Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS), also called acne inversa, is a chronic inflammatory skin disease characterized by inflammatory nodule, abscess, sinus and fistula formation, and scarring of the skin, most commonly in apocrine gland rich areas such as the axilla, inframammary area, inguinal area, perineum, and perianal area.
Where Does Hidradenitis Suppurativa Occur?
Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) often occurs under your skin in hair roots near your sweat glands and in places where your skin rubs together, such as your armpits, breasts, and groin. The bumps can sometimes break open or form tunnels under your skin.
What Causes Hidradenitis Suppurativa?
Hidradenitis Suppurativa may occur after puberty, so hormones may play a role. The immune system is also believed to play a role by overreacting to hair follicles that are clogged with bacteria and other substances.
Genetics may also play a part in HS, since about one-third of people who get it also have a blood relative with this condition. Several risk factors may also increase your chances of developing HS, including being overweight, smoking, or taking lithium.
What Are the Symptoms of HS?
The following are some common symptoms of HS:
- Breakouts that look like pimples or boils, commonly found under the arms, in the groin area, or upper thigh
- Breakouts that stay on the skin or clear and then reappear
- Blackheads in small, pitted areas of skin
- Deep, painful breakouts
- Breakouts that rupture and leak a foul-smelling liquid
- Scars that form after breakouts
- Tunnel-like tracts under the skin
- Serious infections
- Skin cancer (rarely)
How Long Does It Last?
HS can last for years, but if you receive treatment, you may be able to lower your chances of having flare-ups and reduce symptoms.
How is HS treated?
HS may be treated in the following ways:
- Warm compresses– for mild cases
- Antibiotics– to fight infections
- Corticosteroids– injected into your bumps to ease inflammation, pain, and swelling
- Oral steroids– for severe cases
- Oral retinoids– for severe cases
- Topical resorcinol– contains chemicals that peel the skin
- Hormone therapy
- Biologics– administered via an injection or IV, works on your immune system. Only used on severe cases
- Surgery– to drain pus, turn bumps into scars that don’t hurt, cut out skin and put a graft over it, or use laser surgery to destroy hair follicles
- Lifestyle changes– such as losing excess weight, wearing loose-fitting clothes, washing body daily with anti-bacterial soap, and discontinuing shaving in affected areas
If you have symptoms of hidradenitis suppurativa, contact Skin Care Research or call us at 561-948-3116. Our clinical research center has more than 25 years of experience executing clinical trials focusing on a variety of dermatological conditions.