My experience

At, there are a lot of recommandations, among which are sea salt baths and caster oil with sea salt. There are also a lot of very painful solutions (here).
In my experience, my boils are caused by a combined vitamin A and zinc deficiency. With vitamin A I mean the real vitamin A, not betacarotene. So if either is deficient, I get boils. In the spring of 2014, this was zinc.
What works for me:
  • Quick fixes to get rid of the pain fast.

    Anything that kills bacteria and can absorb into the skin deeply enough to reach the boil works. You can see a lot of these remedies on earthclinic and other sites: toothpaste (the one with fluoride, because fluoride kills bacteria), tea tree oil, sea salt etc.

    Since the boils are caused by vitamin A and zinc deficiency, this will not resolve anything in the long run though.

    My favorite quick fixes are:

    • Spread Lugols iodine on the boil. Even better is Lugols and DMSO 50/50, because the DMSO makes the Lugols penetrate deeper. Lugols kills the bacteria in the boils thus reducing the inflammation. Drawback of this remedy is that you can’t repeat this very often, because the skin will become leathery after too many applications. My experience is that you cannot repeat this often enough to make a boil go away. You can keep it in check though.
    • Make a thick mixture of zinc oxide with avocado oil. Mix the contents of a vitamin A (retinol) 25.000 IU capsule through this mixture. Spread this on the boil thickly and dress with gause to keep it there. The zinc will kill the bacteria in the boil. This you can repeat as often as you like.

      Because the boils are caused by zinc and vitamin A deficiency, this quick remedy also helps in the long term because you’re adding in the missing nutrients. The vitamin A settles the inflammation and soothes the skin. The zinc kills bacteria on contact.

      You will feel some discomfort from the thick layer of zinc on your skin. It sort of pulls really strongly. Chances are though, that the boil is hurting so much that this will not register.

      Since castor oil helps draw stuff through the skin, a mixture of zinc oxide with castor oil might be even better than my mixture of zinc oxide with avocado oil.

      Take zinc oxide with particles that are big enough. Nano particles: Most of the studies describing the really bad (i.e. crossing cell membranes and binding to DNA) properties of nanoparticles are for particles well under 100nm, usually under 50nm.

      I also use my mixture when my just shaven skin is prone to getting infected. I spread the zinc oxide-in-avocado oil on the skin right after shaving, preventing infection. I’m suficient in vitamin A, so I don’t have to use that on my skin.

      You can (and I do) also use this mixture to prevent future boils from appearing.

      I also use this mixture (zinc oxide-in-avocado oil) as a deodorant.

    • Bathing in the mediterranean sea (carry one around with you at all times). This really helps! When you do it at Barcelona beach anyway. I guess a bath with warm water as salty as the mediterranean would work as well:
      • The salinity of the mediterranean is 38 ppt, which equals 38 g per liter of seawater.
      • Not to be too fussy about precision, lets say 38 g of sea salt for every liter of tap water.
      • A bath typically contains between 120 and 150 liters of water.
      • So per bath, you’d need (for 120 liter) 38 * 120 = 4560 g = 4,56 kg of sea salt.
  • My longterm fix is:
    • Making sure I’m sufficient in vitamin A (retinol) and zinc. When taking vitamin A, make sure you also take the other fat soluble vitamins.

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