Aloe vera may have antibacterial and wound-healing properties that could help with certain skin conditions. However, it is unclear whether aloe vera can specifically help boils.

No research supports that aloe vera speeds the healing of boils or can kill the bacteria inside a boil. But because aloe vera appears to be safe to apply to the skin, it is unlikely to have adverse effects.

Boils, or furuncles, occur when bacteria infect a hair follicle in the skin. This causes a buildup of pus and inflammation surrounding the infection. Most boils heal without treatment in 1–3 weeks, but some require medical attention.

Read on to learn more about using aloe vera for boils, including the potential benefits, how to use it, and when to speak with a doctor.

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Aloe vera may help heal boils, but there is no scientific evidence to specifically support this.

Aloe vera is a medicinal plant that has anti-inflammatory and wound-healing properties. People have historically used aloe vera to treat certain skin conditions, infections, and wounds.

This includes acne, which occurs when bacteria and debris get inside a pore. As a result, there is reason to believe that it could be beneficial for boils, as they develop in a similar way.

However, boils are typically larger and deeper than acne pimples. It is unclear whether aloe vera can help with this type of infection.

Yes, aloe vera does have antimicrobial properties. There is also evidence it can kill the bacterium that most commonly causes boils, which is known as Staphylococcus aureus.

A study from 2018 tested the impact that extract of aloe vera leaf has against antibiotic-resistant S. aureus. The aloe vera extract blocked the formation of biofilm in most strains of this bacterium. A biofilm is a substance that can protect bacteria from being killed.

The extract also hindered bacterial growth, suggesting it could inhibit an S. aureus infection. Aloe vera may also promote wound healing.

A 2019 systematic review of previous research found that aloe vera cream or gel may speed up recovery and reduce pain in postoperative wounds. There is also evidence that aloe vera cream or gel could help treat certain ulcers and other chronic wounds.

There were multiple limitations in the review, though. The authors note that the quality of previous research varied, which may mean the information is not accurate.

Overall, more research is necessary to determine whether aloe vera can help with boils.

If a person decides to try aloe vera for a boil, they can use fresh aloe vera gel from a leaf of the plant or a store-bought version. The latter will contain preservatives to keep it shelf stable.

When buying aloe vera gel, look for a product that is almost entirely pure aloe vera. Products such as lotions that only contain some aloe vera, or aloe vera extract, will not have the same properties.

Do not apply aloe vera gel to broken skin. If the boil is open, draining, or oozing, use a damp cotton pad or ball to clean the surrounding skin, and then cover it with a gauze dressing.

To use fresh aloe vera from the plant:

  1. Cut off a leaf close to the stem, choosing one that is free of any mold or damage.
  2. Wash and dry the leaf.
  3. Use a knife to cut off the prickly edges, and then cut the outer leaf away from the gel inside.
  4. Allow the yellow sap that appears to drain from the leaf. This is aloe latex. People can either save this substance to use in other ways or dispose of it.
  5. Cut the gel into cubes or slices or blend it to create a smooth gel.

To apply the gel:

  1. Wash the hands thoroughly with soap and water.
  2. Gently clean the area around the boil with soap and water, and then pat it dry with a clean towel or cloth.
  3. Gently apply a small amount of aloe vera gel to the surface of the skin and allow it to dry.

For acne, research suggests applying aloe vera gel to the area twice per day.

Consult a doctor before using aloe vera on boils. While using aloe vera gel on the skin is generally not harmful, some people experience side effects such as eczema, itching, and burning.

Boils typically heal on their own within 1–3 weeks. A person can help the boil heal and reduce symptoms by:

  • avoiding touching the boil
  • keeping the area clean
  • applying a warm compress for 10–15 minutes, three or four times per day
  • covering the boil with gauze or a sterile bandage if it opens

Do not try to pop, squeeze, or drain a boil at home. This may cause a deeper infection that could spread to other parts of the body and become serious.

This is especially important if the boil is on the face. If any pressure squeezes a boil on the face, the bacteria could enter the blood and spread to the brain.

Most boils can heal and go away on their own, but sometimes, they need medical treatment. It is best to contact a doctor promptly if:

  • the boil is on the face, especially the nose or lip
  • another boil appears
  • the pain or swelling keeps getting worse
  • the boil is very large
  • the person develops a fever, rapid pulse, or rapid breathing
  • they experience changes in vision

Depending on the severity, a doctor may drain the boil and prescribe antibiotics.

Boils occur as a result of bacterial infections. Because aloe vera has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, applying aloe vera gel may help keep the skin clean and reduce symptoms. However, there is no research to support this.

Some research suggests that aloe vera may inhibit the type of bacteria that can cause boils, while other evidence suggests it may promote skin healing.

People apply aloe vera to the skin by using the clear gel from the aloe plant or store-bought aloe vera gel. To help a boil heal, keep the area clean, avoid touching the boil, apply warm compresses, and cover the boil if it opens.

If the boil gets worse, does not go away, or causes new symptoms, it is best to speak with a doctor.