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Boil vs. Cyst: What's the Difference?

Edited by Huma Saeed || By Sumera Saeed || Updated on October 30, 2023
A boil is a skin infection involving a hair follicle, while a cyst is a closed sac that can contain air, fluid, or semi-solid material.

Key Differences

A boil, also known as a furuncle, is a red, swollen, and painful lump on the skin that is caused by a bacterial infection, typically Staphylococcus aureus. Cysts, on the other hand, are typically not caused by infection and can occur anywhere on the body, including internal organs.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 30, 2023
Boils typically develop as a result of a hair follicle becoming infected with bacteria, causing a localized area of inflammation and pus formation. Cysts can develop due to various reasons, including blockage of a duct, infection, or chronic inflammation, and they are typically filled with air, fluid, or semi-solid material.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 30, 2023
Boils are usually painful and can rupture, draining pus and relieving the pressure and pain. Cysts, on the other hand, are typically not painful unless they become infected, at which point they can resemble boils.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 30, 2023
Treatment for boils typically involves drainage of the pus and sometimes antibiotics to clear the infection. Treatment for cysts depends on the cause and can include drainage, medications, or surgery to remove the cyst.
Harlon Moss
Oct 30, 2023

Comparison Chart

Cause

Bacterial infection
Blockage, infection, chronic inflammation
Sumera Saeed
Oct 30, 2023
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Location

Skin, hair follicle
Anywhere on the body, including organs
Sumera Saeed
Oct 30, 2023

Pain

Painful
Not usually painful (unless infected)
Sumera Saeed
Oct 30, 2023

Treatment

Drainage, antibiotics
Drainage, medications, surgery
Aimie Carlson
Oct 30, 2023

Rupture

Can rupture and drain pus
Can rupture, but less common
Sara Rehman
Oct 30, 2023

Boil and Cyst Definitions

Boil

Boils are typically caused by bacterial infections.
Staphylococcus aureus is a common cause of boils.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 30, 2023
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Cyst

Cysts can occur anywhere on the body, including internal organs.
He had a cyst removed from his liver.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 30, 2023

Boil

Boils are typically treated with drainage and antibiotics.
The boil was treated with antibiotics and eventually went away.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 30, 2023

Cyst

Cysts are typically not caused by infection.
Unlike boils, cysts are not usually the result of a bacterial infection.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 30, 2023

Boil

Boils can develop as a result of an infected hair follicle.
She noticed a boil forming where she had accidentally nicked herself shaving.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 30, 2023

Cyst

Cysts may not be painful unless infected.
The cyst was not painful until it became infected.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 30, 2023

Boil

A boil is a skin infection that forms a painful, red lump.
He developed a boil on his neck that had to be drained by a doctor.
Huma Saeed
Oct 30, 2023

Cyst

A cyst is a closed sac that can contain air, fluid, or semi-solid material.
The doctor diagnosed her lump as a benign cyst.
Huma Saeed
Oct 30, 2023

Boil

Boils can be painful and may rupture, releasing pus.
The boil ruptured on its own, relieving the pressure and pain.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 30, 2023

Cyst

Treatment for cysts depends on the cause and may include drainage, medications, or surgery.
The cyst was drained and did not require further treatment.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 30, 2023

FAQs

What is a boil?

A boil is a skin infection that forms a painful, red lump.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 30, 2023

Can a boil be treated at home?

It is possible to treat some boils at home, but it is recommended to seek medical attention.
Sara Rehman
Oct 30, 2023

Can a boil be caused by a cyst?

No, boils are caused by bacterial infections, while cysts are not.
Harlon Moss
Oct 30, 2023

Can a cyst lead to serious complications?

It is possible, although less common than with boils.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 30, 2023

What is a cyst?

A cyst is a closed sac that can contain air, fluid, or semi-solid material.
Huma Saeed
Oct 30, 2023

How are cysts treated?

Treatment for cysts depends on the cause and may include drainage, medications, or surgery.
Sara Rehman
Oct 30, 2023

Where can cysts occur?

Cysts can occur anywhere on the body, including internal organs.
Sara Rehman
Oct 30, 2023

Are cysts painful?

Cysts are typically not painful unless infected.
Harlon Moss
Oct 30, 2023

Can a boil be caused by a virus?

No, boils are typically caused by bacterial infections.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 30, 2023

Can a cyst rupture on its own?

It is possible, although less common than with boils.
Harlon Moss
Oct 30, 2023

What causes a boil?

Boils are typically caused by bacterial infections.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 30, 2023

What causes a cyst?

Cysts can be caused by blockage of a duct, infection, or chronic inflammation.
Sara Rehman
Oct 30, 2023

Are boils painful?

Yes, boils are typically painful.
Sara Rehman
Oct 30, 2023

Can a cyst become infected?

Yes, cysts can become infected, at which point they may resemble boils.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 30, 2023

Can a cyst be caused by a virus?

It is possible, although cysts are more commonly caused by blockage or inflammation.
Harlon Moss
Oct 30, 2023

Can a boil rupture on its own?

Yes, boils can rupture on their own, releasing pus.
Sara Rehman
Oct 30, 2023

Are boils and cysts the same thing?

No, boils are caused by bacterial infections and are typically painful, while cysts are caused by blockage or inflammation and are not usually painful.
Harlon Moss
Oct 30, 2023

How are boils treated?

Boils are typically treated with drainage and antibiotics.
Janet White
Oct 30, 2023

Can a cyst be treated at home?

Some small cysts may go away on their own, but it is recommended to seek medical attention for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Sara Rehman
Oct 30, 2023

Can a boil lead to serious complications?

Yes, if left untreated, boils can lead to serious complications.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 30, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.
Edited by
Huma Saeed
Huma is a renowned researcher acclaimed for her innovative work in Difference Wiki. Her dedication has led to key breakthroughs, establishing her prominence in academia. Her contributions continually inspire and guide her field.

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