Boils, also known as furuncles, are swollen bumps on the skin that occur from the bacterial infection of hair follicles. While not dangerous, boils are typically painful and may ooze or leak pus. Curing boils typically involves a combination of home care and an antibiotic or cleaning salve. One salve used to cure boils is ichthammol ointment, and there are various home remedies. In some cases, however, you may need to visit your physician.
Ichthammol ointment, sometimes referred to as black drawing salve, is a product that contains sulphuric shale mixed with a carrier, such as beeswax or paraffin. The ointment is mildly corrosive and is used to remove impurities such as bacteria or fungi from the skin.
Consult your doctor before using ichthammol ointment, as he may suggest that your boil needs to be surgically cleaned first. If he gives you approval to use ichthammol ointment, first clean the boil with warm soap and water. Apply a thin layer of the ointment directly to the boil according to the instructions on the bottle or tube, then cover the affected area with a sterile bandage.
Wash your hands thoroughly after touching a boil to prevent the possibility of infection elsewhere on the skin. Repeat this process daily and monitor your symptoms to ensure that the boil is receding. Consult your doctor if you don't notice any improvement over time.
Much of the process of curing a boil can be done at home. Soak a washcloth in warm salt water and apply it to the boil. Do this daily for at least 10 minutes at a time. This will help the boil rupture and drain more efficiently. Apply an over-the-counter antibiotic to the affected area and cover it with a sterile bandage. Never attempt to drain a boil by squeezing or piercing it.
There are several alternative medicines that have been known to diminish boils over time. Mix 1 tsp of turmeric powder in warm water and apply it to the boil daily. Cover the affected area with a sterile bandage after dabbing on the paste. You can also take 450mg of turmeric powder daily in pill form. Instead of turmeric powder, you can use also tea tree or castor oil. Apply these oils directly to the boil or dab onto the skin using a cotton ball.
If a boil becomes severe or does not diminish over time, your doctor may need to clean it. She will typically use a sterile surgical tool to cut or lance the boil, purging any pus or infection inside, then cover the boil with sterile gauze. This will help the boil drain over time. Take any antibiotics prescribed by your doctor; these will help reduce the longevity of a boil and prevent further infection.