Hidradenitis Suppurativa
Natural Remedies

Does Antibacterial Soap Really Work for Treating HS?

| Modified on May 04, 2024

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.

What are the Symptoms of Hidradenitis Suppurativa?

Hidradenitis Suppurativa is a skin disorder that involves the presence of lumps beneath or boils in the skin; it is uncomfortable and even painful. This problem usually first appears in areas where the skin rubs together. It develops around the hair follicles where many oil and sweat glands are concentrated. Symptoms include blackheads, or small pitted areas that appear as "double-barreled" clogged pores, and red bumps that are tender. Additionally, painful pea-sized lumps beneath the skin may form and feel hard, become inflamed, and enlarge with time. Likewise, the bumps or sores may burst or leak periodically, draining a foul-smelling pus.

Do Antibacterial Soaps Really Work?

While the exact cause of Hidradenitis Suppurativa is largely unknown, it has been found that effective hygiene practices can help treat the condition. Likewise, antibacterial agents function to treat potential underlying causes of Hidradenitis Suppurativa. Accordingly, antibacterial soap is often an effective home cure for treating Hidradenitis Suppurativa and offers relief.

How Antibacterial Soap Works

Antibacterial soap is a cleansing agent that typically contains triclosan or another antimicrobial agent. This agent functions as an antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral. The agent is extremely powerful and presents the benefit of effectively killing off bacteria. When used as a cleansing agent for areas affected by HS, the soap functions to eliminate the bacteria that may be causing the condition and helps eliminate the skin disorder.

How to use antibacterial soap as a treatment

When using this treatment option, be sure to purchase a soap that clearly states that it is antibacterial. Liquid soap or body wash is typically the most effective. Simply use the soap to cleanse the area twice daily or after periods of intense activity.

Whether you just developed Hidradenitis Suppurativa or have been dealing with it for years, give this treatment a try and let us know how it works for you. Continue reading below for reviews from our readers who have tried antibacterial soap as a home remedy for Hidradenitis Suppurativa!

Related Links:

Antibiotic Side Effect Remedies
Natural Antibiotics: Home Alternatives to Drugs
Top Remedies for Hidradenitis Suppurativa

12 User Reviews

5 star (7) 
4 star (3) 
1 star (2) 

Posted by Norcalwoman (San Jose, Ca) on 06/27/2016

Antibacterial soap is the only thing I have found that prevents boils from developing. I use the dial gold bars of soap and use it a few times a week in the areas prone to develop boils. In hot weather, use it more often. I forgot for one week and I am sitting here in pain. Try the soap. I went nearly 8 months without a boil...vs...1 or 2 a month. Try not to use on other parts of your body, this will dry out your skin.

Antibacterial Soap
Posted by Cherie (Brockton, Ma) on 05/23/2009

I have had HS for 10yrs now. I've had surgeries which have helped it subside in certain areas. I have read on here that some people use dial soap and it didnt work...you need to use the DIAL LIQUID ANTIBACTERIAL Soap/bodywash. I use it and it helps a lot. I also found that using Gold Bond Baby powder triple action relief is a huge helper when irritation occurs. As for flair-ups...I just deal with them..it's painful but I do what I was taught to do; keep the area clean, dry and use Bacitracin ointment and I stay strong. Thats all I know how to do!

Replied by Wossta
(Jackson, MS)

Hi, i have been dealing with HS since I was nine years old, I am now 33. I have went to doctors after doctors, and I have had my sweat glands removed from my left arm pit and my left breast in which I have not had an outbreak in those areas since, but the cyst, boils, or legions have gotten worse in the right breast and arm pit and there now coming in my buttock area. I think my case is the worse because I have dealt with the disease for 24 years, and did not have a clue about what I had until about five years ago, and I have tried everything under the sun. After my surgery the doctor told me to use dail soap (antibacterial only) and hibiclens which is an antiseptic/antimicrobial skin cleanser that you can purchase from Walgreens. It cuts down of the spread of bateria in the infected area. I can honestly say prayer and hibiclens has made it more managable for me. Another helpful hint is when using hibiclens the order is not noticable.

Replied by Contessa
(Jackson, Ms)

My question is for Wossta from Jackson, MS. I have your same exact problem but I have yet to find the right doctor here in Jackson. I have had HS since I was about 11yrs. old although it was no diagnosed until I was 21! Now over the past 5 yrs. my condition has gotten so much worse that I have lost my ability to function in my everyday life. Please email me the names of any doctors that you have been to that were able to help you. Also, any medicines that have had a positive effect on your condition. I need any and all help from anyone. Doctors seem to minimize the effect this has on my life and the server pain I experience daily with no relief. Just one abscess after the next all in different areas.

Replied by Btw
(Seattle, Wa)

I have used the crystal before and it works great, however there are two forms I have come across one in a more classic shape and the other in a ball, I recomend the actuall deorderant and not the ball as the ball can become rigid and very painfull to inflamed skin.

Replied by Atlanta Girl
(Atlanta, Georgia)

I've had Hidradenitis Suppurativa most of my life. However, I have NEVER had body odor, even though I do NOT use deoderant. When I had my sweat glands under my arms removed as a teenager, I began using baby powder to absorb the sweat and it worked very well. Now I use a body powder that you can get at any drugstore and I have no problem with body odor even though I go to the gym and workout.

EC: Warning!

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talc

Several studies have established preliminary links between talc and pulmonary issues,[6] lung cancer,[7][8] skin cancer and ovarian cancer.[9] This is a major concern considering talc's widespread commercial and household use. In 1993, a US National Toxicology Program report found that cosmetic grade talc caused tumours in rats (animal testing) forced to inhale talc for 6 hours a day, five days a week over at least 113 weeks, even though it contained no asbestos-like fibres.[7] Scientists have been aware of the toxicity of talc since the late 1960s, and in 1971 researchers found particles of talc embedded in 75% of the ovarian tumors studied.[10] However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers non-asbestiform talc, that is, talc which does not contain potentially carcinogenic asbestiform amphibole fibers, to be generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for use in cosmetics. [11]

Replied by J
(St Thomas, Ontario)

Please describe the surgery. My new Dr has booked it and I am so freaked out, no clue how long I will be off work, I've been off a total of 4 weeks now.

Replied by Jmbd
(East Greenwich, Rhode Island)

To: Cherie from Brocton, MA
Hello, I was so glad I found your post; you live very close to me. I live in Rhode Island and I also suffer from the emotional and psychical symptoms of HS. I have been to countless doctors and bounced from one specialist to the next as my symptoms just keep getting worst. I would be very thankful for any information you would be willing to share with me regarding your personal struggles and medical experiences with this condition: diagnosis, doctors, medicines you have tried and if the weather affects your HS? I wish you the best.

Replied by Bee
(Tampa, Fl)

Just a tip. Powdering the area does help significantly but most powders contain talc, which is highly carcinogenic. So I bought a bag of rice powder from the grocery store. Works just as well and it's 100% natural!

Antibacterial Soap
Posted by Ashley (San Diego, CA) on 02/05/2009

I have seen two doctors in the last two weeks in regards to my HS. I learned two things from these people. The first is that Dial soap is actually bad for the area. Dial is a detergent based soap which actually breaks down the skin and weakens its defense power. The both suggested Lever 2000 which is moisturizer based. I have actually seen a huge difference in my affected areas since I switched to the Lever 2000. I have also been struggling with the odor that has been associated with my HS and had seen somewhere something about a crystal deodorant. I did find the product and began using it. I asked both doctors their thought and both were rather excited to hear about the product and said that it may actually aid in the healing process as well. The crystal deodorant is a stick of mineral salts that is dampened for use. I found it available at both the grocery store and Wal-Green Pharmacy.

Good luck and hope this helps.

Replied by Sonia
(Christchurch, New Zealand)

I have had severe problems with HS and a couple of years ago required surgery to mend the lesions in my arm pits. I have since gotten onto using an antibacterial soap along with an antiseptic tea tree oil cream and had very few problems since. This has usually been when I have not kept up this routine. This indicates that it must be working. It is better by far than the countless antibiotics I was having prior.

At times I feel I smell of eucalyptus leaves (an Australian plant favoured by koalas) but it is well worth it and it smells much better than the putrid smell of a HS wound.

Replied by Tea Lee
(Victoria, Australia)

Tea tree oil has been a godsend. I used to use the straight oil but managed to find a cream from the supermarket, Tea Tree Ointment works for keeping it under control. I use tea tree deo daily but use the ointment when I have an itch or a breakout and between these two it keeps the attacks down to a few times a year. Still hasn't totally eliminated the stinky left pit smell but I can live with that trade off to not being in pain and full of painful cysts. Check out various Tea Tree oil stuff, it's good.

Replied by Arlene

They call the crystal deodorant as TAWaS.. it is a filipino deodorant.

Antibacterial Soap
Posted by Danielle (Fair Oaks, Ca) on 10/14/2008

a few months back i was on here and started taking turmeric spice in warm water, after a couple of weeks i was feeling better and had less "hurts" but one morning i got sick and couldnt take the turmeric since then. my hurts have gotten bad again so i decided i would take the pills, just started today! this time i will be taking 2 pills 2x's a day. and washing with plain old dial soap. after reading about the dial soap i did realize my HS got worse when i started using more body washes and not dial bar soap. i hope everyone that has this problem finds this website, and i would never wish this on anyone! the pain is unimaginable at times, as u all know! good luck to everyone! email me if anyone has any questions, or just plain support. bye!

Replied by Penny
(Portage, WI)

Antibacterial soap: Liquid vs. bar. I am so thankful I read this! I have been so frustrated lately, as things have gotten worse. After reading this, I am wondering if it is not just a coincidence that things started getting worse at the same time that I started using Dial liquid soap! I am getting the bar tomorrow!

Replied by Shantavia
(Miami, Florida)

Thank you for having this up there. I realized after about a month of using dial soap on and off that it has made my HS worst as well. I began to get more than one break out under my arm. I am going back to my regular soap and going to use colloidal silver to make it better.

Replied by Brandy
(Troy, Mi)

I use Cetaphil Antibacterial soap. It is a bit more expensive than the Dial, but it works well for me. My issue is that washing twice a day makes my skin uncomfortably dry and itchy. Is it safe to use moisturizer on the affected areas? I have Cetaphil moisturizer - it is supposed to be pretty basic with no added perfumes or such. I just started taking Zinc Gluconate and Vitamin E to see what that will do to help. I have had success with taking Yaz birth control - the affected area is still spreading and infected, but I have not had any huge lesions in a long time and very few that break open and leak. I am also going to start taking Turmeric to see how that helps.

Replied by Paulette
(Rockton, Il)

Brandy, Have you seen any info on YAZ birth control and complications it causes. Check this out.


Antibacterial Soap
Posted by Serena (Bronx, New York ) on 09/06/2008

hi I am a 23 year old female i have been with HS for 7 years. As alot of people on here has done, I have also been to alot of doctor and as most know that there is no cure. I was diagnoise with it about 2 months ago. My doctor told me to use dial bar soap and ever since, my lump have became smaller and less painful. I have not tryed the apple cider vinigar, baking soda, or Epsom salt, but I'm going to try it. thank you for your useful advise

Antibacterial Soap
Posted by Brian (Tampa, Florida) on 03/27/2008


Ive been reading all the wonderful remedies and suggestions here on your site when i came across a section dedicated to HIDRADENITIS SUPPURTIVA and I just had to share my story as well.

I have a congenital birth defect that caused me to be born missing my left foot, I received my prosthesis by my first b-day. I grew up with NO problems with my leg what so ever and never considered myself to have any limitations. That is until i was in my very early 20's and began getting (what i thought at the time were) cists on my stump. This issue became worse and worse with each passing year and after doctors Lansing two or three of them I couldn't handle the recovery of each one anymore so I started dealing with them myself as they would appear. Nothing I did would work other then forcing my leg on, no matter how swollen I was and forcing them to break so that the horrible pain would go away. You see as anyone with HIDRADENITIS SUPPURTIVA knows the pain is unbearable so imagine having to walk on it. Most people who have HIDRADENITIS SUPPURTIVA suffer these sores in their armpits, groin, and under their breasts. I had never had any sores in any of those places. Only on my leg. Then as my leg got worse I began to get them under my arms as well.

After suffering through the pain for a few years I finally realized this issue I was having was way bigger then I could handle myself and truly feared doing more damage to my leg so I finally began seeing doctors to get answers. Honestly, this was a total waist of my time and my money!! I went to over 10 doctors, 5 dermatologists and NONE of them had any idea what was causing my sores. After being told that I would have to have the remainder of my leg removed, told that it was my hygiene problem and that I wasn't bathing properly, being told to stop wearing any prosthetics and be bound to a wheel chair for the rest of my life & even being told that I was too vain and needed to get over myself and realize that there was no need to wear a prosthetic I finally gave up on doctors once again and went back to dealing with the pain myself.

At that point in my life I was getting anywhere for 4 - 5 sores on my leg per week and had lost two jobs due to the inability to wear my prosthesis. I was just about ready to give into the doctor (dermatologist) who wanted me to have my leg amputated when I met a friend of a friend who asked me what was wrong with my leg that I wasn't able to put it on. After talking to her for only a few minutes and her begging me to see my sores she shockingly lifted her shirt and showed me the scars under her arms and explained HIDRADENITIS SUPPURTIVA to me. She had been diagnosed 5 years before after having two surgeries to remove her sweat glands.

I literally began to cry!! Finally I knew what was wrong with me....after 10 doctors and 5 dermatologists there was someone who knew what the hell it was. WOW! The next day I made an appointment at the dermatologists who wanted me to have my leg amputated and told him of HIDRADENITIS SUPPURTIVA. He and 4 other dermatologists after him had never heard of it and didn't have any answers as to how to treat this condition. Finally I found this amazing dermatologists who did know and I am now happy to say that 6 years later I have only had 2 sores and those failed in comparison to the size or pain of those in the past. The only remedy I have used in the past 6 years is ANTIBACTERIAL SOAP!!! Not the liquid or body washes the only one that works is the good ole fashion antibacterial bar soap. It is truly a miracle worker where my sores are concerned and I swear by it. I have even gone on vacations and didn't have ___ soap and immediately after only one day of not showering using ____ I have gotten a sore.

I hope in some small way this story helps someone else out there cause I know how hard it was going through day by day in pain and no one having the answers to help!! Good Luck!!

Replied by Sara
(Corpus Christi, Texas)

Tired of seeing the derm doctor for H.S. so I tried the dial soap (gold bar) and tea tree oil. Incredibly, within a couple of days, the lesions had decreased in size and pain. I also tried hot baths in epsom salts. A week and a half later, I feel like myself which I had not felt like in at least a year. Thank you all for your wonderful information. I am so thankful!

Replied by Zulfikar Panjwani
(Atlanta, Georgia)

Hi Brian, I read your story here and many others I have had this problem since the age of 15. I am now 33 and still used to keep getting these cysts in my underarms and tail bone. When I read remedies on earth clinic I right away started with Dial Soap and Turmeric Pills. few days later I noticed that the boils did come back but much smaller and less painful. Now i have stopped using Dial soap but still take Turmeric Pills 2 X 1 daily as a routine. Being from India we always believed that Turmeric has antiseptic properties and I know now for sure it does.

...Just 2 capsules 2 times a day for a months and then 2 just before you sleep. Hope this helps.

Replied by Laddeeraven
(N Billerica, Ma)

I have not had very good luck with antibacterial soaps. They seem to inflame my cysts. They are all pretty raw and large. I have had better luck with an 8% peroxide cream wash and Physoderm.

I had lovely skin until I turned 20. I had terrible acne on my face and back. A year or so later the HS started. It wasn't bad in the beginning, but that changed fast. As long as they drained I was ok it was when the scare tissue was too tough for them o break thru that I had to make trips to the ER to have them lanced and wicked. I'm 55 and overweight (lost 72 pounds in the past year) and they are worse then ever. My arm pits are not too bad but my groin area is a nightmare.

As a result of an infected cyst in my 20's I was hospitalized with a whopping 106.5 temp. While in an ice bath they started IV penicillin, which I had orally without incident so it came as a big surprise when I had renal shut down.

My kidney function did return but my doctor dropped the ball and in 2002 when I got cellulitis for the fifth or with time from the HS it was found that my kidney function was only 40%. So much for my doc keeping an eye on things.

Now it seems my kidneys are not sending the hormone to my bone marrow telling it to make red blood cells. The HS causes and abundance of white blood cells. I am so anemic it has become dangerous.

My cysts generally leak a clear fluid or bleed copious amount of bright red blood. It's a nightmare going anyplace. Hard chairs hurt, I leave stains, I can't wear anything but black and it's pretty impossible to bandage he to the location.

I have been to some of he best dermatologists in Boston but nada! I find I do better hen the doctors treating it. Awhile back they injected the worst ones with a steroid and or a few days I was in heaven. They were nearly nonexistent but then came back with a vengeance. I was talked into trying it 2 more times and it was the biggest mistake of my life. Everyone injected is so much worse that I long for the days before they experimented on me. I've done Embrel (sp?) some IV thing for RA that gave me a bizarre side effect. Every joint felt like it had gout.

So if we don't get the blood thing under control HS may be the cause of my demise. It's such a horrible disease that's so hard to explain to anyone that doesn't have it or love someone that does.

I'm open to suggestions.

Replied by Debbie
(Melbourne, Australia)

Go to the "ailments" section of this website and type in "H" and then key down until you find your ailment. Many people have cured their Hidradenitis Suppurativa. Read what they did ...

Replied by Paulette
(Rockton, Il)

Hi Brian, My daughter just told me about her condition which she has been hiding for 9 months. She also has cellulitus. She has an appointment with a dermatologist Monday. But we are going to try these remedies!

Brian, I am amazed at your courage. My prayers are with you. We have family in Tampa, maybe someday we will meet you.