What can you do about HS symptoms?

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People with HS are advised to wear loose-fitting clothing to reduce sweat and keep moisture from causing further irritation and pain to HS bumps and open wounds.

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Quitting smoking and managing one's weight may help with the symptoms of HS.

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Avoid using washcloths, loofahs, or any abrasive material, as they may irritate the skin. Do not squeeze bumps and sores. Avoid shaving or using hair-removal creams.

Treating HS early can help

Early treatment can help reduce flares and disease progression, lowering the risk of future sores, tunneling under the skin, and scarring. A flare prevented is a good thing. Treating early may also help avoid the need for surgery down the road. The sooner you find the right dermatologist, the sooner you'll find a treatment that can help.

Seeing a dermatologist is the first step.

It's a good idea and important to prepare ahead of time. Take the quiz now for a customized Doctor Conversation Starter, or download a blank list of questions to answer and bring with you to your appointment. It may help to explain to your dermatologist the degree of pain your HS symptoms are causing you on a scale of 1-10 (0-no pain; 10-worst pain imaginable).

HS treatment options

HS treatment options

Although there is no cure, there are more effective treatments for HS today than ever before. Learn ways that may ease your discomfort, help manage and relieve HS symptoms, and help keep your condition from getting worse.

Your doctor will likely prescribe different medication(s) based on the severity of your condition. The following list of treatment options may not be comprehensive.

  • Antibiotics are a type of medication that treat bacterial infections. Mild symptoms might be managed with oral and topical antibiotics.
  • Biologics are medications that are produced from living organisms, or that contain components of living organisms, and are used to treat many types of systemic inflammatory conditions, like HS. They work within the body, targeting specific sources of damaging inflammation that may contribute to HS symptoms. Biologics are taken by injection or infusion, and may be an option for some people with HS.

  • Creams and ointments: Topical corticosteroids in the form of creams and ointments may also be used.
  • nSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) may also provide temporary relief of HS symptoms, including pain.
  • Surgery is another way to manage HS when a tunnel and sores (or abscesses) are present. Different surgical approaches are available depending on the extent and severity of your condition. After surgery, sores might recur or appear in other areas.
Treatment Brian

Brian was compensated for his time.

"Once I was diagnosed, I was able to keep calm, stay focused, and have hope. I wish I'd gone to a dermatologist sooner."

Brian was diagnosed with HS in 2015.

Although there is no cure, there are more effective treatments for HS today than ever before. People struggling with HS symptoms may need support that goes beyond treating their skin condition, to include pain management and psychological support, along with treatment for any other health issues.


There's a growing community of people suffering with HS. Visit our Support
and Resources page for links to HS groups and organizations.