Hidradenitis SuppurativaHS Treatment

Let's Talk About Treatment for Hidradenitis Suppurativa

You have some seriously effective options for managing symptoms—and a darn good chance at reaching remission, too.

    Our Pro PanelHS Treatment

    We went to some of the nation's top experts in hidradenitis suppurativa to bring you the most up-to-date information possible.

    Dr. Hamzavi.

    Iltefat H. Hamzavi, M.D.Senior Staff Physician

    Henry Ford Hospital Department of Dermatology
    Jennifer L. Hsiao, M.D. headshot.

    Jennifer L. Hsiao, M.D.Health Sciences Assistant Clinical Professor Medical Dermatology

    Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center
    Los Angeles
    Joslyn R. Sciacca Kirby, M.D. headshot.

    Joslyn R. Sciacca Kirby, M.D.Director

    Hidradenitis Suppurativa Foundation, Inc.
    Hershey, PA
    Man in the water
    Just One More Question

    Dr. Christopher Sayed on All Things HS

    For our "Just One More Question...!" video series, Dr. Christopher Sayed sat down with us to answer some of the most common questions he hears from his patients with hidradenitis suppurativa.

    Frequently Asked QuestionsHS Treatment

    What kind of doctor should I see for hidradenitis suppurativa?

    Your primary care doctor may be able to diagnose your HS, but they’ll more than likely refer you to a dermatologist for further testing and treatment. At your first appointment, the dermatologist will examine your skin and ask a bunch of questions (be prepared!). If the bumps are leaking fluid, the derm may also swab a sample for testing. But, remember, hidradenitis suppurativa is chronic, so you’ll likely have regular follow-up appointments along the way.

    What does laser hair removal feel like?

    Doctors use lasers to zap hair at its roots and help reduce outbreaks of hidradenitis suppurativa. Patients say laser hair removal feels like being repeatedly snapped with a small rubber band on the skin. It’s not the best feeling, but it’s also not the worst. Afterwards, it may feel like you have a mild sunburn. The sting is common and will go away in a day or two.

    What can I do at home to help heal my HS?

    In addition to following the treatment protocol that your doctor gives, you can watch what you eat (fewer carbs and more protein reduces inflammation), manage discomfort with an OTC pain reliever (try Tylenol, Advil, or Aleve), and incorporate supplements (there is some scientific evidence for taking zinc daily to help fight off harmful substances and repair damaged cells).

    What should I expect with HS surgery?

    It depends. For moderate cases (a single tunnel in one affected area ), you’ll have a procedure called deroofing, an in-office procedure with a local anesthetic (a numbing cream followed by an injection). For multiple, interconnected tunnels in patients who have a severe case that’s not improving with medication, doctors use a laser or scalpel to remove skin, hair follicles, and oil glands from these tunnels. This is a bigger operation, requiring general anesthesia and sometimes a hospital stay.

    Linda Rodgers

    Linda Rodgers


    Linda Rodgers is a former magazine and digital editor turned writer, focusing on health and wellness.