This is a perifollicular bacterial infection which is usually caused by staphylococci aureus. It is a type of abscess (1).
Boils are often found over the hair bearing areas of the skin (1) - face, neck, breast, axilla or buttocks.
Unlike in folliculitis where the inflammation is more superficial and pus is seen in the epidermis, suppuration in boils spread through the dermis into the subcutaneous tissue (2).
Both methicillin sensitive staphylococcus aureus (MSSA) as well as methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) may cause outbreaks within families and in situations where there is close personal contact among individuals (e.g. – prison, sports teams) (1).
Presence of S. aureus in the anterior nares (occasionally in the perineum) plays a role as a predisposing factor (1).
Boils are commoner in patients with diabetes mellitus and may be a presenting feature of type 2 diabetes.
Last reviewed 03/2021