Hidradenitis Suppurativa - Healing Skin Care Routine with Essential Oils
What is Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS)?
If you have hidradenitis suppurativa (HS), you’re familiar with the painful nodules, bumps, and abscesses that develop in places where your skin rubs together, such as your armpits and groin. This chronic inflammatory disease causes lesions and cysts that may break open and drain fluid underneath the skin. They tend to heal with scarring and may eventually form tunnels under the skin that chronically drain fluid
What causes HS?
The cause of HS is unknown, but it may have to do with hormones, genetics, or an overactive immune system, among other possible reasons, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD)
Because the inflammation of HS often affects other organs, it’s considered a systemic disease and has been linked to an increased risk for other chronic conditions, including cardiovascular disease and inflammatory arthritis.
What Treatments are Available for HS?
I have interviewed so many people with HS and they are quite desperate for treatments that work. Unfortunately most have not been successful. As the disease progresses, your doctor may recommend surgical treatments, such as laser surgery, deroofing, or excision, for lesions that grow deep into the skin. Ouch! As a Certified Clinical Aromatherapist, I instinctively turn to Essential Oils. (See below for my products with Essential Oils)
What Else Can You Do?
Aside from medical treatments, losing weight is one of the most important steps you can take to manage HS, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). It can also help reduce your risk of health problems such as heart disease and diabetes. If you’re a smoker, quitting also helps reduce the frequency and severity of HS flare-ups.
Another important way you can help manage HS is to follow a daily skin-care routine. Here are five dermatologist-approved skin-care tips to help keep your HS in check.
1. Use an antiseptic cleanser
A variety of bacteria live throughout your body, including in your hair follicles. If you have HS, hair follicles get clogged and come to a head, releasing bacteria into underlying skin, which activates the immune response and inflammation. Using an antiseptic or antimicrobial wash can help limit flares by minimizing bacteria overgrowth in areas prone to HS, which helps when hair follicles do rupture. We have also included ingredients to help exfoliate the area and lighten dark spots and scars.
This is the antiseptic cleanser we have created for HS:
2. Avoid Scrubbing Your Skin
There is no clear consensus on whether using loofahs, brushes, or washcloths is harmful for people with HS. It may be fine to use them very gently, but avoid scrubbing affected areas, which does more harm than good by causing trauma to already inflamed, irritated skin. Hidradenitis suppurativa is not caused by poor hygiene. Scrubbing is one of the worst things you can do, because trauma can cause flares.
3. Skip thick creams and ointments
Opt for antimicrobial serums and light moisturizers over thicker OTC creams or ointments. The cream base itself can get in hair follicles and continue to plug them, which can aggravate HS over time.
This is the cyst serum we have created for HS:
4. Shave or wax between HS breakouts
Shaving or waxing between flares may help prevent active HS lesions by keeping hair follicles from getting clogged. Laser hair removal may also be a good option for some people with HS. Studies have shown that laser hair removal improved HS symptoms by 32 to 72 percent, according to a review published in March 2019 in the Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery.
5. Keep skin sweat free, especially in areas prone to HS
Moist, warm environments encourage bacteria overgrowth, which can potentially clog hair follicles. Using an deodorant can help. Wearing loose-fitting clothing is another smart tactic to stay cool. Tight-fitting clothes may aggravate HS when they rub against areas prone to inflammation and lesions, clogging hair follicles and causing trauma to the skin.
This is the deodorant we have created for HS:
HS Herbal Deodorant
5. Keep skin trauma free with a antiseptic balm
Rubbing the skin together can cause friction and inflammation. We have created an anti inflammatory antiseptic balm for healing and comfort.
We also have sets:
All of these products are fairly new to our website. We have received excellent feedback in our Etsy shop for these products and are really excited to provide a great solution that WORKS!
Remember that it’s always a good idea to keep in close touch with your doctor or dermatologist, especially if you’re in the middle of an HS flare.
Take care my friends!