Home Skin CareWounds and injuries Abscess on the skin: what is it, causes and how to cure it

Abscess on the skin: what is it, causes and how to cure it

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

Perhaps you have had to deal with a skin abscess at some point in your life, a collection of pus that occurs due to an infection. The skin abscess can appear anywhere on the body. Although in some cases, it is small and can disappear without treatment, in others, the doctor must make an incision in it and drain it, as well as the administration of antibiotics to control the causative infection.

In the following FastlyHealarticle, we explain in detail what a skin abscess is, its causes, and how to cure it with proper medical treatments.

What are a skin abscess and its symptoms?

An abscess is a collection or accumulation of purulent discharge (pus) within some natural or newly formed cavity.

Abscesses can be caused by contamination in any body area and in the various organs that make up your body. Of these, the skin is our largest organ, so abscesses are not uncommon.

In this case, all layers of the skin are compromised, and in addition to inflammation, the symptoms of skin abscess are:

  • Redness: redness of the tissues in the area.
  • Heat: the room becomes warm to the touch.
  • Pain: it is excruciating.
  • Edema: which makes it rise above normal skin and gives it shine due to turgor of the skin.
  • Functional limitation: product of the same pain, we cannot function in the affected region or area.

These signs may also be accompanied by fever, malaise, and other nonspecific symptoms.

Why do abscesses appear on the skin?

The cause is infectious; in general, bacteria are associated with its appearance, but we can also find fungi and parasites involved in its etiology. Let’s see below in detail what are the leading causes of skin abscess:


Staphylococcus aureus is the most frequently involved in the formation of skin abscesses (and other locations)Staphylococcus is a bacterium that habitually inhabits our skin, but in certain circumstances, it can become an important pathogen and attack us.

Another frequently involved germ is Streptococcus pneumoniae, which, like the previous one, lives on our skin.

Many other diverse bacteria can be involved, and in all cases, it will be dependent on the mechanism that led to the infection and the region of the body affected. In a particular way, some bacteria prefer the mouth, others for the genital and perianal area, etc. Similarly, some bacteria like newborns, infants, the elderly, etc. There is no predominance of one or the other according to sex or other variables such as race. However, socioeconomic status is also a differentiating factor for the appearance of one or other species of bacteria. In addition, the indemnity of your immune system will allow the proliferation of certain bacteria and will limit that of others. The truth is that any bacteria can cause an abscess if the conditions that will enable its expansion are present.


Fungal skin abscesses are rare. Fungi are most frequently observed in spots that involve a specific organ: brain, liver, etc.

However, in the case of immunocompromised patients (HIV infection, diabetes, receiving chemotherapy, receiving steroids, etc.), its presence as a causative agent is likely.


As in the previous case, parasitic skin abscesses are extremely rare. However, in medicine, we should not rule them out.

They may not cause the abscess, but they are the agent that allows the entry and accumulation of bacteria that ultimately form the bump.

Parasite abscesses in specific organs, such as fungi, are more frequent. However, they should not be ruled out as a cause until appropriate studies are performed.

How to cure a skin abscess – treatment

There is no home treatment or natural remedy for abscesses. The treatment of the spot in the skin will depend on the germ probably involved, the patient’s commitment, and its extension.

The medical indication will be antibiotics, in addition to applying measures to help relieve pain and any other existing symptoms:

  • Physical means there is a divergence between the use of local heat (an indication that I mainly prefer) and the use of local cold.
  • Analgesic-anti-inflammatory, which will help relieve pain and facilitate (to a certain extent) the action of the antibiotic.
  • Antipyretics, in case of fever. The indication would be acetaminophen.
  • Antibiotics, the type of which will depend on the probable germ involved and the patient’s age. In pediatric patients, likely germs are classified according to the age group of the child.
  • Surgical drainage will be done in the case of large areas that are compromised or that functionally limit the person. This measure allows rapid pain relief and facilitates the action of medications, shortening the treatment time. However, it is not a general indication, and the doctor will decide if there is a need for it and the right time to do it.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Skin abscess: what it is, its causes, and how to cure it, we recommend that you enter our Skin, hair and nails category .

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