Common Causes of Boils

Boils and carbuncles (clusters of boils) are red painful bumps filled with pus that can occur on any part of your body from your face to the cleft between your buttocks. Boils and carbuncles usually resolve themselves, but if they don't, you need to contact your doctor so he or she can properly lance or drain the boil to avoid scarring your skin.

Although there are many types of boils , only two main causes give rise to boils, which include:

  • Staph bacteria
  • Toxic condition in the blood stream

Boils are generally caused when one or more hair follicle becomes infected with staph bacteria (scientifically known as Staphylococcus aureus). The staph bacteria are often harmless and they reside on your skin, and about one third of the population carries the germ in their nasal passages.

Staph bacteria that give rise to boils do so by penetrating the skin via a cut, scratch, break in the skin, or even through the sweat glands. After the staph bacteria enters your skin, your immune system releases an army of specialized white blood cells known as neutrophilis to the location of entry to fight the infection. As a result, the skin inflames into a boil and eventually fills with pus that contains old white blood cells, dead skin cells, and bacteria. Staph bacteria are also responsible for many illnesses such as pneumonia, meningitis, and urinary tract infections, just to name a few.

Recently a virulent strain of staph, called Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureas (MRSA), has been showing up in many skin infections. MRSA causes recurrent skin boils and is resistant to many antibiotics. MRSA is also linked to blood infections and severe skin infections.

Boils can also be caused by a toxic condition in the blood stream. A person's blood can become toxic due to an unhealthy lifestyle or a poor diet. Boils generally appear when a person is in an unstable and devitalized condition.