Everyone manages their condition in their own way. We all have our favourite creams and antiseptics. Strange I know, but that’s living with HS. If you are newly diagnosed, you may not know where to start. In this post, we are going to talk about your options starting out with HS. From wound care to hidradenitis suppurativa deodorant. Here’s your guide to essentials for life with hidradenitis suppurativa.
Hygiene & Skin Care
Hibiscrub is hand wash used in medical settings. It is one of the best products for preventing the spreading of bacteria. So, some people with HS dilute it and use it as a body wash. Your doctor can give you more advice on the best way to use Hibiscrub.
Some people worry about using deodorant. However, friction and sweat may irritate your lesions. But some people may find deodorant itself irritating. So, you may choose a fragrance- free brand. Or, make your own hidradenitis suppurativa deodorant.
Hygiene is obviously important, it’s essential for life with hidradenitis suppurativa. But lots of these products, as well as dressings, can cause irritation. And irritation can make already painful lesions more uncomfortable. Therefore, skincare is just as essential. Vaseline (petroleum jelly) or aloe vera gel soothe sore skin. As well as ease itching.
If you take one thing from this article, let it be the importance of wound care. Proper wound care is vital to looking after your HS. Lesions need to be kept clean of bacteria. You also must prevent friction. Wearing a dressing will do this as well as contain any pus.
Some people use wound dressings you buy in a pharmacy or supermarket. But depending on the area that has flared up, traditional dressings may not fit.
As well as that, adhesives on traditional dressings can irritate the skin. Which will only make you more uncomfortable. Fortunately, there are lots you can do. Check out our wound care webinar for tips on managing irritation. Effective wound care is one of the essentials for life with hidradenitis suppurativa.
For people prone to underarm HS, there are HidraWear’s adhesive-free dressings. HidraWear’s dressings are kept in place by the AX garment. The dressings hexagon print is breathable. And the dressings allow for comfortable movement.
If you have HS, a priority will be preventing friction. One excellent way is to wear comfortable clothing, especially during a flare-up. Personally, I find swapping jeans for leggings or a skirt helpful. But with a little trial and error, you will find your own style.
If you have HS under your breasts, you may decide to avoid bras with underwires. Bralettes can be comfortable. But also, going braless if you can is good too. If you have HS is around your thighs or groin, underwear may become a problem. So, make sure it’s doesn’t pinch, and it’s comfortable.
Lastly, the ultimate piece of hidradenitis suppurativa clothing. The HidraWear AX garment for women. It clips at the front and holds the adhesive-free dressings in place. You can wear it under a variety of clothes types from dresses to t-shirts. The front strap at the top can be removed if you like wearing V neck clothing.
HS Pain Relief
We all know that HS can be painful, but luckily, there are lots of options. For HS pain relief over the counter painkillers can be a good place to start. The most common types are paracetamol or ibuprofen. Ibuprofen has the benefit of anti-inflammatory properties. There are some who believe that inbprofen (a non steroidal anti inflammatory) can make their HS worse, so if you notice any flare ups, maybe keep track of that and see if there is a pattern. Always talk to your pharmacist before taking any medication.
If your pain cannot be managed with over the counter products, please see your doctor and ask for a prescription for something a bit stronger. Before your visit, do some research about your pain so you can describe it appropriately to them during your consultation. Keep a pain diary so you can describe it and the impact it has on your daily life. Here is a good place to start your research, and it might even be helpful to print something out and take it with you. If your doctor does not treat your pain seriously, it might be time to find a new one.
Some people swear by essential oils. Hidradenitis suppurativa essential oils include tea tree and lavender. Tea tree for its anti-microbial properties, and lavender for reducing inflammation. And aloe vera can also soothe irritated skin.
My personal favourite HS pain relief method is a compress. A warm compress can alleviate pain. And draw an infection to the surface of the skin. A cold compress can reduce inflammation, thus easing pain.
You may have heard that avoiding certain foods may help your HS. Research shows that foods like sugar, dairy and brewer’s yeast may trigger HS. Other foods like nightshades and gluten may also impact on your condition.
But the hidradenitis suppurativa diet doesn’t just exclude foods. Rather, the inclusion of certain foods is also helpful. Foods rich in fibre, vitamins and minerals keep you healthy. As well as support your ability to heal. And help you maintain a healthy weight.
For more information on HS diets, read our dedicated page here.
There’s a learning curve to HS management. But this list should get you started and it’s not exhaustive either. The key things to remember are:
- Keep lesions clean and free of infection.
- Make sure your dressings and clothes are comfortable.
- Learn about your triggers
- Develop your own HS diet around your personal needs.
- HS skincare is as important as hygiene and HS pain relief.
Lastly, the right way to care for your condition is the way that works for you. Stay well.
About the Author
Shannon Sweeney is a psychology and sociology student from Ireland. She is also living with HS and has a keen interest in lifestyle, wellbeing and hidradenitis suppurativa.