Reducing the discomfort of hidradenitis suppurativa: Self-care tips

Hidradenitis suppurativa involves lumps and lesions in parts of the body that frequently experience friction, such as the armpits and the groin. This can be painful. To ease your discomfort and limit the extent and frequency of symptoms, consider these tips:

Clothing

Clothing can contribute to friction and irritation. To reduce these:

  • Wear loose clothing. Loose clothing and underwear can help prevent friction, chaffing and excess sweating that can worsen symptoms.
  • Avoid detergents with dyes and fragrances. Using dye- and fragrance-free detergents limits skin irritation.

Skin care

Excess moisture, use of certain soaps and shaving can cause irritation. To care for your skin:

  • Keep skin dry. During menstrual periods, use tampons instead of sanitary pads to prevent excess moisture in the groin area. Use an antiperspirant daily to help prevent underarm wetness.
  • Use a gentle cleanser. Consider a nonsoap cleanser such as Cetaphil for washing your body. If odor is a concern, use a cleanser with an antibacterial agent.
  • Don't scrub. Avoid using a washcloth or a brush on affected areas, as this can irritate skin.
  • Avoid shaving affected areas. Shaving can irritate skin and introduce bacteria to existing wounds. Talk to your doctor about alternative hair removal options.
Feb. 23, 2016 See more In-depth