Acne inversa or hidradenitis suppurativa, is an inflammatory skin disease that starts as small red bumps on the skin and progresses quickly into a severe form of acne.
Acne inversa affects the sweat glands and hair follicles. It leads to painful red bumps or pus-filled sores in sweat-prone areas like the armpits, groin, under the breasts and the anal area.
What is more, it may even lead to the formation of deep, inflamed lacerations that can leave scars.
The condition is not contagious and is more common in women, African Americans and people who have a history of acne.
Read on to find out about the causes and symptoms and how to get rid of acne inversa.
Causes of Acne Inversa
The exact cause of acne inversa is still unknown, however there are some possible contributing factors such as:
- Hormonal changes during puberty
- Weak immune system
- Family history of acne inversa
If you are prone to developing acne inversa, the following factors could trigger the condition or worsen an existing flare-up:
- Being overweight
- Taking lithium pills for treating other conditions
Bear in mind that poor hygiene does not lead to acne inversa.
Symptoms of Acne Inversa
- Red and tender bumps, called abscesses, that can get enlarged, break open and leak foul-smelling pus
- Uneven areas of skin containing blackheads
- Scarring and tunnels forming under the skin between abscesses
Preventing Acne Inversa Flare-Ups
Since the exact cause of the condition is unknown, there is no certain way to prevent flare-ups. However, avoiding the following may help:
- Wearing tight or synthetic clothing
- Hot and humid climates
- Shaving armpits and groin areas
- Excessive use of deodorant
- Gaining weight
Home Remedies to Treat Acne Inversa
The symptoms can be controlled and treated using home remedies if the condition is mild or moderate . However, severe cases require a doctor’s intervention and will need antibiotics if the lesions become infected.
Here are the best 10 home remedies you can use to get rid of acne inversa.
This bright yellow spice has been used as a potent healer since ancient times. It contains an active compound called curcumin that has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. It can be used along with apple cider vinegar, to get rid of bacteria colonizing the abscesses. In addition, turmeric also helps balance the hormones when taken internally.
Note: Turmeric powder can leave a bright yellow stains, so take care not to get it on your clothes while using this remedy.
Things you’ll need:
- Apple cider vinegar (antibacterial) – 1 teaspoon
- Turmeric powder (anti-inflammatory) – 1 teaspoon
Step 1. Make a paste of turmeric and apple cider vinegar
- Put 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder in a bowl.
- Add 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar.
- Mix well to form a thick paste.
Step 2. Apply the paste on the acne
- Apply the paste on the bumps and leave it on for 30 minutes.
- Wash it off with warm water.
You need to apply the turmeric paste twice a day to get rid of acne inversa within 1 week. If the lesions are not severe, the remedy may give you quicker results. Moreover, to aid the healing process, mix ½ teaspoon of turmeric powder in warm milk (any milk of your choice) and consume it daily until the lesions have healed completely.
2. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is an effective remedy for basic acne, but it can also be used to reduce the size and severity of acne inversa. The oil contains antibacterial properties that not only help clear up the infection but also reduce the foul smell of the pus. Because the oil is available in concentrated form, direct application can sting a bit. You can mix it in a carrier oil and then use it on the affected area.
Things you’ll need:
- Tea tree oil (antibacterial) – 5 or 6 drops
- Olive oil (carrier oil) – 1 tablespoon
Single-Step Treatment: Dilute tea tree oil in olive oil & apply
- Add 5 or 6 drops of tea tree oil to 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
- Mix the two well.
- Using your clean fingers or a cotton ball, apply the oil blend all over the affected skin. You need not wipe it off.
Repeat 2 or 3 times every day to heal the acne inversa lesions within a week.
3. Rubbing Alcohol
If the red bumps haven’t turned into leaking open sores yet, you can try using rubbing alcohol to shrink them. Rubbing alcohol is a powerful disinfectant and it will also dry out the acne-like lesions quickly.
Single-Step Treatment: Dab rubbing alcohol on the pimple-like bumps
- Soak a cotton swab with rubbing alcohol.
- Dab it on the infected areas. If you are applying it to several bumps, use a fresh cotton swab as needed.
- Allow the alcohol to air-dry.
By apply rubbing alcohol 4 or 5 times every day you can get rid of acne inversa within a week, or even less depending upon the severity.
4. Antibacterial Soap
If you suffer frequently from acne inversa, you can also get yourself a good antibacterial soap. The soap cleanses the skin and kills the bacteria that may be causing the condition. You can try using Hibiclens liquid skin cleanser for this remedy.
Single-Step Treatment: Cleanse your skin with an antibacterial soap
- Use an antibacterial skin cleanser to clean your skin twice a day.
- Also, use it after any intense physical activity that causes you to sweat.
Use antibacterial soap twice a day for 1 week to treat acne inversa.
5. Manuka Honey
Manuka honey has been has been known as a natural cure for a number of bacteria-based skin infections. It is different from regular honey due to the presence of methylglyoxal, a compound responsible for its antibacterial properties. Choose one that is labeled MGO 400+. Although it can be a little expensive, buying it is a good investment. In addition to treating your acne inversa, you can consume the honey on a daily basis to maintain a healthy gut and boost your immunity.
Single-Step Treatment: Apply Manuka honey on the affected skin daily
- Use a cotton swab to apply Manuka honey on the affected area.
- Leave it on for 3 to 4 hours or preferably overnight.
- Wash it off with tepid water.
Apply Manuka honey every night for 2 to 3 weeks to get rid of acne inversa.
6. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties that can reduce the inflammation of acne inversa and eliminate any infection. What is more, aloe vera leaves a cooling effect on the skin which reduces soreness. The enzymes present in aloe vera gel also ensure faster regeneration of healthy skin cells.
Single-Step Treatment: Apply fresh aloe vera gel on the affected area
- Apply fresh aloe vera gel on the affected area.
- Massage it gently to allow the gel to penetrate deep into the skin.
- Keep the area uncovered and allow the gel to dry on its own.
Repeat 2 or 3 times every day for 3 to 4 weeks or until acne inversa is healed.
7. Warm Compress
If your acne inversa is mild, you can heal it quickly by increasing the blood circulation in the affected area. You can do this with the help of a warm compress. This remedy will work only for bumps that pop up abruptly, not the recurring ones.
Single-Step Treatment: Apply a warm compress
- Soak a cloth completely in hot water.
- Wring out the excess water.
- Press the warm cloth against the inflamed area. Hold it in place until the heat weans off.
- Rewet the cloth and continue to apply the warm compress for at least 20 minutes.
Repeat 2 or 3 times a day until the bumps have subsided and the discomfort is gone.
8. Zinc Oxide
Zinc oxide has anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant properties that can be used to manage acne inversa. It gets easily absorbed into the skin and helps draw the infection out. What is more, you can easily make the DIY zinc oxide cream at home. This DIY cream can be applied to treat acne inversa.
Single-Step Treatment: Apply zinc oxide cream on the inflamed skin
- Apply zinc oxide cream all over the infected skin.
- If possible, massage it gently into the skin. If it causes discomfort, you can leave it as is.
- You need not wash it off.
Repeat 2 times a day until the inflammation settles down.
9. Bleach Bath
Bleach baths are recommended for people who are prone to skin infections. Common household bleach helps reduce the colonization of bacteria and aid faster recovery.
Consult your dermatologist before using this remedy. Furthermore, the ratio of bleach to water is very important. Check the label of the bleach and use accordingly.
Single-Step Treatment: Soak your body in a bleach bath
Soak your body in a bleach bath for 10 to 15 minutes
- Add ⅓ teaspoon of 2.2% household bleach to every 1 quart of warm water.
- Keeping your head above the water, soak in the bath for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Rinse yourself with clean water and pat dry your skin.
Do this twice a week along with other remedies to help get rid of acne inversa quickly.
It is extremely important to include fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet. Your diet plays a vital role in helping you recover from any ailment. Some foods provide relief from acne inversa, but others can make the flare-ups worse. Since the cause of acne inversa is unknown, you will have to watch what you eat to identify what triggers the breakouts. Eliminating those foods will help control the condition.
These general diet guidelines will also help control acne inversa flare-ups:
- Include fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet.
- Avoid or reduce your consumption of sugar and processed foods.
- Avoid alcohol and caffeinated drinks.
- Reduce your intake of dairy, wheat and flour.
- Opt for lean meat.
- Increase your intake of foods rich in fiber.
- If the pain is unbearable, apply an ice pack for temporary pain relief.
- Keep your skin clean and dry as much as you can to get rid of acne inversa.
- Keep yourself well-hydrated to naturally eliminate toxins from the body that may cause flare-ups.