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Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS)

Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) is a chronic inflammatory condition that usually affects skin folds. Our experienced dermatologists are at the forefront of clinical research to offer patients living with HS access to new treatment therapies so they can feel comfortable in their own skin.

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How to identify HS

HS takes the form of bumps, cysts and abscesses most commonly found in the armpits, groin and buttocks, under the breast and on the back of the neck. Lesions come and go, and they can be tender, drain pus-like material, scar and potentially create tracts under the skin.

The good news is that HS is treatable with medical treatments and simple lifestyle changes.

Farah Moustafa, MD, FAAD providing lip augmentation filler to patient in the Cosmetic and Laser Center within Dermatology.
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Multiple factors contribute to the development of HS, such as your genetics and environment. HS was originally believed to be caused by an overgrowth of bacteria due to a problem with the sweat glands. In fact, it’s caused by clogged, inflamed hair follicles.

Common conditions that are associated with or can worsen HS include:

Cardiovascular diseases
Crohn's disease
High blood pressure
High cholesterol
Inflammatory bowel disease
Joint pain
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
Squamous cell carcinoma
Thyroid disease
Ulcerative colitis


Our dermatologists can treat your HS with medical approaches, including:

  • Antibiotics and antimicrobial agents
  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Biologic systemic therapy
  • Anti-hormonal agents
  • Lasers and surgery

Lifestyle changes like the following can help you manage your HS:

  • Avoid smoking
  • Maintaining a healthy weight 
  • Wearing loose, breathable clothing
Natalia Plotnikova, MD, examines a patient's skin around the nose in the dermatology clinic at Tufts Medical Center.
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Bichchau Michelle Nguyen, MD (Director of MOHS) with Leslie Cruz, Practice Manager and Clarissa Yang, MD (Chief of Dermatology) talking in the hallway in the Dermatology clinic at Tufts Medical Center.
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