In my article, Could Your Unusual Skin Symptoms Be Caused By Hidradenitis Suppurativa?, I explained the common symptoms of and conventional treatments for this chronic condition.
However, since some of the conventional treatments for hidradenitis suppurativa include antibiotics and bleach baths, you may want to explore alternative treatments to heal your chronic outbreaks.
Here are some natural treatments for hidradenitis suppurativa that may help ease your outbreaks and pain without the side effects that could be associated with more conventional treatments.
Dietary Changes for Hidradenitis Suppurativa
According to the Mayo Clinic, “What you eat might have an impact on your hidradenitis suppurativa.”
They recommend avoiding certain foods that may trigger a worsening of pain and inflammation associated with this disease.
These foods to avoid include:
Dairy products such as milk and cheese may raise insulin levels, which could trigger an overproduction of hormones (called androgens) that have been shown to contribute to the development of hidradenitis suppurativa.
Excluding dairy products from your diet may help reduce the number of outbreaks you experience and lessen your overall symptoms.
An excessive intake of sugar will also raise insulin levels, which can trigger androgen production that worsens HS symptoms. Significantly reducing your intake of foods such as candy, sodas, and cereals may decrease your chances of flare-ups.
Research has also shown that brewer’s yeast, which is an ingredient in baked goods, may worsen HS flares. Avoiding products with brewer’s yeast might help reduce your flares while promoting the healing of existing skin lesions.
Wheat & gluten
If you’re living with any type of chronic inflammatory, chronic pain, or autoimmune condition, I strongly advise you to give a gluten-free diet a try. Many people who don’t have celiac disease have a condition called non-celiac gluten sensitivity that causes their immune systems to destroy the healthy tissues of the body.
Wait. Before you say your stomach doesn’t hurt when you eat bread and pizza, understand that gluten can also cause severe skin breakouts (called dermatitis herpetiformis) as well as neurological and mental health symptoms!
According to a study published in Surgery, individuals with HS who were put on a diet free of wheat and brewer’s yeast for 12 months experienced immediate stabilization of their clinical symptoms!
“Similarly, all the patients demonstrated an immediate recurrence of skin lesions following accidental or voluntary consumption of beer or other foods containing brewer’s yeast or wheat. The patients also demonstrated a return of their quality of life and activities, including the reestablishment of sexual activity in the patients with inguinal and perigenital lesions.”
Natural Treatments for Hidradenitis Suppurativa
These natural treatments can help ease pain and reduce flare-ups. Talk with your doctor if you are currently using conventional treatments for your HS to avoid any potential negative interactions.
1. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera not only soothes the inflammation and discomfort of flare-ups, it is also known for its strong antiseptic properties.
Research suggests that aloe vera speeds the healing of wounds by promoting the rapid production and movement of fibroblasts (cells that allow skin to recover from injury) and keratinocytes (cells that form a barrier against pathogenic bacteria, fungi, and viruses).
For best results, apply pure aloe vera gel (with no additives) directly to the affected areas, and let it soak into your skin.
2. Neem Oil & Turmeric Combination
Neem oil has been shown to reduce redness and inflammation as well as bacteria on the skin. Furthermore, since it has a high fatty acid content, it may also help aid in the healing of the scarring associated with hidradenitis suppurativa outbreaks.
Turmeric, taken orally, may also reduce the inflammation and pain associated with HS flare-ups.
In fact, according to a study published in Ayu, patients with chronic, non-healing wounds (not related to hidradenitis suppurativa) who used a combination of topical neem oil and oral turmeric supplement experienced significant wound healing after eight weeks of treatment.
“Topical use of Neem oil and oral use of Haridra (turmeric) powder capsule used in combination were found effective for chronic non-healing wounds.”
Neem oil can be applied directly to the affected areas of the skin with a sterile cotton pad. It can be washed off or allowed to soak into your skin. A daily oral turmeric supplement can be used in conjunction with this topical treatment to decrease flare-ups.
Note: Do not use turmeric if you are on blood thinning medications, medications for diabetes, or medications that reduce stomach acid.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar
Although research doesn’t support ACV in preventing or treating HS flare-ups directly, it may be useful in preventing the development and spread of bacterial infections.
According to a study published in Scientific Reports, apple cider vinegar can have multiple antimicrobial effects directly on E-coli, S. aureus, and C. albicans. Therefore, it is believed that “ACV could be used as an additive component of an antimicrobial therapeutic regimen, especially in immunocompromised patients presenting with infections of the aforementioned microbes.”
For best results, put a small amount of organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar with the “mother” on a sterile cotton pad, and allow it to soak into the affected areas of your skin.
4. Manuka Honey
According to a study published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine, manuka honey has potent antibacterial effects that may prevent the spread of infection. Manuka honey also works as a powerful anti-inflammatory agent.
“However, another kind of honey, called non-peroxide honey (viz., manuka honey), displays significant antibacterial effects even when the hydrogen peroxide activity is blocked. Its mechanism may be related to the low pH level of honey and its high sugar content (high osmolarity) that is enough to hinder the growth of microbes. The medical grade honeys have potent in vitro bactericidal activity against antibiotic-resistant bacteria causing several life-threatening infections to humans.”
For best results, allow cysts to drain and dry, then clean and dry them thoroughly. Once this is done, apply about a teaspoon of honey on the healing wounds and place a sterile gauze pad over the area. You can leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes before washing it off, although some HS patients choose to leave the honey on for longer than that or even overnight.
You may have to experiment to see which method works best for you.
5. Tea Tree Oil
According to the American Journal of Infection Control:
“Tea tree oil has been used for centuries as a botanical medicine, and has only in recent decades surfaced in the scientific literature as a promising adjunctive wound treatment. Tea tree oil is antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and has demonstrated ability to activate monocytes.”
For best results, mix a few drops of tea tree oil with two tablespoons of a carrier oil such as jojoba or argan oil, and apply the mixture directly to the affected areas.
Note: As tea tree oil can be strong on sensitive skin, do a “patch test” on an area of your skin that is unaffected by HS first. Try one drop of tea tree oil mixed with carrier oil onto your inner arm and leave it for 24 hours (or, if you have a reaction, wash it off immediately).
Hidradenitis suppurativa can be a painful and sometimes debilitating condition to live with, but these natural treatments may help soothe your skin and ease your suffering, so you can enjoy happier, healthier, more confident days!