Boils and Carbuncles: Symptoms, Treatment, Prevention and More

What Is a Boil and Carbuncle?

Boils are bacterial infections that occur beneath your skin at a hair follicle. On the other hand, a carbuncle is a cluster of boils that have more than one pus “heads.” They’re usually painful and tender. They result in a serious infection that can leave a scar. A carbuncle is also known as a staph skin infection.

A boil (or furuncle) is a pus-filled bump that grows in your skin. Carbuncles are a group of several boils. In most cases, boils usually start as red bumps, which quickly grow in size and fill with pus. They are usually caused by a bacteria, known as Staphylococcus aureus (staph infection). They are painful skin abscesses that occur due to bacteria infecting your hair follicle. They are commonly found in the armpits, buttocks, thighs, and neck. However, they can occur anywhere in the body.

In most cases, boils get better with at-home treatments like warm compresses. You may need to contact your healthcare provider to help with bigger boils.