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Last Updated on February 27, 2024

Hidradenitis Suppurativa is a chronic skin condition characterized by painful nodules and abscesses. It often leaves a lasting mark in the form of scars. If you suffer from it and the scars do not fade away. Keep on reading the blog to find out effective methods to remove the scarring.

In this blog, we will explore the complexities surrounding Hidradenitis Suppurativa scars. Beyond the visible manifestations, we delve into the root causes, effective treatments, and various problems of living with these scars.

What is Hidradenitis Suppurative?

Hidradenitis Suppurativa is a chronic skin condition characterized by the recurring presence of painful nodules and abscesses, often resulting in the formation of sinus tracts and scarring.

It primarily affects areas with apocrine sweat glands, leading to inflammation and subsequent tissue damage.

Hence, it is estimated to affect approximately 1% to 4% of the global population. It commonly begins after puberty and tends to persist throughout adulthood. Furthermore, it affects females more than males.

Hidradenitis Suppurativa scars Cause

Though the exact cause of HS is not fully understood, experts suggest that factors such as genetics, inflammation, and lifestyle may contribute to its development. HS symptoms manifest when hair follicles beneath the skin become obstructed and eventually rupture.

Hence, this results in the release of bacteria into the deeper layers of the skin, leading to the formation of inflamed nodules or lumps resembling boils. Over time, these nodules progress into skin lesions or sores, often discharging a mixture of pus and blood.

Moreover, in certain instances, HS may give rise to persistent wounds that struggle to heal properly. In more severe cases, the lesions can evolve into tunnels beneath the skin, referred to as sinus tracks. This progression can result in substantial scarring that may cause discomfort, alter the skin’s appearance, and impede the movement of affected areas.

Flare-Ups and Scarring in Hidradenitis Suppurativa

Hidradenitis Suppurativa is marked by chronic and recurrent flare-ups, characterized by the reappearance of painful nodules and abscesses in affected areas. This continuous cycle has a profound impact on the skin tissue, influencing both the visible symptoms and the structural integrity of the skin. The collective effect of repeated flare-ups takes a toll on the skin’s ability to regenerate, contributing to tissue damage and the subsequent formation of scars.

Additionally, the scarring process is a complex sequence of events that unfolds as nodules and abscesses resolve. The body initiates a healing response to repair the damaged tissue. However, this process is often incomplete or altered. The scars that result may vary in type, encompassing hypertrophic scars to keloids.

In severe cases, the scarring process extends beyond the superficial layers of the skin, forming tunnels known as sinus tracks. These sinus tracks not only contribute to the condition’s persistence but also play a significant role in the discomfort and complications associated with Hidradenitis Suppurativa.

Types of Hidradenitis Suppurativa Scars

Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS) often leaves distinct types of scars that vary in appearance and characteristics. Moreover, understanding these scars is essential for effective management and treatment strategies.

Hypertrophic Scars

Hypertrophic scars result from an overproduction of collagen during the healing process. Furthermore, these scars typically appear raised and may be red or pink in color. In the context of HS, hypertrophic scars can develop when there is an excessive accumulation of collagen during the repair of tissue damaged by recurring nodules and abscesses.

Atrophic Scars

Atrophic scars, in contrast to hypertrophic scars, appear depressed or indented in the skin. They result from a loss of tissue during the healing process. In Hidradenitis Suppurativa, atrophic scars may form when the skin is unable to fully regenerate after the resolution of inflammatory lesions, leading to depressions in the affected areas.

Keloid Scars

Keloid scars exhibit an overgrowth of tissue beyond the boundaries of the original wound, extending beyond the normal healing process. These scars may exhibit raised, itchy, and darker pigmentation. While less common in HS, keloid scars may develop in response to the continuous inflammation and healing cycles, contributing to the overall scarring associated with the condition.

Treatment Options for Hidradenitis Suppurativa scars

When it comes to treating Hidradenitis Suppurativa scars, there are various options available, depending on the severity and type of scars. It’s important to consult with a dermatologist or healthcare professional to determine the best treatment plan for your specific situation.

Topical Creams and Ointments

Topical creams and ointments can be used to reduce the appearance and discomfort of Hidradenitis Suppurativa scars. These products often contain ingredients such as silicone, vitamin E, and aloe vera, which can help hydrate the skin and promote scar healing.

Furthermore, applying these creams regularly can help soften the scars and improve their overall appearance.

Some common examples for ointment;

  • Mederma Advanced Scar Gel: The Advanced Scar Gel contains a unique blend of ingredients, including onion extract and allantoin, which work to improve the texture and color of scars.
  • Bio-Oil: Bio-Oil is a widely used skincare product that includes ingredients like vitamin E, chamomile, and lavender oil. It’s designed to improve the appearance of scars, including those resulting from HS, it promotes skin elasticity and hydration.
  • Aveeno Active Naturals Skin Relief Healing Ointment: Aveeno’s Skin Relief Healing Ointment is formulated with oat extract, which helps soothe and moisturize the skin. While its skin-nourishing properties may not be specifically marketed for scars, they can contribute to the overall well-being of the skin, lightening HS scars.


Injecting steroids to minimize scar size is a prevalent dermatological treatment. By directly injecting steroids into the scar, inflammation is reduced, and the production of collagen is slowed. Moreover, this leads to scar tissue being formed.

Although this method is common, it comes with potential side effects such as pain, bleeding, and, in rare cases, a type of eczema. Additionally, after multiple treatments, small white marks may appear on the skin.

Surgical Procedures

For more severe or extensive Hidradenitis Suppurativa scars, surgical procedures may be necessary. These procedures can include scar revision surgery, dermabrasion, or laser resurfacing. Scar revision surgery aims to improve the appearance of scars by removing the scar tissue and repositioning the skin. Additionally, dermabrasion and laser resurfacing work by removing the outer layer of skin, stimulating collagen production, and promoting the growth of new, healthier skin.

Furthermore, Cryosurgery involves freezing the scar and its surrounding area, functioning similarly to laser therapy but utilizing cold instead of light and heat. This method not only diminishes the scar’s size but also alleviates itching, pain, and discoloration. Importantly, cryosurgery carries a minimal risk of side effects.

Natural Remedies

In addition to medical interventions, there are natural remedies that can help reduce the appearance of Hidradenitis Suppurativa scars. These remedies include applying natural oils like rosehip oil, lavender oil, or tea tree oil, which have anti-inflammatory and scar-healing properties. Aloe vera gel, honey, and turmeric paste are also known for their beneficial effects on scar healing. While natural remedies may not provide dramatic results, they can complement other treatment methods and promote overall skin health.

Preventing Hidradenitis Suppurativa scars

Prevention is essential when it comes to managing HS scars. Taking proactive measures can help minimize the appearance and severity of scars. Here are some strategies to consider:

Lifestyle Changes

Making certain lifestyle changes can help prevent the formation of HS scars. Quitting smoking is crucial, as smoking can delay wound healing and increase the risk of scarring.

Maintaining a healthy weight and managing stress levels can also contribute to overall skin health and reduce the likelihood of HS scars.

Dietary Adjustments

Certain dietary adjustments may help manage Hidradenitis Suppurativa and prevent the formation of scars. Avoiding trigger foods such as dairy, gluten, and processed sugars can help reduce inflammation in the body.

Incorporating anti-inflammatory foods like fruits, vegetables, and omega-3 fatty acids can promote skin healing and minimize scar formation.

Skincare Routines

Implementing a consistent skincare routine is essential for preventing Hidradenitis Suppurativa scars. Cleansing the affected areas gently and using mild, fragrance-free products can help maintain the skin’s integrity. Applying moisturizers and sunscreen daily can protect the skin and promote healing. It’s important to avoid picking or squeezing the lesions, as this can lead to further scarring.

Social Support

In addition to addressing the physical aspects of Hidradenitis Suppurativa scars, it is crucial to acknowledge and address the potential impact that HS may have on your mental and social well-being.

Furthermore, a study conducted in 2017 revealed that some individuals with HS may avoid certain activities, such as swimming or engaging in intimate relationships, due to feelings of self-consciousness about their lesions or scars. Additionally, people think Hidradenitis Suppurative is contagious, which is not true.

Moreover, if you suspect that Hidradenitis Suppurativa is adversely affecting your self-perception, social interactions, or mental health, consider seeking a referral from your doctor to connect with a mental health professional experienced in treating individuals with chronic skin conditions. Consequently, they can assist you in developing coping mechanisms to help lessen the psychosocial impact of Hidradenitis Suppurativa scars.


In conclusion, dealing with Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS) scars is addressing the physical side and taking care of your mental well-being. From steroid injections to cryosurgery, there are ways to shrink those scars and make life a bit more comfortable. But let’s not forget, Hidradenitis Suppurativa Scars can also mess with our self-image and cause depression. That’s why it’s crucial to not just focus on the scars but to look out for our mental health too.

Additionally, participation in clinical trials offers hope for advancing research and finding innovative solutions for treatment and management. By actively engaging in clinical trials, individuals with Hidradenitis Suppurativa Scars can contribute to the development of more effective therapies and ultimately improve outcomes for themselves and others affected by this condition.


MetroBoston Clinical Partners is a well established and experienced research center in the greater Boston area. Under the leadership of qualified physicians and medical professionals, we coordinate a range of clinical research trials in Dermatology and Internal Medicine.

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