It isn’t just about popping, there is a certain procedure that needs to be followed in order to minimize scarring and prevent other infections (Shutterstock)

Boils are generally not considered high risk medical conditions. They are, most times, a result of a bacterial infection that develops below the skin.

Boils usually start out small and grow bigger with time. As they grow, they begin to fill with puss which is referred to as the core of the boil.

Handling a boil isn’t just about popping it and moving on. There is a certain procedure that needs to be followed in order to minimize scarring and prevent other infections.

Below are some of the essential steps that you need to follow when dealing with the core of a boil at home.

The preparation

First, you need to ensure that your timing is right and that it’s ‘ready’ to be popped. If it’s still small and very hard, you can accelerate the process by gently compressing it daily with a warm, wet cloth. This will quicken the process the right way. You’ll know that it’s okay to pop it once it has stopped growing and pus is visible. If you pop it before it has fully developed, you’ll increase the chances of developing a scar, which is what you want to avoid.

The next thing is to prepare the area before the procedure.

You’ll need some gloves so that you don’t come into contact with the puss in case it bursts unexpectedly. It’s also important to avoid touching the boil with bare hands because of the risk of re-infection.

Follow up by sterilizing the area around the boil with spirit or another suitable sterilizing agent. This is important because the surrounding area might be at risk of infection.

The procedure

The next thing you need to do is to make a small incision on the boil with a sharp and sterilized object. This will allow the core to drain and heal well. Ensure that you are careful with this so that you don’t injure yourself in the process.

Quickly take some sterile cotton and squeeze the boil gently to empty the cavity. Although it can be a little painful, the pain won’t last long. You need to be careful with this step by ensuring the pus is contained and doesn’t drain on the surrounding area.

 Although the popping can be a little painful, the pain won’t last long (Shutterstock)
The aftercare

Once you have drained the boil of its core, dispose the cotton well, sterilize the area and bandage it well to prevent contact with bacteria.

The last step, if you didn’t use gloves, is to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and let the healing process begin.


In other cases, draining is not necessary. You’ll find that the body automatically responds by reabsorbing the boil and getting rid of it on its own.

In other severe situations, the boil ends up overgrowing. In these scenarios, you are highly advised to get it drained at the hospital and getting medication and aftercare for follow up. These types of boils have a larger core that can easily cause an infection when you attempt to drain it at home.

Seeing a doctor will also help you rule out other underlying medical conditions.

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