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How Do I Treat an Armpit Boil?

A. Pasbjerg
By
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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If you have an armpit boil, which is a skin abscess that typically develops due to a bacterial infection around a hair follicle under your arm, there are a number of steps you can take to treat it. There are several home remedies that can help you draw the infection out and clear the boil, including warm compresses, turmeric, and honey. You will also want to make sure your armpit is kept clean to discourage more boils and minimize the spread of infection. If home treatments do not work, you will likely want to seek a doctor's assistance to have the boil lanced, a process that drains the pus from the abscess so it can heal. Your doctor may also prescribe oral or topical antibiotics to help clear a particularly severe infection.

Home remedies can often be used to successfully treat a boil. A compress made by soaking a cloth in hot water applied several times a day can soften it and help bring the infection to a head so the boil opens and drains. Poultices or dressings of honey, tomato, or turmeric can also help draw out pus and heal the abscess.

Cleanliness is also critical when you have an armpit boil. Excess sweat under the arms can often build up around hair follicles there, clogging the pores and creating an ideal place for bacteria to build up. Keeping the area clean and dry can help limit the spread of bacteria from the existing boil and keep new ones from developing.

You may need to see a doctor if you cannot get rid of an armpit boil using home treatments. The usual treatment for boils on the underarms and in other areas is draining. This process involves numbing the area with local anesthesia, cleaning and disinfecting the surrounding skin, and then opening the boil with a scalpel so the pus inside can come out. The wound will then usually be packed and bandaged. If you experience a significant amount of pain, you may be prescribed medication to take while it heals.

While draining alone is often sufficient, sometimes antibiotics are also used to treat an armpit boil. If the infection shows signs of spreading to your surrounding skin or the bacteria is particularly resistant to treatment, topical or oral antibiotics may be prescribed. Your doctor may also have you take them if your immune system is compromised.

TheHealthBoard is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
A. Pasbjerg
By A. Pasbjerg
Andrea Pasbjerg, a TheHealthBoard contributor, holds an MBA from West Chester University of Pennsylvania. Her business background helps her to create content that is both informative and practical, providing readers with valuable insights and strategies for success in the business world.

Discussion Comments

By bear78 — On Oct 29, 2013

Warm compresses and clove oil do wonders for boils. I have this amazing homeopathic paste that's made from cloves. Cloves naturally have antibacterial properties. Whenever I get boils, I use warm compresses followed by the clove paste. The compress helps the boil drain if it needs to and the clove paste dries out the infection.

By bluedolphin — On Oct 29, 2013

@burcidi-- Popping armpit boils with a needle or your hand is not a very good idea. It might get infected and turn into something much worse. Are you burning the needle to sterilize it? Are you using antibiotic cream on the boils afterward?

The best treatment for armpit boils is prevention. Shaving and waxing can cause boils, but if you exfoliate your armpits frequently, it shouldn't happen.

I always exfoliate my armpits with a scrub or loofah while I shower. I especially do this if I have just shaven. This prevents hair follicles from becoming entrapped and infected.

By burcidi — On Oct 28, 2013

I get armpit boils all the time due to shaving. The hairs get stuck underneath the skin and then get infected. So I get little red bumps filled with pus.

I usually pop them with a need or with my hand, remove the hair and then wash my armpit with soapy water. Is this bad?

A. Pasbjerg

A. Pasbjerg

Andrea Pasbjerg, a TheHealthBoard contributor, holds an MBA from West Chester University of Pennsylvania. Her business background helps her to create content that is both informative and practical, providing readers with valuable insights and strategies for success in the business world.
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