Living With Hidradenitis Suppurativa

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5 At-Home Pain Relief Tips for Hidradenitis Suppurativa Cysts

  • woman-with-head-down
    Finding Relief
    Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS), also known as acne inversa, is a chronic skin condition whose hallmarks are acne-like small lumps or cysts that develop in creases of the body or where skin touches skin. When aggravated, the cysts can leak pus and emit an unpleasant odor. Often, severe HS cysts can leave scars. Emotional stress, hormonal changes, sweating, and heat and humidity can trigger HS flare-ups.

    There’s no cure for HS, but there are several home remedies available. While these aren’t proven to prevent or end flare-ups, they can provide temporary relief to improve your quality of life.
  • towels-in-sauna
    1. Apply a warm compress to the area.
    Hold a clean washcloth or compress under hot water for a minute, and then place it on an aggravated cyst for 10 minutes. While this won’t get rid of the cyst, the warmth can bring immediate pain relief.

  • green-tea-bag-steeping-in-cup
    2. Apply a steeped teabag to the area.
    Steep a teabag in hot water for a minute, and then place it on an affected cyst for 10 minutes. Just like the compress, the teabag won’t erase the cyst, but it will bring some much-needed temporary pain relief.

  • Cooler Black Fan
    3. Stay cool.
    Acne inversa flare-ups can be triggered or made worse when it’s hot and humid outside. In summer months, keep your air conditioning blasting cool air to stay as cool and dry as possible. During a flare-up, positioning yourself in front of a fan or a/c unit may provide some relief.

  • woman-washing-leg
    4. Keep it clean.
    To calm irritated areas, gently wash with antibacterial soap and then apply an over-the-counter antibiotic.

  • smiling-woman-wearing-blouse
    6. Let loose.
    Tight-fitting and synthetic clothes can aggravate acne inversa, so stick to breezy, loose-fitting pieces and let your skin breathe.

Hidradenitis Suppurativa Treatment | Treatment Options for Hidradenitis Suppurativa

About The Author

Allie Lemco Toren is a health writer and regular contributor to Healthgrades, where she also serves as Senior Health Editor. Her work has also been featured by ShareWIK Health Entertainment, WebMD, Everyday Health, and Food Solutions Magazine. A graduate of Emory University’s journalism program, Allie particularly enjoys writing about medical innovations, the mind-body connection, and thriving with chronic illness.
  1. Danby, William F. Acne: Causes and Practical Management. John Wiley & Sons; 2015:210-212.
  2. Hidradenitis suppurativa: Treatment. Alternative medicine. Mayo Clinic.
  3. Hidradenitis suppurativa: Self-management. Mayo Clinic.
  4. Hidradenitis Suppurativa: Acne Inversa – Causes, Symptoms & Treatment. Disabled World.

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Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Last Review Date: 2019 Oct 7
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