Natural Medicines, Herbal medicines, Natural Remedies

Ichthammol Ointment for Boils: A Comprehensive Guide

Boils, also known as skin abscesses, are painful, pus-filled bumps that form under the skin when bacteria infect and inflame one or more of your hair follicles. A common and effective treatment for this condition is Ichthammol ointment, a product that has been used for decades to treat various skin ailments. In this guide, we will delve into what Ichthammol ointment is, how it works for boils, its application, benefits, and precautions.

What is Ichthammol Ointment?

Ichthammol ointment, sometimes referred to as black ointment or drawing salve, is a thick, tar-like substance with a distinctive smell. It is made from sulfonated shale oil and combined with other ingredients like lanolin or petroleum to create an ointment. Traditionally, it has been used to treat a variety of skin disorders, including eczema, psoriasis, and acne. However, its effectiveness in treating boils is particularly notable.

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How Does Ichthammol Ointment Work for Boils?

Ichthammol ointment works as a drawing salve. This means it helps to draw out impurities from the skin, including the pus in boils. The ointment’s anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties also help reduce swelling and fight infection, which are key aspects of boil treatment.

Application of Ichthammol Ointment for Boils

  1. Clean the Area: Before applying the ointment, clean the boil and surrounding skin with mild soap and water to remove any dirt or bacteria.
  2. Apply the Ointment: Using a clean finger or cotton swab, apply a generous amount of Ichthammol ointment directly onto the boil.
  3. Cover with a Bandage: After applying the ointment, cover the boil with a sterile bandage. This helps to keep the area clean and protects the boil from further infection.
  4. Repeat: Change the bandage and reapply the ointment as directed, usually 2-3 times a day until the boil comes to a head and drains.

Benefits of Using Ichthammol Ointment for Boils

  • Effective Drawing Agent: It helps to draw out the pus and impurities, speeding up the healing process.
  • Reduces Pain and Inflammation: The ointment has anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce pain and swelling.
  • Antibacterial Properties: It helps to fight and prevent bacterial infections.
  • Safe and Easy to Use: Ichthammol ointment is generally safe for most people and can be applied easily at home.

Precautions and Side Effects

  • Skin Irritation: Some people may experience skin irritation or allergic reactions. It’s advisable to do a patch test before full application.
  • Not for Severe Cases: If the boil is particularly large, painful, or shows signs of severe infection (like fever), consult a healthcare professional.
  • Avoid Internal Use: Ichthammol ointment is for external use only and should not be ingested or applied to mucous membranes.


Ichthammol ointment is a time-tested, effective treatment for boils. Its ability to draw out pus, reduce inflammation, and fight infection makes it a go-to remedy for many people suffering from skin abscesses. However, it’s important to use it with care and seek medical advice if your condition does not improve or worsens.

Remember, while Ichthammol ointment can be a powerful tool in your skincare arsenal, it’s always best to consult with a healthcare professional for severe or persistent skin issues.


  1. WebMD – Ichthammol Ointment Uses and Details: This resource offers detailed information on Ichthammol ointment, including its uses, side effects, interactions, and user ratings. It’s a comprehensive source for understanding how Ichthammol ointment works and its potential benefits and risks. Visit WebMD
  2. Mayo Clinic – Boils and Carbuncles Diagnosis & Treatment: Mayo Clinic provides a professional medical perspective on the diagnosis and treatment of boils and carbuncles. This resource is valuable for understanding the medical approach to treating skin infections like boils, including when and how Ichthammol ointment might be used. Visit Mayo Clinic
  3. Healthline – Ichthammol Ointment Information: Healthline offers a detailed overview of Ichthammol ointment, including its suggested use, warnings, and directions for use. This resource is particularly useful for individuals looking for practical information on how to use Ichthammol ointment for treating minor skin irritations and infections. Visit Healthline

These resources provide a well-rounded view of Ichthammol ointment and its application in treating boils, from medical advice to practical usage tips.