7 Home Remedies for Hidradenitis Suppurativa

Chronic inflammation of the skin resulting in small lumps appearing on or under it characterizes Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS). This skin disease poses challenges that are both mental and physical. The lumps are usually red, swollen and painful. They develop in areas like the underarms, groin, inner thighs, under the breasts, on the waistline or between buttocks where skin rubs together. If left undiagnosed, these lumps may break open and result in an unpleasant smell under the skin. While there are effective treatments available through the healthcare provider, you may also resort to some natural and alternative treatments that are lower in cost, risks and side effects.

Let us understand the three stages of hidradenitis suppurativa and explore the seven best home remedies for treating this skin condition.

Stages of Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS)

Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) is also known as acne inversa and appears on the parts of your body where the skin rubs against each other. This inflammatory skin condition can start around puberty and may be mistaken for common acne. HS is the most severe form of inverse acne which develops in three stages.

  • Stage One − Sweat glands in the body where you have hair become inflamed. This causes the hair follicles to open after getting clogged. Once the hair follicles are opened, cysts are formed on or under the surface of the skin.

  • Stage Two − The cysts connect with each other through deep tunnels under the skin and get filled with fluid. This is the time the cysts become painful.

  • Stage Three − The cysts break open and foul-smelling pus is discharged. These open wounds may not heal completely and leave irreversible scars on the body.

If your body is showing early signs of HS like the development of pimples on the skin, you should immediately consult a healthcare provider or a dermatologist, before the symptoms worsen. For mild or early-stage HS, antibiotics can also be helpful, when taken under a doctor's guidance.

Home Remedies for Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS)

Many natural remedies may reduce your symptoms of hidradenitis suppurativa and several remedies have anecdotal evidence to back them up. You can consult your dermatologist before trying any of these home remedies for treating HS.

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera gel which is present in the thick and fleshy leaves, can moisturise dry skin, soothe sunburns and ease skin itching and irritation. Aloe Vera has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties which can help with pain and inflammation. Although, aloe vera may not heal cysts or open wounds, you can apply aloe vera gel directly on the affected area to soothe your skin.

Bleach Bath

Taking a bath in a diluted solution of sodium hypochlorite, commonly known as bleach, may help in chronic skin infections. Some experts claim that the anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties of bleach may treat skin conditions.

You can add 1/3 of a teaspoon of household bleach in a quarter of warm water. Soak in the bath for 10 minutes and then take a shower with clean water. Dry your skin thoroughly after the bath and make sure to not immerse your head in the water during the 10 minutes when you are inside the bleach bath. Nevertheless, considering the harsh nature of bleach, you should consult your doctor before use.

Honey and Turmeric

Honey and turmeric have antimicrobial, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and healing properties that may prevent skin infections. Turmeric can be mixed with coconut oil and applied directly to the affected area to prevent skin irritation. Keep the mixture for 15 minutes and then rinse it well with cool water. Alternatively, you can mix turmeric with honey and apply it to the affected area directly. Leave this mixture on your skin for 15 to 20 minutes and then wash it off. This may help to reduce inflammation and prevent infection.

Epsom Salts

Epsom salts contain magnesium and sulphate which are natural minerals. Some proponents of this home remedy claim that these natural minerals in Epson salts are absorbed into the skin and may reduce inflammation. Epson salt baths may help dry the pus coming from HS wounds and lesions and help in reducing pain.

You may add one and а quarter cups of Epsom salts to а full tub of water to create а bath soak. Stay in the tub for about 15 minutes and then take а shower with normal water. Alternatively, you can take а clean cloth and dampen the same in а solution of Epsom salts and warm water to make а compress and apply it directly to the affected area.


Zinc is an essential trace mineral that helps the immune system to fight infection. It can speed up wound healing and may reduce inflammation and swelling in affected body parts. Oysters, lobster, crab, beef, poultry, beans and mushrооms are some good sources of zinc. You can also take oral zinc supplements which are available at the pharmacies as over-the-counter (OTС) tablets. Consult your healthcare provider before taking any oral zinc supplements and know the exact dosage as per your necessity.

Neem Oil and Tea Tree Oil

Neem oil is widely used to treat skin conditions such as acne. Applying neem oil directly to the affected site with a cotton ball or pad may help reduce bacteria, redness and inflammation. Neem oil also has a high fatty-acid content which may help in healing scars. It can be used in combination with other ingredients like aloe vera gel, honey or turmeric.

Tea tree oil has antimicrobial, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that may help to treat HS lesions. You can mix a few drops of tea tree oil with two tablespoons of carrier oil and apply it to the affected site directly. You can wash it off after 15 to 20 minutes as it gets soaked into the skin in that time and help the healing process.

Warm Compress

A warm compress can reduce pain and inflammation in the affected area. Instead of picking at or cutting open the cysts, always use a warm compress to avoid infection. Dampen a washcloth in warm water to create a compress and put it on the affected site on the skin. You can also use a dry source of heat like a heating pad which can keep the area dry and help the skin to heal faster. Moreover, letting warm water from the shower hit the cysts can help them drain more cleanly.

How to Prevent Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS)?

Fortunately, you can implement these steps into your daily life to prevent further flare-ups of HS.

  • Wear loose cotton clothing

  • Removing the hair on your armpits and pubic area may prevent future flare-ups. Avoid shaving to stop friction on the skin and consult a dermatologist to determine the best hair removal options.

  • Following an anti-inflammatory diet may minimize flare-ups. You may include walnuts, green tea, ginger, cinnamon and fresh fruits and vegetables in your daily diet.

  • Weight loss may help relieve the HS symptoms of people who are overweight

  • Smoking is strongly connected with the outbreak of HS and hence, you must quit smoking.

  • Maintain proper skin hygiene by showering daily and washing away dirt and bacteria from the skin.


Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) is a chronic skin condition which may be controlled with home remedies. Making lifestyle and dietary changes and using anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial products like aloe vera, honey or turmeric may soothe the affected area. But you should consult a doctor if the home remedies are not working.

Updated on: 28-Apr-2023


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