NO MORE BAD SOLUTIONS. WAYS TO MANAGE HS.

HS symptoms are often painful, unpredictable, messy, and embarrassing. These tips come from others who have HS and could help you relieve discomfort and promote healing. For starters, avoid stress, get plenty of rest, and try to eat healthy. While these tips may help, be sure to talk to your doctor about anything new you're doing to manage your disease.

Keep the affected area clean by gently washing with antibacterial soap.
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Wear loose-fitting and breathable clothing to reduce friction on your skin.
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Try not to shave where you have breakouts.
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Some patients don’t shave their underarms. Instead, they use an electric trimmer to closely trim the hair.
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Other patients make their own deodorant using essential oils like lavender or tea tree.
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Apply warm compresses or a warm washcloth to help reduce swelling.
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Put a hot teabag that's been steeped for a minute on the painful abscess or nodule.
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Try ice or a cold compress for localized pain.
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Bathe with antibacterial soap and use hypo-allergenic products.
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Use baby washes and lotions that will be gentle on your skin.
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Always keep your lesions and abscesses clean.
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Use clean petroleum jelly to keep the wound moist. This keeps it from drying out and forming a scab.
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Cover the skin with an adhesive bandage. If your skin is sensitive to adhesives, try a non-adhesive gauze pad with paper tape.
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Change your bandage daily to keep the wound clean while it heals.
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To help avoid scars, apply sunscreen to the wound after it heals. You can reduce red or brown discoloration, which will help the scar fade faster.
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If you have more questions about healing wounds, speak to your dermatologist.
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Lose weight, which may decrease the number of areas where your skin rubs together. In between your skin folds there can be friction and increased sweat. Your weight loss won't cure HS, but it may relieve some of your symptoms.
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Get more exercise. For starters, it will help you lose weight. You might also just feel better about yourself.
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Eat healthy. Again, eating healthier foods will help you lose weight. Try to avoid processed and fried foods and instead add more fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet.
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Avoid stress. Though it's not always easy, try to create a more stress-free environment for yourself. Consider meditation, or just 15 minutes of quiet time for yourself. A calmer you might calm your symptoms.
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Quit smoking. This isn't the first time you've heard this: there are no benefits to smoking and all kinds of health benefits for stopping.
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Tips from others

  • Gopal
    I have better control through taking turmeric pills. It still appears, but more manageable, and with much, much less intensity.
  • Siobhon
    As a woman who suffers from, and has been diagnosed with, HS under my arms, I have found it helps a lot to not wear a bra at all. Instead I wear bralettes with no underwire, and it's a million times more comfortable and doesn't jab the area.
  • Kelsey
    My dermatologist recommended an over-the-counter body wash. It is VERY strong, but I wash my HS areas with it a couple of times a week and it helps so much!!
  • Kate
    I use an over-the-counter disinfectant and antiseptic wash or skin cleanser, like chlorhexidine, on the affected areas.
  • Cassie
    I started eating a paleo diet—free of nightshades like potatoes, peppers, eggplant, and paprika—and avoiding things that come with potato starch as an additive, like shredded cheese or fast-food meats.
  • Jennifer
    After showering, use tea tree oil on affected areas. It has a strong smell, so this is best used before bed, or people will comment that you smell like a pine tree car air freshener.
  • Lizzy
    Tea tree oil can help reduce swelling and dry out an open sore. It can be applied with a cotton ball directly to the HS breakout.
  • Lizzy
    Prescription-strength antibiotic ointment can really help fight any infections and shrink the size of a wound. Put some on in the morning and cover it with an adhesive bandage to allow it to totally absorb, and then at night before sleeping without an adhesive bandage to keep the wound clean.
  • Lauren
    Eat little to no "nightshades"—a category of fruiting plants including tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, and eggplant.
  • Lauren
    Use fragrance-free body wash/soap.
  • Charlotte
    I've been suffering from the condition for 7 years, and doctors in the UK do not understand the condition. I found a book that is like a “survival guide,” and it changed my life. NO- NIGHTSHADE LIFESTYLE.
  • Pamela
    I am 68 years old. Got HS when I was in my 20s. After years of treatment, my doctor had me see a surgeon, who removed infected skin and sweat glands under both arms twice. One flare-up since, which was treated with an antibiotic. Nothing in the last 15 years.
  • C
    Castor oil applied after a shower or before bed to very painful, swollen nodules helps to decrease the inflammation and, consequently, pain—nearly overnight. It really works incredibly well for me.
  • Chanel
    I have had HS for over 10 years, since my teens. After multiple doctors, antibiotics, and surgeries, the only thing that has ever helped (and I hate to admit it) is a change of diet. Cutting out all processed sugars, nightshades, dairy, and gluten.
  • Diane
    Body wash containing tea tree oil has helped me manage how often sores resurface.
  • Joanne
    Antibiotic cleanser is available over the counter now in the US. My family doctor prescribed this when I first starting having problems with my armpits when I was a teenager. I wash my problem areas with it, and I think it helps.
  • Daniel R.
    I have suffered with HS for 20 years now. I have pinpointed that the nightshade type of foods seem to be my trigger. The main one being potatoes. Once I removed all sources of potatoes from my life, I have had NO break outs since! Please try for 30 days.
  • Lauren
    Try to refrain from eating "nightshades" (tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, eggplant...basically anything with a little leaf hat).
  • Epris
    For me, an aluminum-free deodorant wasn't enough. I whipped up a homemade baking soda deodorant. Plenty of recipes on the internet!
  • Kathleen
    I find breakouts are less when I keep my sugar intake really low.
  • Christopher
    I take turmeric pills every day, and my HS is almost nonexistent. Try it, guys; it's honestly worked miracles for me.
  • Gabrielle
    For less rubbing of the nodules or openings, as well as for leaking, you can buy nonstick pads and surgical tape and hold it down on the area for way less irritation as you go about your normal day.
  • Gabrielle
    Painkillers can help when it's inflamed, and it will also help you to move normally so that it may burst sooner—and the sooner it bursts, the sooner you'll feel better.
  • Jude
    Manuka honey really helped me with healing my wounds. I had the problem of having very slow-healing wounds; the second I started using Manuka, my wounds would heal within a few weeks—as opposed to in the past, when they would take months to heal.
  • Marcie
    I find that taking a probiotic every day is helping my outbreaks, along with cutting out nightshade foods like tomatoes, potatoes, etc.

    It is nice to have this site for helpful tips!
  • Miranda
    Something I found to be extremely beneficial (especially as a person who has a bad reaction to antibiotics) was acupuncture. Find an OMD and let them know you're seeking acupuncture to deal with the inflammation.
  • Leslie
    A bath with a cap full of bleach helps reduce my inflammation, and can be a preventative measure.
  • Madison
    I was diagnosed with HS when I was 24. At that time, I was having my legs drained and packed every few weeks—and I was miserable. A doctor suggested a Paleo Diet to reduce inflammation, and you guys...IT WORKED. Please try this; it changed my life with HS.
  • Mel
    For ladies that must wear underwear at all times, opt for a style with flexible (breathable) fabric, ESPECIALLY around the leg holes. These cause less friction and don't pinch or dig into the skin as much, especially when sitting/moving for long periods.
  • Charlie
    If you are a woman on birth control, be careful using certain antibiotics that may be prescribed for your HS, as they can decrease the effectiveness of your birth control. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist prior to any new medications being prescribed.
  • Victoria
    I used to get so depressed and felt like I couldn't wear certain clothing until I learned how to treat my HS. I started doing things to take my mind off of it. I started praying about it and started feeling a lot better.
  • Victoria
    Try a nightshade-free diet (avoid white and yellow potatoes, tomatoes and tomatillos, peppers, and eggplants). I went from having 13–15 (ranging from large to small) abscesses at a time to 2–3 smaller ones. Life saver!
  • Malena
    I found an online company that makes aluminum-free deodorant to be great. Because it's natural, it helps with the flares. Also, my doctor has recommended laser hair removal as a preventive measure for lessening the flares.
  • Kayla
    Coconut oil helps with keeping the skin flexible and from over drying.
  • Lindsay
    Use dry-spray deodorant as opposed to your regular stick deodorant! Use this anywhere you have outbreaks and anywhere that sweats quite a bit!
  • Karen
    I only use my favorite therapeutic essential oil. I've found that my HS has never broken open, and I just have small cysts under the skin. They were in both of my breasts too, but they miraculously disappeared.
  • Andrea
    Tea-tree oil and turmeric pills help!
  • Hayley
    I've been living with HS for about 2 years now and my doctor was actually very helpful. She prescribed a medication that is like a water pill that has done wonders for me.
  • Sadie
    Although it might feel odd, do not wear underwear. The less chance of friction can prevent break outs.
  • Deci
    After a shower, I actually use my hair dryer to dry my skin well in all areas. I do it after towel drying. Putting underwear on and trapping moisture in the groin area is a big no-no! This trick has helped me tremendously!! I do it every day!
  • Deci
    Black salve and a bandage have helped me when the nodule is so painful, and it needs to break for relief.
  • Deci
    Every time I've gotten one in the groin area the skin behind my ears flares up too. Same problem in both areas, and these are the only areas. Sitting for long periods of time brings them on for me, but if I get them in one place, they show up in the other too.
  • Deci
    After I get out of the shower and dry off, I use I use an over-the-counter pH-balanced lotion VERY lightly over the areas where I have problems. I continue with my routine, then I use a toilet tissue to wipe the skin where I applied lotion. This keeps everything good. I do this daily.
  • Deci
    I had a urinary tract infection once when I had a flare up. Doc prescribed me an antibiotic for the UTI because that one always works fast for me, and I don't ever get side effects from it. Surprisingly, it took away my flare up. Completely went away.
  • Gloria
    I chose to look at my diet and track what foods may be setting off my HS. Any food from the "nightshade" family (but especially potatoes) caused a flare within 2–3 days. I cut out eating these foods, and only have flare ups if I cheat and eat them.
  • Arvinder
    Find out what food groups you may be allergic to. Many people with hidradenitis find nightshades, wheat, sugar/gluten, and dairy are major triggers. Try avoiding these foods, and take note of what causes a flare up and what doesn't.
  • Jess
    Inserting a feminine hygiene pad between a lesion, with the adhesive side to your clothing. The pad is absorbent, keeps a lesion covered and clean, allows it to breathe, stays in place, and a thin pad is seamless under a t-shirt. Helps your laundry, too.
  • Jessica
    Do not try to pop the sore. Instead, just let it run its course. Trying to pop it yourself can cause it to become more severe & can even lead to blood poisoning. (Living with HS for over 20 years)
  • Monica
    My abscesses have lessened from constant flare-ups to very occasional ones by wearing underwear with no elastic, also by taking colloidal silver and zinc daily. Coconut oil is effective on the open abscesses and can be purchased online.
  • Helena
    Analgesics help make a flare more tolerable.
  • Katie
    It is a little painful to start, but using an epilator every few days—it actually pulls out the hair so it takes much longer to grow back. Also, over-the-counter topical antiseptics with chlorhexidine are amazing soaps. Use after every use of the epilator.
  • Jessica
    I have noticed that I tend to get breakouts before I start my period. I mostly get them on my breast, & often times they stay dormant until I'm about to start my period, then they flare up. It has been such a headache to deal with over the years.
  • Angelw...
    I clean my face with pure gentle soap then apply cortisone cream at bedtime.
  • Jamie
    I've battled hs for over 20yrs now. Heat, friction, and sweating all seem to aggravate my condition. I've found that silver sulfadiazine helps the most. Whether it is first appearing, or an open draining abscess, cover with favorite bandage.
  • Katie
    I have mild HS, so when I see a flare I take a bleach bath, as instructed by my derm doc. Put about a half a cup of bleach in the bathtub and soak yourself for a half hour and it will make them go away. (And it won't ruin your hair or clothes, I promise)
  • Katie
    An antiseptic body wash helps prevent breakouts on a daily basis. After going through my initial treatment for mild HS, I use it every day and I haven't had many breakouts since!
  • Don
    Mine is located in my buttocks and groin area. When they are hurting, I find that a heating pad helps with the pain and helps them to pop faster
  • Gina
    At the first sign of a new bump, I apply antibiotic ointment. A bump that heals instead of bursting is one less scar!
  • Mercy
    I have found that a homeopathic drawing salve is a LIFESAVER. I smear a little on the bump and cover it with a clean bandage. Eases the pain, helps to keep the skin from getting so hot and tight over the nodules, and more often than not, my bumps burst and drain.
  • Bri
    Tea tree oil is a must have for someone with HS. Not only is it an antibacterial, but it can slightly relieve the pain of a cyst starting to form, make an inflamed cyst burst, & help with the healing of the wound/scar left behind.
  • Anony...
    After diagnosis, a dermatologist that specializes in this condition prescribed an over-the-counter daily wash. Basically, any wash with benzoyl peroxide in it will work, which can be very drying but can be used up to 3 times daily. It works against the constant outbreaks. The goal is to prevent, which this does instead of treat. Try it—you won't regret it.
  • Pete
    Keeping your skin clean daily is very important. I felt tea tree oil helped my problem, but only so much. I went to the doctor who gave me a gel ointment for my problem and it has been staying clean of inflammations. Only problem I have anymore is the deep scarring.
  • Erica
    Tea tree oil helps ...when used at full strength....I apply to the affected area...cover with gauze.
  • Jade
    If I'm having a really itchy day and I have an important event, I use a fragrance-free moisturizing cream. It worked wonders for a little while.
  • Telisa
    If you're like me, then even paper tape can cause skin tears and irritation. So, I've learned to use elastic bandage wraps to secure sterile pads over my lesions/abscesses.
  • Misty
    I think using a spray that has antiseptic + aloe & pain reliever all in one helps the skin stay soft & supple so it doesn't break down anymore and leaves less scars, too! Tea tree oil is also wonderful stuff!
  • Kristi
    I find a mentholated topical ointment applied to the areas make them burst a lot quicker!
  • Courtnie
    Mine are in the inner thigh area. When I have a "nodule" starting with inflammation, I put a bandage over it. It keeps the boil from bursting due to excessive rubbing from my clothes. It also helps with the pain. Hot compresses help some, too.
  • Celeste
    I keep affected areas dry and free of hair. Having laser hair removal on my underarms has helped dramatically, and I have had surgery on both arms. Mine is definitely linked to ingrown hair. Not wearing really tight underwear has also helped.
  • Marci
    I use a cleanser and antiseptic instead of normal soap daily.
  • Nacy
    I take hot/warm water baths 3x week with EITHER alcohol, bleach, or Epsom salt. Ask a doctor for correct ratios. I also use antibiotic adhesive bandages, bacon fat (home remedy—look up for more info), and over-the-counter boil treatment along with medicines prescribed by my doctor.
  • Reba
    I use a cleanser and antiseptic soap, it really helps and keeps germs away, but you may need to put some kind of cream under your arms or in other places so it won't dry out as much or cause pain.
  • Nicole
    Using peroxide and antibacterial soap helps me. Cotton is my go-to clothing. I use a first-aid antiseptic/pain-relieving cleaner twice on sores to help kill bacteria and aid in healing. Be patient and bathe daily.
  • Robert
    When ruptures in the groin area/lower waist line cause odor from drainage, the best way I have found to eliminate odor is by scrubbing and covering the area with baking soda toothpaste at the end of my morning shower. I leave it on a few minutes and then rinse. It alleviates odor until late afternoon.
  • Ashley
    If the breakout is mild, instead of using a stick or roll-on deodorant I use spray-can deodorant.
  • J
    Do not touch the affected areas with your hands, unless to wash with soap.
  • Victoria
    You should consider avoiding foods that are on the nightshade list. Diet CAN play a significant part in this awful debilitating disease... I've found tomatoes (in any form), peppers, and spices and potatoes are triggers so far. Tobacco is also a nightshade.
  • Cambria
    So, I've had this for a long time now. I've had multiple surgeries to remove scar tissue due to HS. After some of the treatments proved to have no effect, my doctor put me on an antibiotic used for treating acne. It does actually help.
  • Porscha
    I buy an over-the-counter antibacterial cleanser from my local store and use it like body wash when I shower. Also, my dermatologists prescribed an antibacterial gel; I think it has been working a little. So happy I ran into this page on Pandora.
  • Rachel
    For me, a baking soda-and-peroxide-soaked gauze for a bit helps keep the wound open so that the infection can drain during the day. I also sometimes make a wheatgrass paste and apply at bedtime to draw out more of the infection and heal the surrounding skin while I sleep.
  • Rachel
    Increase your fruits and veggies and decrease your meats. I stay away from meats with added hormones, steroids, and preservatives as I think these will add more inflammation to the body.
  • Dayanara
    I use African Black Soap and also Indian Hemp with Vetiver soap for inflammation therapy.
  • Dawn
    I heard that using an antiperspirant that contains freezing agents can kill bacteria.
  • Kensha
    After cleaning, I rub apple cider vinegar on the area (if it's not an opened wound) or peroxide. This should help it go away faster. You can also pour the apple cider vinegar in the bathtub & soak. This should keep it in check.
  • Nicola
    I put mentholated topical cream on sores, but not on open wounds. It may sting at first but then it may help numb the area. It has saved me some trips to the hospital.
  • Mike
    As a diabetic, I find keeping my blood sugars in my normal range seems to help avoid flare-ups!
  • Brittney
    Reducing caffeine and sugar intake also helps with prolonging time in between my flares, and turmeric as a supplement helps with the severity of my flares.
  • Morgan
    I carry baby wipes with me and clean the affected area frequently. Using gel deodorant has also helped me.
  • Renee
    Tea tree oil-based soaps used in a bath for a soak helps me with widespread lesions. Natural mineral deodorant helps to keep my flares at bay. I always take off workout clothes ASAP after exercising, and shower. If I can't shower, I ensure to use wet wipes.
  • Renee
    Turmeric pastes applied topically has helped me to bring my nodules to a head. I also blow dry my skin on the cool setting after bathing. Keeping skin dry is essential.
  • Megan
    Instead of shaving, I wax my own underarms biweekly. (I'm trained in cosmetology, have someone teach you the dos and don'ts.) It helps remove blackheads. After, I clean with antibacterial soap, then use antiseptic cream 3x a week.
  • Natasha
    I'm the opposite on pants. I wear tight (but of course breathable) yoga pants or leggings to prevent my legs from rubbing together and irritating any sores I may have.
  • Quincy
    I don't overdo activity. A rest period throughout the day is much needed.
  • Tee
    I find using aloe vera plant works well along with hot or warm compresses.
  • Jeanette
    Epsom Salt warm water bath – soak until water turns cold. I try to do twice a day or at least once a day. I know, who has time for a bath? You make time with HS.
  • Tana
    The best help I have found is Tara Grant's book on hidradenitis suppurativa entitled: "The Hidden Plague.” It will help you deal with the issues at hand.
  • Amanda
    I buy cheap razors, change them often, and use separate razors for different parts of the body. I used to get infected follicles on my legs. My doctors were stumped and then finally one suggested I use separate razors for legs and armpits.
  • Michael
    Avoiding nightshades helps me a lot (tomatoes, chilies, potatoes and some nightshade berries).
  • Karoly
    I try using hot compresses to alleviate some pain associated with abscesses. Try hard to learn more about your body's timeline of when an abscess forms and when it ruptures, so that you can stay strategic and ahead of the game!
  • Sterling
    A soak in the tub just feels great and kind of makes me feel better.
  • Kerry
    I stopped shaving with a razor and started using just a trimmer to take the hair down under my arms.
  • Elizabeth
    I want my pants nice, loose, and baggy, and I want to be able to breathe. I just think my skin is an organ and it needs to breathe, so I don't want to constrict it.
  • Sterling
    I use these wipes that don't sting as much as others. I use them every once in a while. I also have a lot of wound cleanser and I have gauze.
  • Kerry
    I like to mix exercise up. Arms, legs, back, yoga. Just 30 minutes a day.
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