A long-term and painful skin condition, hidradenitis suppurativa is identified by small, painful bumps that develop under the skin. Unfortunately, the condition can worsen over time, severely impacting daily life and affecting one’s emotional well-being.
While there is no cure for this condition, we’re sharing some natural methods and lifestyle changes you can employ to find some relief and reduce flare-ups.
Please keep in mind that although these tips and information have worked for several sufferers, we are in no way medical professionals. If you’re experiencing severe symptoms or have a topical infection, it is always best to seek medical advice immediately.
What is Hidradenitis Suppurativa?
Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) is a chronic skin condition that affects approximately 4% of the population. Also known as acne inversa, it’s characterized by pimple-like bumps that generally develop near hair follicles where there are sweat glands or where the skin is likely to rub together. This includes areas such as the groin, breasts, buttocks, and armpits. If the bumps get infected, they can fill with pus and potentially cause scarring.
For whatever reason, women are more likely to develop this condition than men.
Symptoms of Hidradenitis Suppurativa
Symptoms of this condition can range from mild to severe, with the condition either affecting one spot or multiple areas of the body. In general, the condition will begin with a small, pea-sized lump under the skin that can last for weeks or months. The bump may be itchy and more bumps may form over time. The skin may also develop pitted areas with blackheads.
The following are signs of a hidradenitis suppurativa breakout:
- Red, pimple-like bumps
- Deep nodules or cysts
Hidradenitis Suppurativa Causes
Hidradenitis suppurativa develops when hair follicles in the skin become blocked. Unfortunately, medical professionals aren’t sure what causes this but one thing is certain: it is not caused by poor hygiene! In addition, it is not infectious, so there is no need to worry about spreading it to others.
Roughly one third of those suffering from hidradenitis suppurativa have a relative who also has the condition, suggesting that there may be a genetic link. Like with eczema, an overactive immune system is another possible cause. Smoking, obesity, and metabolic syndrome might also play a role.
Finally, considering that the condition typically develops after puberty, it’s also highly probable that hormones are linked to its development.
Natural Hidradenitis Suppurativa Treatment
A life-long condition, there is no cure for hidradenitis suppurativa. However, there are some treatment options to help make symptoms more manageable and improve your quality of life.
First, we recommend you protect your skin by wearing hypoallergenic clothing such as those from Remedywear™. With natural moisture-wicking properties, the garments offer supreme breathability and are comfortable to wear all day and night. Plus, they’re embedded with zinc-oxide, which is known to help lower skin inflammation, boost wound healing, and help prevent bacterial infections. In addition, zinc oxide helps keep moisture locked into dry skin and helps treat acne breakouts.
Check out some of our favorite Remedywear™ clothing:
To better treat the condition on your buttocks, we recommend wearing hypoallergenic underwear like these Remedywear Men’s Boxer Briefs or women’s latex-free panties like these waist briefs and bikini panties. Women can also find relief with our stretchy and form-fitting hypoallergenic bras. Using only allergy safe dyes, they ensure lasting comfort without irritation.
To help remove the bacteria that colonize on your skin, your dermatologist may recommend taking a 5- or 10-minute bleach baths. You’d take this bath in your own bathtub at home. Simply add approximately 1/3 teaspoon of 2.2 percent household bleach for every 4 cups of water in your bath. Be sure to keep your head above water and rinse with warm water when you’re finished.
Although a bleach bath may help clean bacteria from the skin, we suggest a colloidal oatmeal bath as a safer alternative. Using simple but effective ingredients – including dead sea salt, vitamin C, and coconut milk powder – this natural soak provides regenerative and detoxifying benefits for sensitive skin. Plus, the beta-glucans found in colloidal oatmeal will help diminish any visible redness.
We mentioned the benefits of zinc oxide in clothing, but did you know that oral zinc can also help? It’s true! Zinc salts are a therapeutic approach. In a past study, researchers observed a clinical response in all patients, with 8 complete remissions (CR) and 14 partial remissions (PR) with 90 mg of zinc gluconate per day as an oral supplement.
Topical zinc has also been found to be helpful for treating acne and other skin infections. While an acne wash or treatment will usually not clear the skin condition in full, it can prove helpful.
In addition, you can make the following lifestyle changes:
- Quit smoking
- Lose weight (if you are overweight)
- Avoid wearing fragrances or perfumes in affected areas
Laura is a contributor and content developer for It’s An Itchy Little World. She is in no way a medical professional. Her comments, suggestions, and reflections are not intended to replace any medical advice. Always seek the help of a medical professional before undertaking any diet or lifestyle changes. Please see It’s An Itchy Little World’s disclaimer for information about affiliate links and more.