and cause more scarring.

You might need some antibiotics if the infection is recurrent –so make sure you consult a doctor.

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Cathy Mason

Cathy has spent most of her professional life discovering homemade beauty remedies, old and new. Using her extensive knowledge of natural ingredients, Cathy will provide expert advice on how to tackle everyday skincare problems with straightforward natural lotions and potions. + info

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