Jul 14, 2016
Painful, unsightly, chronic, and embarrassing are a few words to describe the suffering of those with Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS). Those who have this condition sometimes spend many years and thousands of dollars on doctors, drug therapies, and surgeries, often with less than satisfactory results. However, there are quite a few home remedies that can help and even heal the HS boils. The top remedy for HS is the spice turmeric, which is an anti-inflammatory herb. Other home remedies include dietary changes, applying warm compresses to the affected areas, taking soothing baths, and using zinc gluconate supplements.
Over the past decade, our Earth Clinic readers have shared hundreds of stories of their journey with HS, the natural remedies they have tried, and their joyful success stories. Readers also share their personal pain and victories in dealing with the emotional and relational challenges that come with this distressing condition.
What is HS?
Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS) is a chronic skin disease that is often misdiagnosed. Small, pea-size lumps generally appear around the apocrine sweat gland areas, such as under the armpits, breasts, groin, inner thighs, and buttocks. These infected areas, which form clusters of abscesses, can swell to be quite large and very often painful.
Best Home Remedies for Hidradenitis Suppurativa
This inexpensive spice is the most effective remedy for healing HS boils, according to dozens of our readers. Turmeric is used as an internal treatment. While many prefer to swallow turmeric capsules daily, you can also simply take 1 teaspoon of powdered organic turmeric in 1/4 cup of water three times a day. You may also want to try diluting the turmeric in warm almond, rice, or regular dairy milk. One Earth Clinic reader found that it was easiest taken with yogurt and through a straw. For those who prefer to use capsules, 2-4 capsules are taken 2-3 times daily.
Click here to read more about turmeric for HS.
Dietary Change for HS
Many individuals who have been suffering with hidradenitis suppurativa have experienced some degree of success by making certain dietary changes. These changes include:
- Eliminating processed foods
- Eating mainly organic meats, produce, and other foods
- Consuming the daily recommended amount of fruits and vegetables
- Incorporating green juices into the diet
- Limiting wheat, flour, gluten, dairy, chocolate, and caffeine
- Reducing or eliminating sugar
Click here to read more about Dietary Changes for HS.
Triggers for HS
Earth Clinic readers have found a number of things that will trigger an HS attack including:
- Certain laundry detergents
- Some deodorants
- Chemicals like perfumes and cleaning products
- Bubble baths
- Food allergies
- Hormonal changes (e.g. puberty and menstruation)
Lifestyle Changes for HS
- Quit smoking, or better yet, do not start
- Lose some weight, (admittedly easier said than done when you are dealing with pain)
- Get enough rest (at least one reader found that lack of sleep make his HS worse)
- Eat dinner earlier (one reader found that this made a difference in his outbreaks)
OTC Treatment for HS
Many remedies for HS can be found at your local drugstore, and quite inexpensively at that.
- Witch hazel to use topically as an astringent
- Epsom salt for baths (1 cup in a warm bath for 20 minutes 3 times a week, or as desired)
- Iodine to use topically
- Anti-bacterial soap
Herbs and Supplements for HS
- Omega supplements
- Zinc Gluconate
- Vitamin C
- Burdock root, a blood purifying herb
Recipe for a Salve for HS
- 1/4 cup extra virgin coconut oil
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 3 teaspoons turmeric root powder
- 1/2 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon tea tree essential oil
Mix ingredients together. Store in a jar. Apply to boils as needed. Because of the turmeric, this salve will stain and old clothes should be worn after applying it. For this reason, it may be best to apply this remedy at bedtime only.
Continuing reading below to see our extensive list of remedies, as reported from our readers. If you have tried a natural remedy for your HS, please be sure to share your story with others!
Remedies for Hidradenitis Suppurativa
Hi - I have been a mis-dagnosed Hidradenitis Suppurativa sufferer for over 10 yrs old and I am now 33 yrs old. I am so grateful that I found this site - I had almost given up and thought I will just stay single, as I can't imagine getting undressed in front of someone new... But now I have some hope, and that's what makes the world go round! I cannot offer any more tips, but I consolidated all / most of the ideas I saw on the forum for my own benefit, and have posted it below as I thought it might help someone else... Note these are not my suggestions but just a single posting with all of the suggestions with the most positive feedback.....
Things to consider eliminating from your diet:
Wheat / flour / gluten / dairy / caffeine / cigarettes
3 times a day:
Turmeric mixture (the fat is important for absorpotion, as it water temperature)
1 tsp of turmeric; 1/16 of a tsp of black pepper; 1/2 to 1 tsp of coconut oil in 8 oz hot soup; broth or water (when an infection is severe it must be taken 4 times a day and it does miracles in two to three days)
Apple Cider vinegar - 2 tea-spoon full in glass of water (sip slowly throughout the day - also good for weight loss)
Omega Oils - Follow dose
Burdock Root (tablets) - Follow dose
Once a day
Bring 1 tsp of black onion seeds to a boil in one glass of water keep it boiling until the white part of the seed shows, let cool off and drink it
Topical: Tea tree oil, Epsom bath salts, Witch Hazel, Iodine, antibacterial soap (bar not liquid)
Less common Suggestions:
- Bacitracin Ointment to be taken up / in the nose twice a day
- Bee Propolis (a wood supplement)
Note: Make sure you get a bacterial swab to ensure it is HS and not MRSA as there are similar symptoms
I started to get boils in both armpits after getting chikungunya virus from an infected mosquito bite.
I live in the tropics where the virus swept through last summer causing thousands of people to become ill.
This started September 2014, and has caused me terrible joint pain, styes, skin rash, and the boils. I bought some tea tree oil soap which has helped a lot, I bathe with it, rinse and dry thoroughly, then rub soap on the boils and dab on talc. They seem to be going now, still hard lumps but no pus. I also drink a tea made with fresh grated ginger and turmeric, you can use dried powder, cinnamon, honey and lime juice plus hot water. I have taken 4 types of antibiotics which did nothing, doctors seem disinterested and have offered no advice or medication. There is no cure or treatment for chikungunya virus, only painkillers, the effects can last for years, I had never heard of HS until I started researching the cause of boils/lesions in the armpit area. Hope there is a treatment soon for all the people suffering from HS.
I'm not medically diagnosed with HS but I think I have it from research on the net. I'm only in my first year of frequent flareups that drove me to research a little about it and luckily (I just realized this after learning that others have suffered from this much, much longer than I have) I discovered accidentally what you may call a "deterrent" in Acne soap. I only discovered this because I've been using this soap for my face for years and one time, when I had an inflamed lump, I just accidentally picked up the Acne soap from the soap dish and used it to clean the lump. I noticed within hours the inflammation lessened. With more frequency of use the next few days, it settled down and expressed a little bit of pus on its own but without pain and only left me with a bit of hyperpigmentation but no scar. Since then, I've been using the soap to my inner thigh and armpit areas (where I get them frequently) every time I take a bath and extra more when I feel a swelling starting up. Sometimes it does not even express pus out and just resolve entirely without hyperpigmentation or scarring. I hope this helps.
Hidradenitis suppurativa is often mislabeled as a rare condition, when in actuality it is only rarely diagnosed correctly. That being said, we believe identifying the condition accurately is one of the first steps toward treatment. Once diagnosed, home remedies for Hidradenitis Suppurativa such as antibacterial soap can be tried to eliminate the condition and heal the skin.
Here's what I have done to completely stop my Hidradenitis now for nearly a month and just for the record, I have had boils in different stages at all times. Some newly forming all the way to healing purple ones and in between. I have NONE now and my scars are actually getting a chance to heal. Morning and evening, I take a body brush and brush under my arms in a circular pattern all over, then reverse the pattern and do it again, both sides. Then I wash with antibacterial bar soap, dry them then swab my armpits all over with Iodine. I use a q-tip to do that. I use the old brown stuff and so far it hasn't stained my clothes. After I put it on, I get in front of a fan and let it dry, which doesn't take long for Iodine, then put my natural deodorant on. I'm thinking I can go back to regular deodorant now cause my natural one isn't so good on me. I get BO regardless by the end of the day. I was desperate and thinking it was my deodorant, but now I don't think that was causing it because I was still breaking out after I switched. You have to be diligient and don't forget. I have forgotten the morning or afternoon swabbing and was ok but I forgot to do it a whole day and started breaking out again. I read somewhere that researchers think it's caused by sweat glands becoming blocked and the dry brushing loosens it all up. I use a natural fiber brush. I would think any stiff brush would do.
I figured after that the iodine would kill any bacteria waiting to get in. That's what surgeons swab you with before they make their incision. Lot of people are allergic to it though and I'm not sure what the alternative would be if you are allergic. If it stops working, I will come back and let everyone know, but so far it's worked for about a month now. I hope it brings relief to others like it has for me. If you're allergic to iodine, google search to see what the alternative to iodine is. I'm sure you'll find it somewhere on the internet.
Replied by Diana
Posted by Mich (Milpitas, Ca.) on 02/01/2012
I have had HS for a little over 2 yrs. and I have used an antibacterial soap and tumeric daily.... It does seem to help a lot....
Posted by Shygirl (Halifax, Ns) on 10/26/2011
I would just like to thank all of you out there for your courage and helpful remedies. I am a 26 yo female and like most of you I have suffered with this condition for many years. I suffered with this on my buttocks and inner thigh areas and I had so many areas that would drain all the time I was so embarrassed about it, it took a while to see medical attention. I finally was reffered to a plastic surgeon who would open each area ( about 13) and try to get to the base of the problem then use two different antibiotics on packing gauze to fill the lesions. As you can imagine this was very painful and the gauze had to be changed daily with similar appts happening every 4-6 weeks, yikes! After reading alot of the posts I decided to try taking Turmeric capsules ( or curcumin capsules, as I learned curcumin is the medinicinal ingredient in Tumeric) and only using anti bacterial soaps. I started last week taking 3 capsules per day and washing the areas 1-2 times daily, if you can believe it I am down to one area that is not healed, there is only drainage from one area (limited). I am so pleased how fast this has worked, and I am sooooooooooooooooooooo Thankful to all of you for finally helping me overcome this!!!! XO
Posted by Tracy (Fort Collins, Colorado) on 02/12/2011
I have kept HS at bay for 8 years now with the following: 1. Wash with Lever 2000 original (Dial does not work for me). 2. Apply hand sanitizer with Aloe Vera "Germ-X" after every shower, and any time you feel sweaty. 3. I wear "Under Armour" compression shorts almost every day as they keep my groin area dry and prevent my thighs from rubbing. After your used to this, it feels comfortable and I feel undressed without them. 4. I think losing weight helped. If you Google images of HS, all the images are of overweight folks, so there is obviously a weight connections.
Replied by Sara
The Beach, Canada
Posted by Lynn (St. Paul, Minnesota) on 06/01/2010
Finall found something that made my hidradenitis go away completely! I have had hidradenitis my whole life but sometimes I went years without a breakout. 9 months ago I got a bump in my groin area that just wouldn't go away. Every day I had to drain it and you all know the frusteration. I visited many websites and read everyone's suggestions but nothing worked for me. A couple of weeks ago I visited the doctor's office and he suggested I try Bacitracin Ointment in my nose twice a day. I just dab a little on a Q-tip and swirl it in my nose. I can't believe after 10 days my bump is completely gone!!!! He believes HS can be caused by a staph or strep infection that lives in your nose. Maybe I've had this my whole life, I don't know but it worked for me. Bacitracin is an over the counter ointment so no need to visit the doctor. I hope this continues to work for me and if it worked for me maybe it will for you too. Good luck everyone!
Replied by Rob
Palm Desert, Ca
Replied by Rob
Posted by Dan (Iowa) on 10/21/2015
I truly feel for everyone in here. I have had HS (undiagnosed - but treated) for going on 15 year now (I'm 30). I guess that I'm a rarer case from the sounds of things, one being that I'm a guy, and two being that doxycycline actually worked for me. I have been on the med for a couple of years now and wash previously troubled areas daily with hibiclens soap and I have been boil free (for the most part) since I started the med.
From my experience... drinking alcohol makes things bad, as the alcohol in my system pushes the doxycycline out of my system and the disease comes back for 24 hours or so with a vengeance. I've also had success putting the hibiclens on troubled areas with a cotton ball during flare ups (don't wash off and re-apply when you feel the itch coming back), which somehow helps to prevent things from getting worse and spreading.
What brings me back to the online community after years of control is that my new insurance won't pay much for the doxycycline, making the drug $70 a month... I reluctantly paid for one more month of meds and received word today that I'm going to be switched over to Cephalexin going forward. Has anyone had success with docycycline and then made the switch over to cephalexin? I should mention that I've been on the doxy daily for going on 3 to 4 years now. However, I've been reading that the cephalexin cannot be taken daily due to its strength... I'd be very grateful for any feedback. Good luck everyone, here's to hoping that modern science and medicine will someday soon figure out a cure to this life-altering disease, which is surprisingly affecting a large part of the worlds population.
On that note, I also hope my experience will help someone out there who is struggling to find answers.
Replied by Kim
Posted by Glenn (Durban, Kzn South Africa) on 04/05/2011
HI been suffering from HS for about 15 years got totally ripped off by the medical profession for ten of those years. Diagnosed myself from the internet. Been using a broad based anti fungel cream under my arms each morning(cheap) has kept HS at bay but not cured. I havent had a boil once while on treatment but when I stop HS returns am now going to try tumeric as well. Will let you know how it go's thanx Glenn.
Posted by Kim (Savannah, Georgia) on 09/14/2008
I went to a naturopath after suffering from H.S. for the last 20 years (since 6th grade) I found taking a trustworthy brand of antioxidants twice a day with food helped tremendously. I also take Echinacea and Goldenseal and eat a primarily vegetarian and organic diet. More than anything I believe a 12/12 probiotic supplement taken daily to be the most helpful for my HS. Do avoid smoking cigarettes or anything for best results. I plan on taking the turmeric and trying the tea tree oil. I experience the pain and embarrassment of this disease every day whether it's because of the scars or an outbreak. Good luck to all.
Posted by Cure Hs (Kosovo) on 11/25/2014
You can cure Hidradenitis Suppurativa, I did this :)
All you need to do is to apply apple vinegar using cotton to your affected area. Leave it there all night long . Do this for 1 week and you will start to see the results.
It is so simple but really effective.
Posted by Eliza (Atlanta,ga) on 11/04/2013
I had a recent outbreak in my genital area (bikini line) from my HS. I was successful in bringing the boil to a head by covering it with a cloth soaked in ACV and it broke the skin on its own (I did not punture or squeeze out the infection/pus). However, after the skin broke and it appeared to have healed over, the boil returned. Again I did the ACV-soaked cloth and it erupted. But this time it left an open sore or "hole" where it initially broke the skin. Now there is a stinging feeling and it seeps a little with yellow pus and slight blood. I am concerned the hole will not heal or close and that it is still leaking slightly and the pain/stingin is off and on. Please help!! The only thing that seems to put my mind at ease is cleaning the area with hydrogen peroxide and covering the area with sterile gauze. What else should I be doing???
Replied by Mmsg
Replied by Louwrence
Rusteburg, South Africa
Replied by Gavin
Northland, New Zealand
Replied by Arlene
Posted by Julie (Delevan, Ny) on 03/14/2013
I started getting boils in the groin area and thought it was from shaving, then I got one on my face and another and another. I have done so much research on this and have done a ton of home remedies which most do help but I have to say, taking apple cider vinegar and baking soda and making a paste seemed to pull the pus out fast!! It's a battle that's for sure.. I am on antibiotics and you need to make sure they give you one that is for bacteria!! MRSA is immuned to some antibiotics.. DETOX!!! There is a Detox Tea with lemon.. Best of luck to all of you who deal with this. It is stressful!!!!! I believe the Home Remedies work the best for pulling infection from the skin. Boil-Ease eats the skin if you use it too long and left a bad scar on me. BAKING SODA/VINEGAR..
Posted by Vicki (Apple Valley, MN) on 04/15/2008
I have suffered with Hidradenitis Suppurativa for about 10yrs the doctors constantly cut, drain and pack the absesses and they have also had me on 3 different antibotics daily. well I got a severe reaction to them and decided to try a more natural path and it is working I take the acv/ bs dring daily also soak in the bathtub 2x per day with 1 cup epsom salt and 3 drops tea tree oil one day then the next I use 1 cup of powderd dreft with the 3 drops of tea tree oil I also eat tons of garlic and take lot's of vitamins