Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) is a chronic skin condition that causes small lumps under your skin. Treatment can involve home care, including warm compresses and dietary changes.

Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) causes lumps that can be red, swollen, and painful. They’re most likely to develop where your skin rubs together, such as your underarms, groin, or between the buttocks.

Over time, these lumps may break open, resulting in an unpleasant smell or tunnels under your skin.

This condition occurs when hair follicles become blocked and then inflamed. It may result from a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

It’s not caused by infection or poor hygiene, though the condition can leave you more susceptible to bacterial infections.

Treatment for HS can involve:

Some natural treatments may help reduce symptoms of HS. Many of these treatments only have anecdotal evidence, with little research available to definitively prove their effectiveness.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t track the purity or quality of supplements or essential oils. Consider talking with a doctor before taking supplements or using essential oils, as irritants can cause inflammation, which may worsen the condition.

Warm compress

A warm compress can immediately reduce pain in the affected area. You can soak a washcloth in warm water, ring it out, and then apply it to the site. Repeat as needed.


Turmeric may have strong anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antibacterial properties. It may help reduce inflammation and prevent infection from developing.

To use it as a treatment, mix 1 tablespoon of turmeric with 1/2 tablespoon of a carrier oil, like coconut oil, to form a paste. Apply the mixture directly to the affected area for 15 minutes. If this is irritating or too warm, rinse well with cool water and let the area rest.


Some people apply honey topically for its antimicrobial, healing, and anti-inflammatory properties. It also has antibacterial properties that may prevent infection.

You can mix honey with turmeric for added power and apply it to the affected area. Leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes before washing it off.

Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil has been used for thousands of years for its antimicrobial, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties. It may help treat some skin conditions, including acne and athlete’s foot.

Mix a few drops of tea tree oil with 2 tablespoons of a carrier oil and apply it to the area directly.

Aloe vera

Aloe vera may have anti-inflammatory and antiseptic benefits. It can soothe the inflammation and discomfort of flare-ups.

Use pure aloe vera gel (with no additives) and apply it directly to the affected area. You can let it soak into your skin.


Zinc can help reduce inflammation and swelling in your body. It may help treat and prevent HS. You can get zinc from your diet or take zinc supplements.

You can also use it topically by making a cream with 1 tablespoon of beeswax, 1 teaspoon of zinc oxide powder, and 1/2 cup of coconut oil.

Neem oil

Some people use neem oil to treat skin conditions such as acne. It may help reduce bacteria, redness, and inflammation.

Apply neem oil directly to the affected site with a cotton ball or pad. You can wash it off or let it soak into your skin. It can also be combined with other ingredients like aloe, honey, or turmeric.

Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar might not do much to treat flare-ups directly, but it may promote healing and help prevent bacterial infections.

Put a small amount of apple cider vinegar on a cotton pad and apply it to the affected area. You can leave it on and let it soak into your skin.

Bleach bath

Some people claim bleach baths help chronic skin infections, with the thought that it may even aid in faster recovery. Because of the harsh nature of bleach, you may want to consult with a dermatologist or primary care physician before use.

To try a bleach bath as a treatment, research from 2015 suggests adding around 1/3 of a teaspoon of household bleach (2.2% concentration) per quart of warm water. Keep your head above water at all times. Soak in the bath for 10 minutes before showering in clean water and drying your skin thoroughly.

Making dietary changes

Small studies suggest that the foods you eat — and don’t eat — can reduce or trigger flare-ups of HS. Some eating plans that may have benefits for HS include:

You may be able to prevent further flare-ups of HS with some preventive habits.

Wear loose cotton clothing

Loose cotton clothing is breathable, doesn’t hold moisture, and won’t rub against your skin and aggravate it. It can help keep your skin clean, dry, and bacteria-free.

Keep the area dry

Keeping the affected area dry can prevent further flare-ups. Moist areas allow bacteria and fungi to grow.

Maintain proper hygiene

Showering daily can help wash away dirt and bacteria from your skin. The American Academy of Dermatology Association recommends antimicrobial soap or body wash containing benzoyl peroxide or zinc pyrithione.

Consider laser hair removal

Getting laser hair removal where you have HS may reduce future flare-ups.

A dermatologist or primary physician can determine whether laser hair removal may benefit you. Some people find that shaving or waxing can irritate or trigger HS.

Maintain a moderate weight

Research has shown that weight loss may help relieve HS symptoms in people who have overweight. If you have overweight, losing about 15% of your body weight may reduce flare-ups or even clear HS.

Quitting smoking, if you smoke

The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disorders recommends quitting smoking if you smoke, as smoking may cause HS to worsen over time. A doctor can recommend an effective method to quit smoking.

HS is a chronic condition. There’s no cure, but early treatment can help lessen your symptoms, prevent infection, and prevent new lumps from forming.

If home remedies aren’t working for you, or if you believe you have HS but haven’t received a diagnosis, consider making an appointment with a dermatologist or other healthcare professional. If you don’t already have a dermatologist, the Healthline FindCare tool can help you find one in your area.