An infection of a hair follicle, commonly referred to as a boil or furuncle, can be quite painful. The follicle becomes inflamed and filled with bacteria, causing pus. Sometimes several of these boils can form into cluster known as a carbuncle. Learning the most effective hair follicle infection treatments will help you relieve your discomfort.
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A hair follicle infection will usually go away without treatment. However, applying a warm compress to the boil several times a day can help speed up the process. Wet a clean washcloth with warm water and apply it to the area for five minutes. Do this hourly, if possible, using a new washcloth and washing your hands each time.
The infected area should be washed several times a day. Be careful not to dry out the skin, as that can further the irritation and discomfort. Use a mild soap and warm water for each cleaning. A fresh bandage should be applied after each cleaning. Wash your hands thoroughly after touching the affected area to prevent spreading the infection.
Most boils will need to rupture and allow the pus to drain before they can fully heal. This often happens naturally, but a doctor may need to make a small incision in the centre of the bump. The pus should immediately drain out, but if some remains, a clean bandage should be applied to allow the remainder to drain.
Draining the boil is not recommended for at-home treatment, due to the possibility of further pain and infection.
Tea Tree Oil
An alternative treatment for hair follicle infections is tea tree oil. This extract has been used for many years as both an antibiotic and antiseptic. Applying the oil to the boil three or four times a day can help with the healing process.
Antibiotics may be prescribed if the boil lasts longer than two weeks.
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