Doxycycline for Boils, Folliculitis, Carbuncles

Doxycycline is FDA-approved for the treatment of S. aureus skin infections.

Staphylococcus aureus (commonly called staph) is the primary cause of folliculitis, furuncles (abscessed hair follicles or “boils”), carbuncles (cluster of furuncles), and skin abscesses. S. aureus is the leading cause of skin and soft tissue infections worldwide. Staph skin infections frequently begin as minor boils or abscesses, but may progress to severe infections.

Mild cases of folliculitis and small furuncles may heal on their own with good hygiene and local antiseptics (e.g chlorhexidine). Boils, carbuncles, and other abscesses are usually treated by drainage and wound care.

Doxycycline is a reasonable antibiotic choice for folliculitis, boils, and other abscesses2, particularly for skin infections caused by methicillin-resistant S. aureus (CA-MRSA). Antibiotic is usually recommended:

  • for multiple extensive boils and all cases of carbuncles
  • for boils on the face, because facial boils have a higher risk of complications
  • if you have a high temperature
  • if you develop a secondary infection, such as cellulitis
  • if the boil persists with severe pain and discomfort painful

Doxycycline dosage for folliculitis, boils, and carbuncles: 100 mg twice per day for 2-8 weeks depending on severity 1.

Doxycycline is not recommended for Pseudomonas aeruginosa folliculitis (hot tub disease).

See also


  • 1. Nathaniel C. Cevasco, Kenneth J. Tomecki. 2010. Common Skin Infections.
  • 2. Ruhe JJ, Menon A. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2007 Sep;51(9):3298-303.
  • 3. CDC: Outpatient management of skin and soft tissue infections PDF

Author: OriginalDrugs Team
Last reviewed:February, 2015

Quick facts

  • Furuncles, or boils, are more aggressive forms of folliculitis.
  • Furuncles most commonly occur on warm, moist areas such as neck, groins, axillae.
  • Chronic staphylococcal carriage in the nose can be cleared with fusidic acid or mupirocin.