Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) is a chronic—or long-lasting— inflammatory skin condition that may be caused by malfunctions in the body’s immune system. It might start with small, pimple-like bumps or boils that show up on or under your skin, and can progress to painful abscesses that may eventually burst or rupture and cause scarring.
Though HS can affect men and women in different ways, it usually develops in areas that grow hair, and where skin rubs against skin. It can also occur where sweat glands are located.
See if the symptoms you’re experiencing may be HS.
People all over the world are living with HS. Some groups, however, are more affected than others.
Although the exact cause of HS is unknown, the immune system is believed to play a role—starting beneath the skin’s surface. Here’s how HS is believed to occur:
This cycle continues, and that’s what leads to the chronic nature of the disease.
Since the first signs of HS were reported nearly 200 years ago, scientists have worked to better understand the condition. Check out this timeline of HS research to see what research milestones led to the current understanding of HS.
Fact: There are lots of misconceptions out there about HS. To help clear up some of the fiction floating around, take the quiz below to find out if what you think or believe about HS is really true.
HS is not contagious. It can’t be spread to other people.
Smoking does not cause HS. BUT it has been linked to increasing the severity of HS and should be discussed with your doctor.
HS is not an STD and it cannot be sexually transmitted. Talk to your doctor to learn more.
Being obese or overweight does not cause HS. BUT it has been linked to increasing the severity of HS, and should be discussed with your doctor.
Poor hygiene does not cause HS. While the exact cause of HS is unknown, genetic and immune factors are believed to play a role.