Recurring bumps and
boils that hurt could be HS.

The bumps, boils, and sores (abscesses) of HS often come back more than once in the same area, or areas where skin meets skin, in a 6-month period. These outbreaks can flare and rupture, leaking blood and pus that may have an odor. Over time, they may connect to each other under the skin, forming deep and painful tunnels that can lead to extensive scarring.

HS is sometimes mistaken for an infection, often looking like a deep pimple or ingrown hair that can show up on different areas of the body.

Bumps and Boils
Where you might find HS

Where you might find HS:

  • Armpits
  • Groin area
  • Inner thighs
  • Buttocks
  • Under the breasts
  • Back of the neck
  • Ears

Bumps and sores can appear on different parts of the body, but most frequently occur where skin rubs against skin or against clothing.

Talking about your skin symptoms can be challenging. Answer 10 simple questions to get a discussion guide that will help you start the conversation with a dermatologist.


Understand how HS may progress over time.

After someone sees symptoms for the first time (usually after puberty), they may keep seeing them on and off—for years. HS may be classified into 3 stages, based on how severe the signs and symptoms are. Even mild or moderate HS symptoms can have a negative impact on a person's physical and emotional health, and affect their quality of life.

Mild Symptoms


Sometimes called Hurley stage I. Typically shows up as one or multiple bumps (inflammatory nodules) and abscesses with no scarring or tunnel (sinus tract) formation.



Sometimes called Hurley stage II. Typically shows up as multiple abscesses, along with limited tunnels and/or scarring.

Severe Symptoms


Sometimes called Hurley stage III. Typically shows up as multiple or extensive interconnected tunnels, abscesses, and scarring.

Woman Looking Down

Living with HS can be hard to describe.

More than anything, HS can be painful, with open wounds that may leak blood or pus, and be uncomfortable when they rub up against the skin or clothing.

Knowing there may be light at the end of the tunnel can help.

That's why you want to see a dermatologist who has experience diagnosing and treating HS. It may help to explain to them how much pain your HS symptoms are causing you.


Now that you understand a little more about HS signs and symptoms, find out who may be at risk for the condition.