An ingrown hair and a boil are two totally different conditions with different symptoms and causes, though both can begin as small bumps on the body. Ingrown hairs occur when a hair starts growing into the skin, and they usually result in very small red bumps. A boil is a kind of skin infection generally caused by the staph bacteria. One major difference between an ingrown hair and a boil is that boils are generally much more severe, producing a larger bump and more serious infection.
Sometimes an ingrown hair can lead to a skin infection, but it is not the same as a boil, and it’s generally smaller. There are exceptions where an ingrown hair and a boil may look very similar, but it isn’t common. Boils can happen in oil glands and hair follicles, and they are caused by a wide variety of different things, many of which are preventable. Ingrown hairs often occur in areas where the clothing confines, like the underwear, and they are often caused when people don’t follow the right procedures during shaving.
Boils can actually be a sign of some fairly severe disorders, including diabetes and conditions that weaken a person’s immune system. There are also some relatively benign and preventable boil causes, and just about anybody can occasionally develop a boil. One common cause of boils is bad hygiene, which can result in bacterial buildup in certain areas of the body. People can also get boils because of allergic reactions to difference chemicals, and some people are more vulnerable to boils because of dietary issues.
One thing that an ingrown hair and a boil have in common is that they will both often heal without treatment. A boil will gradually become larger, filling with pus until eventually the skin breaks and the pus drains out. After that, a person will generally recover without difficulty, although some people may develop more severe infections requiring antibiotic treatments.
Ingrown hairs often go away without any special efforts. In cases where they don't, it's often easy to deal with them through the use of non-prescription remedies. It’s also generally true that people may have a lot of ingrown hairs for a long time without ever developing any severe pain or discomfort, so individuals may not realize they have a problem with them, especially if the bumps aren't in a readily visible area.