Boils are skin infections characterized by raised bumps on the skin and are often filled with pus or watery fluids. These boils cause discomfort. The sores on the skin should never be squeezed or picked as it spreads the infections and leave behind a scar. Boils are known by different names including furuncles or abscesses. It is caused by staph bacteremia (Staphylococcus aureus).
This bacterium infects the skin via wounds, bruises, shaving cuts and ingrown hair. And who are at high risk?
People with questionable hygiene habits, improper diet, medical issues including diabetes, and weak immune system are more at risk to boils on skin.
Boils usually show up on the face, neck, inner thighs, armpits, buttocks and groin. A boil takes about 10 days or up to 2 weeks to completely heal. To speed up the healing process there are several treatments. However, in this space we will discuss the essential oils for boils, which treats boils efficiently and offers other health benefits as well.
The Many Benefits Of Essential Oils for Boils
Essential oils are renowned for its healing abilities. These oils are concentrated plant oils extracted from plant parts naturally. It has several active ingredients or compounds with cell regenerative properties, thus aiding the skin heal. Some potent essential oils can also pull out the pus and quicken the natural healing process of the body.
Some of the properties of the compounds in essential oils were investigated and published in the journal Industrial Crops and Products in 2014 (1). Let’s check some of the properties of essential oils for boils.
1. Anti-inflammatory Properties
Many essential oils have anti-inflammatory properties that have a soothing effect on wounds, and skin irritation and inflammation. This property also helps avoid fluid retention in the boils.
2. Analgesic Properties
The soothing effect of essential oils helps in relieving pain. Many essential oils have analgesic or pain relieving properties when applied on wounds and boils. Topical application of diluted essential oils reduces pain, tenderness and discomfort of the skin.
3. Soothing Effects
The soothing nature of essential oils useful on burns, bruises and wounds to soothe the surrounding area. These oils can soothe the itching, burning sensation and redness of the skin. By soothing the skin, it promotes faster healing.
4. Antimicrobial Properties
Boils are caused by bacteria and squeezing it causes the bacteria to spread. Many essential oils have antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, which fights the bacteria and pathogens on the skin. Applying the oils on open boils helps disinfect the wounds.
The Journal of Essential Oils Research published a 2011 study on the antimicrobial properties of essential oils (2). Bacterial infection can cause boils; essential oil can help heal boils. The oils must be included in the natural remedies of skin care.
5. Immune Booster
Essential oils have immunity-boosting properties that tackle infections and microbes. Its other properties also aid in boosting the immunity.
12 Best Essential Oils For Boils
There are several essential oils that one can choose from, but essential oils for boils are limited. So, what are the essential oils that treat boils and pus? Well, let’s find out.
1. Lavender Essential Oil For Boils
One of the most popular and widely used essential oils is the one extracted from the Lavandula plant – lavender essential oil. It is a versatile essential oil, but is gentle to the skin. Lavender oil is soothing to the touch and has anti-inflammatory properties.
This oil is used to treat or mitigate all types of skin problems. The oil, due to its antimicrobial and antifungal properties, is also used in first aids. It thus effectively treats infections such as boils.
Lavender essential oil is diluted and used to treat several skin conditions including boils. This oil blends well with almost every other essential oil which enhances its therapeutic effects. The journal Planta Medica in 2011 published a study that evaluated the medicinal qualities of lavandula essential oil (3).
2. Lemon Essential Oil For Treating Boils
Steam distilled from the Citrus limon plant, lemon essential oil has several properties including antiseptic, antifungal, antioxidant and disinfectant. These properties protect the skin and speeds up the healing process. The other properties of lemon essential oil beneficial for the skin are – exfoliating, bactericidal, antiseptic, astringent and antimicrobial.
This oil is therefore used in treating boils and acne. It prevents the spread of the infection due to its antiseptic properties. A 2017 study published in the journal Analytical Chemistry evaluates the citrus limon essential oil (4).
3. Peppermint Essential Oil for Boil Treatment
Peppermint oil is the coolest essential oils because it has a cooling sensation when applied on the skin. It is because of the component L-menthol. Besides the cooling effect, peppermint essential oil has analgesic, anti-inflammatory and anesthetic properties.
Also, Peppermint essential oil is highly effective for treating bursitis pain thanks to its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, making it one of the top essential oils for bursitis. Peppermint oil contains menthol which provides a cooling, numbing sensation that helps relieve the soreness caused by bursitis when applied topically.
The oil has a soothing and rejuvenating effect on the skin. Peppermint oil diluted with carrier oil tackles redness and itching around a boil. The chemical composition and properties of peppermint oil has been studied and published in the Tropical Journal of Pharmaceutical Research in 2013 (5).
4. Thyme Essential Oil Remedy for Boil
The antiseptic and antimicrobial properties of thyme essential oil make it an effective tool in fighting boils. It is also an antioxidant agent, which builds up the immune system of the body, thus speeding the healing process (6). It eliminates bacteria from the body.
5. Frankincense essential Oil for Boils
Frankincense is an age old medicinal herb. It is also considered sacred in some parts of the world. It has several properties useful for skincare including antiseptic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties. The oil promotes skin cell regeneration, thereby fading any scars left behind by the boils.
Frankincense essential oil is used on boils and skin infections with a warm compress. A 2016 study has ascertained the many therapeutic properties of frankincense oil (7).
6. Eucalyptus Essential Oil For Boils
The essential oil extracted from the leaves of the Eucalyptus globules tree has been used to treat wounds since ages. Eucalyptus oil diluted in a carrier oil is topically applied on the skin to prevent and treat infections. The ingredient in the oil eucalyptol / cineole is known to treat boils and acne.
It has antibacterial properties that kill any bacteria on the skin. Food Chemistry journal published a 2010 study that investigated the chemical composition and antimicrobial properties different eucalyptus species (8).
7. Helichrysum Essential Oil For Acne
From the Asteraceae family of plants, Helichrysum essential oil has analgesic and healing properties. It is mild in nature with good anti-inflammatory properties. Its other properties include antiseptic and antibacterial, thus making it a useful essential oil for boils. The Journal of Essential Oil Bearing Plants lists out the proven properties of this oil (9).
8. Clove Bud essential Oil Boils Therapy
The active ingredient eugenol present in clove bud essential oil makes it a go to pain relieving oil. This compound has antibacterial properties as well. Hence clove oil with eugenol lowers inflammation around the boils and inhibits the growth of bacteria. The oil can be included into daily skincare regimen to prevent boils.
9. Oregano Essential Oil Treats Boils
The annoying boils can be treated with oregano essential oil, which is a strong antibiotic. Research has shown that the skin infection causing bacteria Staphylococcus aureus can be killed off with Carvacrol, an ingredient in oregano.
A research article published in 2005 substantiated this property of carvacrol (10). Oregano oil must be diluted in carrier oil before applying on the spot of the boil.
10. Citronella Essential Oil For Boils
Citronella oil is effective in inhibiting bacterial growth. Its effect grows manifold when it is blended with other antimicrobial essential oils. The lemon-scented essential oil also prevents boils when used regularly. Its anti-inflammatory properties soothe the skin.
It is one of the best essential oils that can treat boils and infection. Applying pure essential oils with a carrier oil on the affected area can treat boils and infections.
11. Rosemary Essential Oil for Getting Rid of Boils
Rosemary oil is another popular essential oil with versatile properties useful in treating skin conditions. This oil is applied for treating various skin conditions and is suitable for all skin types. The oil with a well-known pungent aroma has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
It also has analgesic properties that lower the pain around the boil area. It is used in variety of skin care products. It is used to treat boils, prevent infection and help the skin heal.
12. Tea Tree Essential Oil For Boils
Tea tree essential oil is one of the potent and popular essential oil. It has strong antiseptic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antifungal properties. It is known to eliminate several kinds of pathogens including Staphylococcus.
Studies have shown that tea tree oil is gentle to the skin and has no side effects. It is composed of volatile aromatic hydrocarbons which permeates the skin easily.
Thus, the oil is used in the treatment of boils and acne. And, it heals them fast.
A 2001 study published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology investigates the antimicrobial properties of tea tree oil against E. coli and Staph. aureus, and finds positive outcomes (11).
Using Tea Tree Oil To Treat Boils
Tea tree oil can be used as a standalone oil for treating boils or it can be blended with other essential oils. However, it should always be diluted before applying on the skin. And, even though tea tree oil is safe for topical application, a small skin patch test must be done before using it the first time.
How to Perform Skin Patch Test
- Apply a small fraction of the essential oil on the inside part of the elbow.
- Let the oil stay on the skin for a day.
- Wash it off after 24 hours.
- If there are no rashes or redness, then start using the oil.
Now, let’s see some of the ways in which Tea tree essential oil is applied on the boils.
DIY Recipes Using Tea Tree Oil for Boils
Tea Tree Essential Oil Standalone
- 1-2 drops of tea tree essential oil
- 1 tablespoon carrier oil of choice
How to Apply
- Mix a drop of tea tree oil to carrier oil (coconut oil, jojoba oil or others)
- Wash the area around the boil and pat it dry.
- Apply the oil mix gently using cotton ball.
- Leave it for a 30 minutes or even overnight.
- Wash the area with cold water.
- Do this few times a day.
Lavender and Tea Tree Essential Oils Blend For Boils
- 1 drop of tea tree essential oil
- 2 drops of lavender essential oil
- 1 tablespoon of Virgin Olive oil or warm water
How to Apply
- Mix the oils together.
- Soak the oils in a cotton ball.
- Put the cotton ball on the boil for a few minutes.
- Repeat it 3-4 times in a day.
Tea Tree Oil for Treating Scalp Boils
- 4 – 5 drops of tea tree essential oil
- 1-2 tablespoons of sweet almond oil
How to Apply
- Mix both the oils well.
- Expose the part of the scalp for applying the oil. Ensure that the oil is applied on the scalp and not on the hair.
- Use a dropper and apply the oil on the scalp.
- Allow it to soak into the scalp.
- Do this several times in a day.
- Wash it off with cold water and a friendly shampoo.
Tea Tree Oil For Boils on Buttocks
- 2 drops of tea tree essential oil
- 3 drops of frankincense essential oil
- 2 tablespoons of jojoba oil
How to Apply
- Mix the oils together.
- Use your clean palms or fingers to apply the oil to the affected part.
- Let the oil remain there for some time.
- Wash it off with warm water.
- Repeat it a few times.
Essential Oils Blends For Treating Boils
- 10 drops of myrrh essential oil
- 8 drops of tea tree essential oil
- 12 drops of lavender essential oil
- Quarter cup of argan oil
- Thin fabric or gauze
- Glass jar
How to Apply
- Add all the oils in the glass jar and give it a good mix.
- Add a few drops of the mixture on a gauze.
- Place the gauze on the boil with good pressure.
- Use bandages or tapes to keep the gauze in place.
- Change the gauze few times a day.
Different Ways of Using Essential Oils for Boils
There are many ways of applying essential oils on the boils. Some of the methods are mentioned here. One can choose the method that seems convenient.
Essential Oil in Roll-on
Choose any essential oil recipe for treating boils and mix all the oils well. Now, store the oils in a roll on bottle which is easily available online or in local stores. Seal the roll on bottle tightly and carry it everywhere to treat boils. To treat boils, the essential oil concoction must be applied regularly.
Storing the oils blend in a roll on is convenient and easy to use. But, make sure to wash the face before applying the oil and do not share the bottle with anyone else.
Essential Oil Warm Compress
Applying warmth to the boil is a common method of treating boils. The warmth brings the pus to the surface, and drains it, which reduces the pressure on the boil, which reduces pain. Essential oils can be added to the warm compress. Soak a wash cloth or gauze in hot water and add any essential oil or essential oils blend to it.
Place the cloth on the boil with gentle pressure. Remove the cloth after it loses the heat. Repeat as needed.
Essential Oil Spray
Essential oils are powerful disinfectant agents which can eliminate pathogens from the skin. The oils blend can be stored in a spray bottle or spritzer, especially when the boils are on the back, buttocks and armpits. You can use water to mix the oils; but, shake the bottle well before use.
Essential Oil Poultice
A poultice is a soft mixture that is put on a cloth which is the applied on the skin. It is a normal skincare routine. Poultice with essential oils can be used to take care of boils. Essential oils can also be mixed with skin friendly medicinal clay, bentonite, and applied on the boil to draw out the pus. Choose the essential oil or its blends and mix with the clay.
Add enough water to make the mixture into a thick paste. Apply the paste on the boil directly and allow it to dry. Later wash it off with warm water. Turmeric or sandalwood powder can also be used to make a paste.
Best Carrier Oils For Treating Boils
Essential oils are often paired with carrier oils (also called base oil or neutral oil or vegetable oil) to dilute the concentration. However, the purpose of carrier oils is not just to dilute the essential oils. Carrier oils also have nutrients and therapeutic properties and can treat boils.
Castor Oil For Boils
The ricinoleic acid in castor oil makes it a potent anti-inflammatory agent. Studies have also shown that castor oil has antibacterial activities. Both these medicinal properties make castor oil a great resource for treating boils (and boils on buttocks). Castor oil can be applied on the boils directly or mixed with essential oils. The oil must be applied at least thrice a day till the boil disappears. However, stop using castor oil for skin if you see any side effects.
Neem Oil for Treating Boils
Neem is an ayurvedic powerhouse. Neem oil for boils has several therapeutic properties including antiseptic, antibacterial and antimicrobial. Also known as Indian lilac, neem has been used for skin care including treating boils. The oil of neem can be directly applied on the skin and on boils. For treating boils, the oil should be applied three to four times in a day till the boil heals. Make sure to clean the region before applying the oil. Stop using castor oil for skin if you see any side effects.
How to Ripen a Boil Quickly and Naturally
There are several at-home commodities that can be used to ripen a boil quickly. The home remedies that can treat boils and stop its spread are as follows.
Garlic has antimicrobial properties, which will help heal the boils. Studies have shown that garlic aids in healing wounds, and prevents infections, both bacterial and fungal. Garlic can also be effective against certain bacterial strains that are resistant to other treatments.
How to use garlic to treat boils?
Take a few garlic buds and crust it. Apply it on the boil and surrounding skin. Use a cool cloth to cover the area for 30 minutes. Apply garlic thrice a day. Be gentle while applying garlic as it can have a burning sensation.
There are several ingredients in ginger that have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory activities. Studies have shown that ginger has an impact on several pathogens. And researchers have noticed that creams with ginger extract were better at treating vaginal yeast infections.
How to use ginger to treat boils?
Cut the ginger into small pieces and grind it to make a thick paste. Clean the affected area and apply the paste. Wash it off after 20 minutes. Repeat the steps a few times.
Raw onions have several benefits for the skin and boils. The antibacterial activities of onion can ward off skin infections. Onions also remove the scar marks left behind by the boils. A study has shown that onions are equally effective in removing scars as store bought gels. Onions can be applied after the boil heals to prevent scarring.
How to use onions to treat boils?
Onions are sliced and ground. The resulting paste is applied on the boils and washed off after half an hour.
Precautions To Follow While Using Essential Oils for Boils
- Essential oils are natural oils, but they are potent and should be handled with care and caution. And, it is imperative to comprehend that every essential oil is different and needs to be used differently.
- Essential oils should never be applied directly to the skin. It must first be diluted with any carrier oils before topical application. There are many carrier oils including castor oil, fractionated coconut oil, jojoba oil, virgin olive oil and almond oil, which can be used to dilute essential oils.
- As mentioned earlier, essential oils must be applied to the skin only after doing a small skin patch test. This is done to avoid any irritation or reactions.
- Boils should never be squeezed, picked or popped. It will cause the pus to spread and so will the bacteria, which will cause the infection to spread.
- While treating boils, with essential oil, make sure to wash the hands with soap and pat it dry. Later, wash the area of the boil with warm water and dry it. Only then apply essential oils. These steps should be followed while using creams or lotions on the face as well.
- Essential oils are highly concentrated, hence consult a health care provider in case of any lingering doubts about its use.
Boils are a common skin problem and can be caused due to different reasons. Proper care and treating it with organic essential oils will get rid of the boils faster and more effectively. Before applying the essential oils to the boils, always wash the skin surface and then apply the oils. There are many essential oils available with antimicrobial, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties that can treat boils.
Some of the essential oils for boils include tea tree, lavender and sandalwood oils. There are many blends and methods of using essential oils. Choose the right blends and apply it with care. If the boils last longer than 2 weeks, consult a dermatologist.
Frequently Asked Questions
What essential oils are best for boils?
The best essential oils for boils remedy are: –
1. Tea tree essential oil
2. Lavender essential oil
3. Oregano essential oil
4. Myrrh essential oil
5. Eucalyptus essential oil
6. Frankincense essential oil
Can you put lavender on a boil?
Lavender essential oil is a mild oil that is gentle on the skin. It has anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antimicrobial and analgesic properties. These therapeutic properties of lavender oil eliminate bacterial infections from the boils and help it heal faster.
Is frankincense good for boils?
The therapeutic properties of frankincense oil include antiseptic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory and antifungal. The oil also promotes cell regeneration and fades the scars. Frankincense essential oil is diluted and applied on and around the scar for faster healing.
Does eucalyptus oil help boils?
Eucalyptus essential oil has the compound eucalyptol, which has antibacterial properties and can treat boils and acne. It is also applied on the boil to stop the spread of infection.
- Industrial Crops and Products. (2014). A status review on the medicinal properties of essential oils. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0926669014005196
- Journal of Essential Oil Research. (1989). Antibacterial and Antifungal Properties of Essential Oil Components. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10412905.1989.9697767
- Biosynthesis and Therapeutic Properties of Lavandula Essential Oil Constituents. https://www.thieme-connect.com/products/ejournals/html/10.1055/s-0030-1250136
- Analytical Chemistry Letters. (2017). Evaluation of Citrus lemon Essential Oil for its Chemical and Biological Properties Against Fungi Causing Dermatophytic Infection in Human Beings. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/22297928.2017.1349620
- Tropical Journal of Pharmaceutical Research. Chemical Composition and Biological Properties of Essential Oils of Two Mint Species. https://www.ajol.info/index.php/tjpr/article/view/93279
- Frankincense – therapeutic properties https://naturalsolutions.nz/articles/Frankincense-therapeutic-properties-2016.pdf
- Food Chemistry. (2010). Chemical composition and antimicrobial properties of essential oils of three Australian Eucalyptus species. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0308814609008966
- Journal of Essential Oil Bearing Plants. (2019). Essential Oil Composition, Antioxidant and Antimicrobial Properties of Essential Oil and Deodorized Extracts of Helichrysum italicum (Roth) G. Don. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/0972060X.2019.1611487
- Antimicrobial Action of Carvacrol at Different Stages of Dual-Species Biofilm Development by Staphylococcus aureus and Salmonella enterica Serovar Typhimurium. https://journals.asm.org/doi/full/10.1128/AEM.71.2.797-803.2005
- The mode of antimicrobial action of the essential oil of Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree oil). https://ami-journals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1046/j.1365-2672.2000.00943.x
- Antioxidant properties of thyme (Thymus vulgaris L.) and wild thyme (Thymus serpyllum L.) essential oils. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/287954724_Antioxidant_properties_of_thyme_Thymus_vulgaris_L_and_wild_thyme_Thymus_serpyllum_L_essential_oils