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Recurring boils on face, fluid filled. Used medication. Want to get rid of it permanently

Jul 2012
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Practicing since : 1993
Answered : 1196 Questions
For the last 2 months I have had recurring small boils on my face - mostly on middle of nose, tip of nose, sides, etc. They start like a pimple (which I am not prone to) but then appear to be fluid filled, very tiny and small fluid filled bumps almost like tiny round blisters. I have tried to hasten the draining process by using many different things (the black tar-like ointment that drains boils, raw organic honey, vinegar, clay face mask, campho phenique, tea tree oil blend, lemongrass oil, lavender oil, castol oil packs, etc.). Usually applying one of those overnight will "dry out" and/or draw out some of the pus in the boils somewhat. When I wake up they will look like the are coming to a head (the largest of the small bumps will look like a head is forming, as the pus is a yellowish color under the skin and the bump looks firmer), and often some will be ozzing clear or yellowish liquid. When I can during the day and most in the evening, I apply a hot compress to my nose and cheeks (a few have appeared on my cheeks also). None have ever produced a "core" however - like a hardish or semi solid plug of sebum. My problem is that the boils keep recurring on my nose and edges of my nose where my cheek begins. Perhaps I am not doing enough to get the "core" out of them? I have tried many of the home remedies I have read about online, and some seem to work pretty well for a while but nothing is stoping the boils from recurring (campho phenique seemed to work pretty well leaving it on overnight, as well as a mixture of tee tree oil, lavender oil and lemongrass oil, a paste of turmeric and raw honey also worked well, and last night I put tomato paste on overnight and when I woke up the boils definitely looked like they were forming yellowish heads). It seems like they dry up for a few days, especially if I am traveling and do not have time to look at my face or poke at it. But they keep coming back. I am also taking turmeric powder in caplets a couple of times a day, sea buck thorn oil supplement, omega 3-6 supplement (fish oil), l-lysine, and recently added zinc. I am beginning to think that I need to bite the bullet and go to urgent care and ask for antibiotics. I don't have a primary doctor right now so the urgent care clinic will be the fastest I can see someone - I do not beleive the situation is serious enough to warrant the emergency room. None of the several boils on my nose look like they are about to burst - so I do not think they are at the point a doctor should actually XXXXXXX any of them. But they are raised, appear fluid-filled (ranging from clear fluid to yellowish fluid) and do not seem to be clearing completely. Even if one seems to dry out a bit and heal and grow new skin, a few days later I will look at what I think is a "healthy" and "healed" part of my nose and it appears raised again and starts the process again. I have been been diligent about good hygeine, washing my hands with dial anti-bacterial soap frequently, using alcohol-based hand sanitizer frequently, only using face cloths once for a compress or to dry my face then throwing them in the laundry to be washed. I am very frustrated and don't want to leave the house or interact with anyone because of how my face looks. I would love doctor advice about how to rid myself of these facial boils once and for all!
Posted Tue, 25 Sep 2012 in Skin Hair and Nails
Answered by Dr. Praveen Rodrigues 4 hours later
Hi there XXXXXXX Top of the morning to you. I read your history & the description of the 'boils' et al with interest. For best results, before i opine, it would be ideal to have some sort of visual. Might i suggest you take some good clear photogrpahs in normal sunlight & upload it on this page using the 'upload data' feature. I assure you it is secure & will render verdict when it comes through. Should you be uncomfortable with the same, no worries, just holler & will get back to you. Should you experience any difficulties while uploading, please feel free to contact the XXXXXXX staff on this portal.
Also, a teeny bit of additional personal history as regards your personal status, married/unmarried; chance of being pregnant near future, menstrual cycle history & use of any Oral contraceptives or any other meds; H/o any Hypertension, hirsuitism or polycystic ovaries etc will be useful while deciding an action plan for you.
Cheers & await your photographs & any additional info as requested.
Dr Praveen Rodrigues MD
Dermatologist, Cosmetologist, Venreologist
Bangalore, India
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Recurring boils on face, fluid filled. Used medication. Want to get rid of it permanently 4 hours later

Thank you for your reply. I do not have a camera handy but will try to get one to take some photos.

In the meanwhile, some additional information about me. I am single (unmarried) and am not currently dating anyone. I am not currently sexually active, so I know I am not pregnant and there is no chance I will be pregnant in the near future. I am not currently taking any contraception (birth control pills). I have taken the birth control pills XXXXXXX or Yaz previously in the last several years, but stopped taking birth control pills about 9 months ago. I have never been diagnosed with hypertension or Hirsutism or polycystic ovaries. My menstrual cycle has generally always been pretty regular. Not exactly the same dates each month, but nothing out of the ordinary. It usually is a medium/light flow that lasts for 3-5 days. I have never had any menstrual problems beyond normal cramping, a little bloating, etc.

I am caucasian of northern European descent. I have dark blonde hair and blue eyes. My hair is thin and fine. My skin is a medium color right now because it is summer time - I XXXXXXX easily. I can burn pretty easily if I do not wear any sun screen, but even if I burn it will turn into a XXXXXXX color. Generally my skin is dry. In the winter, my body skin and face skin gets even more dry. I have some freckles on my face. My face is generally dry/normal. It can be oiliest in my T-zone - forehead, nose and chin. As a teenager I had some light pimples, but never had a major acne problem. One or two pimples at a time perhaps. In my 20s and now early 30s, I have noticed the skin on my face getting drier and perhaps more sensitive. I have a few pimples once in a while, usually they seem to be caused by stress (I have a demanding high stress job) and lack of sleep, lack of drinking water, etc. Lack of taking care of myself. I have been very stressed in the last several months due to my job and some personal issues.

As for my current medications, I have been taking them for the last few years, so I do not believe they could be causing my small skin boils.

Please let me know if you need any more information. Thank you!

Answered by Dr. Praveen Rodrigues 1 hour later
Hi there. Ok thanks for the details. it does give me a better picture of you. Firstly, it tells me you are a good looking woman & an achiever at work. The first thing i would recommend is to take a step back, take a 2-3 day vacation & just unwind swimming, reading & lots of sleep. Aquiring a partner is an optional choice but a physical relationship will probably help 9 outa 10 times.
Having said this, lets get to brass tacks..if you want a more or less permanent solution, you will have to be started on systemic (oral) isotretinoin tablets as per your body weight. But this med has to be taken for some 6 odd months & you will have to be monitored as it does have the propensity for raising the LDl cholesterol fraction & sometimes affects the liver & causes dryness of the skin...all these are the commonest side effects & are entirely reversible once the meds are stopped.
Alternatively, you can go with the topical equivalent called Differin (adapalene gel) applied on the spots sparingly in the evenings approx. 2-3 hrs before sleeping. Use Cetaphil cleansing lotion to clean your face & ensure to clean everytime you step back in home & as it is a cleanser that leaves a thin moisturizing film behind, it will suit your particular skin type. Sunscreens from Bioderma may be used & they have special tinted/non-tinted varietis as per your choice & for acne prone skin....use these in the daylight period from XXXXXXX to dusk. Drink loads of water & your being dehydrated does not augur well on many counts including dry skin. If you decide to go with the topical cream, you dont really need to consult a dermatologist but for the former, you will need to do so as the blood tests et c will have to be done.
This should suffice in the interim & hope have given you enough info. to help make an informed choice. Probably the most important aspect will be to destress. Judging from your description of things ( & i may be wrong) you appear a romantic at heart & a touch bogged down by the work pressures et al...perhaps a good ploy would be to take a longer vacation...combine medicine & a holiday together & take a long trip..being partisan, i highly recommend India..i do believe the term used is medical tourism..Bangalore where i hail from has many spas, ozone therapies, hospitals et al in addition to a serene ambience or perhaps Goa with its beaches would be more your thing. Wherever you choose to go, or whatever option you choose, I wish you well & trust you will soon have a clear skin! Cheers!
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