Hidradenitis Suppurativa, also referred to as acne inversa, is a disease that affects the skin and manifests in the formation of tiny lumps on the skin. These lumps are distinguished by the fact that they do not often form in places where pimples are common such as the face. Instead, they tend to form in the armpit region, the groin area as well as below the breasts. Sometimes, these lumps will form in the buttocks. The resulting lumps on the skin cause unsightly scar marks, which in some cases, leak pus as a result of the infection.
The precise cause of Hidradenitis Suppurativa remains a mystery, but studies show a correlation between the blockage of hair follicles in the aforementioned body parts as well as the inflammation of the sweat glands. Depending on the extent of the symptoms, the condition is ranked as either mild or severe. Due to the characteristic symptoms of this skin disease, it is sometimes mistaken for other common skin conditions such as acne, and when it affects the groin, it may be thought to be a sexually transmitted disease. One of the most critical aspects of Hidradenitis Suppurativa is that it is lifelong, and will recur at different stages of one’s life.
What this means is that the disease requires proper care and management. Below are some of the home remedies that you can use to manage Hidradenitis Suppurativa naturally, alongside ideal lifestyle changes that can be included with relative ease. Since there is no cure for this condition, these remedies come in handy. Take note, however, that in extreme cases of severe acne inversa, medical intervention is of paramount importance.
NOTE: The remedies provided below are divided into 2 categories: simple ingredients that you can use as well as lifestyle changes that you can make a part of your life to ease the discomfort linked to Hidradenitis Suppurativa.
1. Isopropyl Alcohol:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: Isopropyl Alcohol (IPA – also known as rubbing alcohol), Q-tip or sterile cotton wool, and lavender oil (optional).
One of the easiest and most convenient home remedies for the management of Hiradenitis Suppurativa is rubbing alcohol. The alcohol works by drying the lumps which cause the characteristic discomfort associated with the skin disease. When applied regularly, and followed up with exfoliation, the remedy should be able to indicate progress as far as the severity of acne inversa is concerned. The purpose of exfoliation is to get rid of the dried skin cells on the lumps to avert further clogging of the skin pores. Use this remedy at least twice daily.
NOTE: This remedy is not applicable for open wounds as it will cause further skin irritation.
- Take the Q-tip or sterile cotton wool and soak it in the rubbing alcohol. You may include the lavender oil at this point for added relief to your skin.
- Gently squeeze the excess alcohol and proceed to apply on the affected skin. Do this carefully to prevent further skin abrasion.
- Use this remedy as and when needed, but at least twice daily until you notice a decrease in the disease’s flare ups.
2. Aloe Vera Gel:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: Fresh aloe vera leaf, spoon, and cotton wool.
Aloe vera gel is recommended for the management of Hiradenitis Suppurativa as it is a potent anti-inflammatory agent with excellent antibacterial properties. Both of these properties come in handy because the gel helps reduce the pain and provide you with relief from the accompanying discomfort. The antibacterial properties on the other hand, help fight off bacteria located on the skin as this has the capacity to aggravate the condition. Overall, the gel adds a cooling sensation when applied topically making it a reliable remedy.
- Take the freshly cut leaf and press it along the cut edge in order to release the gel. You may need a spoon to ease this process and collect as much gel as possible.
- Collect the gel in a bowl from where you will scoop it for application.
- Use the cotton wool to scoop the gel and apply it on the affected skin, doing so as gently as possible.
- Leave the gel to dry on the skin for its healing properties to take effect. Use this remedy thrice daily to manage the condition and reduce its severity.
3. Hot Compress:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: A clean cotton towel and hot water.
A hot compress is an ideal home remedy for the management of Hidradenitis Suppurativa, especially when the lump formation is accompanied by pain and swelling. The heat present in the compress not only soothes the pain, it also provides great relief from the swelling. Overall, this eases the discomfort and allows for proper blood circulation to the affected skin. As a general guide, if different parts of the body are affected by the disease, you may want to invest in different towels for hygiene purposes.
- Soak the towel(s) in the hot water for a minute or so.
- Wring the towel(s) to get rid of the excess water.
- Place the hot towel on the affected skin and press on gently for 5 minutes or until the towel’s warmth dissipates.
- Repeat this severally until you get relief from the symptoms of Hidradenitis Suppurativa.
Time Required: 10 Min
What You Need: 1 Teaspoon of turmeric powder and 1/4 cup of warm water (rice milk, almond milk and even cow milk may be used in place of water). Turmeric capsules (optional).
Turmeric herb is a popular herb globally, not just for its culinary uses, but also for its healing properties. This affordable herb is used internally to provide Hidradenitis Suppurativa patients with quick relief from the pain and inflammation. Turmeric contains a compound known as curcumin which is a potent anti-inflammatory and whose benefits are aforementioned. Water or any of the choices of milk may be used to dilute the turmeric powder. In the absence of the herb, you may use turmeric capsules.
- Add 1 teaspoon of the turmeric powder to your choice liquid and stir to mix evenly.
- Drink this mixture thrice daily.
- Alternatively, take turmeric supplement capsules. You may follow the dosage indicated on the packaging, although it is important to know that 2 capsules taken thrice daily should do you some good in reducing the disease’s intensity.
5. Hot Bath:
Time Required: 30 Min.
What You Need: Choice oil (tea tree oil or olive oil) and a hot bath.
Hot baths work in more or less the same way as hot compresses, only this time you have the opportunity to soothe the whole body at one go. Hot baths are very relaxing, and the addition of choice essential oils works amazingly well in reducing the severity of the symptoms associated with Hidradenitis Suppurativa.
Tea tree oil is a choice ingredient in this bath, thanks to its antibacterial properties which work against any potential infections of the skin lumps. Olive oil on the other hand is ideal because it works as an anti-inflammatory agent while soothing the skin and ensuring it stays hydrated to decrease flareups.
- Run a hot bath, making sure the temperature is comfortable enough to soak in.
- Add your preferred essential oil and mix well.
- Soak in the bath for at least half an hour.
- Use this remedy at least once daily to manage Hidradenitis Suppurativa.
6. Cold Teabag:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: Used teabag (or fresh teabag and a glass of hot water) and a few ice cubes.
Teabags provide an inexpensive yet effective home remedy to provide relief from the symptoms associated with acne inversa. The teabags are laden with a compound known as tannic acid. The acid not only helps clear the clogged skin pores, it also soothes the skin and eases the irritation and itching on the affected skin. If you do not have a used teabag, simply prepare a cup of tea like you would and follow the steps indicated in the procedure below. The ice cubes are included to lower the temperature of the teabags and provide relief.
- If you do not have a used teabag, place the fresh teabag in the glass of hot water and steep for 5 minutes as you normally would when preparing a cup of tea.
- Place the teabag on the ice cubes for a few minutes to cool.
- Put the cold tea bag on the affected skin, paying close attention to the specific painful lumps.
- Leave the teabag on the skin for between 5-10 minutes.
- Use this remedy as often as required especially when you get regular flare ups of the symptoms.
1. Diet Change:
Time Required: Varies from one individual to another
What You Need: To get rid of processed foods, those that contain wheat, caffeine, and dairy among other measures included below.
The simple reason for cutting off the aforementioned foods from one’s diet is that they act as triggers for the intense symptoms of Hidradenitis Suppurativa. Many studies reveal that for a number of patients with the condition, increased intake of the different foods listed above was directly proportional to the severity of the symptoms. Those who have made these dietary changes have noted significant progress in the management of the condition and the relative ease of managing the same. Below are some of the specific actions that you can take as far as your diet is concerned.
- Avoid wheat foods and instead opt for whole grain foods in your diet.
- Avoid dairy and dairy products, and to compensate for this, increase your intake of low fructose sugars found in certain fruits.
- Cut out all alcohol and tobacco products and replace this with fresh vegetables for a healthier diet.
- Whenever you can, steer clear of red meat and instead settle for organic white meat.
- Reduce your sugar intake, or completely eliminate it for easier management of the condition.
2. Daily Skin Care Routine:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: Choice non-soap cleanser and/or antibacterial body wash, Zinc oxide/baby powder, as well as a soft wash cloth.
Hidradenitis Suppurativa is closely linked to excessive sweating and the over-activity of the sweat glands in the specific trouble spots. This is why it is important to observe personal cleanliness with the use of a daily skin care routine. Soap is avoided for the most part because it is a potential irritant. In place of soap, cleansers and antibacterial body wash products are to be used. More importantly, parts of the body that are prone to break outs of the lumpy swellings need to be washed carefully. These include the groin area, the armpits, the butt and the breast region.
- Add the cleanser and/or antibacterial body wash to your personal care routine.
- You are advised to use soft wash cloths for bathing purposes in place of loofahs. This is because the latter can easily irritate the skin, thus worsening the breakouts.
- If you sweat too much, it helps to apply a layer of zinc oxide to your armpits. Baby powder works effectively too in such case as does a gentle deodorant. As a general guide, stop with immediate effect the use of any product that worsens the condition.
- Since Hidradenitis Suppurativa often affects the groin area, many women will find it more comfortable to use tampons instead of sanitary towels during menstrual bleeding. The sanitary towels increase friction in the vaginal area, and this worsens the disease’s symptoms.
- Avoid shaving whenever you can. The condition affects areas which, naturally, create the need to get rid of excessive hair. Shaving is discouraged simply because it increases the frictional force and has the potential to break open wounds, thus creating a high risk of infections. In place of shaving, you may need to get a doctor’s opinion on some of the alternative hair removal techniques available for you.
- Avoid tight clothing at all costs. Invest in loose clothing that allows your skin to breathe and in turn, eliminates the frictional forces that worsen the breakout symptoms. Loose clothing also has the advantage of regulating excessive sweating. The same should be said of inner wear, and especially for the ladies. Try as much as you can to stay away from tight lingerie and opt for classic comfortable pieces made of cotton.
- Make an effort to take up a fit lifestyle. It goes without saying that obesity worsens the flareups associated with Hidradenitis Suppurativa, because factors such as sweating only compound the problem. Staying fit effectively reduces the chances of skin in the affected areas from rubbing together. Take up gentle exercises and work your way upwards even as you use any of the choice home remedies.
- Make sure you get enough rest and remain stress free. Lack of sleep, fatigue and body burnout make you predisposed to severe attacks.Remember that while these remedies help provide relief from the condition’s symptoms, severe skin flareup requires medical attention.