Boils are common skin infections that cause a lot of discomfort. They can also take weeks to heal and they often leave marks behind. But the use of an essential oil for skin boil can make healing easier and faster. There are lots of studies on this matter, and you’ll learn about these findings too.
In this article, you’ll read about:
- The conventional treatment of skin boils, cysts and carbuncles.
- How essential oils can help with the signs and symptoms of a skin infection such as a boil.
- Some of the best proven antibacterial essential oils, with pros and cons for a safe use.
- How to best use these aromatic oils in your natural boil treatment.
- A list of Aromatherapy oil recipes to heal your skin and soothe boil pain.
- Signs and symptoms of skin boils. Plus differences and similarities between boils, cysts, furuncles and carbuncles.
- Tips to prevent skin boil recurrence.
Best Essential Oils for Skin Boils and Cysts, Pros & Cons and Recipes
When hair follicles become infected with Staphylococcus aureus, they swell, redden and fill with pus. This skin condition is known as boils or furuncles, which means the same thing. These skin boils can literally appear anywhere on the body, inside and out.
External boils however, are more unaesthetic and painful. They are the cause of thousands of annual visits to the doctor.
Unfortunately, they are also contagious, so a careful healing approach is recommended. That’s why essential oils are so good in this case. You’ll soon see why.
Conventional treatment of skin boils includes:
- Sometimes even incision or lancing.
In more severe cases, antibiotics are also prescribed for the staph infection. The biggest problem here is that S. aureus is one of those resistant bacteria. This means that antibiotics are not enough to kill it anymore.
Good news though! Essential oils have proven to be a lot better at killing the staph. They can do that without giving it a chance to develop resistance.
How Essential Oils Work on Skin Boils and Cysts
Your main objectives in treating a skin boil are to:
- Soothe the inflammation (redness).
- Reduce the pain level.
- Promote drainage.
- Prevent bacteria growth and spreading.
- Speed up healing.
Fortunately, essential oils can help with all that and more. You’ll soon learn what essential oils are good for killing bacteria and soothing pain and inflammation.
Essential oils are:
- Steam distilled from fresh or dried plants (leaves, twigs, bark, seeds, resin, etc.)
- Highly volatile, meaning they can evaporate fast and disperse throughout the air.
- Antibacterial and antiviral by nature.
- Analgesic (pain relievers).
- They can help drain out toxins.
- This means they can improve blood circulation.
- Promote collagen formation that helps healing scars.
- Good at helping the skin heal with very little or no scar tissue at all.
- Help strengthen blood vessels and damaged nerves.
- Stop bleeding by speeding up proper coagulation.
Researchers observed the mechanism of action of some antibacterial oils on S. aureus. They were tested against other bacteria too and found effective.
Essential oils can kill bacteria and prevent it from developing resistance by penetrating their biofilms.
Synthetic antibiotics can’t penetrate the microbial biofilm. But some essential oils can do that. The ones that do so have antibiotic effects also.
Antibacterial and antibiotic essential oils can damage the protective cell wall of a bacterium. Its contents will then leak and lead to disintegration.
The best proven essential oils that are good for staph infection, pain and inflammation are:
- Red Thyme.
- Cinnamon Cassia.
- Peru Balsam.
There are others too, but these three were found especially effective. So let’s see what makes them so special. Be sure to read through both their pros and cons, for a safe and responsible use.
1) Cinnamon Cassia Essential Oil
Botanical name: Cinnamomum cassia or Cinnamomum aromaticum.
- Cinnamon is one of the best essential oils that kill bacteria. It can do so because of its high content in cinnamaldehyde. It has strong antibacterial and anti-infection effects.
- It also has antioxidant and antispasmodic properties. They help calm down pain and throbbing in a skin boil.
- The oil of Cinnamon can also improve the circulation and warm up the skin. This will drain more of the puss from the deeper levels of the skin. Thus, healing from a cyst or a skin boil can be faster.
- Avoid its use if you suffer from asthma or epilepsy.
- Cinnamon oil should not be used on a long term.
- Don’t use more than 20% of Cinnamon Cassia in your blends.
- It is phototoxic, so sun exposure is not recommended after using it on skin.
- Cassia can also cause toxicity to the liver, if taken internally.
Why I like it:
The smell of Cinnamon Cassia is really pleasant. It makes any skin healing blend more enjoyable. The oil also has beneficial effects on the nervous system and mood. It can be used in all sorts of skin infections or stomach problems.
2) Thyme Essential Oil
Botanical name: Thymus vulgaris ct. thymol.
- Thyme has many chemotypes. The one tested and found effective at killing bacteria refers to thymol. This oil is highly antibacterial and anti-parasitic. Thyme oil can destroy the protective cell membrane of Staphylococcus aureus. Thus, Thyme thymol oil can prevent staph growth.
- This oil can also strengthen the immune system and fight damaging free radicals. The body is then able to fight the bacteria and speed up healing.
- It’s a great tonic for the whole body. It can stimulate the digestion, appetite and toxin elimination.
- People with asthma and/or epilepsy need to consult their doctor before using Thyme oil.
- People with heart problems should avoid Thyme essential oils for skin boils.
- Use no more than 5% of it in your blends.
Why I like it:
Thyme oil is great to have around to relieve stomach or respiratory issues. It is also great for all kinds of skin infections, especially skin boils and carbuncles.
3) Peru Balsam Essential Oil
Botanical name: Myroxylon balsamum.
- The oil of Peru Balsam is great for any kind of discomfort and pain felt on the skin. It is so because it has strong anti-infection and antibacterial effects.
- The oil can also strengthen the immune system and balance the skin’s microflora.
- Peru Balsam is among the essential oils good for inflammation.
- The oil has a warming effect on the area where it’s applied. Like Cinnamon, Peru Balsam can also stimulate pus drainage and fast healing.
- Peru Balsam should be used in 1 – 2% concentration in blends.
- If you suffer from allergies, asthma or seizures avoid using it without medical consent.
Why I like it:
Peru Balsam is great for skin problems. It can kill bacteria that cause infection and scars. It can also be used for muscle cramps and rheumatism. It also smells incredibly nice, vanilla-like.
What essential oils can draw out infection? They can be Peru Balsam, Cinnamon or Thyme. Or they can be any one of the following aromatic essences. Here are some other great essential oils for skin boils, cysts and carbuncles:
Oregano essential oil – Oregano is a great oil for boils because it’s one of the best natural antibiotics. It is very high in carvacrol, a substance that can kill bacteria like S. aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and E. coli. Thus, one can use Oregano oil for boils and cysts on a daily basis, until they heal.
Lavender essential oil – Using Lavender oil for boils can help draw out infection. But at the same time, it can also speed up healing and prevent the bacteria from spreading. Lavender is one of the gentlest oils to apply on wounds, but not undiluted though. Lavender will also help the tissue heal without scars.
Frankincense essential oil – This aromatic oil is great at helping the tissue heal without scars. Using Frankincense oil for boils will boost collagen production. It’ll help seal the wound after the infection has passed. It can also help disinfect the wound. Frankincense oil should be used for boils in their final stage, once they came to a head.
Clove bud essential oil – Clove oil for boil is a wonderful pain reliever. Skin boils and cysts or abscesses are very painful. The main substance in Clove oil is eugenol. It has been often compared to lidocaine, a synthetic analgesic. It also has strong antibacterial and tonic effects.
Tea Tree essential oil – Can you use Tea Tree oils on boils, you might wonder. The truth is no essential oil should be poured directly on an open wound. It is too strong for the damaged tissue, veins, nerves, etc. Tea Tree oil works on boils just like all the other tested extracts. It can also penetrate the protective biofilm of the bacteria and cause their death. Tea Tree is among the best essential oils good for staph infection. This oil is great at stimulating the production of white blood cells that push the infection out. Thus, using Tea Tree is how you get a boil to come to a head faster.
Bay Laurel essential oil – This plant oil is extremely useful at relieving boil or cyst pain. It’s also one of the best essential oils for skin abscesses that may or may not be filled with pus. Bay Laurel oil can also diminish the sensitivity of nerves in the injured skin. It can add to the antibacterial effects of the other oils.
Geranium essential oil – Simple Geranium or Rose Geranium can help the skin heal faster, once the infection is out. It has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects. They help soothe and calm down the affected tissue.
Ajowan essential oil – This aromatic oil is rich in thymol also. Thus, using Ajowan oil for boils will help clear out the staph infection and prevent its spreading. It can also stimulate the immune system to help the body face the infection better.
What other essential oils are good for staph infection?
- Spike Lavender
- Roman Chamomile
- Juniper berry
How to Use Essential Oils for Cysts or Boils
Depending on the infection and measures taken for its healing, a skin boil may take between 2 days and 3 weeks to heal. It takes a long time to come to a head on its own.
Once the pus is released, the healing of the tissue should not last as much. That’s why using a good essential oil for skin boils can speed up all this process.
The best way to apply your essential oil blends is topically. Any aromatic oil needs to be diluted first, with carrier oil. Some of the best carrier oils for skin boils are those with anti-inflammatory effects. Tamanu, Calendula, Black Seed and Olive are a few good examples.
Mix about 12 – 18 drops of essential oil per Oz carrier oil and apply on the affected area and around it.
Another good way of treating a staph infection is to apply hot compresses on the boil. The compress should be soaked in some hot salted water first. Salt is highly antibacterial and the heat can draw more blood into the boil.
With blood come more oxygen, nutrients and white cells that help fight the infection. All this speeds up healing by dilating the pores, which leads to the release of the pus. Make sure you throw the compress away after 10 minutes’ use.
Apply a new hot compress, adding in 2 – 3 drops of an antibacterial or antibiotic essential oil this time. Keep it stitched down with a band aid.
Still wondering how do you get a boil to come to head faster? This method is it! The hot compress soaked in salted water.
Unfortunately, staph infections that cause skin boils are contagious. They can spread to other body parts or people. Make sure you’re taking all the right precautions while caring for a boil.
- Use as many disposable recipients as possible, and cotton pads or compresses. Throw them away the minute you’re done with them.
- Use protective gloves to apply the essential oil blend on your pus-filled skin abscess, cyst or skin boil.
- Rinse all clothes with Tea Tree essential oil or another antibacterial oil you prefer.
- Diffuse antibacterial and antiviral essential oils to purify the air and prevent further infections.
- Avoid sharing towels and other common objects.
There is an in-depth research that looked into all the skin boil infection cases in hospitals. It shows that there are high chances it can come back within a year after the first consultation. 10% of the treated patients developed a repeat boil or abscess.
There are many causes that contribute to the recurrence of skin boils and abscesses. I will give you all the necessary details in a few paragraphs.
Diffusing Aromatherapy essential oils helps purifying the air and the skin. This should be done for 20 – 30 minutes, in well ventilated rooms.
Avoid sleeping with the diffuser on or keeping it on for many continuous hours. The active molecules of the oil are highly active and continue to diffuse even after shutting the device down.
Studies say that 60+ minutes of inhalation can put pressure and stress on the mind and body. It can also elevate heart rate, affect sleep, etc.
Essential Oil Recipes for Boils
It’s time to get more practical and make a blend with some of the best essential oils for skin boils and cysts. Take your pick from the following recipes and be done with that boil fast!
Skin Boil Antibacterial Recipe
- Cinnamon Cassia oil: 9 drops
- Thyme oil: 9 drops
- Tamanu oil: 1 Oz (30ml)
Give the blend a good shake before each use. Apply a moderate amount on the disinfected skin and around it, 2 times a day. These are both good essential oils for pain and inflammation too.
Anti-Infectious Skin Boil Hot Compress
- Bay Laurel oil: 1 drop
- Tea Tree oil: 1 drop
- Hot salted water
Soak the compress in the salted water. Squeeze the water out and add the oil drops on the middle. Place it on the boil and repeat the process if the water gets cold before the 10 minutes are up.
Furuncle Essential Oil Recipe
- Cinnamon Cassia oil: 6 drops
- Lavender oil: 6 drops
- Peru Balsam oil: 6 drops
- Olive oil: 1 Oz (30ml)
Concentrated Essential Oil Blend for Skin Abscess and Carbuncle
- Tea Tree essential oil: 10 drops
- Cinnamon Cassia essential oil: 7 drops
- Ajowan essential oil: 7 drops
- Bay laurel essential oil: 10 drops
- Calendula/Tamanu oil: 1 Oz (30ml)
Apply 2 – 3 times a day on a clean skin, until the abscess or furuncle disappears. This may take about a week (more or less).
Skin Boils, Cysts, Carbuncles: Signs & Symptoms, Statistics and Prevention Tips
At times, all these skin conditions can get confusing. If you too have doubts about which is which, I’ll explain it to you right now.
Skin Boils – They are skin infections filled with pus that feel like nodules. They’re also very painful and can take a long time to come to a head and heal. Skin boils form around a hair follicle, through which bacteria can make its way inside the tissue.
Furuncle – The name comes from furunculosis, a deep infection of the hair follicle. In other words, a furuncle is the same thing as a skin boil. It’s more of a medical term though.
Carbuncle – This is a collection of many infected hair follicles (boils).
Skin Abscess – This term refers to deep infections that stretch on many skin layers. Skin abscesses are filled with pus, and so they’re often referred to as skin boils.
Skin Cyst – This is not an infection, though it also feels like a nodule or lump under the skin. A cyst is a pocket of tissue that can easily fill up with liquid. Skin cysts may be caused by infections, but they can also be the cause of clogged pores and oil glands. Skin cysts can turn into abscesses when they become infected and fill with pus.
All these skin infections can be blamed on Staphylococcus aureus. It is also known as staph bacterium. Normally, this bacterium and others live on the skin and inside the nose. They can live there for years, without causing problems. Only under certain conditions can they cause infections.
The first signs of a skin boil are redness, swelling and sensitivity. The symptom of a skin boil is usually just pain and discomfort, but sometimes, it can also cause fever.
If that happens, you must seek medical help at once! Staph infection can also cause body weakness and exhaustion.
Where do skin boils show up? The answer is pretty much anywhere and everywhere. They can show up on the back of the neck, back, chest, fingers, buttocks, etc.
But they can also show up internally, on certain organs. You’ll see here a whole list of places where boils and abscesses have been found and treated.
Skin boils can have many causes. Most often they affect teenagers and young adults, but not only. The following can all (or just one) be the cause of furuncles or carbuncles:
- Antibiotic use,
- Young age,
- Chronic skin diseases (acne, eczema, lupus, hives, etc.),
- Open wounds,
- Low immune system,
- HIV and other autoimmune diseases.
A staph infection causes pus to build up. This pus is in fact the body’s defense mechanism that tries to get rid of the pathogen. White blood cells and lymph are sent to the affected area by the immune system.
Their role is to push the infection out so the skin can start healing. In that pus-filled pocket, there will also be dead skin cells and dead bacteria too.
That is why Tea Tree oil is a good oil to add to your natural remedy against skin boils. It can draw out infection faster. The other warming oils act just the same, though differently.
Tips to Prevent Skin Boils
There is a risk you might be prone to getting recurring skin boils and carbuncles. But there are still a few good practices to try to prevent them. It all comes down to a good hygiene:
- Maintain a clean skin, without washing it excessively. That’ll cause an overproduction of sebum (oil) and lead to clogged pores. This can lead to cysts and if they get infected, to boils.
- Use carrier oils to moisturize the skin properly and regulate the sebum production. Use the most appropriate carrier oil for your skin type. They can be used as they are or mixed with essential oils.
- Diffuse essential oils regularly to prevent bacteria or mold growth. That will also keep you safer from viral infections.
- Disinfect all wounds, cuts, scrapes and burns. Protect them from infections with antibacterial essential oils.
- If they are contagious, it’s best to put bandages on them.
- Try to eat balanced, without much processed food and sugar.
- Take supplements and vitamins to keep a strong immune system.
- Get regular physical exercise to improve tonus, mood and immune system.
Skin boils or cysts are not only unaesthetic, but they’re also painful and can take a long time to heal. On top of all this, skin boils can also come back. But luckily, we have some really nice smelling natural remedies to help us get rid of them.
Some of the best essential oils for skin boils (that have been proven to work) can destroy staph bacteria. They can also help the tissue regenerate, heal faster and prevent further infections.
Have you ever tried using Aromatherapy oils to get rid of a cyst or a skin boil? What about carbuncles? Were you successful? I’d like to know your opinion on this matter, so come on share your thoughts with us.